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(Adapted from Learning to Roleplay in Virtual Worlds)

The following tips are for the Phoenix Firestorm viewer. Adjusting animations:

If your avatar floats above a piece of furniture, simply lower your ‘Hover Height’ slider in ‘Quick Preferences’ at the lower-left corner of your screen. That will take care of the Z (up-down) axis. The X/Y axes do not depend on the furniture, but on the cardinal directions: X from West (-) to East (+); and Y from South (-) to North (+). Memorizing this and checking the cardinal orientation of the furniture using the Minimap (Ctrl-Shift-M) will keep you from bumbling around when the moment of truth comes. If your X/Y positions are offset on all animations, some of the newer furniture offers a Save All option to correct that.

If you find that your arms or legs go through the other body (or even your own), you can their length by right-clicking on your avatar and selecting Appearance > Edit Shape, then going to Torso > Arm Length or Legs > Leg Length and adjusting the slider. Once you click Save, your partner will be able to see the change too. Avoid having your avatar ‘pose’ when you use Edit Shape, go to Preferences > Move & View > View, and uncheck Appearance under “Automatically pose your avatar during…” You can also try increasing or decreasing your entire body size relative to the other avatar using Appearance > Edit Shape > Body > Height.

Saving transcripts:

In Firestorm, you can easily save transcripts of all local chats and individual or group IMs by going to Preferences > Privacy > Logs & Transcripts and selecting the option you want under ‘Save.’ Then decide where the files should go for easy access by going to Preferences > Network & Files > Directories > Conversation Logs and Transcripts Location, and click on ‘Set’ to choose the directory you want to save them to.

Creating Sets:

If you sometimes don’t remember who you know and don’t know ‘in character’, you can add acquaintances to a ‘Set’ called something like ‘Names I know’. Right-click their tag or name in chat and select Add > Set and create or select the set you want them in. In the Set options, assign a specific color to that set so you will know right away who belongs to it. For Phoenix Firestorm, see the details at


There’s no excuse for anyone to intimidate, insult or bully you OOC, but if they do, it’s better not to respond in kind. Rather, report them, ignore them, and find someone else to roleplay with. If they insist or stalk you, you can block them by right-clicking their tag or name in chat and clicking on Mute > Block, or by clicking on the ‘Block’ button in the lower right of the ‘2nd Life’ tab of their profile. You can also activate ‘Send autoresponse to MUTED avatars’ under Preferences > Privacy > Autoresponse 1 to send them a message the next time they IM you, saying they have been blocked.


Have you seen lines going from an avatar’s eyes to other avatars or objects? That’s called a LookAt and is controlled by Preferences > Privacy > LookAt. If you don’t want to show your own LookAt but see other people’s if they haven’t deactivated theirs, check all the boxes. This is especially useful for women, as men will often interpret women looking at them as a come-on.

Camming around:

The most common way to do this is by using the Cam Tool and clicking on the arrows, but this can be slow and cumbersome. A quicker way is to click on something while holding down the Alt key, then move your mouse around to cam left or right. Holding down the Ctrl key will let you cam up and down, and with the Shift key, you can cam in and out. With a little practice, you will soon be using these three keys, whether alone or in combination, almost intuitively for quick, easy camming.

Finding things:

Have you ever gone to a store to find something and had to cam around endlessly looking for it? An easier way to find things is to select World > Area Search, then type a key word from the object name under Find, or part of the maker’s name under Creator, to get a list of items within your draw distance. Then right-click on the item you want and select Zoom to cam quickly to it. To increase your search radius, simply crank up your draw distance under Quick Prefs > Draw distance.

Making things disappear:

Some RP regions have fruits and other things you can harvest, but they are often surrounded by branches or leaves that get in the way of clicking on them. This is especially problematic when the vegetation around it has a lot of “transparencies”. You can use Ctrl-Alt-T to see the transparencies in red, then cam around them to get at the fruit.

If you visit the site frequently, another hack that will make it even easier is to “derender” the vegetation, either temporarily or permanently, by right-clicking on the transparency and selecting More – More – Derender – Temporary or Permanent. If you select Temporary, the vegetation will return every time you log out, teleport, or leave the sim.

Going Immersive:

Some immersive roleplayers go to great lengths to exclude all metagaming-type activities from their digital environment. This can include making their accounts unsearchable (Profile > uncheck “Show in search” or detail it further in the first three options of Preferences > Privacy > General).

They may also reject friend requests (Comm > Online Status > check “Reject all friendship requests”), and even turn off the ‘eyes’ on their friend list by unchecking the boxes under the eye icon (‘Friend can see when you’re online’) in their Friends List (Ctrl-Shift-F). This is so that people won’t IM them to say hello every time they log on, letting them concentrate 100% on ‘face-to-face’ roleplay in Local Chat.

Some also avoid using the Minimap (Ctrl-Shift-M), radar (World > Radar), and other such indicators to navigate, preferring to use only their IC senses. This is not for everyone, but it’s good to know that it is available as an alternative.


What did you think? Do you disagree with anything or have something to add? An example from your own experience, maybe? Please leave a comment below to make this a conversation. Thanks!

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