Friday, November 24, 2006

Movement, Camera Control, and Interaction Guide

This is part of the Getting Started in Second Life Guide. This Part is a quick guide to get you moving, using your camera, and interacting with objects and other residents.


Here are the keys for moving around Second Life. You use these keys to "Walk". You would use these same keys to "Run", "Fly", "Swim", or even drive most vehicles.

   W (or Up Arrow): Move Forward
   S (or Down Arrow): Move Back
   A (or Left Arrow): Turn Left
   D (or Right Arrow): Turn Right

"Flying" is a common way of getting around SL. Most places in SL (even houses and shopping malls) assume that your avatar can "Fly". Some dont even bother putting stairs or ramps for you to go between floors. So you will definitely need to know how to "Fly" in SL!

   E (or Page Up): Fly Up
   C (or Page Down): Fly Down

To start Flying, just press "E" to go up. Once you are off the ground, you can use the movement keys (W, S, A, D) to move around. When you want to come back on the ground, just press the "C" key until you land. Thats it! :)

There are some places in SL that do not permit Flying. This is usually done to make these places "feel" more realistic (they just annoy me :P). When you see the Red Circle with a down arrow at the top center of your screen, that means you cannot Fly in that place :(

Camera Control

You see everything in Second Life through a "Camera". Normally, this "Camera" is pointed at the back of your avatar. However, you can move this "Camera" around to look at other things, or zoom into something for a closer look.

For one thing, you can swing the "Camera" around and look at the front of your avatar when you change your outfits. The "Camera" is also useful for shopping: in fact, some stores assume that you will be using your "Camera" to view the merchandise.

The "Camera" is really easy to use:

1. Press and hold the [Alt] key: your cursor will change to a magnifying glass with a "plus" sign in the middle.

2. Left-click and hold on an object (or your own avatar) you want to look at: the "Camera" will center itself on the object. Be sure to keep both the [Alt] key and the mouse button pressed!

3. Move the mouse forward to zoom into the object. Move the mouse back to zoom away from the object.

4. Move the mouse to the right and left to rotate the "Camera" around the object.

5. You can combine zooming (Step 3 above) and rotating (Step 4 above).

6. As long as you are holding the [Alt] key down, you can focus on another object by Left-Clicking on a new object, and repeating Steps 3 and 4 above.

7. To go back to the regular view at any time, just press the [Esc] key.

You are now an expert with the SL Camera :)

Interacting with Objects

Many objects in SL are designed to interact with you. For example, many signs and boxes are designed to give you Notecards or Landmarks if you "Touch" them. Most chairs are designed for you to "Sit" on them.

"Touching" is the most common way to interact with an object. Just Left-Click on any object you see in SL to "Touch" it. Not all objects will respond to your "Touch"; in fact, relatively few objects will. Objects that respond to "Touch" will typically display a message or are obvious by their appearance (like buttons or arrows).

"Touching" objects can trigger a number of different responses. Some objects give you things. Others may offer to sell you something. Some may teleport you to a different location. While others may start an elaborate light show. The possibilities are only limited by the designers' imaginations. So feel free to click on everything you see and discover what they do :)

"Sitting" is another common way to interact with an object. You can "Sit" on just about any object in SL. But chairs and poseballs are specifically designed for "Sitting".

To "Sit" on something, Right-click on it to bring up the Pie Menu. The Pie Menu gives you all of the possible things you can do with an object. The "Sit Here" option is on the upper left (this may sometimes be worded differently, like "Drive", "Teleport", "Cuddle", etc. depending on the object). Just click on the "Sit Here" option (or whatever it's called for the object).

If you "Sit" on a chair or on most other surfaces, your avatar will strike a "Sitting" pose. To get up, click on the "Stand Up" button at the bottom of your screen.

Note that sometimes it takes a few tries to get into a chair without a poseball. And sometimes, you may end up in facing the wrong way. Thats why we love poseballs :)

"Poseballs" are floating spheres, sometimes with a word on top describing its function, like "M", "F", "Sit", "Cuddle", "Salsa", etc. If you "Sit" on a poseball, your avatar will strike the pose stored inside the poseball. Some poseballs will actually animate your avatar, like the dance poseballs in many clubs.

