Things to do When You’re New and Alone


See other notecards for more details on how to do the following. This is just a quick overview.

1. Explore and use the Search (I love random searches for all kinds of cool key words).
2. Obtain freebie items from various vendors. It’s amazing how many vendors will have freebie boxes for newbies — usually older or “teaser” creations. They’re fun to collect and try. Usually they’re located at the entrance of a shop if they have them.

3. Edit your shape or buy one. Don’t forget to save different versions along the way.

4. Make or buy a skin. Buy lots of demos. Don’t forget to try skins on while wearing underwear (if you’re in a public place).

5. Realize that there are two ways you can interact with an object (i.e. sit on a chair/couch/bed). Either (a) right click the item and choose the appropriate action from the resulting PIE MENU (i.e. “sit”), OR (b) click/touch the item and you will receive an interactive menu popup giving you various choices (click your way through the meny as appropriate).

6. Make or buy some clothes. They can be fun to experiment with.

7. Explore and use the Search. (yes, this bears repeating… constantly)

8. Make friends (if you haven’t already). If you’re shy or need help, try a Tiny or non-human avatar! Consider joining some Groups (use the [Search] at the bottom of the screen, then click the [Groups] tab and search for your interests). Attending events (Search> Events> Category…) can also make you some new friends.

9. Repeat 7 and 8 and eventually you’ll find your stride, SL will find you, and you’ll discover your SL passion.

10. Find a nice place to set your home to (click on the main menu’s World> Set Home to Here once you are where you wish to set your home position). I suggest a quiet corner of a public garden. You can change your home location any time.

11. Just fly!

12. Click the [Search] button on the bottom of your screen, go to the [Events] tab, pick a [Category] you’re in the mood for and review the results. Education will provide courses on building and more!

13. Fill in your Profile. You will find that people, on the whole, are a lot more responsive when you have some basic information in your Profile. Giving our RL (1st life) information is at your discretion, but have fun with your SL Profile. And don’t forget to add a picture when you have L$10 to spare and take a snapshot of yourself in your favourite SL hang out.

To edit your Profile, right click yourself and click [Profile…]. Fill in whatever you’re comfortable with.

Don’t forget to add places to your Picks and fill out the other tabs as you have the time and inclination.

14. Take a snapshot of yourself and transfer the snapshot to your Profile. Click File> Take Snapshot> Upload a snapshot. The rest should be self explanatory. Open your Profile, click where a photo should be of your 2nd life and choose the snapshot from your inventory.

15. Check out Pathfinder Linden’s latest 10 cool places to explore (??). Obtain the latest list for Parks & Recreation regions (??).

Additional Resources (directly from the Second Life Forums) Guide: Second Life Frequently Asked Questions

Key words: faqs about sl second life guides play

If you are new to SL, here are some answers to some of the most often asked questions. If you are already a veteran, please keep this card and hand it out to new residents.

Q. What do I do here?

This world is completely open ended — there are no goals. People create whatever they can imagine, or explore the things and events that others create. It’s complete madness and addictive as hell… Welcome =)

Second Life is a virtual 3d community. There are no levels, requirements, or goals for what you need to do here. The world is the most open-ended 3d community ever made, and you are given the tools to create nearly anything you can imagine.

You are free to explore, build, sculpt, socialize, design clothes, play games, write scripts, host an event, DJ music, throw a party, make a game, publish a magazine, dance, create a new look for yourself, or whatever you’re inspired to do.

If you’re not sure what to do first, I recommend going out to explore the world and attend some events and basic classes in the first week they are here. Click the SEARCH button and then the Events tab at the bottom of your screen to see what events are going on today. All event times are listed as Pacific time, which is shown at the top right corner of your screen.

You can also find some great builds by clicking the SEARCH button and opening the Popular Places tab.

You can teleport to any location by clicking the Teleport button near the event or location shown. After teleporting, you will arrive near the location, but then must walk or fly toward the red arrow/beacon to get to it.

Q. How do I make money?

You can make money by:

1. selling things that you create

2. hosting an educational event

3. winning a prize at an event

Additionally, every Tuesday morning you recieve a weekly “stipend” (if you have purchased a premium account).

If you need some quick cash in a rush, you can always purchase Linden Dollars with real money on third-party exchange sites, such as [1]. As of this writing, the typical exchange rate is about 276 Linden Dollars for 1 US Dollar, but the price varies with demand.

