After reading Forseti's primer for newbies, I had to post my own. I find Forseti's as wordy and cumbersome as my own writing usually is, and I'm puzzled why he's using this as an introduction -- it is geeky (using terms like "structured environments"), and overexplains the obvious ("an avatar is a representation of yourself"). Perhaps his text is meant to *sound* better in a speech (written and spoken and Internet/email languages are all different in English). I guess it's my conviction, too, that each business in SL should have newbie orientation geared to whatever its business is, and that motivates both customer and service provider to help newbies.
GETTING STARTED IN SECOND LIFE
WELCOME TO SECOND LIFE FROM RAVENGLASS RENTALS!
IM RANDOM UNSUNG OR PROKOFY NEVA FOR INFO ON LAND AND HOME RENTALS
AND LAND SALES
1. What is Second Life and what is Linden Lab?
Second Life is a 3-D metaverse (beyond the physical universe) or open-ended platform for communication, socializing, creativity, prototyping, gaming, entertainment, business, non-profit work -- and more.
This software and online interactive environment is not the game you may be used to from The Sims Online or World of Warcraft, although it has some of the same features and you can play various games within it and with it. It is big enough so that you can take it very seriously and make a real income from it, yet small enough so that you can always pull away and say "it's only a game".
Linden Lab is the company that created and maintains Second Life. Lindens are the employees of Second LIfe. "Lindens" is also the name of the game currency.
2. What do I do in Second Life?
You can explore, socialize, learn, create, game, be entertained, start a business, buy and sell land, and more. There's great potential for your imagination but there is a steep learning curve so be prepared to put in a certain amount of time to reap the rewards from this game/metaverse.
3. What are the first 6 things I need to know?
a. The user interface, or game panel -- this screen before you -- has functions for your avatar, or character at the bottom of the screen. Press "fly" to get into fly mode and use the arrows on the number pad to go up, down, and sideways. Or right-click on your avatar to see the pie-chart and select GO to get arrows inworld to use. Press FIND at the middle of the bottom of the page to get EVENTS, PLACES, GROUPS, etc.
b. To zoom in closer, press "alt" simultaneously with left-clicking on your mouse. "Mouselook" which has like an aerial view is up at the top of the screen but can be very wonky to control. "Camera controls" also help you move closer or around an object -- get them from "view" at the top of your screen and click off "camera controls" to see the arrow in-game to move.
c. To make an object, or "prim" -- the basic building blocks of the world named for "primitive" -- right-click on the ground and go into "create" and select a shape. This is known as "rezzing" (from the word "resolution" and the science-fiction story "Tron" about "resolving" objects on a grid).
Everything in the world is on an X-Y-Z grid, and locations have map coordinates like this: Columbia 157,53 with the name of the sim, or simulator indicated. "Sim" does not mean "avatar" as in TSO but is the equivalent of "city" in TSO. "Av" means avatar, not "Alphaville". "Avatar=sim".
d. To travel some where, either ask your friend to send you a "TP" or teleport request you can click on and get to his location, or pick a place on the map, press on it and arrive there. Another way is to type the name of a sim into the map list and "enter" to get to that sim's center location. Sometimes you can land in a building, and that can be hard to find your way out of, so wait for them to "rez" or become visible, fly downwards, then walk out of them.
e. To give another player an object from your inventory, right-click on her to get her profile, or search for his name, pull up his profile, then drag the object, card, or script from your inventory on to his profile and wait to see if you get the message "accept inventory". If he is offline, it will be waiting for him to accept when he logs on.
f. The forums and classifieds ads in SL are more vital to the game than TSO and other games that have manuals -- this has a hard-to-read wiki and no manual, so go to the active forums as they contain a great deal of useful knowledge, i.e. building tips and the script library and bargain offers on products as well as real estate. Access them at www.secondlife.com and use your avatar name and password to enter; unlike many game pages, it prompts you twice to enter even if you type the password correctly.
4. My game is not working!
SL seems to be an incredibly demanding program that needs just the right set up of computers, graphic cards, drivers, etc. to work right. But unlike TSO and other games, SL provides a lot of customer support on its webpages and in the game to help you adapt.
If you are moving slowly and the game seems slow and choppy, go to edit/preferences and make sure the options for shadows, local light, shiny, video, etc. are all turned off. You may be able to get them turned back on later when you get your bearings.
Read the forums for information about your computer and graphics card because adjustments may be required.
Reinstalling the SL download or client is often the best way to get the game working.
