User:Torley Linden/FAQ/Archives

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2009-04 and older

Video Tutorials and Resident Enlightenment

How do you make a Video Tutorial/movie in Second Life?

See Torley's Guide to Making Movies!

What's the story behind the Tip of the Week?

Ah, there's a classic dilemma I refer to as "communicating about work vs. doing work". There's often very important behind-the-scenes stuff @ Linden Lab which isn't communicated publicly, and without sharing "This is what we did for our community today", how would you know? You most likely wouldn't.

The trickiest thing here is lack of time, and over the last stretch of months and years, we've allocated more resources to relatively improve how much of this otherwise invisible stuff you know about. Take our Service Status blog updates, for example.

Well, "Tip of the Week" came at a time after I had already made some Video Tutorials and was eager to do more. I was buried in other work, but thought this should take #1 priority. After all, I've been in 100s of situations helping walk Resis through problems, and some of it is difficult to communicate through text and still pictures alone — I started amassing a pile of requests to "Show me an over-the-shoulder view of how you do things".

What could I say? Wish granted.

I started thinking of all the questions I get asked time and time again, and how I could reduce friction and ultimately save more time in the long run by sharing these quick 'n' easy tips, or TotWs as they're known for short. Thus, Tip of the Week was born. There's no end of topics, and as of this writing (2008-07-22), I'm nearing #43 in the series!

A guiding principle behind doing TotW has always been sharing why some things you don't yet know about are important to you, or if you already know about them, then I'll show you how to use them in new, useful, & FUN ways. Something that generates a gut feeling of "Gosh, I wish I knew that before!" is a good candidate for a tip. My inspirations in this field include Russell Brown and Heloise.

If you have ideas for future TotWs, be sure to let me know. Many of the already-made episodes have been done in response to Resi or fellow Linden requests — I warmly welcome and encourage it so we can help make your Second Life better!

How can I watch your video tutorials inworld?

Visit my island, Here! (Yup, that's the name.) I have vidtuts in-context, e.g., a terraforming tutorial near a "landbox" you can play in.

If you want to play videos on your own land, use the "DOWNLOAD" links on the Video Tutorials page. Learn more about playing media, like how to make your own movie screen.

FEEL FREE TO STREAM THESE INWORLD AND I THANK YOU, just be aware my materials are provided for educational purposes with the blessing of Linden Lab and don't do anything illegal with 'em, k? Thanxies.

Can I use your video tutorial intro/outro?

Do you mean the one that looks like this, which was introduced in mid-June of 2008?


I'm honored, but alas, you can't use it because the visual elements contain branding, including our registered trademark, which is only to be used in official productions by employees of Linden Lab.

So, while you can't use the hand-in-eye, you are' allowed to use our inSL logo, provided it meets these conditions.

Let me know what you do end up making — I celebrate your creativity.

What music do you use in your Video Tutorials?

Up to now, it's all my original tracks. I used to be an electronic music composer (until my ears went bad, leading to me joining Second Life... yeah, a really epic story!).

And which vid are you wondering about? If it's the WindLight demo with the amped-up techno, you can download the soundtrack in MP3.

230 of my tracks can be found here, and I have a lot of solo piano improvisations too. Most of it is pretty relaxing and healing, and I listen to it while working. :)

All my music is FREE and you can even use it in commercial productions, thanx to the wonders of Creative Commons — my only gentle request is that you please let me know what you do with it.

Can I/how do I localize your video tutorials?

The answer is almost certainly "YES!" as my educational materials are freely available for modification — keep in mind legal entities which are the property of Linden Lab/Second Life need to be respected so check out our Brand Center, but you can feel free to dub over my voice with your own voiceover. Please do let me know if you mod my vidtuts, simply because I want to celebrate what you've done!

That being said, the process is generally pretty simple:

  • Download a MP4 from the Video Tutorials page (not one of the low-quality YouTube Flash video version).
  • Open it in your video NLE (non-linear editor). As mentioned above, I use Sony Vegas and you can look at more options.
  • Delete the existing audio track and record your own, then align it to fit. This may be as easy as recording your voiceover while playing the video. If you can use audio effects, I highly recommend using some noise reduction and a limiter to boost your overall presence.
  • Export the video, preferably using the settings above for minimal degradation and compatibility — crisp quality you can play inworld is awesome!