Q. Why is this so slow?

SL is a very complex 3d application which consumes much of your computer’s CPU, memory, video, and network resources, moreso than nearly all other 3d programs; this is because the world that you see is completely dynamic, and must be updated in real-time for everyone anytime something changes.

Most 3d games have pre-compiled “maps” that have everything set in stone so that much of the difficult processing has been pre-computed ahead of time. These maps are large files which describe what is mostly a static non-moving non-dynamic scene. However, SL has no pre-compiled maps.

Everything in SL has to come to you quickly and is able to change at any moment. This includes avatar movments, clothes, animations, object positions, rotations, textures, and sounds. The ground could rise or fall from a lake to a mountain, trees can be placed, moved, or removed, the sky changes throughout the day with the position of the sun, and shadows move with it. Additionally there is dynamic weather with a complex wind model that our movements can affect and be affected by.

Due to all of these dynamic aspects, you will not get the same frame rate as you do in “First Person Shooter” games and the like. Fortunately, you do not need extremely high frame rates in SL, because it’s not a “twitchy” game that requires fast reflexes to enjoy. SL is more of a social environment.

To see how your computer is performing, press Cntr-Shift-1 and open the Basic pulldown (if it’s not already open) by clicking on the word Basic.

Typical numbers here should be:

1. FPS: 10-20 in an uncrowded area (higher is better)

2. Bandwidth: 20-100kbps after you’ve been in an area for a few mintes and everything has loaded

3. Ping User or Ping Sim: 100-200 if you are in the USA/Canada (lower is better)

4. Packet Loss: 0.0% (optimally, though occasional packet loss is expected)

Also be sure any other resource-intensive programs are closed (i.e. file sharing programs)

Q. How do I detach something from my head? (or other body part)

You can attach nearly any 3d object you build to your body in any of 30 points on your avatar’s skeleton. Sometimes you may do this by accident and want to remove the object. There are various ways to detach attached objects:

Right-click on the object (make sure the point on your mouse is right on the specific object surface), choose Detach.

Find the item in your inventory, right click and pick Take Off.

Right click on your avatar, select Take Off> then Detach All (this will remove all attachments).

Go to the Edit menu, select Detach Object, then pick the highlighted skeletal region where the object is attached.

If all of these fail to work, then the attachment is probably “ghosted” (not really there, but still shows so). The only reliable way to clear ghosting is to log out of Second Life and log back in again.

Q. Where do I buy new clothes? (or other things)

There are stores spread all around the world in SL. The easiest way to find stores is to click on the SEARCH button at the bottom of your screen, click the Places tab (refine to Shopping from the drop down list), and enter a search term in the Find field.

Clothing varies widely in price and quality, so shop around before spending a lot, to get a feel for who sells good quality for fair prices.

To buy an item, you typically just right click on it, and select Buy. But if this is not available, but the Pay option is, then you are probably dealing with a scripted vending machine (see next question).

Many people who sell things in SL are quite helpful if you have any questions about an item for sale, just send an IM to the person who owns it.

Caution: Be careful about buying things from people who are not the creator of the object, especially if they do not appear to be professionally organized. Some less honest people like to collect objects which are free to the public, and then sell them to unspecting new residents.

Q. How do I use a vending machine?

All vending machines look and work slightly differently, but most have a commonly understood set of behaviors. Typically they have arrow buttons to navigate forward and backward. The vending machine will usually indicate the price of the current object you are viewing.

In most situations, you right click and Pay the vending machine the specified amount to buy the shown object. After doing so, the vending machine will dispense the object to you, but you must be sure to click Accept to take the object into your inventory. If you do not Accept the object (i.e. accidently hit Decline), the vending machine will not know, and you will have to contact the store owner to recieve the copy you just paid for.

The item you purchased will be delivered to your inventory in one of two ways: a folder most likely named for the item you bought, or a box in your Object folder. Check both locations.

Q. I purchased some clothes, but all i see is a box. How do I wear the clothes?

Sometimes older clothing items are sold in simple containers that require you to “open” them up to get the contents. If you purchase clothing that comes in a box, you will have to extract the clothing objects from the box container and put them into your inventory before wearing them.

To do so, go to a place where you can build, drag the box from your inventory to the ground, right click the box, choose edit, click on the More >> button (unless it already says << Less), click on the Content tab, and then drag each item in the list from the item’s contents to your inventory’s clothing folder.

