Second Life FAQ
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.
- 1 What do I do here ?
- 2 How do I make money ?
- 3 Why is this so slow ?
- 4 How do I detach something from my head ? (or other body part)
- 5 Where do I buy new clothes ? (or other things)
- 6 How do I use a vending machine ?
- 7 I purchased some clothes, but all I see is a box. How do I wear the clothes ?
- 8 How do I become a landowner ?
- 9 =Maintenance
- 10 How far away can people hear what I chat ?
- 11 What are the basic social rules here ?
- 12 What does that abbreviation mean ?
- 13 I joined a group, and now I have a title in front of my name, how do I remove it ?
- 14 How do I set my profile picture ?
- 15 How should I set my Preferences ?
- 16 What are Calling Cards ?
- 17 What Happens to delinquent accounts ?
- 18 What are HUD attachments ?
- 19 What does 'Add Friend' mean ?
- 20 See Also
- 21 Contributors
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.
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 on the LindeX (http://secondlife.com/currency/) The price varies with demand.
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.
- 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 GUIDE - Lag
Also be sure any other resource-intensive programs are closed (i.e. file sharing programs)
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.
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.
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.
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 get your clothes out of a traditional product, follow these steps:
- Get into a zone where building is allowed (i.e. nobuild is not activated and your 'Build' button is not greyed out), as you need to rez out the object in question in order to properly interact with it - this is not possible if the box stays in your inventory.
- Locate the box that was given to you as your purchase, and rez it out into the world by click-dragging it from your inventory window onto a visible surface in the world. Ideally, this should be a floor based on land or prims, but there's nothing stopping you from rezzing the product on the walls, or the ceiling, or stuck to a nearby object!
- Right click the box, and select 'Open' from the first wheel menu that pops up.
- This will produce an 'Object Inventory' Window, complete with 'Copy to Inventory' and 'Copy And Wear' buttons.
- 'Copy to Inventory' will do just that: copy everything in the box into a new folder in your inventory. To make finding it easier, this folder will have the same name as the box you're copying out of. (CAVEAT: Occasionally, you may find items set to 'nocopy' in a product box. 'Copy to Inventory' will still do the inventory transfer, but it will warn you that it can only move items tagged as 'nocopy' out of the box.) If you choose this option, you will wind up with a folder containing all the items, and you can pick and choose how to wear them at your own leisure.
- 'Copy and Wear' is the same as the previous option, except that it also attempts to attach and force clothing changes on your avatar based on what is being copied over in terms of clothing items, avatar customisations and objects. (I recommend using this option with some caution especially on freebie boxes and products clearly not meant to be used on avatars. Careless use of this option has caused box-on-head syndrome, box-handing, as well as cross-dressing issues and in some cases actual gender and other issues guaranteed to annoy/embarass --Patchouli Woollahra 00:00, 21 January 2007 (PST))
How do I become a landowner ?
There are two concepts to be aware of for owning land -- purchase and maintenance. Purchasing land remains the same irregardless of whether one is in a mainland or a private island sim, but there are differences between maintenance on the mainland and maintenance on private islands, as well as purchase of entire private islands, which will be covered further down.
Purchasing Land In General
Purchasing land is a one-time cost that occurs at the time you actually claim the land as yours.
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 http://secondlife.com/auctions
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.
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.
Purchasing Mainland Land
Prior to making a purchase of mainland, you are required to have some form of payment info lodged with Linden Labs. This is to allow Linden Labs to make the necessary arrangements to keep maintenance fees for the land paid. If you have not owned any land on the mainland prior to the purchase, Linden Labs will also alert you to the fact that you need to have a premium account on at least a monthly basis in order to own mainland land. Linden Labs will also prompt you to upgrade your monthly tier in order to cover at least the amount of land you are going to own as a result of the purchase.
Purchasing Land In Private Islands
All private islands allow their owners to set a covenant: a notecard which adds additional rules on top of the basic Second Life ToS and Community Standards which the buyer must follow if he or she is interested in owning land in a private island.
Covenants may be examined by right-clicking on the soil (actual soil - not prim-based land covers!) of the parcel you are interested in and selecting about 'Land'.
It is important that you read this covenant carefully prior to making a land purchase or rental in such an island, as virtually all covenants include rules that allow the island owner to repossess land without compensation in the event of a significant breach or continued breaches of the covenant! More often than not, these will be slightly more restricted than the ToS and CS in order to guarantee a certain experience, personalised service and/or quality of life differing from that on the mainland.
Purchasing entire private islands
The purchase of entire private islands in Second Life requires a premium account or prior arrangements for alternative means of payment with Linden Labs, and can be done at the Land Store (SL account login required). On logging into the Land Store, a grid map will be displayed that tells you what parts of the grid are ready for a new private island. By clicking on each sim in the grid, available spaces may be secured with either a reservation of US$30 per grid space per quarter, or actual private island sims bought at US$1675 per sim.
Maintenance differs depending on whether the land in question is mainland land or land on a private island.
Mainland Maintenance =
For mainland lands, maintenance is the monthly cost you pay to Linden Labs for the peak amount of land that you owned during that month. This is calculated based on the largest land area you owned for the billable month, even if you divest land that month in sufficient quantities to qualify for lower tier.
A *premium* subscription with SL grants you free maintenance on 512 square meters of mainland land, but does not cover the purchase of the land.
