Friday, May 20, 2011

Round, Round, Get Around, I Get Around...

By now, you've at least learned how to walk. What's that? You haven't? Well, it's pretty easy, and you have four ways of doing it.
  • The arrow keys on your keyboard
  • The W,A,S,and D keys. They work just like the arrow keys, if your cursor is in the main viewer window (the main window “has the focus”, as they say).
  • The on-screen movement controls, a little palette that you can use with your mouse. (You can turn the visibility for these on or off, depending on personal preference.)
  • Mouselook. I bet you are wondering, “what's that?” Normally, your view of SL is from a point above and behind your avatar. In a previous post, I explained how to move that viewpoint, using the ALT key, the left mouse button, and the mouse. But if you hit M, or use the mouse scroll wheel to zoom all the way in, you go into a first-person view called Mouselook. Move your mouse to control where you look. The Up arrow will make you walk in the direction you are looking. Mouselook is useful for certain activities like piloting a vehicle, or combat, or navigating in close quarters where walls and ceilings are blocking your camera. It has some can't get at your inventory or IM windows while using it. Hit ESC to exit this mode.
Some other points about locomotion: Tapping the up arrow twice and holding it will make you run, not walk. ALT+R toggles running on and off. E or PgUp makes you jump, and C or PgDn makes you crouch low. The left and right arrows make you turn, but SHIFT+arrow will scoot you sideways.

Flying is almost as easy as walking, and it's faster. To fly, hit F, or hold E or PgUp for a couple of seconds. Hit F again to stop flying, or hold C or PgDn to descend to a gentle landing instead of a splat. Flying in Mouselook can be exhilarating, because you go where you point with your mouse. Zooooom! Your basic avatar is limited in altitude to about 200 meters...but you can get a “flight feather” or many other sorts of flight assist gadgets that let you fly faster, and as high as you want. Check for freebies before spending money on one of these. The ability to fly can be disabled by the owner of the land you are on. Some landowners do this for purposes of role-playing – in their milieu, people don't fly. If you are already in the air when you cross into such a parcel, you won't crash...but if you land there, you can't take off again.

There is actually one other way to move about, if you have the right hardware. Second Life supports a number of joysticks and game pads. My favorite is the device I call my “hockey puck”. Its proper name is the “Space Navigator” and it's made by 3DConnexion.

But, with all these ways to move our avatars, the way most of us get around is by yet another method...teleportation. Many places in SL are not connected physically to other locations and can only be reached by teleporting.

The most common way of teleporting somewhere is to use a landmark, or LM. These appear in your inventory as a little red pushpin symbol. To use one, click it and then hit the Teleport button in the window that appears, or just double click it in your inventory. Whoooosh! Suddenly you are in a new place.

Whenever you find a place you would like to return to, you can make a landmark for it. Go to the World menu at the top of your page and choose “Landmark This Place”.

You can also teleport by using a “SLURL”. A SLURL is an “SL URL”, and it's similar to a web address. You can cut and paste these links in chat or IM or in a notecard. Clicking on one takes you to that location, just as clicking a link in your web browser takes you to that web page. Here's a sample SLURL: Click it and see what happens!

Someone may offer to teleport you to their location. If you accept the offer, you will whooosh! to where they are. You can send teleport offers to other people, too. There is a button for that in their Profile, or in the IM window you are talking to them in.

You can use the Map to teleport. Just click any location on the map, hit the Teleport button in the map window, and you will go to that spot.

You can even use teleporting to get around locally! The viewer has an option to allow “double click teleporting”. If you have this enabled, putting your mouse pointer on a spot and double clicking will zap you to that spot.

Safety Tip: If you find yourself in any sort of unpleasant situation, you can duck out quickly by teleporting to your Home location. That's in World/Teleport Home, or use the shortcut CTRL+SHIFT+H.

Now that you know how to get around...log in and Get Around! From now on, I will be including SLURLs for various destinations of interest in these posts.

1 comment:

  1. OMG!! I've been in SL for over 3 years, and I just now learned about how to move in Mouselook! Geez, I'm embarrassed, but thank you, thank you! :)