BTW, colors are often used to show whether a poseball is for a man or a woman. Most poseballs that are blue are designed for the guys. Most poseballs that are pink or red are designed for the girls. This varies from location to location. Dont worry...Ive sat on some really weird poseballs. If you dont like the pose, just "Stand Up" :)

Interacting with Other Residents

Interacting with other residents is an important part of SL. I bet youve already met a bunch of SL residents on Orientation Island. So we are going to talk about the basics of interacting with other SL residents: chatting, instant message (IM),
the Profile, and finding a resident.

Chatting with other residents is easy to do in SL:

1. Press the [Enter] key to open the Chat window at the bottom of your screen.

2. Type in what you want to say, and press [Enter] at the end of your line.

3. To close the Chat window, press the [Esc] key.

When you "Say" something in open chat, everyone within 20M of you will be able to see what you typed. That means 20M in all directions, including up and down!

You can see older chat messages at any time by opening the Chat History window. Just press [Ctrl]-H to open the Chat History window. This is particularly useful in busy areas (where theres a lot of chatting), and in an SL classroom (where you might want to review some information).

BTW, I am referring to text chatting here. Second Life now supports voice chatting as well. But thats something you can explore later on :)

SL has its own Instant Messaging system. We will focus on IMing a single resident here (although SL's IM system can do conferences as well).

IM's are useful for communicating privately with a resident.

To IM someone nearby, just Right-click on their avatar and select "Send IM..." to open the Instant Message window. This is a good way to get someone's attention in a crowd.

Every SL resident (including you :P) has a public Profile. The Profile lists groups that the resident belongs to, SL birthday, a self description, and some other useful information.

To look at someone's Profile, Right-click on their avatar and select "Profile..." to open the Profile window. Looking at a resident's Profile is a quick way to get to know someone (and avoid asking dumb/embarrasing questions :P).

Also, notice those buttons at the bottom of the Profile window: you can IM a resident from their profile, ask to teleport them to your location, even pay them money :)

There will be times when you need to find a particular person in SL. SL has a directory to bring up a resident's Profile. You can then use all those cool buttons on the bottom to IM them, ask to teleport them, or pay them money :P

Click on the "Search" button at the bottom of your screen. Select the "People" tab. And enter the name of the resident you are looking for. This will bring up the resident's Profile. To IM the resident, just press the "Instant Message..." button on the bottom.

There are many other cool things you can do in SL. But I hope you feel a bit more comfortable now about how to explore SL. Enjoy your new adventures and your Second Life :)

numly esn 60520-071006-977654-76

© 2007 All Rights Reserved.


Markoy said...

Great.. this is the best tutorial that I've found for beginner.

Robert said...

May I add that your "peripheral vison" in SL can be altered by hittng CTRL-8 for wider and CTRL-9 for narrower. Don't worry if you over do it with the CTRL-8 and you wind up with a black screen (you're in outer space!). Just hit CTRL-0 to reset things back to your original view.

SLNatalia said...

Markoy, thanks so much! Just hope I didnt make it too long!

Robert, lol I def get into trouble with those zooming keys (I get flipped all over the place ;P) Thanks for the tip though...Im actually thinking of making a separate camera control tutorial with all the advanced stuff (like panning, tilting, releasing camera constraint, even mouselook and mouse move sun)...

Shinobu said...

I think it is worth mentioning here the 'Alt/Ctrl/Shift' key press combination inconjunction with the LH mouse button. This allows you to use the mouse to 'scoll' left/right/up and down ... this is very handy for looking at some of those huge shopping wall diplays.

SLNatalia said...

Shinobu, thanks for the suggestion! I was really debating on whether to mention all the other camera controls or not... In the end, I left it out because I wanted to give just the basic info for new residents. I plan to do a separate tutorial on camera controls (totally milking it for another tutorial entry ;P).

Ibrew Meads said...