If you want more land than the 512m you get with your premium membership, or if you have a basic membership and want to own some land, you will have to select a "land tier". Land tiers range from 512 sq. meters all the way up to 65,536 sq. meters (an entire sim).
You can select a land tier in your Account the Second Life website at http://secondlife.com/account/account-lease.php
Please note that under normal circumstances, you will be paying *real* money for your land tier (it is added to your subscription fee) if you choose anything above the bottom (zero) tier.
Private Island land maintenance
Land on private islands is maintained separately from that of Land on Mainland sims. Depending on the needs of the island owner, your tier may be paid either in L$ or by US$ through an external service such as Paypal subscriptions at rates dictated by the island owner, to the private island owner. Often, these rates will be advertised either on the covenant for the land, or on a website referenced in the covenant.
Maintenance of entire private islands is fixed at a rate of US$295 per sim per month currently, payable by the payee for the private islands concerned. This tier is waived for the first month after a sim is brought up.
Exceptions in land ownership
If you have never owned land in Second Life, you can get a bargain 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 and/or deeded even one bit of your land tier to a group, even if this is no longer the case.
Due to the exponential growth of Second Life, First Land uptake has signficantly increased since September 2006, with First Land sims being fully taken up in a matter of minutes after release by Linden Labs in some cases. It is currently suggested that you regularly check for First Land if you are interested in such land.
Occasionally, a older Resident may be listed in his profile as being a 'Charter Member' of Second Life. This is a privilege extended to the oldest Residents who were willing to risk a larger upfront payment for never having to pay subscriptions ever again for life prior to version 1.2. This membership type was extended at the introduction of land tier to provide a free 4096sqm of land tier per Chartered Member.
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.
Second Life is split into two separate grids and communities:
- Teen Grid - for teenagers between the ages of 13 and 17. Adult access to this grid is limited to Linden staffers and educators (on receipt of proper clearances, and confined to their respective private islands for the purpose of educating their charges in Second Life)
- Main Grid - for anyone at least 18 years old.
Regardless of which grid a Resident lives on, he or she is expected that to 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). Note that there are NO Mature sims in Teen Grid - all sims will be PG, and behaviours in these sims should reflect this rating at all times.
- 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 secondlife.com website.
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
- PG - Rating for regions where mature content is not allowed
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.
How do I set my profile picture ?
- Upload an image under the File menu, this will cost L$10.
- Alternatively, take a snapshot from the File Menu, and select 'Upload a Snapshot'. This counts as a texture upload and costs L$10 too.
- Locate the image you uploaded in your inventory. It should be in the Textures folder. If it was a direct 'Upload to Snapshot', it will be named Snapshot by default. Consider renaming it to something else as soon as you find it.
- Open up your profile window by selecting Profile... from the Edit menu.
- Drag and drop the image from your inventory's textures folder to the profile picture slot in your profile window.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also, a great place to look for answers or post your questions is on the forums at http://forums.secondlife.com
What are Calling Cards ?
In your Second Life, other avatars may give you Calling Cards. If you have someone's Calling Card:
-You can easily view their profile from your inventory. The profile will let you find out more about the other person, including their ratings and favorite places.
-If you joined Second Life based on a reference link from a Resident already in world, his or her calling card will be the very first one you receive in world. The Resident in question will also have your calling card given to him by default as well...
What Happens to delinquent accounts ?
Linden Lab will continue to try and bill the account for 7 days past the billing date. During that period the owner of the account can continue to login as normal.
On the 8th day, the account is put on delinquent hold for 30 days. Paying up the account during that time will reinstate it.
On the 31st day (or 38th depending on how you look at it), the account is closed, and the land turned over to Governor Linden.
What are HUD attachments ?
In fighter aircraft and first-person shooters, the HUD (or Heads-Up Display) shows the user important information directly in their field of vision. In Second Life, HUD attachment points have been added to the right-click/pie menu and inventory right-click menu for objects you own. To attach an object to your HUD, right-click it, choose 'Attach HUD >' and pick one of the eight attachment points. The object will be attached to your viewer and only you will see it.
The biggest advantage to HUD attachment points is that they do not show up in-world as attached to your avatar. Other residents will not see them. Many applications for this feature can be imagined, including games where you do not want the other players to see what you have; Informational displays such as speedometers, simulator statistics, radars, ammunition remaining, etc. and photo slideshows of your grandmother's visit to the largest ball of cling-wrap in the world. Subjecting others to that should be abuse-report-worthy. Keep them in your HUD!
HUD attachments can be scripted to take advantage of LSL, with a few limitations. Particles do not work on HUD attachments. In addition, there are a few known issues with HUD attachments. HUD attachments obscure chat bubbles if they overlap. HUD attachments can not be clicked-through because HUD attachments can receive touch events (by design). HUD attachments only appear in snapshots if you have the 'UI in snapshot' option enabled.
What does 'Add Friend' mean ?
In your Second Life, you can add other residents as "friends" by right clicking on them and choosing "Add Friend" from the pie menu, or accepting their friend offer. Being friends with someone means that:
- Their name is listed when you click on the "Friend" button on the bottom of the screen.
- You can find each other on the world map.
- You will be notified when your friend comes online and logs off.
- You can see if your friends are online from the website.
- You can grant your friend permission to modify your builds.
- What is CopyBot and CopyBot Defeater ?
- What is Traffic?
- When and how to file an Abuse Report
- Where Am I?