Second Life FAQ

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If you are new to SL, here are some answers to some of the most often asked questions. If you are already a veteran, please keep this card and hand it out to new residents.

Q. What do I do here?

This world is completely open ended -- there are no goals. People create whatever they can imagine, or explore the things and events that others create. It's complete madness and addictive as hell... Welcome =)

Second Life is a virtual 3d community. There are no levels, requirements, or goals for what you need to do here. The world is the most open-ended 3d community ever made, and you are given the tools to create nearly anything you can imagine.

You are free to explore, build, sculpt, socialize, design clothes, play games, write scripts, host an event, DJ music, throw a party, make a game, publish a magazine, dance, create a new look for yourself, or whatever you're inspired to do.

If you're not sure what to do first, I recommend going out to explore the world and attend some events and basic classes in the first week they are here. Click the Events button at the bottom of your screen to see what events are going on today. All event times are listed as Pacific time, which is shown at the top right corner of your screen.

You can also find some great builds by clicking the Find button and opening the Top Picks tab.

You can teleport to any location by clicking the Teleport button near the event or location shown. After teleporting, you will arrive near the location, but then must walk or fly toward the red arrow/beacon to get to it.

Q. How do I make money?

You can make money by:

- selling things that you create
- hosting an educational event
- winning a prize at an event

Additionally, every Tuesday morning you recieve a weekly "stipend", which varies depending on your subscription plan and your ratings bonus (between 50 and 2000 a week).

If you need some quick cash in a rush, you can always purchase Linden Dollars with real money on third-party exchange sites, such as As of this writing, the typical exchange rate is about 150-200 Linden Dollars for 1 US Dollar, but the price varies with demand.

Q. Why is this so slow?

SL is a very complex 3d application which consumes much of your computer's CPU, memory, video, and network resources, moreso than nearly all other 3d programs; this is because the world that you see is completely dynamic, and must be updated in real-time for everyone anytime something changes.

Most 3d games have pre-compiled "maps" that have everything set in stone so that much of the difficult processing has been pre-computed ahead of time. These maps are large files which describe what is mostly a static non-moving non-dynamic scene. However, SL has no pre-compiled maps.

Everything in SL has to come to you quickly and is able to change at any moment. This includes avatar movments, clothes, animations, object positions, rotations, textures, and sounds. The ground could rise or fall from a lake to a mountain, trees can be placed, moved, or removed, the sky changes throughout the day with the position of the sun, and shadows move with it. Additionally there is dynamic weather with a complex wind model that our movements can affect and be affected by.

Due to all of these dynamic aspects, you will not get the same frame rate as you do in "First Person Shooter" games and the like. Fortunately, you do not need extremely high frame rates in SL, because it's not a "twitchy" game that requires fast reflexes to enjoy. SL is more of a social environment.

To see how your computer is performing, press Cntr-Shift-1 and open the Basic pulldown (if it's not already open) by clicking on the word Basic.

Typical numbers here should be: - FPS: 10-20 in an uncrowded area (higher is better) - Bandwidth: 20-100kbps after you've been in an area for a few mintes and everything has loaded - Ping User or Ping Sim: 100-200 if you are in the USA/Canada (lower is better) - Packet Loss: 0.0% (optimally, though occasional packet loss is expected)

For more details on this and information on how to tune your performance, see:


Also be sure any other resource-intensive programs are closed (i.e. file sharing programs)

Q. How do I detach something from my head? (or other body part)

You can attach nearly any 3d object you build to your body in any of 30 points on your avatar's skeleton. Sometimes you may do this by accident and want to remove the object. There are various ways to detach attached objects:

Right-click on the object (make sure the point on your mouse is right on the specific object surface), choose Detach.

Go to the Edit menu, select Detach Object, then pick the highlighted skeletal region where the object is attached

Right click on your avatar, select Take Off> then Detach All (this will remove all attachments)

If all of these fail to work, then the attachment is probably "ghosted" (not really there, but still shows so). The only reliable way to clear ghosting is to log out of Second Life and log back in again.

Q. Where do I buy new clothes? (or other things)

There are stores spread all around the world in SL. The easiest way to find stores is to click on the Find button at the bottom of your screen, click the Places tab, and enter a search term in the Find field.

Clothing varies widely in price and quality, so shop around before spending a lot, to get a feel for who sells good quality for fair prices.

To buy an item, you typically just right click on it, and select Buy. But if this is not available, but the Pay option is, then you are probably dealing with a scripted vending machine (see next question).

Many people who sell things in SL are quite helpful if you have any questions about an item for sale, just send an IM to the person who owns it.

Caution: Be careful about buying things from people who are not the creator of the object, especially if they do not appear to be professionally organized. Some less honest people like to collect objects which are free to the public, and then sell them to unspecting new residents.

Q. How do I use a vending machine?

All vending machines look and work slightly differently, but most have a commonly understood set of behaviors. Typically they have arrow buttons to navigate forward and backward. The vending machine will usually indicate the price of the current object you are viewing.

In most situations, you right click and Pay the vending machine the specified amount to buy the shown object. After doing so, the vending machine will dispense the object to you, but you must be sure to click Accept to take the object into your inventory. If you do not Accept the object (i.e. accidently hit Decline), the vending machine will not know, and you will have to contact the store owner to recieve the copy you just paid for.

