Tuesday, June 26, 2012


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.

Hit 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.


  1. Well, darn and blast! If I'd spotted this here last night, when a new person at Oxbridge was asking about *exactly* this stuff...

    Oh, well! I shall know it's here, next time.

  2. Thanks your article was a tremendous help in saving time and providing the most complete view of any area around the avatar.I found it especially useful because I am using a slow connection and the ability to look around far and near while the avatar was getting ready gave me some activity to focus on.

  3. . . and of course if you then hold down ctrl you can swing your camera up and down on it's horizontal axis too . . oh and at the same time use your mouse scroll wheel to zoom your cam in or out . . . just sayin ;-)