Yes, I do have the original "master" copies without subtitles, but they're very big (many gigabytes) and awkward to upload. I guess I could re-export some vids without subtitles but this, too, is time-consuming. If anyone has any advice as to how I can be more efficient about making these available or if you just have a sheer interest, write to torley at lindenlab dot com

You can also download the "whoosh + dingding" sound effect I use at the beginning and end. (They're modified versions of Ryan Linden's original teleport + Instant Message sounds.)

If you want to use my music, it's under a CreativeCommons ShareAlike-Attribution License. Download piano pieces here, and check out my electronic selections.

Where are the closed-captioned video tutorials?

This is a wonderful question, and one I wish could be answered easier: I have a dire lack of clones (read: not enough time) and haven't been able to do closed-captions myself. In addition, there are a number of technical complexities, like the lack of a standard subtitles format across Internet video (I know about SubRip but that doesn't work with Flash video, which YouTube,, etc. use). More details here.

I, however, welcome the help of Resident-created closed-captioning tracks! If you can subtitle them using a standard format (likely adding something for the QuickTime high-quality files), or even better, you figure out a way to make them more portable and accessible, let's get them added to the main Second Life Video Tutorials page so others can benefit. Let me know about it!

Do you have more artistic tips for making movies?

Yes. See my "13 rules to making good tutorials". Not set in stone, but water... how's that for philosophy?


What computer do you use to run Second Life?

As of 2008-07-29, this is my main rig. I'll emphasize that I'm a stickler for good deals and a computer that can run Second Life well may be cheaper than you think it is.

Why the heck are you so hyper/talk so fast?

I don't see myself that way. If anything, my own perceived frame of reference leads me to believe I'm moving too slow. Can I be more wrong? ;)


Seriously, I have a lot of energy. I currently (as of 2007-10-05) usually sleep 4-6 hrs. a night, and that's by choice. It's a tradeoff, you see... less sleep, less dreams, and I do like dreaming, but I don't necessarily need more hours. Plus, for the attention-depleted, the video Quicktips I've been doing are intended to be presented and delivered in 2 min. or less for the sake of your precious time. I reckon you prolly have a lot of important things to do and picking up some knowledge on-the-go is a very welcome prospect.

Now, this doesn't mean I like to rush my narration at the cost of understandability, but that I do move along at a brisk pace. The advantage here is that since these video tutorials can be rewinded or paused at any time, you can replay it for your comfortability.

That being said, I graciously welcome the feedback I've gotten about my style and pacing, and I've made changes over time like letting some of the more verbose text subtitles linger onscreen longer. I really like adapting to change to suit you better, and help you learn more effectively.

How did you make your signature?

This one?


I have a Wacom Intuos3 6x8 tablet and I used ArtRage to scrawl it out. A quality graphics tablet is very useful for creating expressive art.

On 2007-11-07, I used VectorMagic to create this.

You're a man. Why do you have a girl av?

I sometimes hear this after folks watch my video tutorials...

This question has both a simple and complicated answer.

Simple: Second Life lets us look like just about anything we can imagine, so I'm merely using its potential.

Complicated: I love time travel. I have my own "myth arc" because I love creative narrative. I have many avatars. They're on a Torley Council. Some of them are female, some are not. Most aren't human, but "Torley Jr." and her variants, as she's known, is among my most well-known avatars. Why "Torley Jr."? Because I love time travel. She's my future daughter, come back in the timeline to save me from wasting my life potential.

Long ago, in mid-2004, I was very depressed because I was a musician who'd suffered a hearing accident (hyperacusis). I read up on a lot of cyberpunk books, dreaming of a brighter future, then tried Second Life. Since Basic accounts at the time were US$10, I can confidently say it's the best ten bucks I ever spent. My first avatar was actually "Torley Sr.", a male similar to "RL me" with a hot pink jacket and 50-something-lb. synth under his arm. I evolved him to a new form in the account Torley Olmstead, but on occasion, you may still see "classic Torley" around.

