SOME TIPS FOR SETTING UP YOU AVATAR, CONFIGURING YOUR PROFILE AND GOOD ROLE-PLAYING IN SECOND LIFE
SOME TIPS FOR SETTING UP YOU AVATAR,
CONFIGURING YOUR PROFILE AND GOOD ROLE-PLAYING IN SECOND LIFE
The aim of this document is to provide some tips and help for setting up your avatar and for role-playing in SL.
It is intended primarily to help those new to SL, although hopefully others may also find it interesting.To make it easier to read and use, this guide is divided into several sections, as listed in the CONTENTS section above, with the main parts being: Setting up your AV, Configuring your Profile and Good Role-Playing.
- Part 1: Setting up your Avatar
- Part 2: Configuring your Profile
- Part 3: Good Role-Playing
- Part 4: Conclusion
Part 1 - SETTING UP YOUR AVATARWe all dress up to meet friends and make an impression in Real Life. We try to make ourselves presentable and attractive. Well, Second Life is no different. Linden Labs provides a basic avatar, which is generic and everyone looks the same - and not very good, really.So most people who have been in SL for a while get themselves a new shape, skin, clothes etc and this not only gives them confidence and makes them unique, it is a way of respecting others - to make yourself look good to others.
So you want a great look and Profile? Where do you start?Well, you start at the stores in SL or get a friend to help you. The good thing about SL is that the cost of things normally ranges from Free to ... not expensive :).
Stage 1First get yourself a shape and a skin you like. You can either buy these separately, or all together in one package.There are stores for everything in SL. Remember that you only buy skin and shape once, so don't get the cheapest. Also, you can easily create your own shape: it doesn't require any specific skill. It demands a bit of human anatomical proportions knowledge, and some common sense, though.And you can still mould and modify your avatar's size and shape yourself, for fine tuning.
Stage 2Next, get hair and eyes. Often the instructions with a basic shape will tell you where to get some matching eyes and hair. You will not need lots of eyes, but people tend to buy lots of different hair - different lengths, styles, colours and quality, i.e. how well and realistically it appears and moves when your avatar moves.
Stage 3And for total realism - especially if you will at times be naked, you should add some genitals - yes, you can buy those too and apply them to your shape to be really human-like. They will work rather well you will find, and make you look real. ( and ).
Stage 4So, you may ask, is the basic "you" all set up now? The answer is - not quite! You may look like a million dollars, but anyone seeing you walking towards them will instantly know you are inexperienced. Why? Well, it is the Charlie-Chaplin like walk that Linden Labs gives its basic avatars - rather like Agatha Christie's Poirot - small steps with a strange walk. :)So you need to get an AO - Animation Overrider. Again, you only need one - so get a nice one. When you wear your AO, you will suddenly walk with calm assurance, a purposeful male stride, or a hip-swaying sexy female walk. And depending on the AO it can supply swimming, diving, dancing, flying, running and a myriad other animations for your avatar. And it provides poses for standing - so that you stand naturally, with natural movements.
Stage 5Now you can visit all those great clothes shops. You can get any outfit imaginable from the stores - a normal guy/girl, a pirate, a cowboy, a knight, a fantasy character, a ... well, anything! Enjoy!
Stage 6One last word about Scripts and your AV. A very simple word about scripts. Almost all things in SL contain scripts - software code that performs actions in-world. However, the more scripts you have on you, the more laggy you become, and the more slowly things will run for you in SL.. So please check and delete scripts from your hair/shoes/etc if you are offered the possibility in menus when you are fitting your clothes to you. However, do not forget to make a copy of your things before you delete any scripts! To ensure that you can recover if things go wrong afterwards.
Part 2 - CONFIGURING YOUR PROFILENow let's look at your Profile. An empty Profile is soooo boring and tells others nothing about you. First of all, add a good SL picture. Either take one yourself with your in-world camera, or get a friend to take one for you. Next, in Preferences, turn off that awful typing animation that runs when you talk - it looks dreadful and just marks you as new to SL!Now add some Picks of places, stores, people, and Groups that you like. This will help people to know you and see if you like the same things as they do. You are effectively introducing yourself without saying a word :).If you intend to role-play as a victim or prey, add a Limits Pick - but we will cover that later in the role-playing section.Lastly, providing any RL information is entirely up to you. Please bear in mind that not many people provide real RL information, preferring to keep RL and SL separate. Remember that anyone can read your profile and the information in it!