Q. How do I become a landowner?

There are two concepts to be aware of for owning land — purchase and maintenance.

Purchasing land is a one-time cost that occurs at the time you actually claim the land as yours.

Maintenance is the monthly cost you pay to Linden Labs for the peak amount of land that you owned during that month.

A *premium* subscription with SL grants you free maintenance on 512 square meters of land, but does not cover the purchase of the land.

You can purchase land from other residents, by clicking the SEARCH button at the bottom of your screen, then selecting the Land Sales tab. Or you can purchase new land on the Second Life auctions, at

Be sure to compare prices of land that is readily available in-world with the prices on the auctions. Most of the time you’ll find the auction prices will come out cheaper, since the readily available land is usually marked up due to it’s convenience.

If you want more land than the 512m you get with your premium membership, or if you have a basic membership and want to own some land, you will have to select a “land tier”. Land tiers range from 512 sq. meters all the way up to 65,536 sq. meters (an entire sim).

You can select a land tier in your Account the Second Life website at [2]

Please note that under normal circumstances, you will be paying *real* money for your land tier (it is added to your subscription fee) if you choose anything above the bottom (zero) tier.

To do this, click the ( SEARCH ) button at the bottom of your screen, go to the Land Sales tab, and search for First Land plots. You will not be allowed to make a First Land purchase after you have owned land in SL, even if you no longer own any.

To purchase a plot of land that’s available, you’ll have to travel to where it’s located, then right click on the surface of the plot (use ‘P’ to toggle parcel borders), select About Land. Once you have reviewed the window and are sure you want to buy it, click Buy Land… to make the purchase.

Q. How far away can people hear what I chat?

People can hear you from up to 20m away for normal chatting, 100m for shouts.

You’ll also notice some chat text is grey and some is white. The grey text is from people who are further away from you.

You can also send Instant Messages directly to people or groups from all across the SL world, just click the ( IM ) button at the bottom left corner of your screen to start an instant message.

Q. What are the basic social rules here?

Second Life is an online community of adults (you must be 18 or older to participate). Due to this standard, it is expected that people will behave maturely and respectfully to their fellow residents. Here are some guidelines for standard etiquette in Second Life:

1. Mature behavior and language should be performed only in regions designated as Mature (as indicated by (M) next to the region name at the top of your SL client window. If you are in a region marked as (PG), you should refrain from speech, behavior, sounds, or images which would not be acceptable to a general audience (similar to broadcast television or a PG rated movie).

2. You should not “push” another person’s avatar, either by intentionally walking into them, or using weapons or scripted objects. If you bump into someone accidently, it is common courtesy to pardon yourself. =)

3. Gun battles and the like should be confined to “Non Safe” regions such as Jessie, Rausch, or resident-owned parcels which are designated as fighting areas (as indicated by a “heart” icon at the top of your screen). Do not shoot at people who have not already consented to a gunfight game.

4. Don’t sell stuff that’s already free to copy.

For the exact rules, read the Terms of Service and Community Standards pages on the website.

Q. What does that abbreviation mean?

Here are some common abbreviations that are mostly unique to Second Life:

SL – Second Life

LL – Linden Lab; the company who made SL

RL – Real Life; the meta-place where you need food, restroom breaks, etc

FL – same as RL (unless they mean Florida)

L$ – Linden Dollars; the virtual currency

AV – Avatar, your second life “body”

LSL – Linden Scripting Language; the language used to program objects in SL

GOM – Gaming Open Market; a currency exchange site

PG – Rating for regions where mature content is not allowed

Q. I joined a group, and now I have a title in front of my name, how do I remove it?

1. Open the Edit menu.

2. Select Groups…

3. Scroll to the top.

4. Select none.

5. Click the Activate button.

Q. How do I set my profile picture?

1. Upload an image under the File menu, this will clost L$10.

2. Locate the image you uploaded in your inventory. It should be in the Textures folder.

3. Open up your profile window by selecting Profile… from the Edit menu.

4. Drag and drop the image from your inventory’s textures folder to the profile picture slot in your profile window.

Q. How should I set my Preferences?

To open the preferences panel, press Ctrl-P or choose Preferences under the Edit menu.

