With the community gateway opening in SL London, which means that new people registering with Second Life will arrive straight into the capital, there had to be a lot of planning to accommodate the new influx of ‘newbies’, who have little, or no idea how to cope with the day-to-day needs in the virtual world.
I wandered over to Hyde Park a couple of weeks ago and bumped into builder Menolly Riederer who is fairly new to SL London herself, but she was doing a great job preparing Hyde Park, making it into an Orientation area for newbies. There has always been an Orientation Island In Second Life, it’s where you go to find out how to do things like walking, communicating, changing your appearance, flying and even learning how to pick things up and keep them in an inventory, that each person has for their personal virtual possessions. I remember walking around Orientation Island and passing a few simple tests like interacting with a talking macaw who taught you how to use text and other means of communication with your fellow avatars. There is a similar idea in Hyde Park, only it’s a robot avatar who will answer your questions.
The park is laid out with many signs covering each topic like ‘changing appearance’, using the arrow keys on your keyboard to move around, plus many pieces of information that experienced avatars take for granted. It’s a good place to be used for the purpose, as Hyde Park is a tranquil setting, nicely landscaped with beautiful trees and lots of open space for people to practice walking, running and flying etc. Being close to the rest of the London sims is also a great idea, as any new person exploring SL London can always nip back there to refresh their memory if they forget how to do something.
It’s a good idea to bring Orientation Island to SL London and how lucky the new people are, with all the help that they are getting from the great London Team, and instructions so close to hand, they should soon log onto SL with confidence.