So you want to get into Second Life? Well, for that you need a client to run Second Life from, in addition to an account. The client is called a Viewer and in the next few weeks I am going to try and explain the difference between different viewers for you, starting with the standard viewer, also called V3 (since it’s the 3rd version of the SL standard viewer, or V3.5 in some cases since it’s slightly updated since its release). Viewer 3 can be downloaded here!
V3 is far from basic, it contains every feature Second Life has to offer, and Second Life has a LOT to offer. However, this is not to be confused with everything OSGrid has to offer, OSGrid is a “spinoff” from Second Life taken from an earlier version and developed separately, and as such it has some features not offered as standard in Second Life. Some of these features are so called client based, meaning it won’t affect the “world” in any way, but it enhances your experience of it. It may be everything from the ability to color the texts in chat to built-in animation overriders. The viewers required to use these features are called Third Party Viewers and I will go over them in future articles. We have some articles on this subject already, so if you are impatient, you can read those and figure out the differences that have come since those were written.
As a new resident, most of the features won’t mean much to you, so if you get hung up on something I’ve written about here, ignore it and move on.
As soon as you open your brand new V3 viewer, you will see a login field. This is as straight forward as it gets, you type in name and password and press login. You will end up at the Starting Area and be given some portals to new places. However, the second time you log in, you might have set your home point, or want to end up where you were, so how do you control that? Well, it’s semi-advanced, but not too complicated. Whether you’re logged in or not, you can access your viewer preferences by pressing ctrl(or cmd on mac) + P. From here, make sure the General tab is active, and you can select where you prefer to log in and also tick a box that enables you to control it from the login field directly. If you do the latter, you will get that drop-down menu as soon as you start your viewer.
While you’re in preferences, you can look through the options and see if you find other things you might want to change, such as your age rating. The age rating is where you set what filters you want to have, if any, for locations to visit or groups to join. The filters are General (no adult content at all), Moderate (nudity and cursing allowed, but no sexual content) or Adult (no censorship at all). Keep in mind that these are general guides and not laws, you may have a Moderate sim with local restrictions that are more similar to General, however you can’t have a General or Moderate sim with Adult content. The rules are set by the sim or parcel owners.
First time you log in you will also get the Destination Guide, which is a random pick from the most popular categories from the web version with the same name. This is a great start if you’re new or want new locations to visit. This is a feature that is limited to V3 only. If you happen to close it and want to get it again, you can access it at any time from the World menu on your top bar, listed as Destinations. From this menu you can also place Landmarks. A Landmark (shortened LM) is not a physical object, it is a “meta” object that ends up in your inventory (accessed by pressing ctrl+i or clicking the briefcase to the left) under Landmarks. When you have placed a LM somewhere, you can always “teleport” back to that place by doubleclicking the LM in your inventory. If you want easy access to your favourite places, you can drag the LM from your inventory to the space directly under the clock on the top-right of the screen.
The Profile is where you show others information about yourself. Some of this can be edited and some is auto generated. Thins you can change is your SL information, your RL information, your “picks” (if you go to Picks and click Add New you can “publically LM” the place, to show that you really like that place) and both your SL and RL picture. To do this, click the Me menu in the top bar, go to Profile and click the button Edit Profile.
A new feature specific for V3 (so far) is that you can put “temporary” pictures in your profile. A temporary picture is one uploaded for free that will expire after a while and cannot be shared with others. This allows you to set a profile picture without having to pay the 10L$ upload fee.
In the Me menu you also see the Toolbar buttons option. If you click this you get a GUI that allows you to place or remove buttons from your side and bottom bars. You can move buttons around, add new ones or remove the ones you don’t need to make it easier for you to quickly access features you use a lot without having to go through menus or memorize quick-commands.
The Chat box to the lower right can be rezised and moved at your leisure and all chat is managed from here. Local Chat is the one everyone can here and you can “pop out” IM’s (Instant Messages or Private Messages between two people) or group chats to their own windows if you prefer that.
Above that, to the upper right, under the clock and favourite bar, you can find all notices. Notices are group messages sent to the whole group at once (not to be confused with group chat) or system notifications (such as objects or people offering you items). You will see a number that states how many you have and if you click it you will see all notifications in a list, you can click on them to see them, click the X next to them to remove them or right-click the icon and select Remove All to get rid of all at once.
Even thou this lacks some of the advanced features other viewers might have, it is a good starting viewer and it does offer everything you need to get started. It has some issues with stability that can cause you to crash a bit more often than other viewers and lack some of the graphical options other viewers have that can make it more stable, but if you play around with the graphical settings it can become almost as stable as most other viewers.
These are the ratings I give Second Life V3.5:
Lag handling: 2/5
Advanced features: 4/5
Newcomer friendliness: 3/5
Official support: 2/5
Community support: 3/5
As a last note, I will let you know that the following articles will contain more than one viewer at once, but instead will be shorter. This is more of an introduction article, much like the viewer is, to let you know about things you might not know. Now, go out there and make your Second Life what you want it to be!