Today's entry is a short Newbie Tutorial!
Being able to walk, run, and fly in Second Life is great fun. But it can also become a bit tedious, especially if you want to explore the contents of (for example) a large store. But there is a faster way: moving your camera's point of view, instead of your entire avatar. This process has gotten (understandably, if unfortunately) the name of "camming". Here's how to do it.
ESC a few times to be sure your main user interface window "has the
focus"...that is, your cursor is not in a chat or IM window, or any other window such as inventory.
Hold down the ALT key, and the left mouse button. Move your mouse to move your camera. When
you hold down your left mouse button with this technique, it causes
your cursor to "grab on" to any object it's resting on. Because of
this, one person once described the process as being rather like
"swinging on a web strand like Spiderman".
Indeed, moving the
mouse sideways can swing your camera from one side of a wall to the
other...and it is this which enables you to get your camera inside a
locked room. Then find something to right click and sit on, or double click teleport
to a spot inside. Presto, you're in!
Caution: your cursor must have something to grab on TO. Camming won't work
if your cursor is on open sky. Water will work, provided that
there is underlying seabed (that is, the water is not simply an optical illusion covering a void region.)
By using your avatar as the "grab point", you can easily swing your camera around to check yourself from the front...or the sides. This is very useful for adjusting the fit of attachments.
You can cam into some strange places...try the "swing to the other side" trick with the ground. You can actually get your camera below ground level, and the view from there is probably not what you expected. Yes...we live on a one sided surface in Second Life...the ground doesn't exist at all when looked at from below.
You can get your camera a LONG way from you, especially if you use the Disable Camera Constraints option found in the Advanced menu. If you get lost,
simply hit ESC to return the camera to its normal position above and
behind your avatar.
For those who want an alternative, there is a set of on-screen camera controls (View/Camera Controls). I find the keyboard/mouse method much more convenient than these, with one exception. If you are wearing certain scripted restraint items, they prevent keyboard/mouse camming...but not using the on screen controls.