5. How do I acquire skills?
You do not have skilling lots or skill objects as in TSO and other leveling games. Here, you're going to have to do more to skill your human by reading directions, attending classes, talking to other players, and observing.
Look for building, scripting, design, and animation classes in the EVENTS listing. Go to Welcome Areas and events and see if you can pick up a few basic hints.
Among the best ways to learn to build is to go to a sandbox and just watch other players and learn from them as you practice. A sandbox is an area designated for practicing where you will have room to try out a lot of ideas and skills that may not fit on your first 512 land, or may not be appropriate on the land where you are now with friends who brought you here to SL. The builds there are wiped frequently. It's a courtesy to clean up after yourself and delete the practice builds though.
Type the word "sandbox" into the FINDPLACES search form to get the list of Linden sandboxes.
The sandbox for Ravenglass Rentals is in: Tuliptree, Columbia, Hartwick -- where you can practice building and if you want to keep your build, link and save in your inventory. Ask mentors or live help how to link if you have difficulties, but putting one piece in edit, then dragging the mouse on click will create a yellow box to link everything -- not 100 percent perfect but good enough to start.
Read the documentation in "library" in "my inventory" and the Second Life wiki on www.secondlife.com but we find it's much easier to learn by doing and watching.
Ask other players -- usually a skill can be transferred far more quickly by demonstration than by copious reading.
6. Where are the jobs? How can I make money?
Second Life does not have the ready-made jobs like TSO where you park your sim or avatar and let him skill away, clicking while you socialize. This is the biggest difference between TSO and SL and can be jarring at first. You can go sit in camp chairs or pick money trees -- but the few dollars you make, which many owners insist you get by also playing casinos that shake you down for much of the money -- could also simply be purchased for a mere $2 or $5 US on the LinDEX on the SL website.
You will get a stipend of $50 a week from Linden Labs in your box and $500/week if you have a premium account. That actually goes quite far if you pick up freebies and rely on the kindness of strangers.
To make money, you can go to events and win contests, go to money trees (often found at malls), do shopping surveys and other odd jobs like photographing for real estate agents, working as an escort, club bouncer, event organizer, etc. (see "employment opportunities" on the website).
The only way to have a consistent supply of cash if you are not willing to buy it is to create and sell items like furniture, houses, vehicles, etc., or scripts, animations or services. The economy of SL is highly stratified and limited in the options for work and it will take some time to find your niche. The competition is high. SL encourages players to make content and they respect their copyright and have built in all kinds or protections to prevent copying or theft of original work.
Many newbies do not realize that a simple house, or article of clothing, or texture priced at merely $5-$50 is all it takes to go into business. Mark anything for sale in SL for a low price, and chances are you will find a buyer! Set the price on the object in edit mode, make sure to put "copy" so as not to sell away your only original.
The single most effective way to make money is to sell your first land, if you are not willing to sell your sexual services or other types of services. But for that, you need a premium account, and a premium account is not needed per se to enjoy Second Life -- many people get by on just the basic and have a lot of fun. Still, we recommend even just a month trial of the premium -- it gives you so much more and is only $9.95.
7. Are Linden dollars real money?
Linden dollars are game scrip and the TOS says they have "no intrinsic value" but in fact they can be exchanged on the Linden's own exchange, or LindEx and cashed out to real U.S. dollars via Paypal or check. There are people who are able to make part-time or even full-time livings in Second Life -- usually if they start by not billing their own hours : )
The Linden can be purchased at roughly the rate of $3.00/L1000 at www.secondlife.com and other currency exchange sites like www.slexchange.com and www.anshechung.com You will have to add to these charges any fees for moving US cash in or out of the currency markets and charges such as Paypal or bank fees.
Keep in mind that the Linden fluctuates sometimes widely from $2.50 to $3.50 or more, so don't be in a hurry to cash out your Lindens until you study the market better.
8. Where can I get clothes and outfits and other items like vehicles?
There is a vast supply of free clothing available in SL. Start by going to the free bazaar in Stillman or the free store at Boardman just hanging around the Welcome Areas where an older player is sure to give you a free gift bag. Attend events and many players will offer you free items from their inventory or will have them out to copy. It's well worth clicking and touching on much of what you see in your first weeks because changes are the items will be on "take copy" and you can help establish their inventory that way.
You can also see if any of the newbies in your area or among your acquaintances have already made nice outfits in "appearance" mode or through uploaded textures and offer to pay them a small amount to encourage them and save in their design work and save yourself hours of toggling to get the right look. Hair can be particularly difficult and is worth buying as a separate object like a wig that completely covers your head and has a more natural look.