Part 3 - GOOD ROLE-PLAYINGThese days, most people are familiar with Role Playing Games on paper, computer, and even online. These are the games where you assume the role of a Wizard, Warrior or other character and go on adventures to, for example, gain wealth and kill monsters.Well, Role-Playing in SL is rather like that. When you role-play in SL, you take on a role in an unfolding story, or drama. The beauty of it is that you and whoever you rp with will create a new and unique story every time you play. You will work together to create something new and potentially fantastic. Hopefully, the following points will help you on your way.
- If the rules of a sim you are visiting ask you to wear a Titler then please, please wear it! It will let people know, for example, if you are in the sim to RP or just to observe. Also, not wearing a titler may cause you to be ejected from the sim!The same applies to attachments that the sim asks you to wear, such as collars and hunt-meters, bows, guns.
- While in an RP sim, please keep in-role at all times. In other words, everything you say will be interpreted by other people as being said by your rp-character unless you enclose the text in double-brackets. So if you want to say something OOC - Out Of Character - enclose it in double brackets like this:((Sorry, but I have to log now.)).
- Be respectful of other people in the sim - and they will show you respect in return.
- If you are playing a victim or prey, make sure that you put a Pick entitled "Limits" in your Profile. This Limits Pick should state your limits and any things you do not want to happen to you during the rp. Take a look at Limits Picks in other people's Profiles for examples to help you write your own.
- If you are playing, for example, a kidnapper, sadist or dominant, always read the Limits in the Profile(s) of anyone you intend to play with. If there are no Limits in their Profile(s), then IM the person to get their limits before RP-ing with them. Once you know the person's Limits, ALWAYS keep within them. NEVER go beyond a person's stated limits.
- A lot of furniture in SL has pose-balls - the blue and red balls for males and females, respectively, to "Sit on" and use the furniture's built-in poses and animations.Many people like pose balls, although some do not. For good role-playing try to not over-use them. it is one thing to use a couple of poses or animations to provide atmosphere and help the RP. But it is another thing entirely to keep continually hopping from one to another - it can be distracting and can detract from the role-play.
- There tend to be two approaches to describing actions while role-playing.Some people like to use first person e.g. "i shoot at you and you fall down.".However, others like to use third person, e.g. "Dirk Dastardly drew his pistol and shot at her, causing her to fall down." First person is certainly easier for anyone who is not fluent in the language used for the RP - in this case English.But many, many experienced role-players use the third-person method. It seems to be more elegant and expressive. It is nicer to read. And don't forget what was said at the start of this section - we are trying to create a great story and third person is the more natural way to do it. After all, it is the method used in most literature.
- In the previous example we used the SL name of the role-playing character, in that instance "Dirk Dastardly". But you do not have to keep typing it out yourself! There is a really useful short-cut in SL which prints out the name for you.Just put /me at the start of the line of text you are typing and SL will substitute your SL avatar's name for the /me !! :)So, if your avatar's name is "Dirk Dastardly" and you type this:/me draws his gun and takes careful aim.SL will print out this:Dirk Dastardly draws his gun and takes careful aim.Neat, eh? It saves hours of typing and really helps with role-playing!
- If you are short of time it is only polite to give the other person(s) warning of the fact. Perhaps you are short of time at the beginning of an RP, or run out of time as it progresses, or perhaps Real Life causes an interruption - these things happen to everyone. Whatever the cause, tell the person(s) you are playing with - perhaps by an OOC explanation, e.g. ((Sorry, but I have to leave in 30 minutes.)), or via an Instant Message (IM). Likewise, unless your internet connection or computer crashes, never simply leave a a roleplay without first saying goodbye - it is plain rude to just leave the other person wondering what happened, or if they did something wrong. And, if there is time, try to provide some feedback on whether you enjoyed the RP, what went well, what not so well, etc. This is the way we all learn and it helps us to improve our role-plying skills. As an aside, Real Life long-term friendships and relationships have resulted from people role-playing together. It is worth doing it the best you can!
