Condensation Land image

History of Condensation Land

A first-person account

May the 19th, 2016, by Zonja Capalini


  1. The kindergarten era (May 2007-October 2008)
    1. Some archaeology
    2. Learning to build
    3. Our first exhibition
    4. Filming our life
    5. Arrabal Tango Club
    6. Growing our land
  2. The end of innocence (October 2008-May 2009)
    1. The Openspace fiasco
    2. The Openlife experience
    3. Starting our own grid with Opensim
    4. Closing Condensation Beach/SL
  3. The first flourishing (May 2009-August 2010)
    1. First steps in the Hypergrid
    2. The Mirror Worlds exhibition
    3. Contributions!
    4. Partying
    5. Surprisingly big, at the time
    6. Omurtag Milev's wonderful new islands
  4. The long hiatus (August 2010-April 2016)
    1. Shit happens, and RL exists
    2. Homeless in SL
    3. Arrabal had its use(r)s, after all
  5. The resuscitation of Condensation, and Plastichansa's therapeutic rôle (April 2016-present)
    1. Giving back to the givers in the very middle of a mess
    2. Plastichansa Bade's resuscitation skills
    3. An Ancient Noob in the Metro
    4. The return of the memories
    5. Reaching cruise speed
    6. Putting it all together, and an almost involuntary mini-manifesto
    7. Bonus track: a video by Plastichansa

1. The kindergarten era (May 2007-October 2008)

1.1. Some archaeology

Condensation Land was founded by me (Zonja Capalini) in May 2007. It started as a single region (a "full sim") in Second Life.

Here is the first photo of my Flickr stream, taken in Condensation on December the 26th, 2007. Btw, it's a selfie. Now you know me :)


Ludmilla Writer was there from the beginning: here's myself and her (left to right) playing in the water and admiring our new island:


1.2. Learning to build

Some time later, we purchased another full sim from Second Life. It was located to the west of Condensation Land, and we named it Condensation Beach. Ludmilla Writer had her home there. In the meanwhile I had built my own home:


The center of Condensation Land featured the Condensation Land club. Here's a view of its Modern Dance Floor:


1.3. Our first exhibition

On april the 12th, 2008, Florence Babenco, Ludmilla Writer and myself prepared our first exhibition. It was called "Las tres gracias". Here's the flyer for the exhib. Ludmilla and me were very, very nervous. This was our first exhib! :-)

Las Tres Gracias - Reminder

1.4. Filming our life

On May 22, 2008 I published my first video:

0261 - Video test: Dancing silhouetted Carmen

1.5. Arrabal Tango Club

In the meanwhile, Favio Piek and Ludmilla Writer had been building Arrabal Tango Club. Here's a video of the opening party, at the start of June 2008:

0273 - Arrabal Tango Club opening

1.6. Growing our land

In september 2008, Second Life started to offer "openspaces" at a good price: a "normal" sim costed 300 $/mo and could hold 15,000 prims; an "openspace" was only 75$/mo, and could hold only 3500 prims. It looked as good deal, so that we started to convert Condensation West (a full sim) into four openspaces. This was very, very laborious: you had to take everything in your inventory, save the terrain data, see your sim erased, and recreate everything from scracth in the new islands. Still, it looked as a fantastic deal: Condensation West would be renamed to Condensation Beach and assigned to Ludmilla; the remaining openspaces would be named Condensation South, Condensation SouthWest, and Condensation North.

Ludmilla Writer bought herself an expensive but beautiful castle and inslalled it in Condensation Beach:

0342 - Ludmilla's Castle

2. The end of innocence (October 2008-May 2009)

2.1. The Openspace fiasco

Suddenly, Linden Lab, the makers of Second Life, decided to raise prices for Openspaces from 75$/mo to 125$/mo, arguing that people were "abusing" the system. Of course, this lead to generalized outrage:

0369 - Second Life needs YOU!

