Condensation Land image

History of Condensation Land

A first-person account

May 19, 2016, by Zonja Capalini (Part I)
Revised and extended April 19-22, 2017 (chapter 6)


Part I (May 2007-May 2016)

  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-May 2016)
    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

Part II (June 2016-present)

  1. The second flourishing: the Metropolis era
    1. First things first: a big thanks to Plastichansa
    2. Small improvements (in no particular order)
    3. LibDescent's Lounge (June 2016)
    4. Avatarfest (Sep 30-Oct 2, 2016)
    5. Hypergrid Safari visit (Nov 16, 2016)
    6. 10th rezzday party (Feb 4, 2016)

Part I
(May 2007-May 2016)

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 in my Flickr stream, taken in Condensation on December the 26th, 2007. Btw, it's a selfie. Now you know how I look :)


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 West. 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 (please click to see it in Flickr):

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:

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 and tiresome: 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:

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 spectacularly raised 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 end up by being isolated! I started to experiment with the hypergrid:

0464 - Meeting myself

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

0499 - There's a better world ahead

In march, we even had a nice splashscreen.


It was the time of the revolution! :)

2.3. Closing Condensation Beach/SL

In May 2009 we closed Second Life's 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! :)

3.2. The Mirror Worlds exhibition

In september 2009 I started 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 gave 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:

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:

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 the exact moment with enough precision.

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 wonderful world was to be irremediably lost forever.

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

Nevertheless, here's a very nice thing that happened in the closing party: a number of completely unknown (to us) people came to say thanks. It appears that while we had not been visiting Condensation much in the last years, quite a lot of other people did, and they 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 moral right to close it? Wasn't it my 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 had 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, by chance, I met Plastichansa Bade again. He offered to take care of the OARs for me: he loaded them in an old version of Opensim, saved them 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 a Metropolis account and met him in freshly ressurrected 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, I was starting to feel less clumsy. Memories were also 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 abundantly give 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! :)

Part II
(June 2016-present)

6. The second flourishing: the Metropolis era

Almost one year has passed since I wrote part I of this history; I'll try to summarize what happened in these months. You'll see much less drama and more creations: that's why me moved to Opensim, and also why we moved to a money-free grid.

6.1. First things first: a big thanks to Plastichansa

Plastic took very seriously my offer to co-administer Condensation, and he's continually creating new stuff and finding new ways to improve our islands.

He's a great, great, artist, a very modest person, and also very loving and always willing to help; I'm proud to be able to call him a friend. Here's his main island (you should visit, btw: apart from being impressive, it's full of freebies :-) ):

This awesome sim is also his. It's "a place where I dump stuff that I create", if you are to believe him. You be the judge.

6.2. Small improvements (in no particular order)

  • Plastic transformed a lot of objects to mesh, so that the land impact has been greatly reduced. Thanks!
  • I added light effects to the Club torches: it look so much better, specially in the night!
1032 - Lights in the Condensation Land Club
  • We created mesh versions of ourselves, and started playing with oversized, giant avatars. You can see an NPC version of one of such giants (an NPC clone of LibDescent Dover) in the BRBP video above.
1029 - Me and my giant
  • Plastic created these letters, and we had a lot of fun with this silly "Condensation Pictures" idea. You can see it in action in several of the videos below.
1044 - Condensation Pictures III
  • Plastic transformed my 2889 prims Klein bottle into a single-prim mesh structure:
1048 - A mesh version of the Klein Bottle by Plastichansa Bade weighting only two in the parcel
  • He also contributed an ever-growing number of wonderful sculptures:
1058 - Plastic's statue @ (478,531)
1063 - Plastic's moving statue near (179,142,22)
1062 - Plastic's moving statue near (388,243,23)

1060 - Plastic's statue @ (365,392,27)
1061 - Plastic's statue &  neon sign @ (365,375,27)

1059 - Plastic's statue @ (40,313,50)

6.3. LibDescent's Lounge (June 2016)

In june 2016 I created a (admittedly quite posh :)) lounge in the southeast part of the Classic dance floor, and later named it "LibDescent's Lounge". It has its own radio stream, and it's featured in the following video.

6.4. Avatarfest (Sep 30-Oct 2, 2016)

At the beginning of september 2016, Han Held asked Plastic and me whether we'd be interested to parcitipate in the upcoming AvatarFest 2016 exhibition (from 30th of September to 2nd of October). Of course we were! Plastichansa created an impressive set of mesh sculptures, and I designed a set of "InfoClocks" to be able to pack as much information about Condensation Land as possible without visually poluting our part of the exhibition.

This is a video featuring our exhibition:

And this one captures some aspects of AvatarFest as a whole:

The exhibition was cloned in Condensation Land. You can find it north of the Club and Arrabal, in a small island of its own (the entrance is near (415,525,21):

1051 - Our AvatarFest 2016 exhibit, now cloned to Condensation Land

6.5. Hypergrid Safari visit (Nov 16, 2016)

Here's a video of the Hypergrid Safari visit (thanks to Thirza Ember for gently allowing me to use her photos of the conversation and the dancing that followed):

6.6. 10th rezzday party (Feb 4, 2016)

On February 4th 2017, Plastichansa Bade, Ludmilla Writer and myself partied to celebrate our 10th rezzday. As it appears, we were all first rezzed in February 2007. Here's a video of the party:


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