I explain all of the various settings in this separate guide:

If you have any questions which aren’t answered here, please feel free to use the In-World Help feature under the Help menu, or come visit the welcome area in Ahern (100,1) and look for a Mentor or Liasion who may be lurking about there. If you still need help, you can always send an email to

Also, a great place to look for answers or post your questions is on the forums at


Kex Godel

Chage McCoy

Essence Lumin

Guide: Tips for the new player

Key words: help tips advice newbie options hints information suggestions

Welcome to Second Life! There can be a lot of debate about if Second Life (SL) is really a game. There are no mandated goals, we can do as much or as little as we like. Having no goals is a bit hard to get used too, but you will soon see the freedom it allows us. I see SL more a place to play, rather than a game.

I have put together a list of tips that I find myself teaching new players all the time. I hope these tips get you off to a good start.

First and foremost, EXPLORE. It is a big world and there is plenty to see. Keep in mind that most everything you see has been created by the residents. The Lindens give us the servers as a canvas. They have made the welcome area, the telehubs, and a few structures, but about 95 – 98% of what you see is made by us, the residents. Exploring the world, meeting people and seeing what they are working on, will help you with ideas on what you may like to attempt to do.

As you explore, ask questions of people you meet. Many are happy to help out and show off their work. Feel free to explore someones build if they are not around. Most are proud of their work and happy your interested in seeing it. But, if the door is locked or the land is restricted, respect the owners decision on this and just move along and see what else there is to see.

While exploring, you may encounter people that may be too busy to give you their full attention. Respect the fact that they are busy and move along if your not welcomed warmly. Dont take it personally, building and scripting can take a lot of concentration at times.

Some SL exclusive terms you’ll see…

AV, avatar. Your body, who you are, the appearance of your AV can be changed almost infinately.

IM, instant message. IM button is at bottom left of the screen, use this to send a private message to someone, online or offline. If your IM button is flashing, someone is sending you a message.

SIM, simulator, or server. a SIM is a region of the world. (NOTE: more correctly called “region”)

PRIM, primitive. A PRIM is a basic building block.

REZ, to create something. If you take something out of your inventory, you have “rezzed” it.

TP, teleport. People will often ask you to offer them a TP to your location so they can join you. Find this option in the persons profile. You can ask someone to TP you to them.

LM, landmark. A LM is a place located in a sim.

HUB, TELEHUB, and TH, a telehub is a teleport destination. When you choose to TP somewhere, you will arrive at the nearest HUB to the destination, then you can fly or walk the rest of the way.

L$ and US$, Linden Dollars (in world money) and US Dollars.

RL and FL, real life and first life. Places that interfere with SL 🙂

Now for a few tips…

1. Chat History. In big groups, when chat is scrolling pretty fast, chat history can help you get caught up. The command to open chat history is, (CTRL-H).

2. Hold your mouse cursor on anything and everything to see what it is. If you hold your cursor on something, a tool tip will appear and show you a short description of it. You can right click on it to see even more details of it.

3. Right-click on other AVs to see their profile. You can often learn some basic information about the AV without asking. Fill out your profile, let others know a little something about you. Right-click your AV to see what you can do.

4. Saving your AV look. You can have many different AV looks, simply save them as outfits. Right click yourself and go to appearance mode. At the bottom left, you can “make outfit”. To save a whole AV, be sure to include the body parts, your shape, skin, hair, and eyes. Include the clothes and attachments. Then, name the outfit and save. This folder will be saved to your clothing folder. You can simply drag the folder from your inventory to your AV to change in an instant.

5. Removing contents from boxes. Things you buy or aquire often come packed in boxes. To remove the contents, drag the box from your inventory to the ground in front of you. EDIT the box and select MORE to see the details and click on CONTENTS. Then simply drag the contents from the box to your inventory. Once in your inventory, you can use the objects. It is okay to delete the box the contents came in once you have transferred the contents to your inventory.

6. Setting landmarks. If you find a place you like, you can set a LM so you can find it again. Select World/Create Landmark Here from the menu. You might need to rename it, once in your inventory, to remind yourself why you made the LM.

7. Force daylight. While night is often very nice, it can be hard to work in the dark. You must have your Debug menu (located at top next to HELP menu) enabled to force daylight. To toggle the Debug menu on and off, press Alt-Ctrl-Shift-D. Press Ctrl-Shift-N to force daylight. Explore your debug options. There are lots of things you can do to change how you see the world.

