3rd Rock, OpenSim’s Second-Oldest Grid, Announces Closure

The virtual world community faces a significant shift as 3rd Rock Grid, OpenSim’s venerable second-oldest grid, announces its impending closure. Citing insurmountable technical difficulties following the departure of key technical staff and the loss of foundational members, the grid’s leadership has reached a difficult decision.

“We have to shut down the grid due to a few circumstances that have technical consequences, making it impossible to further manage the grid,” explained Florin Spanachi, a 3rd Rock Grid board member known in-world as Eldovar Lamilton.

The grid’s challenges intensified with the sudden departure of a crucial technical team member, followed by the loss of Kira Tiponi, leaving the grid without vital resources and knowledge.

Owned by the Netherlands-based Cultural Harbour foundation, 3rd Rock Grid was a pinnacle for OpenSim enthusiasts since its inception in February 2008. Its commitment to not only providing a space for virtual world exploration but also fostering community interaction has earned it a dedicated user base.

According to Spanachi, seeking technical assistance or launching a fundraiser would not be sufficient to save the grid, highlighting the gravity of the grid’s challenges. Presently, the grid boasts 196 active users, positioning it as the 41st-largest by active user count, with a total land area of 872 standard region equivalents and 13,615 registered users.

Tara Dockery, another board member and in-world presence as Thoria Millgrove, mentioned the herculean task of a complete grid rebuild, given the technical debt accumulated over more than a decade. Despite exploring various avenues to save the grid, the decision to cease operations by May 15 has been finalized.

Community Reaction and Offers of Assistance

The news has deeply affected the OpenSim community, with many expressing their sadness over the grid’s closure and extending their condolences for the loss of key members.

“The 3rd Rock Grid holds such special memories for me,” shared Marianna Monentes, a regular visitor and in-world jewelry designer.

Andrew Simpson, AnSky Grid owner, and Ansjela Amat, owner of Ansjelagrid, echoed this sentiment, underlining the universal sense of loss within the community.

Yet, amidst this sadness, there’s a glimmer of hope as offers of help and support flood in from various corners of the OpenSim universe. Terry Ford, the original founder of 3rd Rock Grid who now runs DigiWorldz, along with other grid owners, have extended offers to assist, including the technical possibility of exporting and re-uploading region files to preserve the essence of 3rd Rock for its users.

CatGrid and AvatarLife are among the grids offering temporary homes or free land to 3rd Rock Grid residents. CEO Sushant KC of AvatarLife even proposed free migration for users with OAR files of their lands, whereas GBG World’s CEO, Nick Mit, offered discounted hosting and technical support.

Paul Clevett from Wolf Software Systems, representing Wolf Territories Grid, is keen to assist 3rd Rock Grid residents in maintaining their community cohesion post-shutdown. Kitely’s co-founder, Ilan Tochner, also mentioned support mechanisms for customers looking to recover items purchased via the Kitely Market.

As the deadline for 3rd Rock Grid’s closure draws near, the community’s response highlights the resilience and solidarity within the OpenSim ecosystem. Even as 3rd Rock Grid prepares to say its final farewell, the spirit of collaboration and mutual support ensures that its legacy will continue in the hearts and virtual spaces of its members.

The closure of 3rd Rock Grid is a poignant reminder of the complexities and challenges involved in maintaining virtual worlds. Yet, it also underscores the strength and compassion of the community that has grown around these digital spaces.

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