We have free items out for copy in many of our residential communities so just ask for a landmark.
9. How can I write text and notes to other players?
Use the "IM" button in the lower left-hand corner to type a private message seen only by the player you wish to speak to. Press on "Chat" to be in the open chat on the lot where you are located.
Note: IM text and Chat text can be set so that they scroll by interchangeable but that does not mean anyone in the chat room can see your private IM.
Go to "Inventory" and "create" and open a "notecard". Write the text. Save it.
Make sure now to rename it something other than "New Note" Also note that writing its title on the top of the card will not rename it or save it with that name -- you must right-click on the card and go to "rename" option.
Drag the notecard on to the profile of any other player's profile for them to receive it. If they are offline they accept it when they log on.
10. How do I buy land? Can I go anywhere?
As a new player with a premium account, you have a wondeful privilege to buy a basic 512 parcel of land, suitable for a newbie home or business, for the cost of only $512, but only on land designated as "first land" subsidized by Linden Lab.
You may have been told in orientation that "you do not have to own land to enjoy Second Life," but it is a great way to start off and have a place of your very own which you will be able to re-sell at a profit to get your first significant amount of game currency without an outside purchase of currency. We recommend it highly! The scare stories about griefing, ugliness, and rapacious land barons are just that -- scare stories. The reality is that THOUSANDS of people have LOTS of fun with their first land!
While you can freely buy any land set to sale, you should definitely first acquire your first-land using the $512 purchase privilege that comes automatically in the premium account, because you will always be able to resell it at a profit.
First-land listings are in the "Land Sale" tab at the top of your screen. Make sure that you are finding a land tagged by Linden Labs with the green first land tag, and not the player-sold "$" tagged land that can sometimes still have the words "first land" on it because it was just purchased from a newbie, but be available at a higher price than $512.
Go to "view" and click off "property owners" to see the colors of land:
Red means it is owned by a player or by Governor Linden; purple means it is slated for auction; yellow-brown means it is available for sale. Only newbies with the first-land privilege still available to them will see first-land as available for sale -- older players cannot buy it. Additionally, your own land once you possess it will be bright green; group land in any groups you join will be aqua.
Also in FIND press "LAND FOR SALE" to get the full sales list with filters for your price range, siz, etc.
And press on the "MAP" in the lower right-hand corner and the 'LAND FOR SALE' tab to see patches of yellow where land is available in-world -- click on them to teleport them.
NOTE: sometimes Linden-made first land runs out -- don't panic, wait for a day or two and it will be available in new sims. Watch the growing parts of the world far north and far south to see what's coming up.
11. What is the best land to buy?
The best land to buy is the one you like, with the look and feel comfortable for living in or setting up a business, but be aware that the fundamental rule of Second Life is:
EVERYTHING CHANGES CONSTANTLY.
Because SL is a world where residents create the content and have a lot of freedom to do so, the world changes constantly. What you see around you today that may look like a clear waterfront or pristine wilderness or awesome view will almost certainly look different when others buy the properties in the coming days. Expect constant change, and you will not become frustrated.
Expect that many other people have different notions than you of what is good building or what is beauty, and you will not get angry. The great thing about the changeability of SL is that it is like the weather; if you don?t like it, you don't have to change it, it will likely change all on its own within 24 hours.
The rule of thumb for virtual estate is like real estate: location, location, location. And just like in RL you want to be near the good schools, in SL you will want to shop with the notion of where Governor Linden land or the telehubs are located.
Land bordered by Governor Linden's protected land (in red, not purple, which is his auctioned land) has a higher value precisely because it does not change. So land bounded by Linden sea, Linden woods Linden railroads, Linden roads, or anything that says it is owned by Governor Linden Maintenance or Protected Land is a good buy. Roads are often a sign that an area will have a commercial value so plan accordingly if you are looking for a house.
Be aware that land that looks like it is on the edge of water, but has a scalloped edge and seems to bounce your avatar as you approach it, maybe simply be the unfinished edge of a sim -- the Lindens are still building it. This is *not* waterfront property and could tomorrow become a parcel in the middle of nowhere surrounded by land.
Land right next to telehubs is considered the most prized in SL because of the high-traffic brought to telehub areas that bring sales to vendors and dwell points, or lot points adding up to extra dollars in your stipend, to event organizers.
Flat, green, mature parcels on waterfront are also considered prizes but first land can almost never be found on them because they are difficult to parcel reasonably.
