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Tips and Tricks

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Torley Linden

I'm regularly in the blogs.secondlife.com forums, not just helping where I have knowledge, but staying in touch with our culture and encouraging you HOW to share info easier.

I keep seeing "OMG HELP ME!" questions where the original poster seems at a loss for how to describe something in words, and there's a big gap between what they saw and how they're struggling to explain it. Also consider language barriers: instead of trying to tell, simply SHOW!

Well, that's where we need to go beyond words: whether techy terminology confuses you or you wanna be a more effective, vivid communicator, consider adding pictures and videos to your posts to make it clear what you mean!

It takes a little bit of patience to get started, but hey, so did learning how to read, how to use a computer, and Second Life itself. I have faith in your smartosity!

I've attached multimedia thousands of times, and have seen what a positive difference it makes to have this skill, whether you're asking or answering on SL Answers, reporting a bug, giving a product demo for the Marketplace, and so on! SUPER-USEFUL.

I highly recommend watching this video tutorial, which shows how to take a snapshot in Second Life and put it into a forum post. It's terribly easy.


For further details with tips and tools,

see the "Visual communication" help page

which you can add to. (Please do.)

I'm continuing to be out and about in the forums, promoting these opportunities so you can help others help you. (Clichéd but true, hehe.)

Feel free to ask in the comments if you have process/workflow questions about spicing up your text with pics and vids.

Torley Linden

Saving a couple seconds to do a task in Second Life may not seem like much — until you multiply that by dozens, hundreds, even thousands of times. Minor disruptions to workflow make for severe pain, I know! I've noticed many of the more effective paths have been stumbled across or discovered by experimentation, and while I heart serendipity, it tends to take too long to get consistent results, leaving people going: " AUGH! I wish I knew that earlier!"

I've been creating various "utility help pages" covering repetitive steps — I do the work so you don't have to — and my latest one, fittingly enough, addresses "Different ways to do the same thing" as this featured video shows:


  • A new Resident looking to see if there's an easier way to do basic essentials like moving your avatar
  • An advanced Resi making sure you have the bases covered
  • In a situation that requires adaptation, like running the Second Life Viewer on different platforms (there's a link to PC and Mac shortcut key differences, too)
  • Simply curious about what your options are, so you can make the best choice for your personal preferences

These types of questions come up so often in our forums and elsewhere, and if you spot a hot omission, go ahead and let me know in the comments, or add it to the wiki help page directly (login to wiki.secondlife.com and click the edit tab on the page — I

, too). Here's the jumbo link so ya can't miss it:

Different ways to do the same thing

Torley Linden

There's so much to learn in Second Life that it can totally, understandably be overwhelming at first! Instead of "drinking the ocean" all at once, it helps to KNOW THE BASICS quickly, so you can feel more confident to carry on learning at your own pace. You know what they say: we were all new at one time, and one thing leads to another.

That's why we've added a special "LEARN THE BASICS - Get started with Second Life" part to our sidebar, elegantly brought to you by Experience Design (aka xD, lol) at Linden Lab! Click the Second Life eye-in-hand logo, then scroll down. As shown here:


 

Indeed, embracing the rich diversity of learning styles we have here, I've also done a video to show you the same steps. Whether you're a new Resident (friendly greetings to you!) or a veteran who wants to (1) help a friend or (2) get re-acquainted with skillz, this resource is available!


 

Extending help

If you know of more "Learn more" links that'd be handy to include on the wiki help pages as shown in the first video above, feel free to add them (

) to these pages:

Totally gratuitous header

Sidenote which at first glance seems unrelated but actually is quite relevant: I'm currently addicted to Mass Effect 2, and in playing the demo (it's free on Steam), I was wowed at how integral, immersive, and hands-on their basics tutorial is. After a cinematic intro, they bring throw you into the tense heat of battle, and I've long been fascinated with how stressful experiences (both positive and negative, even simulated ones) become imprinted on your mind. Later on, ME2 shows advanced combat training video tutorials, which taught me how to execute biotics on several targets simultaneously.

My point here is: have you been wowed by any introductory tutorials out there, from games to webapps to kitchen products? I believe education should be vivid and passionate (not eyes-bleed-boring as is the case with so much "technical documentation", blah), and always like learning what's possible outside of SL, then applying it inworld. SO — please share what you enjoy.

Torley Linden

Residents asking if the Second Life Viewer is compatible with Windows 7 is a very hot! question in the forums.

The answer is YES, the Second Life Viewer is supported on both 32-bit and 64-bit Windows 7.

