I’ve decided that if I don’t want to get bored with my second life, I’d better learn how to do some stuff. I always wanted to be an architect. Who hasn’t wanted to be an architect? If it’s good enough for George Kostanza, it’s good enough for me.
Anyway, the building tools in Second Life are great. You create stuff from basic shapes called “prims,” which is short for “primitives.” There are cubes, pyramids, wedges, toruses (tori?), cones, spheres, hemispheres, etc. You can stretch, twist, taper, hollow and otherwise mangle these shapes into whatever you need them to be, and then use some very easy controls to position them. After you’ve gotten things into place, you can apply textures to them to make them look like they’re made from different materials. Either you can upload your own textures, or you can look around the SL world for texture packs that other people have uploaded.
I learned all of this by building my own house. I don’t have any land of my own, so I’m using a public sandbox, which is land that someone has been kind enough to set aside for other people to build on. I can’t leave my house there permanently, because they clean out the sandbox every 24 hours or so, but it’s a great place to learn. You’ll also find all kinds of weird stuff that other people have built. I discovered a giant trampoline that will bounce your avatar into the clouds. Crazy!
SL also has a programming language that allows you to add actions to objects you build. I always wanted to learn some programming, and this seemed like a good opportunity to learn. It’s a pretty simple language, and having a defined task that I wanted to accomplish gave me the motivation to learn. I found the wiki for the SL scripting language, and that made it really easy to learn how to do what I wanted to do, which was to make a button on the wall that gave me a menu for different levels of tint on my windows. Try to do that in real life!
Here are some pictures of my SL house…