User:Tid Kidd/Use Tips
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- 1 The Great "Appearance Paradox"
- 2 Useful tips to get money
- 3 An introduction to Land
- 4 Hugs, kisses, and sex
- 5 "Animal", "furry", or "neko"
- 6 Volunteers: Mentors, Helpers, and Police
- 7 "My first visit to a club"
- 8 Other useful tips and solutions to problems
The Great "Appearance Paradox"
I learned this bit the hard way, so I'm passing it on to save you some grief...
The first thing to remember is that you can buy all kinds of different avatars (and many free ones) in Second Life: you can be a South Park character, a Dalek, a tiny animal, a large animal, a 2D paper cartoon, a goldfish, a giant sci-fi creature, anything that can be imagined. These you simply wear like a clothing outfit, and then revert to your normal everyday Second Life self afterwards. These avatars change your shape and skin completely and are fun to use, almost like dressing up for a "fancy dress" party. Everyone has one or two (or many!) of these in their inventory, some even use them all the time. When I talk about the paradox, I'm not meaning these temporary avatars, but your own (mainly) human avatar that most people interact with in Second Life.
Ok: you've made many changes to your avatar in Edit Appearance and you're pleased with the result; your shape and your face are totally "you". Then one day, someone points out that your skin and shape look oh-so "newbie" and you discover the wonderful world of beautiful skins and shapes you can buy.
The first thing to mention is this : you can buy a shape to improve your figure, but unfortunately it will change your face as well. As far as I know, there are no separate face / body shapes, so if you've spent hours tweaking your features to create the perfect "you", then a new shape will simply overlay them with a new face. But all is not lost - you can improve your newbie shape in Edit Appearance - and you can isolate the body parts you want to improve with many sliders that give you full control. A new shape should only be bought with the following points in mind :
- it will change your figure and your face - which is fine if that is what you want
- you can wear it simply as a different avatar if you want, e.g. for modelling assigments or dancing jobs, and then revert
So, what about skin? It has to be said that newbie skin is not too attractive though some residents have made an excellent job (Edit Appearance with newbie skin is the only way you could change your skin colour to bright blue, for example, as I did once to create a Star Wars Twi'Lek look for a disco event). However, buying a new skin does make a dramatic improvement - it can give your appearance a greater 3D effect, it gives you proper knees, nipples, toes, etc. But - and this is the thing to look closely at - it will change your face subtly too. You may find that it has changed you too much, and you want to tweak it to what you want it to be.. So you go into Edit Appearance to reset yourself and you find to your horror - the skin is not editable! What do you do ?
Basically, you have four choices:
- You can live without a new skin and be content with the "real you", albeit newbie
- You can buy a skin that is slightly modifiable (many are) and tweak it as much as you can or want
- You can win the lottery and hire a designer to build you the perfect "you" in a custom-made skin; but ... this will be VERY expensive!
- You can learn to love and live with, the you which the new skin has created
One final tip about buying skin : always get the demo and try it on before you buy. The model that may have attracted you to the vendor picture is not you and you need to see how the skin will look on you.
Here is the evidence about skins changing how you look (exactly the same shape and hair) ! (left "newbie skin", middle : good skin, but not "me", right : my everyday skin)
Useful tips to get money
- (i) low pay You can actually get paid for doing nothing in SL! Well, for nothing more than sitting in a chair or dancing on a dance pad or wielding a mop. Mall- and club-owners like 'traffic' to their places (nothing worse than a place where no-one goes!) and are prepared to make small payments - typically a few L$ per hour - for residents to come along and sit or dance on their "premises". Look out too for money trees, with low-value bills among the leaves, or maybe fruit that pays out money. Search > All, type in CAMPING or MONEY TREES and teleport to any places in the list
- (ii) medium pay You can be paid for completing online surveys. These are usually based at special ATMs, and involve you giving your email address and answering questions that are consumer- or market-research based. (If you are going to do these, I recommend that you get a hotmail for the purpose, as you may well end up getting spam). Not all the surveys you do actually pay out, so the more you do the more chance of actually getting L$. Two of the biggest survey hosts in SL are Money Island and hippie pay, which you can find with Search > Places
- (iii) higher pay You can get work as a nightclub dancer or as an escort. This is often work that is of a "sexual" nature, though it is up to you how far you take it. (And the higher you take it, the better the pay, of course). As well as your basic pay, there are tips, which can boost your earnings.
