Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Getting started in Second Life and Looking Good

Leaving my Facebook game family was hard but it was time to move on. I miss them all terribly. I am writing this blog for them, so they can get off to a good start if they get the urge to explore Second Life.

The first place to go is the NCI.  They are New Citizens Incorporated, a welcoming center. They have freebies and classes. Check them out here:  They were/are the single biggest source of help for me. There are always elders gathered on Kuula who willing to answer newbie questions (sometimes the same questions for the 1,000 time, bless them).

Until you have a home of your own you can use the NCI’s free changing rooms. The ones in Kuula tend to be popular (someone once pushed me off a posing stand), but I have found the changing rooms at Dreamseeker are hardly used at all 

See that sign behind me that says “Looking Good”.

Touch it then look for the notecard in your inventory. It will tell you all sorts of useful things like how to rez boxed items from your inventory onto the ground, open them, transfer the contents to inventory, and THEN put them on -- without ending up with a box on your head. Never-the-less, it is inevitable that you will rez a box on your head (midsection or arm) – when you do just click it and detach.

The best place for freebies is the Rock.

You will be tempted to load up and take everything. Don’t. You can always go back.  A lot of the stuff here are early designs so, while free and serviceable, they don’t look that great; and until you have some sensibilities as to what is well constructed and what is not, why bother? This is the best place for newbies to go on their first day to get their starter skins and shapes, hair and clothes. Think packing for a vacation. Get stuff you will need like bathing suit, formal/tux, suit, jeans, pants, shirts, minis, shoes, boots, and if you are into role play, weapons, etc.

 When it comes to skins you want something that looks real. For ladies check out the back of the avatar skin – if you can see well defined shoulder blades and spine, chances are the designer detailed the rest of the skin well, too. For men look for well defined six pack and guns.

You don’t have to spend a dime to play Second Life, but I have found there while there are a lot of super freebies, there are four things you have to spend Lindens (L$) on to look really good: Skin & Shape (best bought together), hair, jewelry and shoes.  To look really good on SL it will cost you about $5 – 20 USD. Start by getting yourself $1,000 Lindens, about $5 USD, and you are on your way. The first thing you need is a good skin and shape.

After a week of trying on every free lady skin available and pretty much fiddling with my face and shape till I ruined it, I went whole hog and spent about $8 USD on my avatar and got it from e-styles Paris. I look great and consider it the best money I ever spent on SL, but I didn’t have to spend that much to look good. Right now there is a new designer, Noya, selling women’s skin and shape combos for L$200 (less than $1USD). 

Go to X-street, buy one, and it will save you a lot of time trouble fooling around with your shape trying to look more like a human and less like a toon.

I haven’t demo’d them for myself, but Secret Passions is doing some promos on men’s complete avatars, shapes and skins combined for L299.

You can also find lots of other freebies and promos on Xstreet – one stop shopping.  It is a good place to find shoes, jewelry and hair.  Avoid jewelry that has “Bling” as this shouts “NOOB!”

I think I must have bought all the cheap promo hairstyles for redheads on Xstreet. Some were good, some were not so good.  I never wear any of them anymore, and now buy the hair styles that really suits me in my shade of red. The hair I like the best is by DrLife. It is “flexie-hair” hair that moves and looks real. DrLife skins and hair is very popular on the Asian sims, but the hair looks just as great on occidental avatars. It is great hair for newbies in that it comes with an 11 shade touch-to-change menu, so if later you decide you don’t want your avatar to be blond anymore, you can switch to brunette and keep the hair style. So while it will cost you L$350, with 11 shades to choose from that’s only about L$32/per look.  It is money well spent, as it will serve you no matter how many times you change your avatar’s looks. 

I liked it so much a bought a franchise.
This is me in my shop, Belle Coiffure. Setting it up is a whole ‘nother blog.  Stop by and say Hi!

One night my dance partner got tired of looking at himself in his free Harry Potter hair and poof he went bald. Not a good look for him. After an hour of dancing with Daddy Warbucks I decided to take him hair shopping. There are not as many choices for men so I previewed likely shops on XStreet. We began at Exile

And ended up there after trying on every do at a half dozen other shops. He ended up with a rug named Owen.  No more Harry Potter, no more Daddy Warbucks, and for a mere L250 the dude is looking mighty cute these days.

There are groups that sponsor sales where all sorts of current designer items can be picked up for free or next to nothing. My favorite is which sponsors a L$55 Thursday. I have always found a few steals here every Thursday. One jewelry designer, Milli usually offers matching necklaces and earrings for L$55.

Speaking of steals - Right now Phoenix Rising is having a going out of business sale.  Well-made, designer outfits for L$1 or L$25.  Everything on the wall behind me including the cute little number I am wearing (the best detailed jeans I own) are only L$1.
They also have some men’s clothes. I highly recommend spending the lindens here. Every outfit I am wearing in this blog came from Phoenix Rising. Ladies, Be sure to pick up a dress called “Whisper.” For L$25 you will get a bathing suit, mini dress and formal gown.  You can get it in different colors by clicking the boxes below the picture of the yellow dress.

Ladies if you don’t want to walk like a duck you will need a sexy walk animation override.  I tried the freebies I found for newbies and the conclusion it is best to get one at Vista Animations. If you join their group you can get the basic model for free. There are also more expensive ones with more poses if you want to spend the money.

So to get started in Second Life, and looking good on $5 USD your budget looks like this:
Shape and Skin                                 L$200 to 300
Hair                                                  L$250 to 350
Designer Outfits from
Phoenix               Rising                   L$200
Shoes from Xtreet
Or 55L Thursday                             L$125
Jewelry from Xsteet
Or 55L Thursday                            L$125

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