Thursday, March 26, 2015

You want to learn to build?! Are you nuts?!

Building is extremely addictive and at times equally frustrating!  You will lose countless hours trying to manipulate virtual building blocks in an often unstable environment.  And you will frequently discover builds made by other people that will make you feel like a complete newbie!  I have been building for many years and I'm still amazed at how little I know about something I am so obsessed with.

But at the same time, I get to create art in the true sense of the word and share it with people who, for the most part, seem to enjoy it!  So I guess it's all worth it!  :)

Ok.... so you want to learn how to build in OpenSim.
The good news is that OpenSim is the best place that I've found for builders to experiment and share with other people.
The bad news is that the best learning tools are still found in Second Life.

Here's what you need to get started:
You need somewhere that you can rezz and edit items.  A public sandbox will work if you do not own your own land or region.
You will also need time and patience!  It's not easy, but that's what makes it all so worth it when you finally reach that "aha!" moment when you figure out how to make something work.  Just stick with it and expect failures, accompanied by frustration, followed by.... Way Cool!

There are numerous aspects to learning how to build and it's tempting to just jump right in and tackle them all, but I recommend that you start with the basics and that is Prims (which stands for Primitive).

A prim is the basic building block in Second Life and OpenSim and comes in a few different flavors.
Rather than write a thousand pages here trying to explain all the various aspects of prims, I am going to suggest that you go to SecondLife and visit the "Ivory Tower of Prim"  which can be found here:
Ivory Tower Library of Primitive, Natoma (168,177,32)
You can just search for Ivory Tower Library of Primitive on the SecondLife map and teleport right to it.
The Ivory Tower of Prim is one of the best tools that I have found to teach you how to manipulate and build with prims.  It takes you from the very basics and advances you up a tower to more complicated aspects of building with prims.

Once you get the basics down, I have found that exploring other people's builds is another great way to learn.  Take a full permissions item, rezz it from your inventory, and take it apart to figure out how someone put it together.  If you mess up... no big deal... just delete all the parts and rezz it again from your inventory.  Keep in mind that you can only do this with items that have Modify and Copy enabled in the permissions.  I also recommend that you experiment on wide open land with no other builds around.  It's very easy to accidentally destroy a build while trying to create or edit another.

Keep in mind that prims are just a small part of building in the virtual metaverse.  There are also sculpted prims, and mesh models.  Then there are the textures that you use to cover the objects you build, the scripts you add to make them do something, and don't even get me started on particles!

For other aspects of building and life in the metaverse, check out some of the tutorials on YouTube. Some of my favorites are by a person named Torley.  Just search Torley Tutorials in Youtube to bring up numerous videos showing you how to do a wide range of things that are very easy to follow.

I did say that the best learning tools can be found in SecondLife, but the best resources for your continued learning are without a doubt found in the OpenSim community. Those resources are the friends and contacts that you will meet there.  I have found that the majority of the people in OpenSim love to help other people and share what they have learned.  I have learned much more in OpenSim than I ever learned in SecondLife and I contribute that to the sense of community.

If you have any questions or projects that you need help with, please feel free to contact me.  I am the first to admit that I am not an expert and won't be able to answer every question, but I probably know where to find the answer!

Have Fun!

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