Land in mature is more valuable than land in PG areas and will sell for a higher price.
Snow is not considered a good buy in SL at this time because it is believed to have oversaturated the market.
Mountainous land can have a very beautiful view but it may prove very difficult to build on without more building skills and a house with stilts.
Look for first land that isn't in the middle of the "postage stamps" of numerous areas of first-land in a square. If you buy in the "postage stamps" you will get a flat lot that's great to build on. But you risk having neighbours who may build something ugly or build something to grief and become unhappy being stuck next to them. These areas turn over very quickly as land dealers
To set yourself to home to land on your land, go to "world" and "set home to here" at the top of your screen.
DId you forget where you land is? Well go to "World" and "My Land" and it is listed -- you will see its coordinates.
Next time you get there, stand on it and press "world" and "create landmark here" to get a handy landmark to give people for your home or business.
12. How much is first land worth? Should I accept my first offer?
First land can be valued at anywhere from $2/meter to $10 meters depending on whether it is in PG or M, waterfront or mountain, telehub or very far away, etc. It's most likely to be around $3-4 for PG and $5-7 or more for mature.
Land dealers often fly around new land areas looking for newbies to buy land from. You do not have to sell to them but it can be handy to take their calling card to see if you might want to contact them later. They are often willing to buy immediately so you can make a fast sale and move out of what you may see by now is going to become first-land hell, surrounded by loads of other people with hardly any room to build or see anything, with your view likely obstructed.
Many people caution you to be afraid of land speculators. Most land dealer, however, are honest and helpful because they want to keep good customer relations for the long term. Keep in mind that you are in control and you can decide at any time to sell your land at any price you wish to fix on it, at any time. No one but Governor Linden can take your land away from you if your account is paid for.
Take the time to compare prices in your area, study the land sale list by alphabetizing it at the top, putting it on "all" and seeing what all prices of land are selling for in your sim per square meter.
Don't accept any offer that involves you taking cash, but first setting your land to sale for $0 or involves giving anyone your password any other information.
13. How do I sell my land?
Right click on your land, go to "about land" and look for the "sale" option. Be sure never to click this off until you FIRST go and establish a price because if it is at $0 and you click it off, someone using a land scanner to detect $0 and low-priced sales can immediately snap it up and you will likely be unable to get it back.
After determining the price-per-meter, calculate your price and type it in the box. Then check off "sale" on "about land" menu.
To have your land show up in the Land Sale list, you *do not* have to have the "find places" option clicked off on the tab for "options"; indeed, that only causes you to have to pay $30/week and only makes the land display in Find Places which is used more for entertainment and busineses -- land sale doesn't require the fee.
Instead, make sure that you type the name of your sim in the description box, i.e. "Columbia". Then a common practice is to put "M" or "PG" next to the sim name, and then designate the type, i.e. "Waterfront" "Waterview" "Mountainview" "Flat Green" etc.
In the description box, you can type a line that helps to sell your land, i.e. "Bounded by Linden land, flat for building, great views," etc.
Search the "Land Sale" list to make sure your land is showing up right with the name of the sim in the description first. You can also try things like using the word "Waterfront" first or "Great Deal" first but it is less likely to be found that way.
Should I just put a high price on it and leave it? Maybe someone will click it?
A common newbie mistake is to put "$10000" on a land or more in the mistaken belief that someone will click on it. Nobody will. Other newbies who might be stupid enough to click and pay for a 512 will not have that much money. And anyone with that much money will be able to shop more effectively. Don't hope for somebody to be that stupid; you yourself would not enjoy making that kind of stupid mistake.
When you put too high a price on land, it sits there, and can even invite suspicions that you are using the high price to grief, especially with a tall build on it. And the people you affect most with that message are your neighbours -- who are you most likely customers!
Many first-landers find they can sell their land to other first-landers who want to stay in the area and extend to a 1024 or 1536. So think of them first, talk to them, and you may make a friend instead of an enemy in your early days.
14. What is tier?
Tier, which is a word for "level," is a maintenance fee or rent which you must pay to Linden Labs *in addition to* the purchase price of land. Go to www.secondlife.com and click on "my account" and "land fees" to see the schedule, or tier of fees.
Premium accounts have a free 512 of tier, and the privilege to buy $512 of first-land on a one time basis only; it is used up after the first sale.
Tier can be complicated to understand unless you realize that tier and land are separate. You cannot buy land without tier. But you can have a tier allocation available, and have no land to which it is applied -- yet. This will show up in your account on the SL web page as land "available for purchase". You must have paid for the tier level to Linden Labs on the web page before you can buy the equivalent amount of land in the world.