I'm more of an AND than an OR person, so really here, the correct answer is that I have many avatars and enjoy all of them. Do I prefer Torley Jr. above any of the others? Only if she's behaving well.

Can you send me sheet music for your piano pieces?

I'm thrilled you wanna play. Alas, the vast majority of my piano tunes are improvised and don't have corresponding notation.

Some ambitious people have in-progress transcriptions of "The Games We Played" (the video game melody epic), but no one's done a complete, elegant job so far.

So I apologize I can't help you more here, but must add: if you do happen to transcribe my performances and I like your work, I'd be more than happy to get the word out about it.


What else have you done at Linden Lab?

Everett described me aptly as "a cross-functional specialist"! In addition to Video Tutorials:

Further back:

  • I used to moderate the Second Life forums with our ResMods.
  • I worked with Residents to develop mainland Infohubs (those blue i's you see on the World Map).
  • I wrote portions of F1 Help (pre-Knowledge Base), specifically the Avatar Customization, New Features, & Explorer's Guide. Jack, Jeska, & Cyn did most of the work — I was just happy to help. :)

How do I know which Linden does what?

Read profiles! Some Lindens have their profile filled out in great detail. I pride myself on being one of them. ;) And if you know what a Linden does but they don't have that info in-profile, please send an IM letting them know you'd appreciate having that stuff presented for the future people who wonder.

I know, that isn't the easiest nor most efficient way to sort by category. We have an internal company directory; some info (like job role) on there isn't classified, and I'd love to see it circulated wider. Perhaps if some enterprising Resident requests a New Feature on the Issue Tracker and it gets an overwhelming # of votes (100s), I can clearly show this to my fellow Lindens and say "See! Our community would really find the time put into this useful!" (Hint hint.)

Aside from that, see the "Topics" and descriptions in the Office Hours page, because it often directly relates with what a Linden's specialties are.

I do a lot of things in response to requests; it's like the law of supply and demand, only less lawful and more fun.

Related, see the "Who are Lindens?" video:


What about international-friendly Office Hours?

First, some context: I started the Office Hours page along with Pathfinder Linden as part of the early Linden Village initiative. The LV (not unsimilarly catchy to The OC, ha!) has continued to grow, because Linden Lab hires new Lindens. Some of these Lindens come from countries and time zones outside the US — and as a supporting factoid, most of our Support personnel "work remotely", some from places like Australia and Germany. Thus, it makes sense that more international Lindens = more international Office Hours, also provided that enough people show up to make 'em worth doing! (I, for the record, am a Canadian.)

Some Lindens list spoken languages (ah, polyglots!) in their profiles, and if you happen to have one or more of those tongues in common, let them know of your interest in their participation. Office Hours aren't mandatory and I started doing mine after I got asked a lot. So yes, you can make a difference.

What do you do on the public Issue Tracker (AKA PJIRA)?

I don't tend to the Issue Tracker much anymore, but previously, I did all this, and more.

Can you help me setup an Infohub on the mainland?

For context, some of you may recall that back in '06, I helped establish Resident-created Infohubs aka Welcome Areas — 14 new ones, to be precise. This was done at a time when direct teleporting was introduced, and the few Linden-made WAs we had were prone to overflooding. Thus, changed ensued, and I give my gracious thank-yous to the Resis who participated and helped grow our community.

Over time, a lot more has changed. I don't currently setup Infohubs, partially due to lack of time (I can't personally accommodate the requests I get, several a month) and also because we've been focusing more on Resident-created orientation experiences on so-called "private estates" via the community gateways of the RegAPI programme. Also read "Linden to outsource Second Life orientation" from Reuters news. I'd recommend looking there if you'd like to craft a custom entryway into Second Life, but aside from that, I apologize we can't help setup mainland Infohubs.

Second Life culture

What is a "Resi"?

"Resi" is short for "Resident of Second Life". Every culture has its fun with words, and SL is rich with unique terms, and terms that you may've heard before but have a specific meaning here (like "rez").

"Resi" also makes sense because it takes the "dent" out of "Resident". ;)

And, it's as short as "User", but friendlier-sounding.

