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I started Second Life in April of 2004. It took me a while to get into the game, because I was distracted with There and City of Heroes. But, in a fit of boredom, I decided to try and get into the game again, and found it has a lot to offer. It has been my 3D Virtual World of choice ever since.

What I hope to do on this page is offer some advice for new people, and offer some basic scripts that you may learn some scripting on your own. My objective is to help people learn to create. Once you learn that, the game gets a lot more fun.

Creating a Decent Avatar - cheap

I believe that one of the reasons why people are initially turned off from this game, is that the default avatars are ugly. If you saw my screenshots of There, you see that the world is filled with lots of cute skinny people, but it often looks like Second Life is filled with ugly monkey people. Well if you spend enough time in the game you will see that it is possible for your avatar to look good.

Second Life Avatar using free stuff Making Your First Avatar

Until recently, making a good first avatar was a bit tricky. But luckily Linden Labs has made it a lot easier. Here's what you do. Open your inventory and click Library, then Clothing. Here you will find a bunch of pre-made avatars. If you are male, try the "Boy Next Door by Renegade" folder, if you are female, the "Girl Next Door By Renegade" and just start double clicking on each item on the list. This should give you a good base avatar to start with. Once you are done, right click on yourself and click "Appearance..." Clicking on "Make Outfit" at this point then "Save" will create a folder in your personal inventory with that character. 

It is under the Appearance menu that you can make changes as you see fit. Notice that the skin color cannot be changed. What you are wearing is a custom skin. They do not adjust, but they look a lot better than the default skin. If you are female there is another custom skin under "Girl Next Door by Adam and Eve" that is partly transparent, so you can use the skin color sliders to adjust the tint. Skins are very difficult to make, but there are a lot of nice ones out there. They run anywhere from L100 to L5000. Most vendors have free demos so you can try before you buy.

Now for female avatars, it is often desirable to have the most attractive shape you can. There is actually a big "shape" market made from sliding those dozens of sliders. But let me help you out with a decent athletic shape for free, which should also help you get the hang of the sliders as well. Right click on your avatar, select appearance and click "Shape". Change the following settings:
BODY: height 70, body thickness 0, body fat 7
TORSO: Torso Muscles 51, Shoulders 45, Breast Size 60, Breast Buoyancy 50, Breast Cleavage 20, Torso Length 56
LEGS: Leg Length 68, Hip Width 50, Hip Length 60, Butt Size 30, Saddle Bags 20, Knee Angle 50

The resulting avatar from these instructions is on the left.

Clothing

The number one thing most venders in the game sell is clothing. There is tons of stuff, and it is not hard to find decent stuff cheap or even free. One place to start is Yadni's Junkyard (Leda 230,19). It is also worth learning to create your own clothing. The basic solid color stuff is easy to make in the Appearance menu. Once you get the hang of that, you can start to learn texturing.

Animation

Part of the whole "my avatar looks like a monkey" thing is that the default animations included in the game look horrible. There is, however, a technique for changing your walking to look more natural. It is called "Animation Overriding" or AO for short. There are many for sale in world. (Gratuitous plug: I happen to sell inexpensive ones (50L) at my store Ariane's Animation Studio).  You can actually make your own fairly easy for free. Among the free animations you can pick up at Yadni's, or lots of other places are "Walk: Sexy" and "Walk: Power". The first makes an excellent female walk, the latter an excellent male walk. Then all you need is an attachment to your body (bracelet, jewelry, hair, or whatever) and edit it. Add the animation and this simple AO script to the "contents" of the attachment, and you can walk around a lot nicer. NOTE: AO scripts only work where scripting is allowed. I'd say about 70% of the world allows scripts, the other 30% you will walk funny in.

Basic free scripts to learn from

I like to program occasionally, so I decided to try to learn the LSL scripting language. Two best resources for this are the LSL Wiki, and the Second Life Forums. If it is not in Wiki, it is probably in forums.

The following scripts are provided for free under GPL. I did not write all of them, I give credit to those that did. They are for educational purposes only, use them anyway you see fit as long as you don't sell them. (feel free to sell whatever results from them).

