Frequent readers will know that I like to explore the Second Life Virtual World. It’s full of highly creative people building amazingly creative things. Sure, there’s lots that is not-so-great, but in hidden places we can always find something beautiful, amazing, fun or educational. The best places have all those attributes.
The problem of exploration is simply “where should I go?” Answers are found in several places:
- Ask your friends, particularly those who like to explore or always seem to know a good place to visit. They’ll be happy to tell you of their most recent adventures. I certainly do.
- Read the SL blogs. There are literally hundreds of SL-oriented blogs on all manner of topics. Some are dedicated to exploration, and those blogs often uncover new and unusual tourist destinations. One good example is Ambling in Second Life.
- Try the Showcase. With the end of the universally abhorred “Popular Places” search feature, a new feature, “The Showcase” has emerged. I haven’t really used it, but some say it has been useful.
- Profile Peeking. If you don’t care to ask your friends (or don’t have any) you can frequently find interesting locations by peeking at the Picks in avatar profiles. Remember, they found the place so interesting they spent the time and effort to put it into their entry-limited profile, so it’s probably worthwhile visiting. Just ignore the adverts and inevitable buddy pics.
- Creator Tracing. Have you ever seen an interesting object or building and wanted more of the same? Simply EDIT the object (even though you may not have modify authority) and you can quickly determine the owner. The owner’s profile picks could lead you to their store, or other locations they find interesting.
- Random Flying. This is perhaps the first technique I used to discover new places, before I realized there were other methods and I still use it occasionally. Simply fly around in a random direction. Maintain your height or you may be bounced by security systems, but keep an eye on the ground for anything unusual. You’d be surprised what you find. And also who you might find.
- Map Pegging. Call up the MAP, zoom out. Click randomly somewhere. Teleport. Voila – you are exploring. More than likely you will not be in an interesting place, but you can use this location as a base to fly about and bump into something interesting nearby. Alternate approach: look on the map for a clump of green dots, and probably something interesting is underway. However, be warned as you might TP right into the middle of a demonic initiation ceremony, a sim-wide orgy, a private event or a machinima recording session. Best to spot your landing a short distance away from the clump and approach silently, ready to CTL-SHIFT-H if necessary.
- Eye In The Sky. Call up the MAP again, and zoom to an intermediate level where you can see some details of 20-30 sims. Scroll randomly so that you are looking at an area you’re not familiar with. Examine the aerial views of the sims until you see something interesting. What should you look for? Trust me, you’ll know it when you see it. It may be a large and unusually shaped architectural build, for example. For an interesting sample of what you might see from above, search for the “Rouge” sim.
- Random Word. Open SEARCH on the PLACES tab. Obtain a random word by flipping open a dictionary or newspaper, and punch it into the search. Teleport to where ever the search leads you. Amazingly, this technique actually works quite well, especially if you use interesting words. I’ve even had people visit my store via this method.
- Record It. No exploration is complete without a record. Upon arrival, create a landmark immediately. Take pictures, especially if it’s worthy of sharing with others. Create a notecard with, well, notes! Finally, if the build is truly awesome, make certain you tell everyone about it, so that the creator can get credit for their astounding creation.
Regardless of where you go, remember that you are a visitor and that you should respect the owner's property and privacy. Although many areas are considered public, some are not and you should act appropriately. If you make a mistake, just fess up quickly and you may be forgiven. Or indoctrinated if you happen to land in the wrong place.
It’s probably obvious, but one more tip: combine these techniques together and you’ll soon find the most interesting places you’ve ever seen. Happy trails!