Assorted advice

Where can I find aspect ratios for profile pictures and more?

Here's a list, lucky you!

Can you teach me how to report bugs better?

... and if you followed that up with "the Issue Tracker is hard to use/confusing", I'm here for ya!

You're just in luck, seriously (but funnily enough) — I have a guide! See Torley's bug reporting best practices and keep in mind these are merely my experiences, based on the work of others.

Also see my video tutorials including "How to report a bug" and "QUICK-Searching the Issue Tracker".

If it helps you, 'twas all worth it.

What do you recommend for processing sounds for uploading to Second Life?

A fine question! Before you read further:

Insofar as getting your sounds prepared (not unlike rolling sushi), I like Sony Sound Forge which I've used for over a decade. However, it's not free, so if you like FREE, check out Audacity, which has gotten better over the years — I'm not fond of its interface, but it is strongly cross-platform, which is a lot going for it.

If your sounds are ready but in the wrong sample rate (remember, Second Life requires 16-bit, 44.1 kHz clips which can be mono or stereo but need to be 10 seconds long or less), I've gotten a lot of mileage out of r8brain, which is also FREE, but only for Windows.

And for all the times I get asked, "Since Second Life limits uploaded sounds to 10 secs. long, how do I upload whole songs?", I first make the preclusion that you have the right to broadcast and distro such material legally, and then, suggest two ways:

  1. Splice the song into lots of little 10-sec. sections, and upload them with sequentially-numbered names (e.g., "MySong 01", "MySong 02", "MySong 03", etc.). You'll pay L$10 for each clip. You'll then need to put all the clips in the contents of an object along with a script which'll play them in order. Some example scripts are in the SL Forums' Scripting Library, including "Psyke's Music Script", and for fancy multi-prim action, "Synchronized sound/music playback".
  2. Instead of uploading the sounds, upload the MP3 to a webserver and play it on your land parcel via About Land > Media tab — copy and paste the address under "Music URL".
  3. OKAY, there is "sort of" a newly-emergent 3rd way, and that is: use inworld voice chat and configure your audio input to be a music-playing device attached to your computer via a stereo minijack, possibly USB port, or if you're really desperate, just play speakers near a connected microphone. The quality will be mono and at times choppy, but we're on the brave new frontier of experimentalism, baby!

For related recipes & ideas, check out Dizzy Banjo's blog, which is focused on "soundtracking virtual worlds". I'm glad he cares so much about the sonic arts!

How do you take such beautiful snapshots of Second Life?

I'm honored, really. I owe a lot of tribute to those who came before me. To paraphrase Newton, I'm really standing on the shoulders of some megatastical gargantuans.

In recognition of the many times I get asked this, I've have an awesome snapshot guide. Check it out!

What do you use to make Torley Textures?

I've got anecdotal recountings on my personal blog for some installments of the Torley Textures, but the prime tools I use are listed on the Texture Tools page. Yes, I'm a tremendous fan of Filter Forge to generate patterns and effects, PhotoSEAM for seamless tiling aid, and ArtRage 2 for wildacious sketch-skillz.

My sources of inspiration are many and varied, from the video installations of Nam June Paik, to more obtuse glitch art, to the lush environmental stylings found in Bjork videos like "Joga". I suppose it's difficult for me to summarize neatly, but if you have any particular fave textures, I'd likely remember the tale of how it came to be — each name has a special meaning. (Yes, I was gorged out on Dune when I did "Harkonnen Cloak".)


What are my rights to use Torley Textures?

Simple: you can use them for almost any purpose you want, with the rare exception of reselling them as-is, because why do that if I'm giving them away for free? I won't try to stop you, I just think it's a bad idea.

YES! You can use Torley Textures on creations you sell. E.g., you make a chair, car, or house with them. Go ahead and prosper.

YES! You can use them on/in freebies you distribute.

YES! You can mod them to suit your needs better.

Please show me what you make with 'em.

Can you help me use my SpaceNavigator?

Lemme guess, you watched the SpaceNavigator video tutorials, yes? Glad you did! I enjoy my SN a lot.

While I can't provide individual support for this, I recommend visiting the SpaceNavigator page for support.