Popular utility scripts

I find that building about 90 meters above gives me less obstructed views without being isolated from the ground. it is in "shouting" distance from the land, but flying up there is annoying. First thing I needed was a way to get up to my house. So I found this script to teleport me up.

Easy Teleport Script

All you have to do is know the coordinate of where you want to teleport to and put it in the script. You can do this by creating a prim at the target location and jotting down the x y and z values under position. Then dump the script into any prim on the ground, and it becomes a teleporter.

Now I noticed, a lot of my friends had a cool script that allows them to scan for other avatars in the area. I found a free script on the forums to do exactly that and report it. The problem is that if you are on a sky pad house 90 meters up, these scanners only have a range of 96 meters, so unless there is someone standing directly below you, you will only see the occasional fly-by.

Ah but what if the scanner is on the ground, and it can transmit the data up to the house via shout? That's doable, and I could even add it as a function of my teleporter thus saving on "prims". So I created a transmitter and receiver pair that work on their own channel, and added one more sneaky feature: the teleporter/scanner also monitors channel 0 (the normal chat channel) and echoes that as well, so I can see any conversations at ground level.

Teleport - Scanner - Microphone Transmitter Script 

Receiver Script

The cool part is you can have multiple transmitters scattered around your land, as long as they are no more than 100 meters from the receiver.

Making this multifunction script inspired me to make another one. I found a routine in Wiki to make a digital clock, so I turned it into a clock-radio-motion detector device. It is a simple script that left alone displays the time in any time zone you want, or you can click it to toggle on and off your radio. Or the third function is that of a motion detector that IMs you if someone is near the detector. Update: script now cycles through 4 different channels, and also displays your server time and how long till the next sunrise/sunset.

Clock - Radio - Motion Detector Script

Changing walls via command

You build a modest house with floor walls and ceiling, but have not decided on a "decor". The following scripts will, with simple text commands, change all the wall, floor, and ceiling prims to whatever decor you are in the mood for.

Just drop a script into each floor, wall or ceiling prim, and type commands on the /10 channel. You can read the scripts to see what the commands are, note you can handle the floor walls and roof separately or together. It is easy to add your own commands and textures if you want.

Commands: Use "/10 command" to send
black, grid, glass, wood, dirt, grass, white, rock, mountain, hide
to affect just floor add "floor" to the end with no spaces, i.e. blackfloor, gridfloor...
to affect just walls add "walls" to the end
to affect just roof add "roof" to the end

Ceiling script (bonus command "phantom" will cause anyone on the roof to fall into the house, "solid" reverses it.)

Wall script (bonus command "light" makes all your walls glow, "dark" reverses it.)

Floor Script (bonus command "miston" covers your floor with fog, "mistoff" turns the fog machines off)

Door Script - Behaves like normal wall most of the time, but command "open" moves the wall like a garage door which automatically closes 10 seconds later.

You can use similar techniques to change lighting on command, or change prim clothing colors or prim hair colors.

Attachment Scripts

There is a popular freebie out there called "Personal Titler" which when you type title anything the word anything appears above your head in green letters. Its a meter long invisible rod that attaches to either eyeball. (or you can take this script and dump it in any head attachment)

I rewrote the script to add 4 more functions: time displays the current time in your time zone (edit script to pick your own zone), the current server time (servers have a four hour day, 3 light, and 1 dark), and the minutes till sunrise or sunset. pos displays your current server, position on that server, elevation, and speed in kph. scan shows if there are any other avatars in a 96 meter radius and who they are. lag displays the frame rate and delay stats for the server you are on. ani displays what animation you are using (useful in Animation Overriding). to makes whatever you have displaying instantly disappear.

Titler 2.0 Script

Here is a much requested script that enhances fly. Drop this script in any attachment that does not have a script in it (maybe your prim hair or something).