8. Snapshot to Disk. Snapshots in game cost L$10. But, you can send high resolution pic to your hard drive for free. The ( ` ) key (above Tab) is default key for this. You can then later review your pics and decide which ones you would like to upload into world.

9. View options for seeing land. If you are looking for land, use the View menu. You can choose Property Lines to see the borders of land parcels, and Land Owners to see who owns parcels. This makes the actual plots more easy to identify.

10. Visit the forums regularly. The forums are a good pulse of the community. You can see ideas and projects others have and it is a good knowledge resource. and for searching the forums…

11. Want to know more about building in SL? Why not the Ivory Tower of Primitives in Noyo – or attend a Basic Building class/event (these are held almost every day, so check the Events listing)

12. If you are struggling with scripting and finding the Linden manual not too helpful why not try: for a scripting resource

13. If you need an injection of money to buy land or whatever else you can buy and sell Linden dollars for US dollars via the Gaming Open Market ( There are installed inworld ATM systems dotted around SL to deposit and withdraw those Linden dollars.

And finally, EXPLORE and have fun!


Loki Pico

Jamie Otis

Guide: Preferences Panel

Key words: preferences options configurations systems video settings

This guide goes through each of the settings in the Preferences panel, and tries to explain what each of them does. I’ve also included with most of them the settings that I’ve found to be most comfortable with my system.

General Tab

Login Location:

This will specify where you appear each time you log in to Second Life. Choose My Last Location to login wherever the last place you last logged out successfully, or choose My Home to login at the location where you last specified Set Home to Here under the World menu (or the welcome area if you haven’t specified a home yet). I usually set this to My Last Location.

Show Names:

The first set of round buttons determine when names should be shown above other people’s heads. Hide My Name On Screen can be checked if you don’t want your own name to appear. Small Avatar Names will use a smaller font to display names if checked. I usually set these to Always, Hide My Name is off, Small Avatar Names is on.

Color For My Effects:

When you chat, teleport, or select something to edit, you’ll see particles floating around in the air coming from your avatar. This lets you specify what color you want those particles to appear. I think this defaults to white, but you can specify any color you like by clicking on the color square.

Away Timeout:

This sets how long before you are automatically marked as away after the Second Life client has detected no input activity from you (from the mouse or keyboard). I recommend setting this around 300 seconds.

Print Online Notifications:

Enabling this will notify you when your friends log in or out of Second Life. This will send a notification for each person who you have a calling card with. Many people turn this off since they have so many calling cards, or they keep their calling cards to just their closest friends. I have this option unchecked because I have hundreds of calling cards.

Rotate Mini-Map:

The little mini-map which can be brought up with Shift+Ctrl+M can be set to either rotate with the direction your avatar is facing, or it can be fixed to always point north to up. Checking this option will make it rotate with the direction you are facing. I keep this option checked.

Notify when money (L$) spent or received:

This will create a pop-up window whenever you spend or receive money while you are online. I keep this enabled so I know when I recieve a sale, and to review how much I just spent to make sure I didn’t mis-type the amount.

Automatically report crashes:

Sometimes, when Second Life crashes, you will be asked if you want to report the crash, to help the developers debug errors in the system. Enabling this will automatically report crashes without asking you. I keep this enabled.

Auto-detect graphics hardware on next startup:

I’m not sure what this does exactly. It’s probably here to help people who hare having problems with their troubleshooting. I keep it unchecked.

Reset Dialogs:

Some “nagging” dialog boxes will have a checkbox which says “Show this next time”. After a while, we tend to have those all turned off. If, for some reason, you want to reset them so they come back, click this button.

Input/Camera tab

Mouse Sensitivity:

This affects how quickly you rotate while in Mouselook (first person) view. I have mine set to about 15% from the left, which I think is the default.

Invert Mouse:

Checking this will invert your up-down movements, so that if you move the mouse up, your camera tilts down. I have this turned off.

Auto Fly:

There are two modes of movement in Second Life: standing and flying. You can toggle between these two modes by pressing the ‘F’ key.

While standing, the ‘E’ key is for jumping, and the ‘C’ key is for crouching down.

While flying, the ‘E’ key moves you up, and the ‘C’ key moves you down.

Enabling this option will make it so that if you hold down the ‘E’ key while standing, you will enter fly mode and go up, and if you hold down the ‘C’ key while flying and touch the ground, you will go into standing mode. I have this option enabled.

