Seeing your Second Life

How you see your Second Life world is all down to how well you can use your camera. These are your Second Life eyes, so to speak. For a long-term resident like myself using my camera is second nature, just like looking around in RL. But as a newbie I know it took me a while to become conversant with the camera controls.

Now I must say straight up that I seldom have the onscreen camera controls visible. I’m all about keyboard and mouse. For those that do not know these options, this is from Linden Labs’ community page on camera controls.

Keyboard controls

By using your keyboard and mouse to control the camera, you can view nearly any object or avatar from any angle or distance.

  • Alt + Left mouse button: Press and hold to zoom your view in when you move the mouse up or down. Orbits your view around the focal point when you move the mouse left or right.
  • Ctrl + Alt + Left mouse button: Press and hold to orbit your view around the focal point when you move the mouse in any direction.
  • Ctrl + Alt + Shift + Left mouse button: Press and hold to pan your view parallel to the plane of your screen.
  • Mouse scroll wheel: Zooms in or out.
  • Escape key: Resets your view to its default location behind your avatar.  Moving your avatar also resets your view.

Once you have the basics down pat the following video from the Firestorm team introduces you to a number of tips and tricks for advanced camera use.




MUV601 Assignment 3

Please note that the criteria for Assignment 3 is now available through the link under IMPORTANT DATES 2018 in the left-hand sidebar. If you have any questions or concerns feel free to use the Comment section in this post to raise them so that everyone can benefit from the answers.

Looking forward to seeing you all on Wednesday when we start building!


Building 101

Next Wednesday, March 21th, we will be looking at the basics of primitives (prims) creation, the oldest building blocks of Second Life (SL) and OpenSimulator. As mentioned last week, aside from the original primitives, two additional building options are available these days, sculpties and mesh. Their complexity puts their initial creation beyond the scope of this course though you will learn how to build a sculpted prim from a provided sculpt texture/sculpt map later on. As regards just prims however, some amazing builds have been created using only these basic building options and they still play an important part in in-world creations.

Three resources are available to prepare you for Building 101, one a printable web resource accessible from the MUV601 parcel, the other two the following videos. Although the videos and imagery were captured in the Second Life viewer the instruction is just as relevant for the Firestorm viewer, as prim creation and manipulation use the same methods and the same menus. This first video demonstrates the creation of a basic prim and its manual positioning, rotation and resizing.

For part of last Wednesday I took you through how to investigate a build; an excellent way to start getting your head around how objects are put together in-world; and I also showed you how you might be able to learn more about an object’s creator. This next video was created for the 2013 class and while some of the interfaces are a little different, most of what you see is as relevant today as it was then. It starts out on the sim Kowhai, which used to be next door to Koru and contained the original MUV601 class parcel. It goes into some depth in terms of not only looking at how a build has been constructed, but also about finding out a little more about creators of a specific in-world object.

Both videos are best watched full-screen and at high definition so that you can see the menu details.


Virtual World Best Practices in Education Conference 2018

Just to let you all know that there is an inworld conference happening this coming weekend; the Virtual Worlds Best Practices in Education (VWBPE) conference.

The VWBPE Conference is a completely virtual conference that is conducted using simulated environments. Participants experience the conference through a virtual reality type setting including conference rooms, theatres, exposition halls, meeting spaces, and other types of venues similar to a brick and mortar type conference.

The conference is free to attend.

The calendar of events is here. I will be presenting on a research project called Avatars as Data Points that I have been involved in as a creator and programmer over the last 6 months, with Victoria University.

Definitely worth going to have a look if you have time. There are usually some pretty good presentations. Remember though that the times are in PST. Something one learns to content with quite quickly when inhabiting virtual worlds; time zones. You can convert time using this time zone converter.


Saving Chat Transcripts

As I mentioned on Wednesday, during in-world sessions a lot of information is delivered in a short space of time and it can be very easy to miss or forget bits and pieces. I then proceeded to show you how you can save those chat sessions using SL’s own note taker. I’ve repeated that information below in case you missed it.

Open Preferences (Avatar > Preferences OR Ctrl P) and navigate to Privacy > Logs and Transcripts. The logs contain basic conversation information (name and date) and items are cleared after 30 days. The transcripts however are txt files of all the conversations you have inworld, including IMs and the main chat. Very handy if you want to review a session. The settings I use are shown below.

You can select where the logs and transcripts are saved in Preferences > Network & Files > Directories. You can change this to suit your own network.

Creating Display Names

When you first create your SL account you are required to choose a name for your avatar. This is called the username and is the name you use to log in with. By default it is also the name shown above your head.

Now it may be that you were hasty in choosing it or the name you wanted was already being used. Don’t worry because you can change the name that you display to the world; your display name.

