Getting started

Since there are dozens (possibly hundreds) of good guides to Second Life published on the web, as well as several introductory books (see the Bookshelf page), this page is intended to do no more than give you the basic essential guidance you’ll need to get started. For specific topics relating to managing your SL experience and to, in particular, content creation, look in the Help section of this site; for listings of online resources, look in the Resources section.

But to begin …

  • Go to and create for yourself a new user account. The registration procedure should take you less than five minutes.
  • You should find that the Second Life viewer is already installed on the faculty network application server. If the SL client is not already installed on the computer you are using (e.g. your personal laptop), download it from and install. Because the Second Life viewer has been open sourced, there are predictably also a few third-party (enhanced / specialised) Mac, Linux and Windows viewers available, including the OnRez viewer at, and the viewer provided by Dale Glass at You might also like to try the latest-release ‘FirstLook’ browsers.  Finally, for those on the move who want the communication tools and are content to use 2D location maps without the 3D graphics, it’s also worth bearing in mind that there are a number of web-based access points, of which my favourite is Movable Life.  Since the page you are reading may swiftly become out of date, please also look at the list I maintain, as well as the list of current alternative viewers maintained at:
  • KU’s island is, at least while “under construction”, closed to SL residents outside of the university. If you are CISM staff, then please email your SL resident’s name to Anne Law, cc-ing to Tim Linsey and myself, to ask for entry rights; if you are a CISM student, and I have not already given you student access, you should email me directly.
  • Log in. On your first visit, you should normally be teleported automatically to Orientation Island. For more information about Orientation Island, see the [t.b.c.]
  • Now go either to solipCISM, the virtual campus of the Faculty of Computing, Information Systems & Mathematics, or to Kingston University’s virtual campus, The Knowledge Zone. (The CISM building is on the western edge of the Knowledge Zone.)
  • Finally, if ever you need help while in SL, hit the F1 key. As a last resort, either check whether I’m online and IM me or drop a notecard in the letter box adjacent to the landing point.

A few useful places for newbies

The most useful resources for newbies are orientation and help locations, freebie warehouses, and (when you’re ready) sandboxes for practicing building.



GNUbie store GNUbieStore.

Stillman Stillman.


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