Camera Options:

This affects how closely the camera tracks you as you fly or walk around. Using a higher value means the camera will feel “looser” in tracking your position. I usually set this to 10.

Automatic Edit Camera Movement:

Checking this will cause your camera to reorient and rotate when you enter Edit mode. I prefer to leave this checked off.

Automatic Appearance Camera Movement:

Checking this will cause your camera to reorient and rotate when you enter Appearance mode. I prefer to leave this checked off.

Network Tab

Maximum Bandwidth:

This slider lets you specify how fast the world should stream data to you. The number represents thousands of bits per second. I recommend 300 to start, go lower if you get packet loss, go higher if your system can handle it. I tend to stay around 500 — i’ve tried going higher but even though my ISP lets me download other things clearly at 3000 kilobits per second, it seems the SL servers start to give me more trouble if I specify it much higher than 500.

Disk Cache Size:

This specifies how much space will be used on your primary drive to store information that SL has downloaded, to help save having to download it again if you pass back through the same area again at a later time.

While usually larger is better, I’ve noticed a larger cache also degrades my CPU performance because it takes longer to look through a larger cache. I keep this set to 200MB as a compromise between lookup speed and download speed. If you have a slower connection or a faster computer, you may want to set this higher.

Note that every time you install an update to Second Life, your cache files are cleared out and reset.

Graphics Tab

Anisotropic Filtering:

This option improves the subtle appearance of jaggy edges. I have this off.

Local Lighting:

This makes light sources cast light onto everything near them. This can really degrade performance if there are a lot of light sources in your view. I have this off.


This adds a subtle shadow effect on ground surfaces cast opposite the direction of the sun. I turn this on sometimes. It doesn’t seem to have too bad of an effect on performance.

Disable Far Clip:

I’m not sure what this does *exactly*, but checking this seems to extend your view distance, which will result in more objects being displayed and lower performance. I have it unchecked now.

Shiny Objects:

This enables shinyness and bump mapping (Object Bump). Turning this on can have a minor impact on performance. I have this off.

Avatar Rendering:

Normal is a very basic view, and should be selected if you want a higher frame rate. I have this selected.

Bump Mapped will introduce a small amount of additional detail

Bump Mapped & Cloth will cause loose clothing and long hair to slightly wave, as if blown by a small breeze

Terrain Detail:

None will give the fastest display, but lowest quality appearance to the land textures.

Some is a medium performance/quality tradeoff.

Full will show high resolution land textures, but can slow down your frame rate slightly. I have this selected.


This adjusts the darkness of your view. Turning it up will make things darker, turning it down will make things lighter. I have mine set to 0.80.

Nighttime Brightness:

I haven’t played with this option yet. I assume it lets you adjust how dark it gets at night =)

Display resolution:

Select “Run in a window” if you like to do things in the background while SL is open, (ie, open a web browser, check email, etc). If you don’t check “Run in a window”, you can specify what screen resolution you want Second Life to run at in full screen.

Note: You can switch between full screen and windowed mode without changing this setting by pressing Alt+Enter at any time.

Fullscreen Aspect Ratio:

I’m guessing this is probably for people who have non-standard proportioned monitors (not 4:3) to use as an override. If you have an unusual monitor and things seem “squished” or “fattened” to you, you can probably adjust this to get the proportions a little more normal. Most people should be just fine leaving this setting at 1.333 with ‘Auto detect’ on.

Adv. Graphics Tab

AGP Graphics Acceleration:

This gives me about a 25% boost in speed to enable, but not everyone can enable it due to driver or hardware incompatabilities. I’ve also heard some people say that turning this on can slow down their performance. I’d say go to a quiet area, relog, and try it both ways to see if it helps or hurts your frame rate.

Texture Cache Size:

Normally, you set this to ‘Small’ if you have under 512 MB of system memory, or set it to ‘Large’ if you have 512MB or more. However, if you run a lot of programs in the background and only have 512MB of memory, you might want to select ‘Small’ instead just to leave some room and avoid disk swapping.

Video Card Memory:

More than anything, this setting lets you specify how much texture data should be downloaded and displayed. Setting this lower will cause smaller textures to download, but they will probably appear more blurry. Setting this lower will help make textures load faster, but will compromise appearance quality. Most of the time, I keep this set to the size of my video card’s memory for maximum quality.

Object Detail:

This slider compromises speed for quality for the level of detail given to displayed objects. Farther to the right means higher quality, but can cost some speed.