Long story short: the current System Requirements page is confusing because it says "Windows 7 (32-bit only)". That refers to the Viewer being a 32-bit executable, not that "Second Life only works with 32-bit Windows 7".

A SysReq update is pending, but since this is often a time-sensitive question that affects the next operating system and computer you choose (and what a pain it is to change that once you've installed), I've chopped the slop and put up a wiki help page (which can be updated in seconds) to clarify this, with more details. Special thanks to Q and Esbee Linden for confirmation. Bookmark and share with your friends:

Windows 7 compatibility help page

Move lively context found in this forum thread which you can comment on, thanks to Irene Muni for encouraging more visibility.

Torley Linden

Ah, skyboxes, a special part of Second Life culture alongside other product types like animation overrides and terrain extenders. Not only can our avatars defy gravity, our buildings can, too. That's right, you can rez (create) something in the air and it'll just stick there. Somewhat self-explanatory skyboxes have been with us since near the beginning of Second Life, and if you're new, you're bound to run across them sooner or later, even if you don't realize it (by checking your height coordinate).

But what do you need to know, and how are skyboxes relevant to you? And hey, how do you get up there, anyway?


 

Whether you're looking to make your castle in the clouds or purely want to explore that extravagant third dimension, there's more help in...

The Guide o' Skyboxes

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3557/3431138779_0b8572f053_z.jpg

As always, let me know what's missing from this guide that could make it awesomer, or go ahead and edit the wiki help page (

). Your suggestions will help spread cultural knowledge that future generations of Residents shall benefit from!
Torley Linden

No matter how much changes here, some things are still around. Among them, classic clouds.

Do you turn classic clouds on or off (or switch depending on context), and why?

Also relevant: if you didn't know you could turn them off — maybe you're a new Resident — you should try and decide for yourself!

After my last post on skyboxes, classic clouds is a natural followup topic: the ground, water, and clouds are so much of what you see in Second Life, so changing their appearance (or entirely removing them from view) can have a massive effect on your inworld experience. Think about the real-world and how even hearing rain results in, uh, a certain urge.

I show you how classic clouds affect performance here:


 

And there's...

More on the "Classic clouds" help page

Torley Linden

Do you want to have Second Life instant messages forwarded to your email address when you're not logged in? Or do you get many IMs and find them spammy? Whatever your choice, you can

toggle offline instant messages (IMs)

^ As that help page explains, you can do it from Account > Contact Information in your secondlife.com Dashboard, which is handy if you're somewhere you can't login to Second Life, or would rather not bother logging in. (I love convenience, don't you?)

While you're at it, you can also change your email address on the same page.

Dashboard - Account - Contact Information.png

Torley Linden

There's an amazing array of events in Second Life. Many of them have "real world" analogues... with a twist! For example, first life concerts aren't inundated with nearly as many ASCII art audience reactions.   Whether you want to attend a crowded party that packs the hizzouse or are more into relaxing art shows, all that's missing is HOW TO FIND THOSE EVENTS, ARRRR.

Well fear not! I've been compiling a

Guide to Finding Events

which, as the name apparently suggests, is exactly about that. It covers the default secondlife.com and in-Viewer events search, as well as manual methods, and Resident-created callouts. Try 'em all out and see what's most comfortable for you, because your interests are an extrusion of your unique personality! I happen to enjoy the serendipitous spontaneity of flashmobbing. I used to drop in on gameshows a lot because I'm trivia crazy. And I ♥ seeing many awesome avatars in the same place at once, 'cuz having a remarkable avatar is a key conversation-starter.

But I'm sure stuff is missing from this guide, which is where you come in.

Let me know your favorite ways to find events in this forum thread,

such as... hunting the green dots, those "poker chip stacks"!


 

But do heed this gem from Veritable Quandry in response:

I should caution that TP'ing directly to a spot with two dots can have...interesting results.

Wise words. And this being Second Life, it's not limited to two dots, either.

Torley Linden

Fall is upon and so's Second Life Viewer 2.2! As highlighted in Esbee's post, Viewer 2.2 brings more of the "little stuff that makes a big difference".

In this video, I show you some of the tweaks that could/should very well find themselves into your daily Second Life — from common-sense button bar reordering to Mini-Map improvements — all so you can get on and enjoy.


 

Don't forget to check out our Release Notes for more details. Many of the 2.2 changes are linked to Bug Tracker issues with explanations, to help you understand the "story" behind why and how something got fixed.

