The Unofficial Second Life Building Guide – 5 copies up for grabs

Killer Guides are a well-known e-book producer in the MMO sphere. Their recently launched Second Life Building Guide is a 120-page run through on content creation in Second Life

The review

As a true content creation amateur, I feel I’m well placed to assess the usefulness of the guide for the new builder in Second Life. The building project the guide walks you through is a mansion – not the most intuitive Second Life build but one that involves a lot of key building strategies that you can apply to other creations. The instructions are comprehensive, with lots of screen shots of both the Second Life interface and the outcomes of your work at each step. This was one of the better features for me – being able to see what my work should be looking like at each step. If you’ve ever tried putting Ikea furniture together, you’ll know what I mean.

Being more of a beginner’s guide, sculpted prims are understandably put in the too-hard basket – you’re advised to seek out other options for that. Creating your own textures is another section I gained a lot from – it’s one of many sections that reference Adobe Photoshop, which is superb if you own that application. If not, you may be a little frustrated although most graphics applications have similar tools, so with a little extrapolation you’ll still glean a lot of useful tips.

Other items beside the mansion are covered in some depth. For me a highlight was the clothing tutorial – there’s some nice reinforcement of principles learnt earlier in the book, although again you’ll need Adobe Photoshop to follow the steps in full. Killer Guides have an online resource centre that’s referenced throughout the guide, so there’s plenty of free goodies to add value to the learning experience.

For me, the guide was very useful in getting my head around key concepts that determine success in content creation in Second Life. It’s the sort of publication I would have loved when I did my first experimentations with content (a horrendous ‘freeform’ metallic sculpture was my first effort in late 2006). There are free Second Life tutorials out there for sure, but if you plan on spending some time building in Second Life, the readability and layout of this guide is exemplary. At US$29.95 it’s equivalent to one month’s medium-level tier fees – a worthwhile investment if you’re looking to create content for either personal satisfaction or resale.

The competition

Killer Guides are generously offering five Metaverse Journal Readers the chance to win a copy of the guide. To be in the draw, all you need to do is post a comment at the bottom of this review on what you’d like to build in Second Life if you won the guide. You’ll need to provide a valid email address, which will not be used for anything other than determining the winner of the prize.

Every valid entry (any comment that actually describes what you’d build) will be added to the draw and via a random number generator, a winner will be announced. The competition closes at midnight (AEST) on Sunday 12th October. Winners can expect to receive their prize within five working days or so after that. So comment away!


  1. I'm now building very detailed and nice house, and scripted gadgets. Hope i have chance to reference this wonderful guide. Thanks!

  2. Lord Coalcliff says

    I need to relocate my City I built 18months ago off the mainland to a new Island sim I am buying. I would love to update and improve the buildings and streets I currently have to make it look more in theme and detailed. The Building Guide sounds like just what I need to help me undergo the project.

  3. I'm working with a Local authority to use SL to create 3d models of offices in consultation with various service users

  4. Alberik Rotaru says

    Second Life is severely under-documented and it would be great to escape the limits of oral tradition when I'm building)

  5. Synner Prinz says

    I'd love to build a sim that would be enjoyable for people come and explore :-))

  6. SynCere Talon says

    Oh what a great idea, love the article too. I am currently working on creating quality homes and products for the 1024sq and 512sq market. It is so hard to find really quality homes in that category. Many of the homes I build can be used alone or together. Many are for tinies too. Eventually I would like to go full fledge with an entire island devoted to this endeavor. I also feel if I can conquer the larger builds in terms of quality and design it will help improve my abilities no matter what my endeavor. I also own a rental village and would love to be able to supply my tenants with quality stuctures of my own. Eventually I will get there someday. If I win the guide I could very well get there sooner.
    SynCere Talon

  7. One of the things I need to build for work is a medical clinic that we can use to train nurses. Secondly, I'd want to give my island community a face lift now that my research project is nearly finished.

  8. Nankeen Heron says

    What would I like to build in SL? A new, more flexible avatar framework!

    One of the frustrating things about SL is avatars are restricted to a single set of attachment points.
    One you attach something to a point – e.g. a new head to the skull attachment point – that point is off limits to other objects. I shouldn't have to choose between a head and a hat – I want a head *and* a hat!