Open your profile, Avatar > Profile, and select the spanner icon next to your name (see image below).

Note that your display name can only be changed once a week but for good continuity with the people you engage with inworld, it really is best if you decide on one name and stick to it.

IMPORTANT: At the end of next Wednesday’s session (14th March) I will be creating individual skybox workspace platforms on Koru for each of you. Each platform will have a personalised TP up to it so it would be good to have your display names finalised by then.

MUV601 Class Resources

Throughout the course there will be a number of linked resources provided. Some I’ll post here in the MUV601 blog and others will be linked to from our parcel of land on Koru. See the floating sphere with the Welcome text over it?

If there’s another smaller sphere or two floating over that one, then clicking on those will reveal other class resources. I suggest you pop in-world occasionally to see if there are any around. These in-world resources will get changed as we move through the course so don’t miss out!

The first blog resource is about moving in Second Life. Though most of you may have movement down fine the following video gives a quick overview with a focus on using movement keys rather than the on-screen controls. I suggest you watch this and subsequent videos in HD and full-screen so that you can see the menu details, etc.

See you all on Wednesday!


A Mouse May Help

Just a small heads up in terms of building and viewing in Second Life. If using a laptop, depending on your dexterity with laptop touch pads you may find manipulating your camera (what you view the world through) and using the building tools is more easily done with an actual mouse rather than the touch pad.


Welcome to MUV601 2018

Greetings MUVers and welcome to MUV601 2018. My name is Aaron Griffiths, known inworld (in Second Life) as Isa Goodman, and I will be running the Wednesday (3-5pm) inworld sessions of this course, as I have every year since its inception.

As some of you may know, MUV601 has been running for many years now with myself and Dr Clare Atkins as lecturers. Sadly, as some of you may also know, Clare passed away in the latter part of last year. For those of us who travelled the MUV journey with her she is, and will always be, greatly missed.

We have been lucky enough however to have long-time supporter of the course, and virtual world exponent, Belma Gaukrodger (from NMIT) join MUV601 this year, to run the NMIT in-house sessions on Mondays (3-5pm). Belma will be joining you on Monday 12th March. For the first week’s two sessions, on Monday 5th and Wednesday 7th, you will be assisted in the lab by Craig Nicoll and I will be inworld with you as well on the Wednesday.

There are a number of things that you need to do this first week to get everything going smoothly.  You will be spending class time on Monday and Wednesday doing this so I will try to list everything here!

1. Your blog

  • One of the first things you will be doing is getting your own personal wordpress blog set up as you will be using it to record the work you do throughout this course. Almost all of your assessments, apart from the practical aspect of your final project, will be done through your blog posts so the quicker you become familiar with using them the easier for you!
  • Once you have got your blog up and running, please email me the url and I will add it to the sidebar here so that the rest of the class, as well as Belma and I, can keep up with what you are doing. Instructions for setting up your blog can be found by following the link in the sidebar and help will be available in class.
  • As new blogs are always a bit sad looking –  with just a hello world post! – I would like you to write a few short paragraphs that answer the following questions and put them on your blog as your post for the first week.
    • What is a virtual world?
    • What do you find interesting about virtual worlds?
    • How important do you think virtual worlds are now?
    • How important do you think virtual worlds will be in 5-10 years?

2. Your Assignment Google doc

  • The assignments for this course will be organised via a google doc, so the second thing you will need to do is to get your google doc set up  – once again the instructions can be found in the sidebar link and help will be available in class.
  • You will also be getting it ready for the first assignment.

3. Your Second Life account and avatar.

  • Every Wednesday class and many of your Monday ones will be in the virtual world Second Life so it is important to ensure that everyone has a Second Life account, can access Second Life, has ‘friended’ Isa Goodman (my inworld avatar) and Professeur Ambère (Belma’s inworld avatar) and joined the class group.  You will find some useful links in the sidebar for doing this. Again help will be available in class for any problems that you face.

It is great to finally be into another year of MUV601 and I am really looking forward to meeting your virtual selves. We will be meeting up for the first time on the Second Life sim (simulator) called Koru, on an area (parcel) specifically set aside for this course.

Note: If by chance you get lost when inworld, the following SLurl (Second Life url) can be used to help transport you to Koru. Clicking on a SLurl will open a web page with a link to the area in Second Life that the SLurl refers to. If inworld, click on the Visit this location button . At this stage you may be required to allow the web site to interact with your Second Life viewer. Once you have allowed this interaction the Places window will display in Second Life. Click on the Teleport button to take your avatar to the course land area (normally referred to as a parcel). It is there that we will be having our inworld sessions.

I look forward to seeing you all shortly. Isa/Aaron