Torley Linden

Along with general usability touch-ups, Viewer 2.2 also brings a builder-friendly feature, useful in situations like making a single texture appear cohesive across several prims. Esbee summarizes this as:

Builders can more easily align textures across linked prims using planar mapping:  This feature allows builders to align textures across faces so that  several prims can look like a single prim. Simply select the faces of a  set of linked prims, then open the Textures tab of the Build tool, make  sure your Mapping setting is set to “Planar”, then click the checkbox  labeled “Align planar faces.”

This video shows you how you can get started making it work in action, which looks like magic. And we like magic.


 

More context behind this feature's benefits and limitations can be found in SNOW-586 (which almost reads like a patch's equivalent of a How It's Made ep), and a gracious thank-you to Resident Thickbrick Sleaford and others who helped get it into release.

Even with Mesh on the horizon, "classic" prims continue to enjoy broad use. As I like to say: simply use what's useful. And keep being creative!

Torley Linden

Jack Linden recently announced "Viewer 2.3 Beta Available Today With Display Names and More"! In response to hot Resident requests, we made a bunch of design upgrades so that it's simple to do some everyday things you'll be using often.

Question: "How can I grab a complicated display name made out of characters I can't even type?"

Answer: We've added an easy Copy To Clipboard button. All you need to do is open a Resident's profile, which is is accessible in many places via an inspector (green circle icon with an "i").

Just click Copy To Clipboard, then Ctrl-V (Cmd-V on Mac) to paste both the display name and unchangeable username in any standard text field, including outside of Second Life. This video shows you how in action:


 

Remember, this is currently only available in the Viewer 2.3 Beta, so be sure to get the special Viewer and go to a supported region like this:

Because we need to ensure that Display Names operates correctly, we will  not enable Display Names for the entire grid immediately. Today, it  will work in a few thousand regions; once we see how it performs,  we  will dial that up over the next few weeks until the whole grid is  enabled. If you want to try using Display Names, then head to Blake Sea  and Bay City, as those areas will be enabled first.

Learn more about display names in our help pages!

^ I was writing these but have been transitioning them into the care of Bea Linden, feel free to comment and let us know your suggestions.

Torley Linden

Skip if you already know this — apparently it's been around for awhile and I had no clue.

You can drag an open texture preview onto any applicable surface, whether it's a prim face or a profile picture.


 

This may be a quick shortcut if you've already got a texture open and were under the assumption (like me) that you had to drag it from the PICK: TEXTURE window or from your inventory.

What's a Second Life trick that you wish you discovered earlier, because it seems totally obvious in hindsight?

(Don't be shy, there's always something new to discover in Second Life, and I encourage this curiosity! The only wrong answer is not learning.)

Torley Linden

What if I told you that

you can get less lag in seconds, with a few simple clicks?

No, this ain't a scam, but like some infomercials, it's completely risk-free. Y'see, I love "smart" defaults because they help give us a better experience out of the box, whether we're new to Second Life or doing a fresh install. But I keep coming across Resis who, despite having a fat broadband connection, feel "laggy" because they didn't know they could up their Maximum Bandwidth.

GOOD GOSH. SPREAD THE WORD:

One of the not-so-bright defaults, as I griped about with you guys some time ago (the Internet never forgets), is the default Maximum Bandwidth setting. It defaults to 500 kbps, which makes no sense because HELLO WE'RE NOT ON DIAL-UP ANYMORE.

But srsly, like Geordi La Forge said on Reading Rainbow, you don't have to take my word for it. Try it yourself.

  1. Go to Me menu > Preferences.
  2. In PREFERENCES window, click Setup tab.
  3. Move Maximum bandwidth slider all the way to the right... yeah, crank that baby!

(Supposedly years ago, setting your Max. Bandwidth too high would result in bad packet loss and overall decreased performance, but tell me if you still notice that. It may not even be true anymore.)


 

Links to followup on:

Torley Linden

One of the new features we've introduced with Viewer 2.3 Beta are "hints", little text bubbles that come up and tell you more about a feature when appropriate. You may be familiar with this convention in other apps. For example, if someone types to you, you get a prompt on how to text chat. And there's one for the new display names feature too.

http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4147/5123161205_63761fb3b4_o.png

You can click the "X" to hide a hint, but if you'd rather globally turn them off, just disable Help menu > Enable Hints

http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4031/5143122180_cbb27451a2_o.png

Torley Linden

This is another one of those "Mmm subtle" kinda tips. You may already know that with Viewer 2.x, we've superbly integrated SLurls (web-compatible links that teleport you to a specific Second Life place, as used in the Destination Guide), and that pasting a SLurl into chat shows it in brief.

