What is Second Life?

What is Second Life (and Other Questions)

Q. What is Second Life?

A. Second Life is an online 3-D virtual world, which can be thought of as a computer simulation but much larger. It is inhabited by many thousands of users whom interact with the world and one another through personal avatars. The users can do a number of things from building, exploring, socializing, and more.

Wikipedia has it’s definition here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Second_Life

Q. How Does One Play Second Life?

A. Go to secondlife.com, and see if your computer meets the system requirements. You then register an account, and follow the directions on how to download and instal the viewer. One signs into the viewer by entering the account name and password.

Q. What Do You Do in Second Life?

A. Residents can do a number of activities. What you do depends on what interests you. One can build buildings, trees, and other objects. One can even build castles, city blocks, and other large builds. One can go about exploring other builds. One can participate in games within the Grid. And residents can meet up with one another and socialize.

Q. How Do You Kill Something?

A. Most of Second Life isn’t set up for combat. There are weapons, but in most places they don’t do more than just annoy the target. Some places are “damage-enabled,” in which case taking too much damage will “kill” the avatar and send it back to it’s home area. There are combat games in which players can spar with one another in vehicles or personal weapons. They often need for the player to have the avatar wear a Heads Up Display or HUD to keep track of damage taken and given. But for most of Second Life, no, you can’t kill things.

Q. How Do You Make Money?

A. Second Life’s commerce is done through a currency called Linden Dollars, known simply as “Lindens” by residents. There are a number of ways to get them. 1. Buy them directly from Linden Lab, or a third-party reseller (such as Podex http://www.podex.info/ which sponsors SL Newser). 2) Get a job in Second Life, which can be as simple as being a club dancer, but numerous other occupations are out there from music DJs to security to managers as people often need help with their places and businesses. 3) Learn to build and script, which will allow you to build objects that you can sell with the help of business partners or go into business for yourself. 4) Start a business, which can be a number of things from a club where people can gather and socialize, a mall or store where people can buy virtual goods, a residential estate where people can rent a little piece of land for a virtual home, and more, 5) Other methods, such as winning contests at club and sim events. One common method in the past, at least for those with a lot of time, was “camping,” in which residents would sit in certain spots at places to increase the amount of traffic official statistics gave them. But after Linden Labs made some changes, camping has become much less common. Finally, it should be mentioned there are job fairs in Second life, which one can find a job in real life through.

Q. Why is Second Life Slower Than World of Warcraft (or most other multiplayer online games)?

A. Players in most multiplayer online games can’t interact with the world as they can in Second Life. So there’s less information to stream back and forth. WIth Second Life, not only is the information on the world being processed again and again, but individual avatars also take time to process. Add to this that the content creators have varying levels of skill, some whose items use up more processing power than a more professional creator’s. And the more players present, the more information to process. The result is people and things taking time to appear on the screen, movement looking choppy, etc., what the residents call “lag.”

Q. Are Those Dragons and Animals I See Here?

A. Avatars need not look human. Just like one can wear a set of clothes, one can put on a set of avatar attachments and skins to become something else. Some other kinds of avatars are close to human, such as elves, mermaids, and vampires. You can also look different than human, from the “tiny” avatars, to the “furry” folk, to the “feral” animal avatars, to dragons. A few avatars can be found for free. Most cost some money.

Q. What Are Griefers?

A. Griefers are troublemakers. These immature residents love nothing more than to make others miserable. They have a way or targeting newcomers, and other residents who stand out. In the past, some especially malicious griefers would try to shut down entire sims (though after half an hour or so they'd be back online). Fortunately, griefers haven’t been the problem they were in the past, and it may be weeks or months before a resident runs into one, at least after they get away from that first sim after Welcome Island.

Q. Can You Actually Have SEX in Second Life?

A. Sort of. One can have virtual intimacy in Second Life if that’s what is desired, done through poseballs for the animation, and text chat for the roleplay. There are some places in Second Life that cater to baser desires, such as sex clubs (though unless you're looking for one or a friend invites you over, you may seldom see one). The reasons some residents engage in this are numerous. Some real-life married couples see it as a way to ease the discomfort of business trips or trying something they’re nervous of trying or can’t be done in real life. It should be noted that although there is no VD here, there are other risks, so like in real life it may be a good idea to know someone before “hitting the sheets.”

Q. Isn't Second Life a porn site?

A. In short, no. Calling Second Life a pornographic area is a bit like saying Holland is a Red Light district. It might have one, but there's much much more to the place than that. In a place where adults are free to create what they want, and experience what they want, inevitably a few are going to take advantage of it to satisfy their baser desires. But most places cater to different audiences, and most lands have restrictions on how people can act. Unless an account is Adult-verified, one's avatar can't get to Adult-rated areas. One can go for months without seeing anything pornographic on the Grid.

Q. Where Are Good Places For Newcomers?

A. The places new residents are ported to after Welcome Island are usually crowded, and slow to walk around. Not to mention as in real life, there are those who love to pick on “newbies” and have a way of hanging around there. Many places have a “welcome package” or two for newcomers, and a few signs that dispense notecards with advice. People at social areas are also usually willing to help out a newcomer, especially one whom is polite and thankful. A few places, such as The Shelter - http://slnewserpeople.blogspot.com/2011/03/shelter.html, were made to help out newcomers as their primary mission. 

Q. Will You Give Me Five Hundred Lindens? I’ll Pay You Back.

A. Sorry, no one likes a beggar. *razz*