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If you don’t yet play Second Life (SL) then I’m sure you have heard a thing or two about it.
Are you curious? Or do you think SL is crap? What is SL anyways and what does it offer?
SL is a 3D virtual reality, it’s an interactive graphics chat world, SL is a game and a playground, it’s all about sex, it’s a role playing game, people in SL have relationships and families, it’s an online community, it’s all about money, SL players spend real money, people with various skills make real money, SL can be experienced for free, SL is for geeks, SL allows the “socially handicapped” to connect, SL supports charity (e.g. Relay for Life), and that’s just a small selection. Maybe something caught your attention and interest here. Curious now?
Getting started in SL takes some time and patience. The initial learning curve may appear steep, but isn’t that true for everything new you try? With a bit of common sense it’s not that hard. The following Second Life step by step how-to guide should help
1. Start Slow!
Go to the Second Life website, sign up, download the client, install, and log in.
Your first login will take you to Orientation Island. Take your time to go through all the tutorials and get familiar with the software. It will help you tremendously in your future Second Life experience. You will also have to pass some tests before you may proceed to Help Island.
Help Island is restricted to fellow newcomers and mentors. Pick up all the free stuff you can find and play with it. Don’t hesitate to chat with passers by or ask for help from a mentor. You never know, you might as well meet your first SL companion. In any case remain open-minded.
2. Drop the Newbie Look!
Everyone starts out looking more or less the same. There are different female and male avatars to choose from when signing up. These avatars are only good for the first couple of steps and are frowned upon by advanced residents.
To blend in you should demonstrate individuality in shaping your individual character. Start by editing your appearance and sculpt your avatar until you like what you see.
In the store at Help Island you will find a few alternative outfits, try them on and also browse the public Library, which is part of your inventory, for more clothes. Later I will show you where to find more free stuff, including shapes, skins, hair, shoes and clothes.
3. Work on your Profile!
Your profile gives everyone an impression of who you are. It’s part of your character. Leaving it empty doesn’t make you mysterious, it makes you look like the noob you are.
When in SL, right-click on your avatar and select > Profile… from the pie menu. Go through the different tabs and fill in some details about yourself. To view the profile of another avatar, just right-click on their body or name-tag and select > Profile… from the pie menu.
4. Work on your Skills!
Help Island offers tutorials on building and inventory management. You’ll find a sandbox, an area where you can drop items from your inventory or start building. Use it to get familiar with the tools you have, it’s free!
To start building, right-click on the ground and select > Create from the pie menu. From the menu that comes up you can select the type of object you would like to create, then click onto the ground again and the item will apear. Now go ahead and play with it.
5. Know what is Expecting you!
On Help Island you will also find a lot of posters. Some give out information in the form of notecards. Just left-click them, accept the inventory offer (blue menu in the top-right of your screen) and keep the notecard that is being given to you. All of this is valuable information that you should not pass up on. My advice: read, read, read!
What is the first thing you would like to see in Second Life? A club, a park, people, a shopping mall? Whatever it is, by now you should know how to find it.
Use > Search button in the bottom of your viewer, jump to the > Classifieds, > Events or > Places tab and proceed to discover your first destination. > Showcase features some of the hottest locations in SL.
When you think you’ve found an interesting destination click the > Teleport button to leave Help Island. Alternatively, you can use the Exit at Help Island which will send you to a welcome hub on the mainland.
In the next hour or so take some time to explore. Visit the landmarks you received on Help Island or find other adventures. Walk, run, and fly, collect impressions of land and people, and don’t worry too much about still looking like a newbie.
Remember to keep a landmark (> World > Create Landmark Here) of the places you might want to check out again later.
7. Collect Free Stuff
After seeing what is possible, you might want to pick up some new clothes and a nicer skin. Search the > Classifieds for “free” stuff in the > Shopping category. Many stores offer freebies for L$0 or Dollarbies at L$1. For now you don’t want to spend any Lindens, so go with the L$0 stuff.
Many stores have special offers for newbies 30 days old or younger. This is your chance to lay your hands on high quality apparel and body parts for free. So watch out and take advantage of this opportunity.
In > Groups search for lucky chairs or dumpster diving to find groups dedicated to sharing places where you can pick up free stuff.
8. Collect Linden Dollars
Search for “money tree” in the Classifieds or even better the Places tab. While you are 30 days old or younger you can pick up Linden Dollars hidden in money trees. Other residents leave them there for new players.
9. Get Involved
Talk to people around you, make friends, if you have some more time browse the events calendar (> Search > Events) and visit a party, join groups and try to have a good time. Meeting people and making connections or friends is the best part of SL. You never know where these encounters may take you. In the end you might open a SL business.
10. Get a Job
Unless you have met someone who has offered you a job, your quest starts with searching again. Browse all available jobs in the > Employment category of the > Classifieds section and reply to those that sound interesting. Remember to tick the “Include Mature content” box if you’re ready to explore all there is to offer.
And that’s it, welcome to Second Life!
What is your experience with SL or other virtual worlds? Did you find this little guide helpful for your start into a Second Life? What’s missing? Leave your feedback in the comments!