Search > All, type in JOBS, study the list, teleport anywhere that interests you and have a look around; if there is no-one there, make a note of the Owner or Manager and send them an IM telling them about yourself and what you are prepared to do
- (iv) competitions and prizes There are opportunities to win money - sometimes BIG money - by entering SL competitions. Look out for these - it may simply be a DJ at your favourite nightclub running a "Best In..." avatar competition, or "Name That Tune", for instant prizes.
- (v) the easy way You can buy Linden dollars with your own cash. The exchange rate varies, but you should be able to get a bit over 250 L$ for 1 USD. Once you have your payment details set up with LL, use the tiny blue button (top right of your screen) to buy L$ inworld
- (vi) the long road Ultimately, though, the biggest immersion in SL is by joining the builders, artists and artisans, designers, shopkeepers, photographers, writers, all those who provide skilled and professional services. These residents may even come to make a RL career out of what they do in SL, and earn their RL living, or at least part of it. For this, you will need to do your market research just as you would have to in Real Life. Ask yourself, "What are my particular talents?", "Is there an obvious gap in the market for something?", "Could I do something that few others are doing here?", "Have I got something to sell?"
An introduction to Land
Many people either want or need to have a stake in Second Life by owning their own piece of land, even if that simply means renting an apartment. And if you intend to run a business in Second Life involving creating and selling things, property is absolutely essential. There are basically three ways to have a 'base' in the form of land, or somewhere to live:
The only true way to actually own a piece of Second Life is to buy land from Linden Lab, often referred to as Mainland. OR, you can purchase an entire sim from them (known as an island sim as it is not connected to any Mainland region). To do this you need to have a Premium Account (paid) - upgrade via the secondlife.com website if you only have a Basic Account. There a few points to note:
- ALL land has to be bought - this can be via auctions on the website, or via the Land Sales tab in Search; prices vary according to desirability
- all land apart from your first 512 sq.m carries a monthly land fee also known as tier - these fees are listed on the website; tiering up means increasing your land holding and therefore how much you pay in land fees
- within reason, there are no restrictions on what you can do with your mainland - which can work either for or against you, depending on what your neighbours decide to do with theirs
People will tell you that you can "own" land using a Basic Account, and up to a point this is true. But... your "purchase" is not from LL but an existing landowner, who may have bought land specifically to parcel it out and make a profit. This private landowner is still responsible to LL for the land fees, and you will be paying a share of these, but in a private deal with the landowner, not LL. There is no security of land tenure, as the landowner could sell their holding and the new owner decide to take it all over without notice. If this begins to sound like paying rent, rather than ownership, then that is essentially what it is. The advantages:
- there is often a Covenant with the sale that prevents the land from being developed for example, so the sim keeps a certain character
- the seller may be a Group they belong to (the issue of Groups, land, and deeding land is too complex to cover here)
- a lease "owner" retains the power to "sell" on the land to someone else, including back to the actual landowner
- As well as apartments, plots (parcels) of land can be rented - these are straightforward arrangements with a landowner whereby the rent is paid to them for a specific period of time, after which the arrangement can usually be continued unless stated in advance.
To find out details about the land in any area of Second Life you're in, use the World menu > About Land.., or double click the region name at the top of your screen. The About Land window has a lot of detailed information in various tabs, including details of whether the land is for sale - if it is, an offer to buy can usually be made right there and then.
Each region supports a certain number of prims (the basic unit of building in Second Life), and once these are used up, no more are available for use. Anything you are wearing when you go somewhere does not count towards this allowance. Objects which are rezzed on land where it is allowed (e.g. Sandboxes) often have an auto-return function apply to them, whereby they are returned to your inventory (Lost and Found folder) after a specified time period. The About Land window gives all this information and much more.
Most landowners will not let you rezz objects on their land. Purchases can usually be rezzed instore, or else you will need to find a Sandbox (there is one on every Help Island). Usually too, you cannot set your Home to somewhere unless it is an InfoHub, or your own land, or a friend or Group has given you that privilege. You can most often Create a Landmark Here, but there a some private places that will not allow even that.
