Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Building in Second Life; What's Due for Tuesday, Sept. 27

For this Thursday's class, we'll introduce some basic building concepts in Second Life. It'll probably take a little time to get oriented to the interface, and to virtual 3D construction in general, so we'll start small in class today: I want you to build a table, and two chairs. The first chair should be pretty basic, but the second chair should have a little flair to it. Your completed table and chairs will be due at the beginning of Tuesday's class.

Also due on Tuesday: a sketch of a building you'd like to construct in Second Life. Hopefully the time spent in class today will give you some ideas of some of the possibilities and the limits of the basic building tools. Since SL isn't constrained by the physics of the real world, take the opportunity to be playful and creative with your design. Take your cue from "novelty architecture" (we'll look at some examples in class) -- buildings that are perhaps more sculptural or metaphorical than practical. Here are some links to examples of novelty architecture in the real world:

You might want to make your sketches on graph paper, as that will give you some indication of relative scale, and you might be able to translate some of that information to the SL building grid.

Here are some basic tips for building in SL:


Holding down the alt key and clicking in the viewer, you can use your mouse to navigate through the visual space without having to move your avatar around to see things from other angles.


Ctrl + L: Links objects
Ctrl + Shift + L: De-links objects
Shift + click + drag: Copies objects


When moving or rotating an object, you have access to a grid that will "snap" the object to specific coordinates. The grid will appear when you start moving the object; drag your cursor over the grid, and your object will snap to the grid increments. Building objects that are sized the the scale of the grid is a helpful strategy.


To create a hole in your object, in the build menu, select "edit" in the top menu, and "object" in the sub-menu. You have an option to "hollow" the object (and "path cut" will begin to slice into the shape of your object).


Right clicking on your object gives you several options, including editing, deleting, and "taking" your object. "taking" the object is like saving it -- it gets saved to your inventory. To keep your inventory organized, you should name you objects -- do that in your "Build" menu, under "Edit," in the "General" sub-menu.

Here are a few SL building tutorials on youtube:

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