Tree Detail:

This is the same as Object Detail, but applies to the special tree prims.

Avatar Detail:

This is the same as Object Detail, but applies to avatars. Sliding this to the left will make avatars look much less accurately defined.

Avatar Vertex Program:

I’m not exacty sure what this does. This option should usually be enabled unless you see problems with avatar postures (twisting or bending into unnatural shapes).

Show Avatar in Mouselook:

This will make your body and attachments appear while in mouselook (first person) mode. Unchecking this will make you invisible to yourself while in mouselook mode.

Draw Distance:

This setting has the largest effect on your performance. It determines how far into the world you can see. Setting this higher means not only will your video card have to render more objects, but you will have to download a lot more objects as well. I usually keep this set at 128 meters.

Fog Distance Ratio:

If you prefer your view to fade off into fog, set this number lower. If you prefer there to be less or no fog (which means you may see the edge of your draw distance clearly), set it higher. I have it set to the maximum at 4.0.

Drop Draw Distance if FPS <:

If you don’t like your frame rate dropping below a certian threshold, you can set a minimum perferred frame rate here, and the engine will temporarily drop your draw distance to try to achive the frame rate you specify (down to a minimum draw distance of 64m). To disable this feature, set it to zero.

Bumpiness Draw Distance:

If you have Shiny Objects enabled in the Display tab, this will specify how close your camera has to be to an object for it to display with bump mapping (‘Object Bump’ in the texture tab when editing an object). To disable bump mapping altogether, while keeping Shiny Objects enabled, you can set this to zero.

Max Particle Count:

This specifies the maximum number of particles the client will display at once. I usually recommend keeping this at 4096, since using any other value will mean you probably won’t see the same effect as the person who created the effect intended. Setting this lower can help with performance, however. Setting this higher has some strange effects as well.

If you want to disable particles altogether, you can press the Alt+Shift+Equals key combination to toggle them off/on. This resets every time you log in.

Outfit Composite Limit:

I’m still not sure what this is, even after asking around. It may just be a legacy setting that they have forgotten to remove. The default is 5, which is where I’ve left it. I can’t tell what it changes when I change this value.

Audio/Video Tab

Mute Audio:

Turns off all in-world sound effects. Not recommended unless you are easily annoyed by them =)

Mute Audio When Window Minimized/Hidden:

Turns off in-world sound effects when SL is minimized or hidden.

Play Streaming Music When Available:

Land owners have the ability to specify a shoutcast/icecast type of stream on their parcels, which will play automatically when you enter their land if you have this enabled. This stream is sent directly to you from the shoutcast server and does not pass through Second Life’s system.

Play Streaming Video When Available:

Checking this allows you play streaming video when it’s available on a parcel.

System, Wind, Footsteps, UI Volume:

These are regular volume sliders that adjust the volume of their respective sound sources. I have mine set to roughly 100%, 50%, 10%, and 50%.

$ Change Threshold:

This will play a sound if you spend or recieve money, if it is greater or equal to the amount you specify here. I have mine set to 50, which I think might be the default.

Health Change Threshold:

Like the $ Change Threshold, this will play a sound if you take more than 10 points of damage in a damage-enabled area.

Doppler Effect:

The higher you set this, the more doppler effect will be applied to objects that are emitting sounds.

Distance Factor:

I think this affects how far sounds propogate, but I’m not entirely sure.

Rolloff Factor:

I think this affects how quickly the sounds fade in volme as a function of distance, but I’m not entirely sure.

Default Upload Bitrate:

When you upload a sound file, this will be the default quality setting (sort of like the quality setting on an MP3). A bigger number means higher quality sound, but also it will mean a longer delay when you first play the sound to people who don’t have it cached.

Chat/IM Tab

Chat Font Size:

This lets you specify the size of the font that appears in the chat overlay area in the bottom left corner of your screen, but does not affect the size of the text in the windows (such as IM and Chat History).

Chat Color:

This lets you specify the colors for the different types of chat text. ‘System’ is system messages such as errors or special announcements. ‘Users’ is the regular chat text you see other people typing. ‘Objects’ is chat text which comes from scripted objects. By default, these are a very light blue, white, and green, respectively.