There is very much more about land - and many good articles - in the Second Life Knowledge Base on this (you can find this via the Support link on the website).
Hugs, kisses, and sex
Second Life can be a very affectionate place, with or without sex. Everyone loves a hug and at the very least you will want to have a hugger in your inventory.
There are various items, often known as MultiTools (and often free), which contain a variety of animations which can be used to invite another avatar to engage in one of several activities with you. I have one which allows the commands Go To, Hug, and Kiss, among others. When worn these can be activated quite simply : type (for example) !Hug Kitty (or /Hug Kitty - see the help instructions with the tool) in your chat line, and as long as Kitty Xxxxx is within range, she will see a blue pop-up telling her that you want to "Animate her avatar". Provided she accepts your invitation, you will see your 2 avatars come together for a hug. Lovely!
Kisses can be activated using a multitool just like hugs (above), or can be included in a pose ball (see below). You will often see pose balls around Second Life, usually in pairs, with one pink and one blue. These contain animations for various activities, ranging from dancing, to full sexual activity. The context is everything - a pair of pose balls on a dancefloor are obviously not for sex! Pose balls in a fairground kissing booth are what they say they are. The kisses themselves will vary from a chaste peck on the cheek, to a passionate "lean back and be swept away" full blooded snog.
Sex is a more complex subject. While fully clothed sex can take place using appropriate pose balls (in a Mature sim, of course, or your own home), to engage in it fully you need the proper "parts" (which don't come with the basic avatars, nor with most shapes sold unless specified). And these need to be attached in the same way as anything else you wear on your avatar. Once that is accomplished, you then need the appropriate scripted pose balls, or else a sex bed, to perform the act. And just like hugs and kisses, each partner has to consent to the act - there cannot be rape in Second Life in the usual accepted meaning of the word.
However, whatever your sexual preference, you can probably find it - and a willing partner - in Second Life. It is a pretty tolerant place : BDSM and domination, any kind of heterosexual or homosexual activity - most things are allowed between consenting adults. One thing though, most definitely is NOT. Within Second Life some residents choose to roleplay with a child avatar. This is perfectly acceptable in a PG sim, and LL has no problem with it (though it makes some residents uncomfortable). What is not allowed, however, is to engage in sexual activity with a child avatar, even though it may be between consenting adults. It is against the Second Life TOS and Community Standards, and Mentors are instructed to file an Abuse Report if they see, or hear of, any such activity taking place. It is also against the law of some countries, the UK for example. It is sometimes known as Age Play, though some residents take that to include any activity involving child avatars. Whatever - sexual age play is not tolerated in Second Life.
"Animal", "furry", or "neko"
i don't know about you, but I was very confused about the distinction between these for a long time. So I will try to explain the difference.
...is Japanese for cat. But in Second Life, it is an elegantly low-key addition to an otherwise very human avatar. A neko is usually distinguished by a pair of cat ears and a tail, but very often too, can be accompanied by cat whiskers and cat eyes. In all other respects the avatar is human.
A furry in Second Life can be a fully animal avatar. Or may simply have a complete animal head. A furry is usually (not always) bi-pedal, and in Second Life generally has a more anthropomorphic appearance than a fully-realistic animal avatar. The newbie avatars (the fox for example) are classic instances of furries. furry picture in Wikipedia
An avatar that has been designed to look and behave as realistically as possible as an animal, is neither neko nor furry. I have a goldfish avatar and it "swims" through the air, likewise I have seen wolves and cats and dogs and lions - many of them obtained from Grendels Children, one of Second Life's leading suppliers of animal avatars.
Volunteers: Mentors, Helpers, and Police
There are several kinds of volunteer you will meet in Second Life. Some of these are officially supported, even sponsored, by Linden Lab, others are independent, and yet others should be treated with great caution.
Official Second Life Volunteers are those who signed up for this role via the website, and are known as Mentors. Only those with a minimum of 6 months' experience in Second Life, who have never had their account suspended, who have attended an introductory class, and who have "shadowed" an experienced mentor, are invited into the Second Life Mentor group. To remain a mentor, the volunteers must remain "in good standing", or will be removed from the group (and any mentor can retire or resign from it).