It enhances fly in two ways 1. you can fly as high as you like and you should not drift down (much, it is not perfect). 2. say the word "fly" and it changes into a much faster flying mode. In this mode you can also say "speed 30" to double your speed (or any number, default is 15). say "fly" again, or just stop flying to get out of this mode. One annoying bug, when in fast fly mode you will see "release keys" button. If you push it, your attachment comes off.

Enhanced Flying

Animation Vending

I have been making a fair number of animations and uploading them, and I have been trying to find an animation vendor that I could purchase, as there are a lot of stores that have such a thing. Well after an exhaustive search, I could not find one animation vender available for purchase. So I had to make my own. So here is the script I used. Create 3 prims: a pedestal and two arrows. Name the arrows "prev" and "next" then link these together with the pedestal as the root. Then dump this script, and any animations you want to sell into the root contents.

Animation Vendor

Make Your Own Fine Jewelry

I bought a necklace from that guy who has a store on every teleport pad practically. These thing have a huge number of prims and they are perfectly aligned, and figured there is no way you can align 60 prims that perfectly without some computer help.

So I figured out how he probably did it, and did it myself, so if anyone wants to start their own jewelry business here is how:

DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME! A sandbox is so much better!

First, you need this script: Necklace Generator

Generate a prim, any prim and put this script in it.

Second you need a bead, a simple white sphere all shiny and full bright size 0.2 x 0.2 x 0.2 works great for a 30 pearl necklace. Name it "test bead" and put it in the same prim as the script. Then touch the prim and you will see a necklace magically appear in front of you.

Use edit to select all the prims (this is why you need a sandbox, so you dont accidentally also select unwanted prims) and then link them. (or delete them, play with the parameters some more and try again).

Ariane Brodie's homemade fine jewelry in Second Life

Then it is just a matter of resizing (this makes really big necklaces), attaching to your chest, and positioning and rotating it to fit around your neck.

Note that the first few lines are parameters you can play with (setting a to 1 and b to 0 makes a nice round bracelet). You can make the necklace as fine as you want with as many prims as you want. Most of the necklaces in game are about 60 prims. The bigger the numbead count, the smaller the test bead size should be.

After making a pearl necklace, try throwing down a torus size .2 x .2 x .2,
twist -360 to 360 hole size 0.05, 0.50 advanced cut .88 to .9

Put this Link Script in the prim before loading it in the necklace generator
Set the numbeads to 50, and viola!

If you put the link script in, then linked all the chain links together then edit, replace the link script with this chain script.

Now you can make your chain turn gold, silver, glow or not with some simple commands.

Bonus Project: You can also use the necklace generator to create a prim skirt. Details here!

Fun With Dynamic Cameras

A little used feature is the ability to control cameras via scripts. The Dynamic Camera is not the most reliable way to control the camera, but it is an improvement over having the camera locked down.

The most important use of dynamic cameras is to make vehicles feel more natural. Before dynamic cameras, most vehicles out there would lock the camera in a position usually behind and above the vehicle. If you came from the game There like I did or if you just play driving of flying video games, you probably find these locked cameras annoying.

While vehicle scripts are being rewritten to take advantage of dynamic cameras, here is a script that you wear as a HUD that gives you the same effect while driving or flying a vehicle. Just create a prim, put this script in it, and attach it as a HUD. Click blue to enable the camera, click red to return to default camera.

Follow Camera

A popular use for these cameras is to detach the camera from yourself, and see through nearby walls. The first scripts for these dynamic cameras allow you to steer your camera around, using arrow keys (forward, back, turn left, turn right) and page up/page down (up and down). I rewrote parts of the script to work like a HUD. Click blue to enable the camera, click red to return to default camera.

Spy Camera

Now one of the things I like to do in SL is hang out in clubs and go to parties, and I like to see who is all there and put faces with names. So here is a script to "scan the room" at parties and point the camera directly at the closest 16 people in the room. Just create a prim, put this script in it, and attach it as a HUD. Click to start the room scan, click again to pause. Once it is done scanning, it will return to default.

Scan Camera

Bonus Project: How about a more advanced scan cam that shows you nearby people's profile picture. Details here!