Monday, September 12, 2016

Learning to Build In Second Life - Part 1: Places to Learn

When I was a kid my brother and I used to make competing block structures and then shoot at them with a toy cannon. I learned to build solid.

Later we used to make little houses out of hay bales, and when I was a teen I built (with a little help) a horse corral and shed.

Now as an adult my RL building is limited. If I want a new house I will have to buy it from someone else, or work with architects and contractors and follow the building codes -- but in Second Life I can make my own home. "It's not much, but it's home."  It's one of the things I enjoy most in Second Life.

Trying to learn building on your own in SL can be frustrating.

Here is some information to get you started:


Ivory Tower Library of Primitives:

Ivory Tower of Prims - Natoma

Resident Lumiere Noir built the first Ivory Tower Library of Primitives (ITLP) in Noyo in 2004 - but added an annex in Natoma in 2007.  The Tower in Noya no longer exists, but there is a third Tower on Tutorial Island*.  Both existing Towers offer numerous stations which give short notecard tutorials and show examples of dealing with primitives. You can collect the notecards and then experiment on your own in the adjacent sandboxes. See this site for more detailed information. Torley also has a video on UTube.

The first station - hard to miss!

Both of the Towers have several floors of self-paced tutorial modules, but there is some difference in layout and content between the Natoma and the Tutorial Island ITLP like the fact that Natoma has stairs between floors, while the Tutorial Island Tower uses teleports between floors.  Also, I was able to do some of the building exercises inside the Tower at Natoma, but not inside the Tower at Tutorial Island. I would suggest visiting them both.

Note: I found a "Vehicle Laboratory" between two floors, but couldn't find any way to get there except to camming in to the silver rocket there and clicking on it.


Happy Hippo:

This is my favorite building school. I have spent many happy hours sitting in front of their free tutorial boards,  playing with prims. **  They offer many free tutorials, and even provide the textures. 

Starting page of one class 
Step one to building a Roman chair. 
After you've learned the basics from the free tutorials, you can buy advanced classes in their store, as well as pick up some excellent freebies.  If you join the Happy Hippo class you will be able to join group chat and get announcements about classes and events.

Builder's Brewery:

Builder's Brewery offers frequent classes on different aspects of building. You can access their schedule online and add reminders about the classes you want to take to Google Calendar. They also have a store and a Creator's Village.

Class schedule and announcement at Builder's Brewery.


Most of these are places that offer many different kinds of resources, but if you join the groups you will be alerted when they have a building class.

Helping Haven:

Sandbox at Helping Haven

Helping Haven has a wide range of resources for newcomers, and they also offer building classes.

Caledon Oxbridge: 

In addition to their excellent newcomer orientation area, Caldeon also offers many different classes. Classes and events are also posted online.

Class schedule at Caledon Oxbridge 

Rockcliffe University:

Elements of Design is a multi-part class taught several times a year.

Rockcliffe University is a serious academic institute offering classes in and about the Hypergrid, but they also offer a good series on the Elements of Design that is open to everyone. See their schedule online.


 Scripting Library:

The College of Scripting, Music & Science has thousands of tutorials. You can view them for free by standing in front of each tutorial board and progressing through the pages, or you can buy your own copies of each module and read them anywhere inworld while you learn.

College of Scripting, Music, & Science


Texture Tutorials:

Like the Ivory Tower Library of Primitives, the Texture Tutorials are in two places.  The original one, in Livingtree, was moved there from Benton in 2007, and later a copy was placed on Tutorial Island. Read more about it here.  Near Livingtree is a small shop that sells copies of Robin Sojourner Wood's books with additional information about texturing, but you can sit there and read the books in the store if you don't have enough Lindens. Be sure to check out the other stores in Livingtree while you are there.

In Livingtree

At Tutorial Island


Particle Laboratory:

The Particle Laboratory is a wonderful and terrifying place. I had managed to avoid learning much about particles until recently, when using particles was necessary for a building challenge, but it turns out that it wasn't as hard as I thought. I even understood some of it. Better yet, there were lots of free scripts and examples. When your brain is full be sure to take the balloon to visit the rest of the sim.

The first display on the Tutorial Path at the Particle Laboratory

More information later.

*Tutorial Island is northeast of the old Teen Grid.
**The only drawback to building in a public place is that when you've misplaced a period and your ,02 prim becomes a 2000 prim that stretches across the sim.

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