Mentors have access to the Orientation Islands and Help Islands where new residents first appear in Second Life. Their role is to help residents (not only newbies of course), mostly by pointing them in the direction of the many many resources available. There is nothing "special" about mentors, they are simply ordinary residents who chose to be volunteers. They do NOT have the "ear" of the Lindens (Linden Lab employees), nor, apart from access to the Orientation Islands and Volunteer Islands, do they have any special "powers".
There are independent help groups, such as Help People!, which are not officially sponsored but which LL give tacit approval to. Another such group, also with its own centre where new residents can get a whole variety of help and freebies and Second Life classes, is the New Citizens International group. And several Second Life traders have a lot of help and freebies on offer and generally support the idea of helping new residents.
However, there are other groups which admit new residents who have no knowledge and experience of Second Life as "helpers", and give them an impressive-looking tag to wear (the group name over the avatar name). Be cautious of these - some are well-intentioned but you have to ask yourself, "Why would a group enlist total newbies as helpers to other newbies? What experience do they have to offer?"
If someone approaches you as a Second Life "police officer", or tries to recruit you to their "cause", then just remember this : Second Life does not have an official police force. These people - however well-intentioned - are acting much like the "sherriff's posse" of the old American Wild West. Often, their stated mission is anti-griefers. Their methods, on the other hand, often involving firearms or other offensive weaponry, can be just as bad as the very griefers they oppose.
My advice would be, do not get involved with Second Life police. Every resident is a "police officer" already, in that they can submit an Abuse Report, Mute people they find offensive, ban them from their land or objects, wear defensive shields in griefing situations, etc. (See my main page article). Second Life so-called "police" have no authority, no backing, and no special powers. Those residents who enjoy the use of weapons, the wearing of uniforms, etc, should find themselves a roleplay or combat sim where - and within that sim and following the strict rules of the roleplay - indulge their fantasies to their hearts' content.
"My first visit to a club"
There are many nightclubs in Second Life, and there are similarities in the kind of features you will find in them. First you need to ensure your music button is enabled:
- (i) Enabling audio Click Edit > Preferences > Audio & Video, and make sure that Play Streaming Audio... is checked. Ok this and close Preferences; then, whenever you are in a region where audio is being streamed, a small music button (with a Play / Pause symbol) will appear at the bottom of the viewer. Clicking the Play symbol will let you hear the music.
- (ii) Dancing There will sometimes be a board or sign telling you to click it for dancing, but if not, just look overhead - one of the large rotating balls there should be a danceball; right-click it and then follow the instructions you will get via blue popups top right (you will get at least one, which will ask ...animate your avatar?. Click Yes (or Ok), and you will find your avatar is dancing, and will continue to dance until you click the sign, board, danceball again. Don't teleport away from the club while still dancing! This will make it difficult for you to stop dancing.
- (iii) Sploders You used to be able to make a small gamble in clubs, by placing an amount of money in a sploder, a device that at a certain point, "exploded" and paid out most of "the pot" to some - or all - of the gamblers. You might get more or less than you paid in. Second Life does not permit any form of gambling now, so those old sploders are outlawed. However, if there is an element of skill involved, then sploders are still legal - for example some wait until a certain number of residents have paid in, then begin a predetermined countdown, paying the biggest share to the last person to pay in, and a much smaller payout to the others. The art is to calculate when the countdown is about to finish and then pay in; as this is subject to lag, you could argue that the gamble element is still very much a part of it!
- (iv) Tips There will usually be a DJ, there may also be dancers. These are residents who are doing a job of work to entertain you - it is good practice to tip them, though if you have very little money (as a new resident), even just 5L$ is acceptable.
- (v) Trivia There may be a trivia machine, asking questions and acknowledging the first person to type the correct answer into the Chat. Some of these pay out a small prize for a correct answer, others are "just for fun".
- (vi) Competitions Often clubs will run a "Best In ... (black / red / swimwear / Wild West / Star Wars / you name it)" competition. Usually these have to be entered by clicking a special competition board. And usually, the winners are decided by democratic vote (not something I like, I have to admit). There is pretty much always a money prize for the winner(s).
So, nightclubs are a good way to have fun and meet people when you are a new resident. If you like the look of one, but find it is a little bit clicquey, don't worry, most places welcome newcomers and the DJs and hosts are friendly people.