- Just as there are first and third person styles of role-playing, as we discussed previously, there are also different levels of detail used in roleplay. From minimalist to highly detailed.Take two examples:a). "Dirk Dastardly draws his gun and points it at her."b). "Dirk Dastardly snarls nastily and his face takes on a menacing expression as he reaches inside his coat and takes out a .44 Magnum revolver. The metal of the gun glints wickedly as he slowly lifts the heavy weapon and points it directly at her."Which would you rather read? Bear in mind that in SL our avatars normally show no expressions, and limited body movements and poses. Also, props are of varying detail, complexity and relevance to a particular RP situation. So the only way that the person(s) we are playing with will know what we are doing is by our descriptions. We have to tell them. This procedure is generally known in SL as "emoting" and is a valuable skill to learn. And the use of paragraphs of text to describe things is known as paragraph-play, or para-play for short.Of course, in most role-plays, the level of detail in the text will vary from "brief" all the way up to "verbose", depending on what is needed at any particular moment. And you should also consider the speed of people's computers and internet connections. If typing all that stuff in takes too long and the other person is doing nothing but waiting for your next update, they can get pretty bored and the RP can lose its tension, immediacy and enjoyment for them.But remember that, basically, we are creating a story, or play/drama, and try to make it as enjoyable as possible to both read and perform in.
- Now we will touch on the subject of "godmodding", which is frequently the cause of most complaints about role-plays and role-players. It is intensely disliked by role-players when someone does it.Goddmodding is a term used when role-players try to bend the rules to their advantage by, for example, making themselves invulnerable to harm, giving themselves super powers, pretending the bad events that happen to them in RP did not happen. Also, saying in text that other role-players perform actions that the players do not wish to.Avoid these things at all costs, because it ruins the RP for everyone and will make you very unpopular.The most common godmodding is when you not only announce your own actions, but also the results of them on the other person.
For example: "Dirk Dastardly stabbed her with the sword, causing her to feel intense pain and making her dizzy so that she fell to the ground."
How would he know how she felt? He would not know, of course. Only she can tell us how she feels, and that is why this is an example of gomodding. However, it is easy to fall into the trap of doing this yourself when you get carried away with an RP and are trying extra hard to make it nice. So do be careful.Below is an illustration of why godmodding detracts from RPs, using two "extreme" versions of an RP.
Example 1: Dastardly shoots at her, hitting her and killing her.
Example 2: Dastardly tries to take accurate aim at her, despite the smoke in the air and her rapid movements. He looses off a shot, hoping to at least hit her.
Now, in Example 1 the RP can no longer progress. The other role-player can make no input now. That is the RP finished. Game over! However, in Example 2 he has made it possible for the other player to influence the RP and take it on. She can, for instance, take at least 3 potential actions:
a) She can indeed say that the bullet hit and killed her.
b) She can say that she saw him aim at her, ducked and the bullet just missed her, and she now runs on.
c) She can say that the bullet wounded her and although she fell, she is now struggling to escape by crawling for cover.And depending on how she responds, he can then take his next actions - chasing her, or kneeling to take very steady and accurate aim to shoot at her and probably hit her, etc. The point is that they are both contributing and driving the RP. They are creating a great story together. And they can keep exploring whichever way they want to go.Now consider this: if you were to buy a book of this RP or watch a play of it, which would you choose? The one-page book, or one-scene play, of Example 1? Or the beautifully constructed and enacted multi-chapter book, or multi-act play, of Example 2? Hopefully you would choose Example 2!
- Lastly, if you get stuck or need help, then just ask! SL people are usually keen to help anyone who has a problem, because they have also had probably the same problem that you are experiencing at some time and needed help themselves. You can ask for help or advice from the person(s) you are playing with via OOC or IM. Or ask other people in the sim, especially any staff members who happen to be online.
Part 4 - CONCLUSION
Right! You now have a superb avatar, with a suitable outfit of clothes to match the sort of character you want to be. And your Profile is interesting, tells others what you want them to know about you and hopefully you now know how to start making some great role-plays!We hope that you have enjoyed these notes and that you will find them helpful. And we just have one last piece of advice for you ....... don't just stand there - go and put it all into action and make great stories! Good luck and Enjoy!