As both a builder and as a Second Life Mentor, I spend a lot of time helping people with projects. Funny thought… a Second Life mentor is a volunteer roll served out of pure altruistic mentality while as a builder... I like to get paid! Anyway, one thing I get asked a lot regardless of the capacity in which I work with people is, “How did you learn to do all this stuff?”
Well, lots of places of course! And I’m still learning… you should try to learn at least one new thin in SL every day. Trust me it’s not hard, most of the time the lessons find you. Sometimes the lessons come in the form of instruction from a friend, remember that time your best bud told you to how to press Ctrl + Alt + T to view transparencies and see who was wearing what junk at a club… lesson learned and noted… and it counts as your one thing learned that day. Or the time you examined an object to see how it was made… that moment the light bulb came on and you realized that you could use the same technique on some other project… great lesson learned that day!
Actually, a lot of building skills in Second Life are fairly basic… it is just a matter of learning how to apply the skills in different situations, kinda like having a box full of tools and learning how each tool is used an when to apply it. A fun way I have found to learn about the building tools at you disposal is with a little hands on training. There are all kinds of classes taught in Second Life and most of them are taught for free.
These classes are designed around the idea of making some fun, silly or sometimes even useful item in a classroom setting for the purpose of teach a basic skill. All the materials are usually provided along with a text chat lecture and the opportunity to ask questions. In my earlier days in SL, I took a great number of these classes. Some classes were better than others, but I usually managed to glean at least some little nugget of knowledge from each class and walked out with a skill I didn’t have going in. Gather up enough of these little nuggets and soon you will find that you know a hell of a lot.
Although I can't speak in an expert manner regarding every class or every instruction program on the grid, I did find that two organizations for instruction stood out to me. The TUi Neo programs (Technical User interface) and NCI programs (New Citizens Incorporated) offer a wide range of classes and topics. Although you can visit their sims, I have found the easiest way to find upcoming classes is through the Second Life Search tools. Just open up Search, click on the event tabs and then select education in the pull down menu. Here you can scroll through the list of upcoming classes and topics, read course descriptions and if any prerequisites are needed.
What is great, and this is the part I really love, is that you can either teleport to the class straight from the search window if the class is starting, or you can set SL to notify you when a future class is about to start. That means that if you see a topic your interested in on Wednesday at 2:00 pm SLT, just click notify me. Then next Wednesday, bout 5 min before class starts, you will get a friendly little blue menu box telling you that your class is about to begin. If you’re busy doing something else on Wednesday, just ignore the blue menu and go on with your day. But, if you’re bored… Hey, take the class and learn something new!
Other great resources for learning building skills are the Ivory Tower Library of Primitives and Torley Linden's Video Tutorials. I will follow up with more information on these recourses in future posts.
TUi Neo http://slurl.com/secondlife/Technical%20User%20interfacing/104/223/23
NCI Sim http://slurl.com/secondlife/Kuula/58/166/29
Ivory Tower of Prmatives http://slurl.com/secondlife/Natoma/210/164/27
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