This is a page of very general tips and links to resources. For specific guidelines on building and content creation, see the Tutorials.
Tips for builders
Although tips for builders, you may find the recommendations below generally useful.
- Unclutter your viewer interface so that you can clearly see what you’re doing. Close all unneeded windows (Map, Search, etc). If you have the Camera Controls and Movement Controls panels open (and they are so by default when you launch your viewer for the first time), you could close these. (You probably never use them anyway.) Names floating above avatars’ heads can also be irritating and distracting (you’ll always know who they are, simply by passing your mouse pointer over the avatar for a second), so I suggest that in the General tab of your Preferences window you set ‘Show Names’ to ‘Never’.
- Give yourself enough light to see what you’re doing. The Second Life ‘day’ is by default four hours long. This means that in all likelihood there will be many a moment when you’ll find yourself working in darkness. It’s my personal habit, whenever I log in, to set the time to mid-day: go to the World menu and from the Environment Settings sub-menu select ‘Midday’.
- You’ll find it useful, in particular with large builds or with large objects that need to be aligned, to be able to select and view objects at a distance. Activate the Advanced menu if you’ve not already done so, and [a] uncheck ‘Limit Select Distance’, and [b] check ‘Disable Camera Constraints’.
- Always be aware of the limits to building in Second Life. See http://wiki.secondlife.com/wiki/Limits
Student builders should also read Building for Clients (right sidebar, in The Student View).
Links to useful resources
This page and the Scripting page (see sidebar Help > Scripting) list useful online and in-world third-party resources for learning how to create content in Second Life. My own tutorials, however, are published in the Tutorial section (see sidebar). This page focuses on the basics of building.
The best way to learn is probably to go to an in-world class. Dreams, a PG SIM, offers a large sandbox, with both billboard self-study tutorials and also tutor-led classes every Monday. New Citizens Incorporated runs a busy schedule of classes each week. Check the current NCI schedule (PDF format, sidebar link) at:
Also check for scheduled tutorials in the Events tab of the Search window:
The Ivory Tower of Primitives offers tuition for builders in the form of a walkthrough tutorial with attached notecards (see below), as well as a vast sandbox in which you can then practice your skills. The in-world tutorials are further supported by an expanding Ivory Tower wiki.
There are many good general and encyclopedic online (web) resources for content creators, including Second Life wiki Creation Portal and SLTutorials. I recommend browsing these–you may never know what you might have wanted until you serendipitously find it exists.
If you’re going to get to grips with building you’ll need to practice somewhere–and that’s the purpose of public sandboxes, zones dedicated to building practice with, in many cases, on-site tutorials, reference guides, and boxes of building materials (free textures, etc). On our Kingston University island, The Knowledge Zone, we have a sandbox called The Experiment Zone–why not practice your skills there? The following section lists a few of the best sandboxes; the remainder of this page consists of links to specific tutorials.
… as its name suggests.
The Women’s Sandbox at the Women’s Center
One of two women-friendly sandboxes on the island–no harassment from male avatars
Public Sandbox Platform at Mauve
“SL Orientation, Building Classes, Help for Newbies, Free Stuff. Come to Learn and Build”
Skidz Isle Sandbox
Lots of freebie tools and guides, as well as private platforms
The European University sandbox
The Ivory Tower of Primitives
Sandbox on Heron Island
Fermi University and sandbox
Sandbox with a good set of basic building tutorials
Popular and often overcrowded.
There’s a dedicated site of Second Life tutorials (you’ll first need to create a free user account for yourself) at:
There are many good video tutorials–most, predictably, published on YouTube–that take you step-by-step through worked example. Try searching on, for example, ‘second life building tutorial‘. You’d do well, in particular, to subscribe to:
Noob Be Gone – Second Life Building Tutorial by NSS
(an introductory tutorial on building in SL)
There are also a number of places in SL offering building tutorials and ‘sandboxes’ for building:
College of Second Knowledge
“Free Classes Daily;Tutorials, Building Kits, Teleporation Trail”
Finally, a short list of links to YouTube building tutorials found by Razart at the time he was leading the Virtual Tower of London team:
How to attache objects to your moving object to lighten the environment:
How to edit sound using Audicity and upload it into second life
How to use the building grid in Second Life
How to use and manipulate wall Texture (type of brick)
Sculpted Prims: Modeling a Pear with AC3D (NTSC)