If you right-click and buy land above your tier level, your money will be taken, but you will not gain access to the land, and instead will be prompted to go to the SL web page to tier up to the level you wish to cover the purchase. This means you will have to have more money available on your credit or debit card. If you can't cover the land you just bought, you will lose the land and the money you paid for it. So check your tier level carefully.
You are always charged for the highest amount of land you've possessed, even if it is only $1L over the last tier level. So be careful not to accidentally put yourself up in a higher tier level than you want to be.
Note: when the Linden Lab says $5 for 1024, that doesn?t mean it will be another $5 for another 1024. The ladder of tier fees has some big jumps in it so study it carefully before buying land you may not be able to pay for.
The tier level of 1024 includes within it the free 512 you receive in the premium account.
The tier level of 4096 is actually then 4704 because the free 512 is added, not included, in the tier level.
Tier is moveable around the game. You can apply 512 of your tier to a 512 piece of land, then it is tied up. But if you want to move, you sell that parcel, your 512 tier is freed up, and now you can go apply it to another piece of 512 land.
15. What is tier donation to a group to cover group land?
If your tier is not tied to land after the sale of first land, or you have some tier left over after paying for tier at a certain level, you may wish to donate it to a group.
Do not donate tier if you have not used your 512 first-land purchase privilege because that will use up that privilege and it cannot be repeated -- donation to a land group is participation in that group's tier coverage to own land and is considered the same as a regular land purchase.
Instead, shop for first land, sell it, then consider donating tier to a group.
We offer rentals at Ravenglass Rentals for equivalent of tier donation, i.e. 512 tier for 512 land, 1024 land for 1024 land, etc.
If you want to donate tier in lieu of cash rent, contact the officers to get a step-by-step instruction.
16. What is griefing?
Griefing is when another play intentionally causes you grief by harassing you verbally or physically in violation of the Terms of Service. This includes shooting you in a non-shooting or unsafe zone, pushing your avatar, rezzing prims in your house, flying around with obscene objects, swearing repeatedly at you, etc.
Most griefing episodes happen only once, randomly, and don?t repeat so are NOT worth getting upset about. Most griefers on trial accounts randomly flying around leave the game or are banned before their 7 day trial is up.
The fastest, easiest way to end any episode of griefing is to log yourself out of Second Life and take a breather. No one can get to you in Real Life!
But if you can keep a calm head, the most effective way to deal with griefing is to pull down "abuse report" from the menu, type in the avatar's name in question, and type a few very clear lines of the offense, making sure to click off 'chat history' so that the chat log for that lot can be included.
As a backup, go into chat history by pressing 'history' at the bottom of the screen, then cut and paste the dialogue into a notecard.
17. How can I gain security from griefing?
Right-click on your land, tab to 'bans' and type in the names of anyone bothering you.
You can either ban everyone except those you designate, or ban certain avatars. That means they cannot enter the parcel.
This can be a fairly effective deterrence, but keep in mind that in SL, there really is no such thing as privacy. Avatars can sometimes use "sit here" functions or fly up above the ban level in the air and still look in. If you find yourself being repeatedly harassed, report the avatars in abuse-report. Customer service seems to respond best when Lindens have accurate, timely reports and have a multiple number of reports for several players who have witnessed the same griefing episode.
Don't use a bounce script or ask us to use them. Bounce scripts cause more trouble with neighbours and even friends than they are worth. Many of them bounce avatars home just for flying by, or they push the avatar sharply away without warning, like a weapon. They can make it impossible to fly around an area and even block you from getting to your own property so other non-griefing neighbours hate them, and will wind up reporting *you* for abuse if you use them.
18. How can I get more help?
"Help" at the top of the menu contains "Live Help" which are volunteer members of the community. They are not paid staff so don't expect them always to be available and always to make "house calls". Sometimes you never get an answer when you type in a request but most times you will.
Lindens can also be accessed by searching for anyone with the name Lindens in the list. But Lindens are usually pretty busy taking care of the larger issues of the game management and shouldn't be bothered for routine game questions you can get answered either from older players in Welcome Areas or from Live Help volunteers.
You can also write firstname.lastname@example.org but "Live Help" if you are patient -- and adjust your expectations to the fact that you are dealing with volunteer older players, not paid professional staff.
IM RANDOM UNSUNG OR PROKOFY NEVA WITH QUESTIONS