The item you purchased will be delivered to your inventory in one of two ways: a folder most likely named for the item you bought, or a box in your Object folder. Check both locations.

Q. I purchased some clothes, but all i see is a box. How do I wear the clothes?

Sometimes older clothing items are sold in simple containers that require you to "open" them up to get the contents. If you purchase clothing that comes in a box, you will have to extract the clothing objects from the box container and put them into your inventory before wearing them.

To do so, go to a place where you can build, drag the box from your inventory to the ground, right click the box, choose edit, click on the More >> button (unless it already says << Less), click on the Content tab, and then drag each item in the list from the item's contents to your inventory's clothing folder.

Here are detailed instructions:


Q. How do I become a landowner?

There are two concepts to be aware of for owning land -- purchase and maintenance.

Purchasing land is a one-time cost that occurs at the time you actually claim the land as yours.

Maintenance is the monthly cost you pay to Linden Labs for the peak amount of land that you owned during that month.

A *premium* subscription with SL grants you free maintenance on 512 square meters of land, but does not cover the purchase of the land.

You can purchase land from other residents, by clicking the Find button at the bottom of your screen, then selecting the Land Sales tab. Or you can purchase new land on the Second Life auctions, at

Be sure to compare prices of land that is readily available in-world with the prices on the auctions. Most of the time you'll find the auction prices will come out cheaper, since the readily available land is usually marked up due to it's convenience.

If you want more land than the 512m you get with your premium membership, or if you have a basic membership and want to own some land, you will have to select a "land tier". Land tiers range from 512 sq. meters all the way up to 65,536 sq. meters (an entire sim).

You can select a land tier in your Account the Second Life website at

Please note that under normal circumstances, you will be paying *real* money for your land tier (it is added to your subscription fee) if you choose anything above the bottom (zero) tier.

If you have never owned land in Second Life, you can get a bargian by using the "First Land" system to purchase 512 square meters of land for only L$512.

To do this, click the ( Find ) button at the bottom of your screen, go to the Land Sales tab, and search for First Land plots. You will not be allowed to make a First Land purchase after you have owned land in SL, even if you no longer own any.

To purchase a plot of land that's available, you'll have to travel to where it's located, then right click on the surface of the plot (use 'P' to toggle parcel borders), select About Land. Once you have reviewed the window and are sure you want to buy it, click Buy Land... to make the purchase.

Q. How far away can people hear what I chat?

People can hear you from up to 20m away for normal chatting, 100m for shouts.

You'll also notice some chat text is grey and some is white. The grey text is from people who are further away from you.

You can also send Instant Messages directly to people or groups from all across the SL world, just click the ( IM ) button at the bottom left corner of your screen to start an instant message.

Q> What are the basic social rules here?

Second Life is an online community of adults (you must be 18 or older to participate). Due to this standard, it is expected that people will behave maturely and respectfully to their fellow residents. Here are some guidelines for standard etiquette in Second Life:

- Mature behavior and language should be performed only in regions designated as Mature (as indicated by (M) next to the region name at the top of your SL client window. If you are in a region marked as (PG), you should refrain from speech, behavior, sounds, or images which would not be acceptable to a general audience (similar to broadcast television or a PG rated movie).

- You should not "push" another person's avatar, either by intentionally walking into them, or using weapons or scripted objects. If you bump into someone accidently, it is common courtesy to pardon yourself. =)

- Gun battles and the like should be confined to "Non Safe" regions such as Jessie, Rausch, or resident-owned parcels which are designated as fighting areas (as indicated by a "heart" icon at the top of your screen). Do not shoot at people who have not already consented to a gunfight game.

- Don't sell stuff that's already free to copy.

For the exact rules, read the Terms of Service and Community Standards pages on the website.

Q. What does that abbreviation mean?

Here are some common abbreviations that are mostly unique to Second Life:

SL - Second Life LL - Linden Lab; the company who made SL RL - Real Life; the meta-place where you need food, restroom breaks, etc FL - same as RL (unless they mean Florida) L$ - Linden Dollars; the virtual currency AV - Avatar, your second life "body" LSL - Linden Scripting Language; the language used to program objects in SL GOM - Gaming Open Market; a currency exchange site PG - Rating for regions where mature content is not allowed

Q. I joined a group, and now I have a title in front of my name, how do I remove it?

- Open the Edit menu. - Select Groups... - Scroll to the top. - Select none. - Click the Activate button.

Q. How do I set my profile picture?

1. Upload an image under the File menu, this will clost L$10. 2. Locate the image you uploaded in your inventory. It should be in the Textures folder. 3. Open up your profile window by selecting Profile... from the Edit menu. 4. Drag and drop the image from your inventory's textures folder to the profile picture slot in your profile window.

Q. How should I set my Preferences?

To open the preferences panel, press Ctrl-P or choose Preferences under the Edit menu.

I explain all of the various settings in this separate guide:


If you have any questions which aren't answered here, please feel free to use the Live Help feature under the Help menu, or come visit the welcome area in Ahern (100,1) and look for a Mentor or Liasion who may be lurking about there. If you still need help, you can always send an email to

Also, a great place to look for answers or post your questions is on the forums at

contributors: -Kex Godel -Chage McCoy -Essence Lumin