What is Second Life?
Second Life is a 3D virtual world and online community with millions of users worldwide and 40,000 concurrent users at a time. It uses a free virtual world software program called a Viewer that merges 3d world graphics with a variety of ways for users to interact with each other. Second Life and other Viewer-based virtual worlds are entirely user-created and built from free tools that are included in the Viewer. The Viewer also has built-in import tools for 3D models from external software. All the landscaping, scenery, clothing, avatar customizations, etc., in the virtual world are created by the users.
Second Life leases virtual land in units called sims. Each sim is typically the virtual space that can be run on one dedicated computer server. A sim in Second Life is typically 256×256 meters in virtual size.
Groups of people organize to purchase a sim in Second Life for their group’s activities. Activities in Second Life include everything from virtual training, education, to roleplaying the medieval era, popular science fiction worlds, or any other genre you can imagine. You name it, it’s probably somewhere in Second Life. BURN2 is one of these groups.
The Viewer displays your presence in the virtual world by showing you as an avatar to others around you. As you become familiar with the Viewer software, you will pick up on ideas that you see from others, and usually add some customizations of your avatar and software.
The Viewer can store many user accounts. Each account is associated to a specific avatar. You choose your avatar at login time.
Burning Man in Second Life (BURN2)
BURN2 is the only recognized Burning Man regional in the virtual world. Burning Man has always had a presence in Second Life since its beginning, and BURN2 is the latest incarnation of Burning Man presence there. Today, BURN2 occupies a sim in Second Life year-round, with extra sims added to their virtual space during special events. It is run by a group that includes people involved directly with Burning Man, along with seasoned Second Life programmers and digital artists with a genuine interest in Burning Man.
The BURN2 community is a mix of those who attend real-life Burning Man as well as people from all over the world who may never have the opportunity to visit the real playa, but share a genuine interest in Burning Man. For many, BURN2 is their Burning Man experience. Together, we celebrate Burning Man culture in the unique environment of Second Life.
BURN2 activities are primarily event-based with each event having a planning stage, building stage, holding the event, then tearing down. Several small events are held each year, with the main event held in October. This event is a week long and echoes the Burning Man playa “look and feel” each year. This event, also referred to by the community as “OctoBurn” uses more virtual space and requires more planning and preparation.
While the spirit of the real and virtual events are very similar in heart, there are inherent differences in the real and virtual environments that lead to some things being done a bit differently in BURN2. Nevertheless, the core Ten Principles of Burning Man are celebrated, demonstrated and encouraged.
BURN2 has many of the elements of the Burning Man Festival, including being set in a desert playa virtual environment, and the opportunity to create your own environment. BURN2 has many of the same organized groups such as Lamplighters, Fire Dancers, Rangers, a DMV complete with crazy art cars to drive around, and many talented artists who build and share their art with the community each year.
We welcome you to become part of our community!
OK, I’m Sold, How Do I Get Started?
Go to www.secondlife.com, pick a starter avatar and create your account.
Download and install a Second Life viewer.
The official Second Life Viewer is here: http://secondlife.com/support/downloads
But most seasoned users recommend instead to use a 3rd party viewer, called Firestorm:
When you enter Second Life with your avatar for the first time, you will arrive in an orientation area. Take some time to go through it; you will learn the basics of navigating in the virtual environment.
Second Life provides plenty of training for beginners and there are many resources. But if you know someone already familiar with the Viewer, an in-person demo can be a fast way to develop an understanding.
While Second Life is itself totally free to use and explore, there is an optional in-world currency called the Linden Dollar ($L) which you can purchase with real US dollars. The Linden Dollar can be used for buying optional non-free items either in-world or at their marketplace website. This might include such things as clothes/accessories, vehicles, land, and anything else you may desire.
Purchasing the in-world currency IS NOT REQUIRED as there are plenty of free items available, but buying Lindens can definitely enhance your overall experience in Second Life.
OK, I’m in Second Life. How Do I Get to BURN2?
You will see an “address bar” up at the top of the Viewer screen, similar to what you would see in a web browser.
Copy and paste this address (called an SLURL) into that bar and hit enter:
That will take you directly to the virtual playa of BURN2!
Basic Second Life Terminology:
SL: Second Life
RL: Real Life
Av, Avi or Avatar: Your In-World character
TP or Teleport: A direct teleport to/from a place in Second Life
LM or Landmark: A “bookmark” of a place or sim that is saved in your inventory. Using a saved LM will teleport you to that location.
SLURL: A landmark in url form.
Sim: A square area of land which is 65,536 square meters (roughly 16 acres)
Parcel: A single divided part of that land
Rez: Bring something in-world from your inventory to use.
Boxed: Some things in Second Life are “boxed” meaning you must rez and open the box to copy its contents into your inventory.
Sandbox: An open area where you can rez or build items
Local: This refers to “Local” chat in which everyone near you can see your chat or can hear you if using voice
$L, L$ or Lindens: The in-world currency… such as L$50 or 50L
MP or Marketplace: Second Life’s online Marketplace for shopping. Located at http://marketplace.secondlife.com. (Many freebies available)
Freebie: An item you can purchase or take for free
Dollarbie: an item you can purchase for L$1
Extra Tutorial Videos
Here’s a good series of tutorial videos for new users of Second Life:
Basic Building Tutorial: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XYAItoufobA