Side tip: Pasting a SLurl can be a quicker way of broadcasting it to nearby friends while traveling as a group, instead of having to drag a landmark on each person or send individual teleport requests.

Did you also know that SLurl-pasting works the same way in your profile? Watch this video to see how you can easily include a favorite SLurl or more in your profile, so others can come visit.


 

What's your fave creative use for SLurls that more Residents should know about?

Torley Linden

Ever wonder why other avatars are striding so pretty while you march like a soldier-duck hybrid?

That's because they have animation overrides, scripted objects that replace your default animations with way cooler ones when worn.

All you usually need to do is right-click and Wear the AO in your inventory, then click an ON button (if it's not automatically activated).

Yes, they're that awesome.

In this friendly video, I show you exactly what animation overrides are and what they can do for your avatar's expression. This is an essential Second Life thing to know, because everyone comes across them sooner or later. (I've often been asked "Why is my avie not walking like yours in a video you made?")


 

Special thanks to Hellespont Hoorenbeek for reminding me I needed to do this, it's a great example of a "SHOW IT IN MOTION" question that deserves to vividly be answered.

What other essential product types should all Residents know about?

Torley Linden

Even if your real-world home is in a land of palm trees, you can still enjoy winter responsibly in Second Life! With US Thanksgiving a few days away, winter is upon us and I've been visiting all the Winter Activities in the Destination Guide. Have a cool (hehe) place? Submit it! My wife Ravenelle and I have also been shopping at the Marketplace, because what says "Happy Holidays!" better than being a good consumer, right?  

If Second Life's sky and water still look too — well, warm — for your snowbound tastes, you can achieve a winter look in seconds. I've touched upon similar things in years past, but for the current Viewer 2.3 UI, you oughta see how easy it is in this video.


 

Basically,

  1. Select World menu > Sun > Environment Editor.
  2. Click Advanced Sky button.
  3. Select Foggy from Sky Presets dropdown menu.
  4. Click LIGHTING tab.
  5. Increase Ambient sliders to taste... you can have a warmer or colder sky this way, or overall brighter as I do here with all set to 0.22.

Many more WindLight/sky/atmospheric settings are here for your downloading pleasure.

And oh, the sled in the video can be acquired here — it was such a Matrix-esque moment of "We need guns!" except, we needed sleds, and Naxos Loon and Lita Withnail came to join us. The spontaneous rush can't be beat. Here we are all "AHHHH AIR!!!!"

four crazy people on a sled - Torley Linden

The reindeer are coming out too, red noses and all.

we'll be reindeer whisperers - Torley Linden

I'm intensely exploring Second Life and you can visit Here island (my home) and you can watch my adventures. Who knows when you might bump into me? Don't forget to ask for my bear.

Now go take some pictures and video and be hawt... in the cold.

Torley Linden

My Tips & Tricks are directly influenced by what you — Residents of Second Life — ask for (my inbox, comments, the forums, inworld itself) because useful + fun knowledge has a massive effect on your inworld experience. From "I wish I knew that earlier!" basics to "This should be a supported feature..." esoterica, it's my call of duty to keep you covered. I'm like your Vault Boy in times of the post-apocalypse, know what I'm sayin'?

http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5006/5227246978_04d87ce07c_z.jpg

Inevitably, I received requests to teach you (as a fellow artiste, hehe) how to do the experimental depth of field (DOF) effect that was introduced into a cutting-edge build of the Mesh Viewer. (Thanks for the heads-up, Runitai!) Long ago, I had a manual tutorial on such a thing, and while this feature doesn't let you get hearts-and-stars bokeh, it's still snazzy and BUILT RIGHT IN. Whether you take photos or make movies in Second Life or just want a more "gamelike" experience — since a DOF shader effect is in many hot titles, including the impressively bleak Metro 2033 that I recently soldiered through... "ARTYOM! SHSHSHSHHH" — depth of field is pretty. But it's not just eye candy, because creative expression is an ultimate power.

So yeah, obligatory video so you can cut through the claptrap and get to the good stuff:


 

Big red disclaimer that THIS IS PROTOTYPE, Resident-contributed videos, text instructions and more tips are on this help page, feel free to edit it. Make it awesomer. Let's show the world what we can do. You know the thrill:

Depth of field (DOF) help page

post ur pix and vids in comments plz ^^

 

 

Trivia: there are 6 references to games that use DOF above. Spot them all.

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