RTOD 28AUG2008 – Get a (Second)Life, Will Ya?! Pt.2

RTOD – Get a (Second)Life, Will Ya?! Pt.2

Yesterday, I began a series of blogs about Second Life. I described general movement, requirements, finances, and personal designs. Today, I will discuss some of the actual game play elements and the islands.

Game play is very simple: you interact with people and objects, in a fashion similar to real life. If you want to sit on something, right-click it and select “Sit.” You will be told if for any reason you are too big to sit in a certain spot, or if the spot doesn’t have any sit-effective space. You want to run? Double-press and hold up (or “W”). This is obviously part of the controls, but it’s still technically interaction.

Okay, now we are moving around the island. What happens if you come across something you want to interact with, say, a go-kart. First thing, walk up to it, obviously! You can’t climb into a go-kart from across a parking lot, why would you be able to do it in Second Life? (Note, sometimes, you actually can in Second Life) Okay, now we walked up to a go-kart. If you click it, you might see something called a “note card” pop up on the upper-right corner of the screen. This is where most in-game notices will happen. You can choose to accept, ignore, or mute the item talking to you. If nothing happens, you can try to right-click it to bring up an options menu. These menus will change based on what you are looking at, their functions, and their creators. If it is something you need to pay for to use, in this case ride, it may offer a “Buy” or “Pay” option, which you can then pay to ride. Once you are paid, you will be permitted to sit in the object and use it. Most controls generally follow the basic control scheme, so it shouldn’t be too hard to learn how to drive your go-kart. When you are done, click the “Stand Up’ button that should have appeared at the bottom-center of your screen, about the functions bar.

Next thing you might see is a colored ball resting on something or floating in the air. These are usually animation balls. If you click on them, they may begin to animate your avatar. If not, simply right-click, then click “Sit” or whatever the creator changed the “Sit” option to. Your avatar should begin to do something, either take a particular pose, a stance, or begin a movement of some sort, even as far as dancing. Some of these poses and actions will be risqué, so make sure to look into the context of the ball before doing it if you wish to avoid it. Also, some of these balls are meant to function as a set: activities that would take two or more people to complete, such as kissing, holding hands, resting, etc. Remember that if you stay on the position for too long, anyone can take up the position of the other ball(s), and you’d have no control over it! Again, once you are done, click on the “Stand Up” button. Now, there are animation balls that will affect your avatar, but not stick you in one place, usually dance balls. If you want to end the dancing, re-click the ball, and it will normally turn off after a few moments. If you click on a dance ball and it brings up a menu, you might be able to change the dancing you do, and turn it off from there. You can click the Ignore button once you are done. If, though, for any reason, your avatar doesn’t want to stop doing whatever it’s doing, in the file bar on the top of the screen, go to World, then Stop All Animations. This will effectively turn off any animations you have running.

Another animation option, some people will offer to “Animate your avatar.” You will usually find this attached to something like “Bite” or “Feed” or “Hug,” or something to that idea. Remember that some animations will have a semi-permanent effect. Being bitten by a vampire is not a good idea, unless you intend to become one! You will lose a percentage of your “humanity,” and be forced to wear a vampire bite. Not exactly a fashion statement!

Okay, now the more common part of Second Life: Talking to people. There is an open-for-all chat system that you can access, by simply pressing the enter key to open it, or click “Communication” on the bottom bar. Simply type what you want to say, and press enter to say it. The standard chat has an effective listening range to an approximate of 20-25m in-game. If you hold the control key when you hit enter, you will yell your message, which will carry much farther. Strike up a conversation! Don’t be too shy, or else you won’t have any fun. Some people will talk back. Some won’t. Sounds just like real life, huh? It’s okay, because eventually, you will hit up someone who does want to talk, and then, it’ll be off to the races!

Okay, now you have someone you want to talk to again. Well, you can hope for the best luck of the ages and try to find them again, or, you can send them a friend invite. To do that, simply right-click on the person you are talking to. There, you will see things like Profile, and Friend requests, and a variety of other things. Select it, and, if they accept, you got a friend! You can IM the person as well through the menu, if you’re going for a quiet conversation. Once they’ve accepted the request, they will show up on your friends list, as well as any IM’s and chat history, on your Communications log. It helps make it easy to keep track of different conversations. It also give you access to teleport options for friends, IM’s, chat, and, again, access to their profile, which helps you, because if you need to send that person an item or cash, you can do it right there, whether or not they are online! Helpful to not forget things!

Okay, I’ve gone over the basics of interaction on the islands. Tomorrow will be about some of the positives and negatives about this virtual world! Until then, this is TheLoneWulf Ethaniel, signing off!

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