Other useful tips and solutions to problems
- There's a map on my screen - I can't get rid of it! When you start doing tutorials in Second Life, you get a Tutorial HUD on your screen until you have completed the tutorials. Meanwhile if you go to Help Island, and can't get back to your Orientation, you are stuck with this HUD open, cluttering your screen. To get rid of it, right-click the HUD, and from the circular menu that comes up, choose Detach.
- General problems : clearing cache - If you suddenly find problems with your inventory, or appearance, or just annoying general irritations that suddenly appear one day (they weren't there yesterday...), then the first thing to suspect is that your SL cache has grown too large and needs emptying: it needs this doing at least monthly if you're a regular user. Do the following....
- Edit > Preferences > Network > Clear Cache
- then relog immediately after
- Inventory : WORN If ever you want to know exactly what you are wearing (clothes, hair, attachments, whatever), then click on your Inventory button, and at the top where there is a field to input text, type WORN. Everything worn or attached to your avatar will appear in a list, but nothing else. And you can then right-click on anything in the list and Detach it if you want.
- I can't see myself! - If you are in the Edit Appearance pose you may find yourself staring at the back of your avatar's head when what you really want is the front. If you go into View menu and check Camera Controls, a tiny box with 2 blue circles and a bar will live on your screen until you remove it (I keep mine on permanently). Using these give you all the control that alt + arrows gives you, and you can see yourself from all angles at all times and in all places.
- Suffering typing lag? - Is it soooo slooow typing that you are waiting half an eternity for each letter to appear? Much better to keep Notepad or TextEdit open - type into a new blank document, then keep cutting and pasting from there into SL. Believe me, it's quicker, much quicker!
- Help - I can't get to my money! - You have that dreaded Loading.. where your money should show (top right)? You can't Pay anyone or Buy anything, grrrr. Here's what you do : ask a friend to lend (or give) you 1 L$ (yes, just 1 !). As if by magic your account balance suddenly appears. Hey, that's better!
- Audio problems - You're at a club or live event and maybe you have audio problems? First, you need to have Preferences > Audio & Video > Play Streaming Audio option checked. If there are still problems :
- no sound at all - is the Music button pressed to Play (near the bottom right), and is the music volume turned up high enough (bottom right)?
- intermittent or "broken" sound - try toggling the Play Streaming Audio button in Preferences a few times, it sometimes helps
- otherwise it may be a streaming problem and nothing to do with you, i.e. everyone there has the same problem with it
- The power of "Sit" - choosing Sit here may not seem much of a powerful tool, but you'd be wrong. For one thing, if you're being griefed (orbited, thrown, pushed, caged, or whatever) then being able to Sit on something gives you security and protection against most forces - even in orbit, if you see something you can sit on - do it! And another thing - sometimes you cross a sim boundary and suddenly you're underground and unable to get out? Get your camera / view above ground, find an object to sit on near you - and voila! you're above ground again. And it gets you out of cages too.
- I can't fly higher than 250 metres - Nothing's wrong - this is SL's "altitude cap". What you need is a flight feather or a flight band which will let you fly as high as you like (many newbie help packs and starter kits contain one - ask a mentor). And on the subject of flying high...
- Slow rezzing? - You know the one - you've logged in, but your hair isn't there, or something else is missing. Try one of the following:
- Fly up and keep going until you get over 250 metres. Keep going until you have rezzed ok then just fly back down again.
- Try finding a quiet sim - often a lack of lag helps to rezz fully.
- Go into Edit Appearance briefly, then out again.
- Accept it and simply wait patiently.
- Teleport problems - If you find that you can't tp, again try flying up as high as you can, then tp from there. A second alternative is to Search for Pooley on the Map, tp to there, then see if you can tp from Pooley to where you want to go. (Low lag sims are easier to tp to and from).
- Duplicate landmarks everywhere - Ever tried clicking on My Landmarks in the Map window? Noticed all the duplicate landmarks in there? That's because Map takes them from your inventory, which is probably stuffed full of duplicate landmarks as every store owner puts their landmark into everything you buy. Sadly there is no easy way to remove them, but if you use Inventory > File > Show Filters and uncheck everything except Landmarks, then go Inventory > Sort > By Name, all the duplicates will flow together, making it easier to delete them. (Don't forget to empty trash).
