[amsat-bb] Additional Help For SL Survival (Long)

Emily Clarke emily at planetemily.com
Fri Mar 2 10:16:14 PST 2007

Successfully getting around in Second Life can be both frustrating 
and intimidating.  So I thought I would post a few things to know 
before forming an opinion. The very first is that you will be very 
confused, but this will pass.  The second is that the phenomenal 
growth of SL has left some holes and there are loopholes that are 
being exploited by commercial interests.  I rarely go into commercial 
spaces unless I really need something.  Here are some other things to know:

Popular Places
Popular places (listed because more people have come to that 
location) are not popular.  The owners of those places generally pay 
people to visit there, and also they cross index into subject matter 
that has nothing to do with them.  Sounds like the web?  My 
recommendation to everyone (and most people in SL know this) is never 
go to a popular place - it's just hype and usually sexually 
explicit.  Use Places instead, but specific.  Space is not a good 
search - Spaceflight or museum are better.  University is better than 

Classifieds suffer from the same - except it's how willing people are 
to pay for a ranking when the results are returned.  However if you 
can make your search specific, it generally will give you some good results.

Events can be anything, but are mostly yard sales.  Refine your 
search by looking for "Live Music" or "Education".  Some education 
events will cost between 25 to 50 cents but most are free.

New Citizens Inc.
New Citizens Inc. is set up to help newbies - people in SL up to 60 
days.  You can shop for free in their stores, and they have free 
classes on almost everything, most of them live with a real person 
teaching the class and taking questions.  If you search Places for 
NCI or New Citizens you will find three locations (North, South and 
International) were these things take place.

Skins, Shapes Hair and Clothes
It is hard to explain in a few words, but when you first come into SL 
you have a default of all of these.  The good news is everyone is the 
same, the bad news is that everyone is the same.  You can edit your 
appearance - some do a good job, others (like was my case for about a 
week) still end up looking like someone from Planet of the Apes.  But 
here are the basics:

Shape - invisible, but is like your skeleton.  It defines the curves 
of how your presentation should appear. Unfortunately there are 
something like 250 parameters that determine your shape, You can 
change your appearance and save it, or you can buy a custom 
shape.  Most people eventually do the latter.  One note - for (some) 
men, it will be disappointing because a shape does not (and can't) 
have your genitals.  I don' t know how that works, so don't ask - I'm 
clueless about it.

Skin - it's pretty much the same as in RL with two exceptions. It 
generally doesn't include hair - that's separate. For woman, if you 
want new makeup, you have to change change your skin, and it's the 
same with tatoos for men.  You can edit the appearance in Skin, or 
you can buy a custom skin.  Mine is a custom skin that is detailed 
and contains the freckles I had when I was younger. (My nickname was freckles).

Hair - like in real life, the quality of hair depends on the texture, 
and whether or not it is made from one object or several objects (ie, 
layers) and whether or not it obeys the laws of physics.  The more 
complex, the more expensive.  When you first come into SL you have a 
one object, non-physical hair, sometimes called "Newbie" hair.

Clothes - you get some in your inventory, so you can experiment with 
your appearance from there.  They are basic, but even though I have 
been shopping (a lot) I still go back to wearing jeans most of the time.

Making Friends
Newbies tend to want to make friends right away.  It's always better 
to send someone an IM (instant message) before you offer them 
friendship.  Tell them why you want to be their friend.

Chat can be confusing if you are in a crowded place because so many 
people are talking at once.  Use IM in crowded places, chat 
otherwise.  Also objects only listen to chat messages.  If I want to 
lock the doors in my house, I say "lock" in chat, but I do it on an 
alternate channel (like a TCP/IP port)

Audio and Video
Land owners determine these - if you don't like the music, you don't 
have any choice other than turning it off.  Commercial spaces almost 
always have blaring rock or hip-hop.  My house is classical and jazz.

Making Money
If you want to make money in SL there are a number of ways to do it, 
but it's mostly a waste of time unless you are actually producing a 
product.  I am actually being paid in SL for work I do, but I'm 
designing and programming things.

Hope this helps,


N1DID formerly W0EEC - CM87tm

Support Project OSCAR - http://www.projectoscar.net

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