The Basic Second Life Navigation Tools

How to Move Around in Second Life

Once you have logged into SL you’ll appear on an orientation island. The orientation island will depend on where you signed up. Since the University of Delaware is a member of the New Media Consortium (NMC),  you go can go through the NMC’s web site to create your avatar. You might also choose to go through Virtual Ability’s web site, both are very good starting places.

Virtual Ability and the NMC have developed their own Orientation Islands (OI) where you will develop the same skills as the SL OI, only better. They have created a wonderful spaces for skill building, with more in-depth coverage of each skill learned. Additionally, they both have a buildings where you can pick up freebies. You can pick up some professional looking clothes, complete professional looking avatars, and some teaching tools at the NMC’s islands. All completely free of charge.

Already Have An Avatar or Need a Refresher

If you have already acquired your avatar through the SL web site or one of the other entry points, you can always teleport (tp) over to the NMC’s or Virtual Abitily’s OI at anytime. Just click on one of the links in the Getting Started Locations Section. Don’t forget to make a Landmark at the chosen location so you can get back to do some more skill building after some exploring.

Whichever OI you land on will take you through the skills you need to know how to navigate SL: Walking, flying, driving, chatting, changing your appearance, picking up things, and learning how to search. All of the basic navigation skills are covered. It is very tempting to skip this training and jump right into the world and start exploring. Doing so will put you at a disadvantage and could make your first steps into the SL environment frustrating ones. So spend some time going through the training on the OI. You’ll use these basics every day.

Directional Arrow Keys and WEASDFC on the Keyboard

You can use these numeric keyboard arrows as you move through the world.

  • Up/Down keys are for forward or backward movement, and Left/Right for turning.
    If you do not have the arrow keys or you are using a laptop, you can also use the letter keys.
  • ??????????????????? Get the letter keys!!
  • Holding the keys will keep you moving, releasing stops the movement.
  • You can run in SL by pressing the comd & R keys at the same time.

Flying – Home & Page Up and Page Down (fly up/fly down) Keys

  • Pressing the home key will put you about 4 meters into the air and you will not fall,
    press the home key again and you will land on the ground.
  • If you hit the home key while higher than 4 meters, you will go into a free fall.
    Pressing and holding the spacebar will break your free fall.
  • Pressing the Page Up key once will cause you to jump into the air.
  • Press the Page Up and holding will cause you to stay airborne and move higher in to the sky.
  • Once airborne, if you can release the Page Up key, you will go into a hover state.
  • Holding the Page Up and Down Keys will put you up higher/lower into the air.
  • Pressing the Page Down key will take you out of hover mode and plant you feet first on the ground.

Using the Directional Arrows While Flying

  • Use the arrows key while flying, they work in the same way as when walking.
  • Left and Right, and Up and Down Arrow keys move you in those directions.
  • On laptops, you can use the E key to become airborne and move upwards  and the C key to move down and land back on the ground.
  • You can only fly up to about 200 meters.
    Anything higher than that will require special devices such as, a Flight Feather, a Landmark, or TP to a skybox or building platform.
  • Use the Spacebar to break the free fall. You can slowly put yourself on the ground by releasing and reapplying the spacebar.

Viewing The World

While moving, you will notice that your view is almost always seen from the back of your avatar’s head. You can change this view to see yourself or to get a closer view of something, like another avatar, something in a shop, or better yet to look past a bunch of avatars who are blocking your view of a presentation screen.

You can do this with a three-button mouse and wheel, or your keyboard modifiers, comd/control, option/alt, and shift keys in various combinations or by using the view icon in your Second Life Viewer.

Basic Controls You Should Be Familiar With

The Mouse Wheel
If you have a mouse scroll wheel, you can use it to zoom in and out of a subject. No clicking necessary, just make sure your SL window is active.

Alt-Click Keyboard Combo

Using this option turns your cursor into a magnifying glass. You use this combo with your mouse to inspect your world more closely.

  • A straight, alt-click anywhere, on something or someone, and the spot clicked on will become centered in your window.
  • If you move your mouse with the alt key down, The Cursor well change to a rotation arrow.
    You can rotate your view horizontally around to see your face. This is a little tricky at first but a very useful skill to learn.
  • Alt-click on the back of your head, keep the alt key down, and move the mouse at the same time to rotate your view to your face.
    Hit the Escape key twice to return your view to normal.

Alt-Click Control/Command Keyboard Combo
Using the Control/Command modifier with the Alt and mouse will allow you to move the view in all directions around the object.
You move the mouse while holding down the keys to freely orbit around the subject in both horizontal and vertical directions
(e.g., move your view to look at the top bottom and all sides of your object.
This skill is extremely handy for inspecting all areas of an object you are building).

Adding The Shift key
Adding a shift to any of the combos above will allow you to reposition the horizontal location of the click and drag point on the screen, which is also very helpful when building things.

Right-Clicking – On Yourself, Others, and Objects
This combination will bring up a menu with options to choose from. This menu is your gateway to many important daily functions.
These options will change depending on what it is you’re right-clicking on.

  • Mac users and others without three-button mice can hold down the control/comd key instead of right clicking.
  • You can use this menu to buy items (even if they are free), find out the name of the creator of objects, look at other people’s profiles, change your clothes, and edit items to name only a few.
  • If the menu options have a little > character with the menu titles, this > indicates that there are more options in the menu item.