I wrote a very detailed blog post about it. Here's another protest poster (the lady in the poster is Mikil Tiki, btw):


2.2. The Openlife experience

Linden Lab's horrendous move raised spectacularly awareness of Opensim. Opensim (Opensimulator) was an ongoing effort to write an open-source server that could host virtual worlds compatible with Second Life. The system was still in its infancy, but some initiatives were already offering hosting solutions based in Opensim. We decided to shut down all Second Life islands except the central one and Condensation Beach, and start migrating to Openlife, at the time one of the most prominent hosting providers:

0383 - 20081108, 11.23 OLT - Meeting Ludmilla and Favio in C. Land

2.3. Starting our own grid with Opensim

Openlife, though, proved to be very unstable. We planned on migrating, again, this time to our own Opensim instance. I learnt how to operate Opensim and we started to move everything we had created again.

In the meanwhile, Diva Canto invented the hypergrid! This promised the end of isolation: we would be able to travel between worlds; in fact, it would be Second Life that would remain isolated! I started to experiment with the hypergrid:

0464 - Meeting myself

At the end of february 2009, our new world was almost ready:

0499 - There's a better world ahead

Soon in march, our new world was ready!


It was the time of the revolution! :)

0527 - This is the Time of the Revolution

2.3. Closing Condensation Beach/SL

In May 2009 we closed Second Life's Condensation Beach.

0579 - The last dance in Condensation Beach

3. The first flourishing (May 2009-August 2010)

3.1. First steps in the Hypergrid

Some few days later, hypergrid was enabled in our opensim mini-grid. We were now first-class citizens of the open-source Metaverse! :)

0588 - Tutorial: From OSGrid to Condensation Land

3.2. The Mirror Worlds exhibition

In september 2009 I was starting to prepare the Mirror Worlds exhibition:

0666 - Exhib in Opensim - Senna test

I blogged about Mirror Worlds in January 2010.

3.3. Contributions!

At some moment in 2009 (I don't exactly remember when), Shoshisn Shilova have us a wonderful 1-prim dolphin,

0737 - shoshisn's dolphins

and Breen Whitman donated his wonderful Eastern Gasworks for all to see in Condensation:

0738 - Breen Whitman's 'Eastern Gasworks' building - at the entrance

3.4. Partying

In February 2010 we partied in Condensation Land/Opensim to celebrate Ludmilla Writer's third rezzday:

0793 - Ludmilla's 3rd Rezzday

3.5. Surprisingly big, at the time

It may come as a surprise to realize that in August 2010, we were amongst the biggest Opensim grids in the whole world (according to Hyperica)! :)

0839 - Condensation Land is the 7th top grid in Hyperica lol

3.6. Omurtag Milev's wonderful new islands

In august 2010, Omurtag Milev gave us three wonderful islands, called Temple, Conception and Angelico Miquelis:

0844 - Conceptior & AngelicoMiguelis

4. The long hiatus (August 2010-April 2016)

4.1. Shit happens, and RL exists

RL crashed for me. Badly. Very, very badly. I don't like to mix levels, but I have to say it: this was the main reason for a much prolonged hiatus. I could not take the decision to completely close Condensation Land in Second Life; at the same time, I had lost the will (and I did't have the time) to continue caring for Condensation/Opensim. The mini-grid was shut down, I can't remember with enough precision the exact moment.

4.2. Homeless in SL

Condensation/SL resisted until the end of April 2014.

0976 - Closing Condensation Land

The closing party was on April the 5th. Ludmilla Writer, Favio Piek,

0979 - Closing Condensation Land - Last meeting - Favio

Shoshisn Shilova

0978 - Closing Condensation Land - Last meetig - Shoshisn

and Plastichansa Bade were there.

0977- Closing Condensation Land - Last meeting - Plastichansa

were there. I was crying most of the time: my impression was that all the work and time and money and love we had put in our beloved world was irremediably lost forever.

4.3. Arrabal had its use(r)s, after all

Here's a very nice thing that nevertheless happened in the closing party: a number of completely unknown people came to say thanks. It appears that in the years we had not been using Condensation a lot of other people did, and enjoyed it, and were thankful that the place existed, and came to say so. Needless to say, this made me cry still more.

The resuscitation of Condensation, and Plastichansa's therapeutic rôle (April 2016-present)

5.1. Giving back to the givers in the very middle of a mess

Fast-forward to april 2016. Something was nagging me from the depths of my mind: if so many people had loved Condensation Land, and so many people had contributed to it being beautiful, did I really have the right to close it? Wasn't it my moral duty to share something that was in itself an experience of collective sharing? Shouldn't I be loving what so many people had loved, to the point of working for it and contributing and giving their time and selecting us to showcase their creations? Granted, my RL had crashed; there was an explanation for the hiatus. But six years had passed, RL had rebooted and healed, and I was feeling well.