- Wearing hats makes me bald! - Yes, LOL. That is because only one item at a time can be attached to an attachment point, e.g., your skull. So wearing some hats will "chase" your hair away. The solution? Detach the hat, re-wear your hair, and then find the hat again in your inventory. Now, instead of right-click > Wear, choose right-click > Attach To > and attach the hat to an unoccupied spot on your head, e.g. your nose. That will look very odd, so then right-click on the hat itself, choose Edit and use Position and Rotate to get the hat exactly where you want it, using a posing stand if necessary. (If your new hat doesn't make you bald, then it already attaches to a different point so leave well alone...)
- Client menu - what is that? - You will hear people talking about the Client menu a lot, you look at your menus and you say "But I haven't got a Client menu!". In fact, it is no longer called Client, it's called Advanced in the latest viewer, but like Client, you need to activate it the first time, by pressing Ctrl-Alt-D (Ctrl-Opt-D on Mac). There are many useful commands for the technically less wary, but one of the most useful for new residents is Advanced > Character > Rebake Textures (another thing you will hear a lot is people talking about is rebaking - it simply means that sometimes, although you look fine to yourself, other people don't see you right, especially after teleports; then you need to rebake, which is like a refresh.)
- I see pink and blue triangles - If you are seeing pink and blue triangles (or cones) coming from other avatars, you have accidentally checked Show Updates in your Advanced menu - just uncheck it to clear the problem.
- Lots of things are red -
- Have you checked Highlight Transparent in your View menu? If so, uncheck it. Or...
- In your View Menu, do you have Beacons always on checked?
- There's coloured writing (or graphics) on my screen - You may have inadvertently switched on one of the Consoles options - go into Advanced > Consoles and see if anything is checked with X - if so, uncheck it.
- My avatar is all black! - You are almost certainly using two monitors, and running SL on the non-primary monitor. You need to take as many of the following steps as you need to, to cure the problem:
- disconnect Second Life from the non-primary monitor and ensure it is running only on the primary monitor
- clear cache (Edit > Preferences > Network > Clear Cache), then relog
- if necessary, fix your avatar (re-Wear the avatar from inventory, or wear a new skin for example)
- if necessary, relog a 2nd time - you should be fixed by now.
- I logged in underwater at 10,10,10 - With a less than perfect connection and a busy sim, this can happen - all you see is an underwater scene, you can't see your own avi, you can't Stand Up, you're apparently at co-ordinates 10,10,10... but the strange thing is that others can see you at the place where you thought you were logging in, and usually your IM is working though Search, Map, TP, etc may not. This condition usually clears itself within a short (or fairly short) time. If it doesn't, try one of the following:
- relog to a quiet sim, e.g. Pooley, and see if things improve
- clear cache (Edit > Preferences > Network > Clear Cache), then relog
- close all applications that access the internet (browser, email, iTunes, P2P, etc), and any CPU hogs such as Photoshop - then try relog
- if you're a Mac user, follow the advice below for emptying your cache (you must empty the Trash also), which can grow to 4GB if you don't clear it regularly, and give you all kinds of problems.
- Hints for Mac users :
- ignore the blind and violent prejudice from a few PC owners; both platforms have their strengths and weaknesses, it's probably just jealousy!
- instead of right-click, use Command-click (not Ctrl-click); otherwise the Alt key is simply the Opt key on Mac (so Ctrl-Alt-D on Pc is Cmd-Opt-D on Mac)
- to clear cache, your best option is (when not inworld) go to your [user]/Library/Application Support/SecondLife/cache - drag the cache folder into Trash and then Empty Trash. The cache folder will be rebuilt by SL next time you're online.
- lost your cursor? press Command-Option-esc and bring up the Force Quit window, choose Finder, then click Relaunch : you cursor will come back and there is no need to Quit Second Life.
- your Esc key may work to get you out of Mouselook (mine doesn't). If it doesn't, then press Command-Q (Quit SL) but then click Continue - this will bring you out of Mouselook.
- the option to click and hold on your avatar to move it around does not work with a Mac.
- Torley Linden's Tip Of The Week - If you are already signed up to the Linden Blog, you will know about these. If not, go to your account on the SL website and sign up - some of the tips are quite advanced, but if you keep them they will be a useful resource in the future.
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