A programmer named David Rowe has created an alpha viewer that lets people use the Oculus Rift in Second Life. I was really happy to try it, because it let me experience something I liked in a totally different way. It felt like I was actually in that world for the first time, instead of looking through a monitor. For people who aren’t familiar with viewers, Linden Lab allows people to use different viewers to log into Second Life. It’s like using different browsers to access the internet. They can all take you to the same place but they have different graphical layouts, and some differences in features. The name of this viewer is Ctrl Alt Studio Viewer and can be downloaded here, and he has some information on what settings to use if you’re going to use the rift here.
This can be very challenging to use for people who are new to Second Life. In my opinion, Second Life doesn’t have a really good introduction for new players, and you end up in an area that is also full of new players who might not be able to help. Another problem is that since people use different viewers, they might be able to tell you what to do, but not exactly where to click because the layout is different on different browsers. You also won’t be able to see the tool bar in rift mode, and the chat window takes up a large area of your screen while in rift mode, so if you want to text chat with people, you might have to toggle the chat window repeatedly. I don’t go into rift mode until I’m already at the sim where I want to look around, and take it off whenever I want to do anything more than walk around looking at things, or chat with people, because it’s too hard to do other things like search for new destinations. I hope that will be improved in later versions.
Here are some of my tips for how to use the rift. I’ve been using the 1.1 Alpha version, so some of this might not apply to newer versions.
Default Movement Keys: Up, Down, Left, and Right Arrows
Toggle Chat Window: Ctrl-T
Toggle Rift Mode: Ctrl-Alt-3
Toggle Search Window: Ctrl-F
Toggle Preferences: Ctrl-P
Toggle Fly: Home (can’t fly in all places)
Fly up: PgUp
Fly down: PgDown
Before going into rift mode, open chat window, and place it in the center of your screen and make it as small as it will let you, so you can still see it once you’re in rift mode. You should do the same with the Search Window, but it’s so big, it’s easier to go out of rift mode, take off the rift, and then search. Yeah, that’s annoying.
While in rift mode, alt+MouseWheel Down(not press) moves the camera into third person mode which is useful when you need to right click on your avatar. Esc to move the camera back into first person view.
To recenter rift, go out of rift mode, then back into rift mode.
There is an option to turn your avatar if you turn your head left or right by a certain amount while in rift mode, but I leave that option off, because I’d rather just look around with the rift, and use left and right arrows to turn, up and down arrows to move. You also want to turn on the option to see people’s chat in bubbles above their head, so you can read it without having the chat window up.
Starting up Second Life
Start up the viewer, and Click the “Create Account” link near the bottom. That will take you to the Second Life page where you can select how you want your avatar to look when you start, pick your username, and fill out your account info. Once you’re in the game, you should get some basic instruction on how to move around.
Exploring the Wide World
Once you’re ready to leave the starting area, bring up your search window with Ctrl-F, and click the places tab. On the right side, near the top, you’ll see 3 check boxes. G-General M-Mature A-Adult If you don’t want to have any adult places show up in your search, make sure the A checkbox is not checked. Now search for “Oculus Rift” And you should see the Oculus Rift Hangout. It’s a nice little home and garden that was made with the oculus rift in mind. Click it and press the Teleport Button. If you want something bigger to explore, you should check out the 1920’s Berlin Sim. Search for “1920s Berlin” (no apostraphe) it and teleport there. You’ll find a pile of free oculus rifts and boxes of free clothes you can take to wear.
Wearing New Clothing
To get the rift from the box, right click, select touch, and you’ll get a popup asking if you want to accept it. Don’t accept items from random people. For some items you’ll have to right click, select buy, and you’ll get a popup telling you how much the item is. Free items should have zero as the number, click ok, and you’ll get a popup asking you if you want to receive the item. To see your inventory, Ctrl-I, and select “Recent Tab” you can then right click on the item in the folder and select Wear. However, some items require you to “rez” them, which means finding a spot that allows rezzing, and then getting the item from the box that appears on the ground in front of you. I think this was done for technical reasons, and unfortunately can make things more annoying. some shops have places to rez items nearby, and sometimes you have to go to a public sandbox or other place that lets you do this.
Joining a Group
To find a group, bring up search with Ctrl-F, press group tab, and type in the Oculus Rift, and you should find the Oculus Rift user group. You can join it, and send messages to the group, and if people are online, they can reply and help if you have questions.
I hope this was useful, and if you have any suggestions, or you’ve used the rift, I hope you leave a comment.