I started to be able to look back at the machine that has once hosted Condensation. The database was corrupted (somebody else had been using it and inadvertently started different versions of the Diva D2 distro, which confused the migration routines), the physics engine complained loudly, boot time was in the order of ten minutes, and Opensim tended to crash afterwards. A complete disaster. Of course I had old backups, but I didn't remember to which Diva versions they were associated. And I had OARs, but they didn't work with the current version of Opensim. I could take an IAR of my inventory, but this required that I was logged in the central region, and anyway the IARs were, again, incompatible with current Opensim. I felt like a noob with a techie past, which made me feel very strange.

5.2. Plastichansa Bade's resuscitation skills

Then I found Plastichansa Bade. He offered to take care of the OARs for me: he loaded them in an old version of Opensim, saved to a better internal version, loaded them in a more modern version of Opensim, and so on. In a few steps, he had a running, current version of Condensation. He even substituted one of his two regions in Metropolis for a copy of Condensation Land, and offered to host it himself. I quickly opened an account at metropolis and met him in a new instance of Condensation.

0983 - Condensation Land reloaded! :)

Yes I'm terribly ugly in that shot, and yes the shot itself isn't great, but I had to document the moment for history. I would have time to make myself pretty again later :)

5.3. An Ancient Noob in the Metro

Well, my experience with Metropolis was so good that I quickly ended by deciding to rent a region there. They currently offer a varregion for the same price that a normal region, so that I chosed a 1024x1024 varregion. This would allow us to place all the "classic" islands in a single sim (putting Omurtag's islands and the classic ones together in a single sim would dangerously approach the theoretical limit of 45,000 prims and make lag intolerable). In no time, "classic" Condensation Land was up and running (and Plastichansa could revert his island to its previous contents).

0984 - Condensation Land Reloaded

5.4. The return of the memories

As time passed by, I was feeling less clumsy. Memories were starting to come back. Slowly: they had their own rythms and seemed to have their own plans. Slowly. The technical know-how had not dissappeared; it was masked, mixed, linked, amalgamated with a lot of other memories, of our life in Second Life, Openlife, and as an independent grid; and of a large period of RL that included a big crash. This was 2016, and I first rezzed in February the 1st, 2007. I was more than nine years old: that's an enormity, for an avatar. All these nine years started to come back as if a ban, or some kind of filter, had been lifted. It wasn't easy. It wasn't bad, either. Just surprisingly intense.

5.5. Reaching cruise speed

Of course I needed some place to put Omurtag's islands. I rented another 1024 varregion, and put it to the right of the previous one. This allowed for a nice perspective of Omurtag's wonderful islands, when seen, for example, from my home.

1016 - Condensation Land

I even found time to make myself pretty again :)

0986 - Zonja 2.0

Being able to look again at our world was fantastic! Old friends were also coming back. And new ones too :)

1015 - Condensation Land Club - Chill Out Zone - By Zonja Capalini - Texture for information panel

5.6. Putting it all together, and an almost involuntary mini-manifesto

Two days ago I purchased the domain and changed the Condensation Land blog so that it is accesible using

Yesterday I started to create the web (the one you're reading: that's Twitter Bootstrap and a little of object-oriented glue, in case you want to know), and today I finished writing this article.

So that people know, and can tell others. That Condensation is back, and it's back, this time, to remain. That it has two maintainers, this time: Plastichansa and myself. That we virtuals are difficult to kill, that we are resilient. That we own ourselves, we are not the property of some stupid company. That cooperation is a force that was here before money was invented and will be here if some day, in some future, we are finally able to reinvent the world into one without "losers" and "winners". That all we do is for fun, for the love of it. That we love to create and share and give abundantly, and be given. That we don't make a single cent with what we do, indeed we pay for being able to do it; I already said it: we are in this for the fun of it.

That it's all an act of love, a collective act of sharing and giving. That's what Condensation is, and this has been its story.

5.7. Bonus track: a video by Plastichansa

Thanks, mate! :)


Web by Zonja Capalini, 2016. Images by their respective authors.