This guide is the first in a new beginner-to-advanced Second Life series written by Igniq writer and Second Life fan Richard Cahill, who can be found inworld as Richie Waves.
What is Second Life?
Second Life is a persistent online virtual world created by San Francisco-based Linden Lab.
Its similarities with other online worlds such as the popular game World of Warcraft end there.
In Second Life, there are no scores, no leveling and no end boss monsters to fight, in fact Second Life isn’t a game at all. The entire world (or grid as it is commonly called) is in fact shaped and created by the residents themselves, thanks to powerful built in 3D building tools and the ability to upload textures. There is also a built in scripting language called LSL (Linden Scripting Language) which can be used to bring your builds to life.
The ability to own your own land in Second Life is also a major drawing point, from small plots of land where you can build a house or hang out experimenting with your friends, to purchasing entire islands where you can run your own night clubs for instance, or build huge castles – it’s completely up to the user what happens with his or her own land.
Second Life also has its very own inworld currency, known as the Linden dollar (L$) which is exchangable to USD, in this way residents of Second Life in their hundreds are making real world salaries selling items they create like clothing, jewelry or even racing cars and guns.
Residents in their thousands are using the tools in Second Life to simply pay their rent, making Second Life pay for itself.
One resident known as Anche Chung recently became the first person to amass over 1 million USD in a virtual world buying and selling land and is employing over 30 residents.
You read that correct, this is not a game.
How much is it to play?
Initial signup to Second Life is free, with no need for a credit card. However the ability to own your own land requires that you sign up to a premium account, which costs $9.95 a month. If you pay annually it costs $72 ($6 a month).
Users who sign up and don’t give credit card information have it noted in their inworld profile, and can be denied access to areas in the game, thanks to a land tool that allows land owners to block “unverified accounts”.
Thankfully you can become verified by simply giving your credit card information to Linden Lab without having to actually pay any money. Once your credit card info is there you can use the inworld tool “LindeX” to purchase Lindens. Currently the Linden dollar is worth $4 for L$1000, but fluctuates on a daily basis just like real world currency.
Second Life has a minimum age requirement of 18.
So I want to try it out.. what do I do?
First off go here: http://secondlife.com/
Signing up is easy, and much like signup to any website or MMO, first thing you do is pick your name. In Second Life you can use any name you like as your first name but you must pick your surname from a list, then you can pick how you appear when you “rez” for the first time in world.
You’ll appear (or “rez”) in an area known as “Orientation Island”. This area is separate from the main grid, and teaches you the basics. It is recommended you spend at least a few minutes here practicing things like moving around, flying (yes all residents in Second Life have the ability to fly) and tweaking your appearance.
Simply follow the path to each of the exercises.
Once at the end of Orientation Island you will be asked if you want to go straight to the main grid, or be transported to Help Island. This is in fact 4 connected islands only accessible by new residents, and older residents who have signed up as volunteer “mentors”.
These helpful residents will teach you the more advanced skills like attaching items to your avatar and using the building tools. you can spot them by the tag above their head “Second Life Mentor”.
Employees of Linden Lab will all have the second name Linden in world and a tag.
In the coming series of articles on SL I will be covering subjects such as building how-to’s, shopping guides and more.
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