    Allowing each attachment point to have one or more objects to be attached should solve the problem .

  9. Faerie Hax says

    I would like to learn to build accessories for Mermaids to use when they are visiting above the surface and also some prim accessories for fairies.

  10. The creation of a kiva complex in the native anasazi style I think. The sacred ceremonial chamber, the cliff dwelling of Crow canyon, and the Chaco canyon dwelling complex give many fascinating elements to draw from. The sacred geometry and siteing of the windows to beam the sun into the chambers according to the seasons and solar meridian crossings, down to the individual family apartments in the cliff complex are wonderful details to work with. Easily linked to the archeology museums and preserved sites in the southwestern US, it would be quite a complex, but satisfying build.

  11. Well, I've been in Second Life for a while, but I'm still a novice at many things, one of which is building. I would like to tackle it eventually, having dipped into texturing a little, and having studied programming outside of Second Life (have yet to really tackle LSL though).

    As for what I would build….well, I think I would start small and work my way up. Perhaps beginning with accessories for avatars, weapons, and unique popular culture inspired things. From there move on to vehicles, avatars, and even houses. Second Life is a land of limitless possibilities, so why should I be constrained as to what I build? I could build anything with a bit of guidance and inspiration, and believe you me, there is plenty of inspiration around Second Life, judging by what I've seen other people build.

    I don't know if I will win or not, but if I do, I can guarantee that your book will be put to good use, and you can rest knowing that just one more Second Life citizen has joined in the shared world of content creation perhaps a little faster than he otherwise would have on his own.

  12. Hi, I've been interested in building a lean-to barn as an addition to my small cottage on Caledon Brigadoon. I haven't been able to find timber textures which would let me frame the window openings. I'm fussy and want to learn how to but up my prims so they don't have that really aggravating flicker or dashed line that you get when the prims either overlap or don't meet up precisely.

  13. I'd like to build a more user-friendly learning space for my colleagues and Australian educators on how to use Second Life in general and how to get more effective use from it with their students.

  14. I'm a web and art teacher who would like to make an orientation sim for the college I work for in collaboration with graphic design students.

  15. In SL, I'd like to reconstruct the old Roman Forum of Julius Caesar's time. This guide would be extremely helpful to me.

  16. Rayn Juran says

    I work with elderly people who have limited access to the real world because of physical impediments. I have a growing group who use Second Life for social contact and find many are keen to learn building techniques and have a small but growing group who work together on this project to express their creativity. It brings them much joy. The Unofficial Second Life Building Guide will be a great asset for this group.

  17. I'm a Technology Education Specialist working at the state level to determine ways that SL could be used in education. I'm interested in building classrooms in world that would be helpful to teachers for the state.

  18. Rusty Roar says

    Generally speaking I’ve mainly been a content ‘user’ rather than a content creator to date. KillerGuides Building Guide could just turn the tide on that scenario. My first home in Second Life was a beach shack, so to kick back on the beach in my own creation would complete the dream.

  19. Cinnamon Ariantho says

    A comprehensive book on building is just what I need and have been waiting for. My main interest in Second Life is to learn to build. I’ve always found it difficult finding nice homes to fit on my 512 sq m block. I’m looking forward to experimenting with what I could build that would fit. With a limited budget I would be extremely grateful to win a copy.

  20. janicewhite says

    Gee… gets the imagination going! We'd like:

    * virtual courtroom (for mock trials with law schools interstate or internationally)
    * virtual crime scene
    * virtual hospital
    * virtual city hall (for roleplay with bueaucracy)
    * virtual law offices (for roleplay interactions between law firms)

  21. janicewhite says

    Hi Kim,

    Wouldn't mind keeping in touch on medical clinics. We have (at QUT) an academic interested in a hospital based clinical area providing experiential practice in developing clinical decision making skills.
    Contact at work:

  22. I am a novice builder who need the shortcuts to speed my building and make my constructs more presice.
    I also need texturing ideas and methodes.

  23. I am a novice builder who need the shortcuts to speed my building and make my constructs more presice.
    I also need texturing ideas and methodes.


  1. […] the past fortnight we’ve run a competition, with five copies of The Unofficial Second Life Building […]

  2. […] the past fortnight we’ve run a competition, with five copies of The Unofficial Second Life Building […]

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