Another brilliant article. Just what I expect from you! Thanks.
One question I have is, do you know any way to take shorter steps? When I walk forward I often go right past what I want to walk up to. Even if I just tap the key once. It makes it very hard to stand close to someone.
Thanks again.

SLNatalia said...

Ibrew, thats a great questions! I dont know of an easy way to move the avatar less than 1 tap on the key... And I know how frustrating that can be if you are trying to get to an exact spot! :)

Ive had to resort to rezzing a special (large invisible) poseball, sit on it, and positioning the poseball to do some photos for the blog. Lol I assume thats not what you want when you are talking to someone ;P

Unfortunately, I dont know of an easy way...perhaps there might be a gadget or something that might do something like that...

ibrew meads said...

Hi again! I thought I'd follow up with what I found out.

After searching and asking around, I found three ways to take shorter steps. Although none will put you exactly in a spot, both will allow you to get closer to where you want to go.

The first is easy: wear leg irons. It makes you move much slower but looks pretty odd in most neighborhoods :) The second is also pretty simple: go into mouselook, look straight down as far as possible and in the direction you want to go, and take a step. You'll only go about one half as far per step doing that. Finally, you can walk sideways (l/r arrows in mouselook) and move about two thirds of a normal step.

Thank you again for this wonderful website and all your hard work!

SLNatalia said...

Ibrew, thank you so much for the tips! Lol where can I find some transparent leg irons? ;P

I'll definitely give it a try today :) I have the same problems when trying to take pix!

Anonymous said...

As far as movement goes, don't forget to tell them that control+R makes you run. This is especially helpful in those "no-fly" sims and took me 3 weeks in SL to figure out.

SLNatalia said...

Dear Anonymous, heehee thanks for the suggestion! Thats definitely a good way to get around the no-fly areas :) (I hate them too, cause it takes twice as long to see the area!)

Tim said...

Hi Natalia

I've been hanging around SL for about a week now. I got some 'good enough' clothes from the freebie places and went exploring. I marvelled at the wonderful scenery... and complete lack of people. I went back to the newbie zones. Got no useful tips. Tutorials seemed to involve walking and flying (yeah - I got that!) or advanced programming skills (ugh). I was about to give up and go back 'home' to irc. Then I've found your blog site. Its terrific :) You bridge the huge gap between basic and advanced that no-one else seems to.
Thank you
Tim (Timo Morane)

Natalia Zelmanov said...

Tim, Im so glad the blog is helpful, and you have a chance to see SL! :) BTW, check out events (like live music and classes), jazz clubs, and RP sims if you are wondering where the people are ;P Oh, and dont forget New Citizens Plaza...its a really cool place to get started with lots of people around all day long. Have fun!

Anonymous said...

I love your site, it seems incredibly helpful - full of pictures, very clear instructions - but I myself can't make use of any of it, I feel so stupid - I edited my appearance, but can't seem to move at all! The side arrows work for side to side movement, but I can't move forward or backward, and I'm trapped in that little railed circle when you first sign up! I feel very dumb, but I have nowhere else to turn - no one offers any instructions for people who are more 'absolute' absolute beginners than those who can't code or build. You seemed very nice, and I thought if anyone would forgive such stupidity, it would be you, and perhaps you could help me understand what the heck is going on!

Natalia Zelmanov said...

Dear Anonymous, there are people inworld at a couple places who could help you. They are mainly volunteers, and are there most of the day.

Click on the "Help" option from the top menu bar, select "In-World Help", click on "Help Island Public". When the map appears, click on the "Teleport" button.

Alternatively, check out a welcome area like Ahern (click on Search at the bottom of your screen, select "Places" tab, and enter "ahern" in the search box. Then click the Teleport button).

I hope that helps to get you in the right direction :)

molly (sln) said...

it's been a year since the last comment, so this is the first for 2009...the mermaid diaries are just what i was seeking and i love the way things are explained,,,you are indeed bookmarked...

Natalia Zelmanov said...

Molly, heehee thank you so much! Have fun in SL :)