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New to Second Life and feeling a bit overwhelmed and lost?

There are few things that most new residents ask about. What is the aim of the game? How do I get money? Can I die here? How do I change my appearance? In this short section we will try to deal with the most common ones.

What is the aim of the game

Second Life is not a game in the traditional sense of the word. There is nothing to accomplish, and no end-of-level boss to fight -- you set your own goals. You can build things, explore, swim, jet-ski, dance, make friends or learn... and many other things. It is really up to you to decide what you want to do.

Can I die in Second Life

No, you cannot be killed in Second Life. In a few special areas (known as "damage enabled" regions) you will see a small heart with a number in the menu bar at the top of your screen. This is a damage meter, and it shows your current level of health. If your health reaches zero, you will be transported back to your home location. You will still have all of your money and possessions.


Second Life has it's own currency, the Linden dollar, or "Linden". If you are using a premium account (paying to access Second Life), then you can purchase Lindens or rely on the weekly stipend handed out to premium customers. Those residents using free basic accounts start with no money, and the only way to get some is to earn it or win it. There are a variety of ways, such as jobs, money trees (yes... trees with money in, which new residents can pick up), camping chairs which pay money if you sit in them, or building objects and selling them to others.

Music and movies

As you are wandering around Second Life you will find places such as bars and clubs, which offer streaming music. If you can't hear this music look or a small control near the bottom of the screen labelled "music". The music control has a volume slider and two buttons -- clicking the play button will start the music.

If you are sure there is music available in the area, but you cannot see a music control, then follow these steps:

Go to the Edit menu at the top of the screen, Select Preferences. Select the "Audio & Video" tab Make sure that "Play streaming music when available" is ticked Make sure that "Play streaming video when available" is also ticked

The steps above are the same for viewing streaming video too. In areas offering video, a "movie" control will appear next to the music one.


"Griefers" are residents who try to cause problems for others. To do this they use a variety of different tricks -- weapons, obnoxious noises or just insulting people. It is important to remember two things when facing griefers: 1. You cannot be killed. 2. Do not accept objects from them, or accept offers of friendship. If you ignore them, griefers are not really a threat to you -- especially if you sit down on a chair or wall (it sounds odd, but you cannot be pushed around physically when you are sat down). Griefers are little more than noise, smoke and mirrors. You can always teleport away from a situation in which you are not comfortable. The easiest method is to use the keys Control-Alt-H and teleport safely back to your home location. In extreme cases, you can file an abuse report (help menu at the top of the screen, select "Report Abuse").

Finding things

At the bottom of your screen is a "search" button. The search system helps you find events, places, jobs, groups and people. Search is the main way ti find anything in Second Life and will quickly become invaluable to you.

Changing your appearance

Second Life allows you to change your appearance radically. There is a wide variety of different avatars available for free (from penguins, to pandas to Triceratops), and even more choice if you are willing to pay for it. You can alter your own appearance easily enough by going to the Edit menu at the top of your screen, and the selecting "appearance". A window will open allow you to customise your avatar in a huge number of ways, you can even change your gender. Clothing, hair styles and "skins" are popular businesses in Second Life, and instructions (and templates) on how to begin doing this yourself are available from

Clothing and boxes

As you are exploring Second Life you will almost certainly find shops selling clothes. When you buy clothes they will likely come "boxed" and this confuses many new residents. Open your inventory and find the box that you just bought. Right click the box and select "wear"... this will look quite odd, because you will now have a box attached to you (most likely it will be attached to your right hand). Now right-click on the box attached to you, and select "detach", and the box will drop to the floor. Then, right click the box and choose 'open' from the pie menu. You can now copy the contents to your inventory. Once the items have been copied into your inventory and the box is empty, right click the box again and select "more" and then "delete" to clean up after yourself. If you get a message during a deletion about "you will loose" that's ok, you already have the items from the box in your inventory. If you accidentally delete a box that you have not yet opened and copied the contents from, then look in your inventory trash folder. The box will be in there.

Once you have your clothing and are ready to wear it, keep these important steps in mind as nudity can get you in trouble in some parts of Second Life. Start by right-clicking the item from your inventory that you want to wear, and then select ADD TO OUTFIT. Finally, find the clothes that you no longer want to wear and choose TAKE OF ITEMS. Avoid taking clothes off before wearing others.


Lots of places in Second Life offer things called "pose balls", which will animate your avatar and make it dance, or lean against something for example. To use a pose ball, right click it and choose the option like "sit", or "dance", or "chill". A small box will appear at the bottom of the screen that says "Stand up" (even if you are dancing". Clicking this will disconnect you from the pose ball and restore your avatar to normal.

Building things

If you are in an area of Second Life that allows building (try search "sandbox"), then try right clicking the ground and selecting "Create". A window will open allowing you to build objects from scratch. This is straightforward, but can be quite intimidating at first. See the landmarks section for places, such as the Ivory Tower Library of Primitives, that have courses (some self-guided and some with tutors) to help you.

What not to do

Making friends in Second Life is a good thing. Once you have gotten to know someone, you may well decide to offer them friendship by right-clicking on them and selecting "friend". However, don't do this to people that you do not know well... it's quite forward, and they may well decline. As an alternative, try giving them your calling card: right-click them, select "More" and then "Give card".

Please do not beg for money, as it is not good behaviour and tends to annoy others. Avoid nudity unless the area you are in allows it -- otherwise you could end up thrown out or banned. As a side note, if there is someone you don't want to listen to any longer there is the handy 'mute' option. Right-click their avatar and select "mute" -- muting can also be done with the chat history window.

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