Second Life: Making a Nice Avatar
Second Life is hard to get started in when you have no idea what to do. It’s not a video game with directions, and most of the time it's easy to get lost. But we want to help you look less like a noob. So here is a guide to help you create a nice looking avatar in Second Life.
First, when you make your character, I would not suggest downloading the Second Life viewer. It’s disorganized and is very uncomfortable to use. Instead, get either Singularity or Firestorm. Singularity doesn’t have as many options and cool gadgets as Firestorm, but it is easier on the computer.
Once you log into Second Life, you can either do the small tutorial, which teaches you how to walk and fly, or you can skip it.
Looking down at the bottom of your screen, you will notice the “search” option.
When you click it, a window will pop up. This window has a lot of tabs: All, Classifieds, Events, Showcase, Land Sales, Places, People, Groups, Marketplace, and Web. Yes, it’s a lot -- and a bit overwhelming at first. For this guide we will be focusing on the Places tab.
The Places tab will be used for going to different stores that have the items you need.
In the Places screen, you will type a keyword to search through the multitudes of sims (that's what land is called in Second Life) that are tagged with that search word. The first things you are going to want to search for are Shapes, Skins, Hair, and Clothes. Do these separately, or else you won't get a search result. Once you hit enter, you will see a long list of places that you can choose from. On the right it shows the traffic those places get, though high traffic doesn’t always mean the best things are there.
Each store you go to offers different looks for your appearance, so feel free to travel to many stores to find the style you want. Every creator has a different style of product they offer, which is why there are so many stores available. The Places tab helps you to look through the list of stores and gives a description that could hint at what style they offer.
Lindens and Freebies
If you want good items in Second Life, you need Lindens, which cost real-life money. It’s not very expensive -- $10.30 is what you'll pay to get 2,500 Lindens. If you spend it carefully, that can get you a Shape, Skin, Hair, and an Outfit.
A high-quality non-mesh shape and skin can cost around L$ 1, 500, and high-quality mesh shapes can cost around L$ 2,500 or more. High-quality hair in Second Life is usually mesh and can work with the non-mesh standard avatar. The hair will cost you around L$ 250 and some stores will offer them in multiple colors. Then a mesh outfit can have a variety of costs. All prices are set by their creators, and the industry is wide scale, so somewhere out there the price will be right. Just remember to try the demo before you buy.
If you don’t have any money to buy L$ then you can always try freebies. I would not suggest going to places that only give freebies. These are low-quality items and usually just waste away in your inventory. I would suggest going to places you already searched for.
Usually, the places you have visited have something that is called a “lucky chair”, a “lucky board”, or “Midnight Mania/Madness”. The lucky chairs and lucky boards will show a letter. If the letter matches the first letter in your name then you just sit or click and receive the item. It can take some time, but you will get some good items this way.
There are also shops that may offer free items -- this is rare, but it can happen. So just be vigilant.
Marketplace and Unboxing
Since I have taught you the hard way of shopping, let me teach you the easy way. Go to the Marketplace and search for the items you want. When you find an item add it to your cart (again, remember to try the demo -- there are no returns in Second Life). Then head to checkout. The item will appear in the Recent tab of your inventory, listed under Received Items.
Once you attach the item, you may notice that it is a box. No, you didn’t get ripped off. You will need to unbox the item to get the product. Before you go rezzing the item (rezzing is a term used when loading something in world) make sure you are on land that allows you to rez. Look at the top of your screen -- if you see a yellow box and a red circle with a line through it, like the “no smoking” sign, does then you can’t rez there.
Go back to your search button and type “sandbox”. Scroll through til you find an appropriate place you would like to teleport to. Sandboxes are places that allow people to create and rez objects. I suggest looking for low traffic sandboxes.
Detach the item from your avatar by going back into your inventory and right-clicking the item, then clicking detach. Click and hold the item in your inventory, then drag it to the ground. It will rez on the ground as the box it came in. You need to right click the box, which will bring up a circle of options. Press open, and then copy to inventory. Now you have the items unboxed and in your inventory.
Detach the Old and Attach the New
Before you go putting on your new shape and skin, you will need to detach your Second Life standard mesh avatar. This can be tricky and annoying.
Go into your inventory and go to the Worn Items tab. You will see the items you are currently wearing and you need to detach them all. Once you have done that, go ahead and put your shape and skin on. Yes, this will leave you naked in the middle of a sandbox, but there is a reason for this. You need to see if your avatar will show up or not.
If your avatar isn’t showing, up try re-logging first. Once you have re-logged, if you are still having trouble seeing your character, go to the top of your screen and look at the tabs. You want to go to Advanced, then to Character, then to Character Test, then either Test Male or Test Female. This should make your character a standard Second Life non-mesh avatar with a horrible outfit on. However, this does fix the bug.
Now go ahead and attach your shape and skin, detach all the other items and clothes that you have on, and attach the hair and outfit you bought.
There you go! Your avatar is ready to explore the depths of Second Life. But don’t go too far -- there is some weird stuff.