BY STAFF WRITER FERAL MOSSRIDER
Last week I looked at the basics of stepping up a gear as a new Resident in Second Life and taking on a more convincing appearance. Hopefully you also gained some pointers as to some of the more fundamental things that every self-respecting avatar needs to have a grasp of if they intend making their mark in the virtual world.
This week, I’m going to concentrate on how to progress much further than simply having a decent change of clothes – I’m assuming you’re in Second Life for the long haul, so looking good and knowing the basics is just the starting point. Here’s a few more tips to launch you towards Second Life success!
6 – Staying out of trouble
Just like the real world, there are dodgy customers in Second Life. Until you know what you’re doing and what you really want to get out of Second Life, be wary of seasoned residents who are eager to make your acquaintance or seek your friendship, particularly if you’re unsure about some of the groups and picks in their profile.
Of course, you may be intrigued about becoming a vampire or a member of someone’s ‘family’, but do your research first – anything you do in Second Life should be your choice and although it may only seem like a ‘game’, you might be surprised at how deeply it’s possible to engage with Second Life – so, don’t take sweets off strangers, don’t accept lifts from strange men and always remember you can politely decline any invitation, or leave at any time.
Remember too, as a resident, your behaviour affects other people – brash, bullying and obnoxious behaviour isn’t going to make you any friends. Be respectful of other people’s wishes and be aware of the standards of behaviour expected in some parts of Second Life – do this and you’ll get on just fine.
7 – Jargon and quirks
Second Life is full of it’s own jargon and has lots of little quirks that can be completely confusing for the beginner. Relax! If somebody starts wittering on about frame rates, sculpties and draw distances and you have no idea what they’re talking about, just ask them to explain – the vast majority of residents will take their time to talk you through the technical intricacies of Second Life, (and will enjoy doing it!)
Similarly, if you’re not sure how something works, try asking for help – (“can someone tell me where I click to dance, please?”) – failing that, clicking on likely objects or sitting on them will often achieve the desired result, or at worst will result in a humorous anecdote for you to retell in later years!
8 – Plan for the future
This might seem a strange thing to be thinking of when you’ve only just started on your Second Life journey but a common sense approach now will save you a whole heap of hassle later on.
Remember what I said about staying away from freebie malls? No matter what you might think now, believe me, you will never have any use for a box full of 500 different houses, vehicles or cat ears. Just because you can get everything imaginable – and quite a few things you’d never have imagined – for nothing in Second Life does not mean that you need them – you don’t! If you insist on squirreling away 300 pairs of fishnet stockings and latex boots now, you’re only making work for yourself in the future, when you’ll spend hours deleting them!
If you absolutely must have them – can I suggest you create a ‘Pending’ folder with the date you made it, in your inventory. If you still haven’t opened it within a month, you never will and you can safely delete it, there and then.
Now is also the perfect time to get organised. Most noobs treat their inventory like a dumpster, throwing everything in there completely randomly. Spend ten minutes a day now to organise everything properly or be prepared to spend ten days trying to make sense of it some time in the future. When you have to search through a 10,000 item, haphazardly organised monster, just to find a pair of shoes, you’ll wish you’d paid more attention to me! Create sensibly named folders -‘Summer clothes'; ‘Boots'; ‘Guitars’… and religiously put things away in them as soon as you get them and you’ll thank me, I promise you.
9 – Making a fast buck
I’ve left this until almost last because it’s one of the least important things you need to know in Second Life as a newcomer. Let’s put this simply – making a decent amount of money in Second Life is just as difficult as doing the same in the real world.
If you’re really serious about making money, here’s some hard facts – it will take a lot of your time; it will take talent, perseverance and commitment; it will cost you money, (probably real money, as well as Lindens); and you are very unlikely to become rich.
Still want to try it? Fair enough, you’ll need to find something you’re good at, maybe writing, playing music or DJ-ing, and then find an outlet for it. Most things like this will attract ‘tips’, although these will never reflect the outlay in time and effort you’ve put into what you do. As a noob, you’ll, no doubt, be tempted to try pole-dancing or something similar… By all means, give it a go, but it’s not that lucrative and, to make anything like worthwhile money, you’ll first have to invest in a suitable body and attire, which will probably cost more than your first year’s tips put together.
Alternatively, you can teach yourself to build – find a sandbox somewhere, (just type ‘public sandbox’ into search), and play at creating things until you can do it well, then you can consider selling your creations… this, I’m afraid will ultimately cost you money, although the return can be worthwhile – the same applies to creating clothing.
What… you still want to try making a fast buck? OK – provided you’re no more than 30 days old, type ‘money tree’ into search. Yes, in Second Life, money really does grow on trees for noobs and, with a bit of luck, after a day’s searching you should have more than enough to buy a couple of beers. There are also still a few ‘camping’ spots to be found in Second Life – nothing to do with tents -basically you stay sat in one spot, for which you’ll be paid a fixed rate for your efforts – expect anything up to L$10 an hour for the privilege. A variation on camping, sends you to various beacons, where you’ll have to hang around for a fixed amount of time to claim your reward. You’ll also find collectable coins (usually worth a fraction of a Linden) and surveys that pay real money – you can do the same on the web and make more. Frankly, you can find better ways to spend your time!
10 – Enjoy
A fairly obvious tip, but one that’s easily forgotten. Second Life should be fun – if it’s not, you’re doing it wrong. Don’t come along with false expectations -it’s not World of Warcraft or The Sims, neither is it slick, fast or instantly gratifying. Keep an open mind, be prepared to explore and, above all, enjoy the experience!