Fade Chat After:

This applies to the chat overlay text which appears in the bottom left corner of your screen. The higher you set this, the longer the chat text will stay on the screen before fading out. If you set this too high in a very chatty area, the chat text may begin to fill the whole screen. Setting this lower will keep this from happening, but gives you less time to read it before it fades out. I’ve used a setting of 60 seconds for a long time now without ever having to adjust it. Set the opacity slider to determine how dark the chat console is.

Note: You can always open your chat history window with Ctrl+H which shows the text in a scrollable window without fading.

Busy Mode Response:

This is a message to send to people who try to IM you while you are set in (BUSY) mode, which you can select under the ‘World’ Menu.

Chat uses full screen width:

Checking this will cause the chat overlay text to wrap at the right screen edge, instead of partway across the screen. I prefer this option turned off.

Close chat after hitting return:

Turning this on will let you use the Enter key to open the chat text entry box and start chatting, and then it will close the chat text entry box after you press Enter again to say your line of text. I definitely prefer this to be checked, as this is the way that most game chats work.

If this is left unchecked, the chat bar will stay open all the time, and you will have to use your mouse to click outside of it in order to to press shortcut keys.

Arrow keys move avatar when chatting:

If this is enabled, then you will not be able to use your arrow keys to move your cursor around and edit the text in your chat text entry box, instead it will cause your avatar to move. This may be preferable if you have “Close chat after hitting return” unchecked, but you will probably want it turned off if you have “Close chat after hitting return” enabled so that you can easily move your cursor to edit your text. I have this off.

Show chat bubbles:

Click this to see avatar’s chat in bubbles over their heads. Set the opacity slider to determine how dark the background behind the chat is.

Send IM to E-mail:

If you enable this, then any Instant Messages that you recieve from people while you are offline will be forwarded to your email address. This can come in handy to keep in contact while offline. As of version 1.4, you can now reply to emails you recieve from this to send an Instant Message back to the person who sent it to you. I have this enabled. You can change your email address in your Account Settings on the Second Life website.

Include IM in Chat History:

If you want the Chat History window (Ctrl+H) to include Instant Messages (like the chat overlay does), then enable this feature. I have this feature off.

Popups Tab

When a popup message box appears, you have the option to check a box to not see it again. This tab is where you manage those popup boxes.

Popups I have disabled:

This is a list of the popup message boxes you have chosen not to see again. You can turn the message back on by highlighting the question and clicking the Enable this popup button.

Popups I want to see

A list of the popup messages currently appearing.


Kex Godel

Guide: Shortcut Keys

Ctrl-F Find

Ctrl-G Gestures

Ctrl-H Chat History

Ctrl-I Inventory

Ctrl-L Link (selected objects in edit)

Ctrl-M World Map

Ctrl-P Preferences

Ctrl-R Run Mode

Ctrl-T Instant Message

Ctrl-U Upload Image

Ctrl-Z Undo (once while in edit – chat window off)

Ctrl-Alt-Shift-D Open/Close Debug menu (some systems require Ctrl-Shift-Alt-D)

Ctrl-Alt-M Mouse Moves Sun (requires Debug menu on)

Ctrl-Alt-T Highlight Transparent

Ctrl-Alt-6 All Fog Off

Ctrl-Shift-A Start/Stop Movie to Disk

Ctrl-Shift-L Unlink (selected objects in edit)

Ctrl-Shift-M MiniMap

Ctrl-Shift-N Force Sunset (requires Debug menu on)

Ctrl-Shift-S Snapshots

Ctrl-Shift-1 Sim Stats (you will need to turn off the minimap to view the full stats page)

Ctrl-Shift-3 Texture Console (to view textures on a particular object right click and go into edit and then press ALT 3 , the textures for all sides of that object will be highlighted in yellow)

Ctrl-Alt-Shift-= Turn particle effects on/off.

Ctrl-Alt-Shift-3 Remove all Linden trees. This is a toggle… press again to turn trees back on.

Ctrl-Alt-Shift-5 Remove ground cover. This is a toggle… press again to turn ground cover back on.

Shift and Drag Copy object in edit

Pan and Zoom Camera: To pan around an object hold down the Alt key and left-click an object or avatar then use the left and right arrows to pan around & page up and page down to zoom in & out (this function goes circular around an object).

Strafe Camera: Hold down Ctrl-Alt-Shift and left-click an object or avatar then use the arrow keys to strafe left right up or down. (this goes vertical and horizontal on an object view).


Jennyfur Peregrine

Lucrezia Lamont