Second Life is a virtual universe in which participants ("residents") can interact with each other in the different parts of that universe via avatars. The Second Life viewer is a program that gives you access to SL's universe. First of all, you need to create a free Second Life account Then, you need to download and install the viewer so you can create your avatar and explore the different locations of the SL world.
The program is very akin to an online role-playing game interface, with the difference that SL is not a game as such; there is no competition, prizes or any defined goal. The aim is only to hang out and interact with other visitors. The program allows you to chat with other residents using a chat box or your microphone. This last feature (voice chat) is not allowed in all destinations, so you can use only in some of them.
By default, the program shows many of the different windows that allow you to interact in SL such as the map of the destination in which you are. Nevertheless, you can customize the interface by turning on or off any of these windows. You can even turn off all of them to have a clear view of the scenario. To access the different functions, there are a couple of toolbars, one at left and other at the bottom of the screen, that let you open the different functions of the program, such as the destinations bar, the chat dialog box, the map, and so on.
The main disadvantage I found is that you need a fast internet connection and a good graphics card so the different graphics of the site can display fast and your avatar can move swiftly. Otherwise, its movements will look awkward and the different words' graphics will take a while to appear.
In sum, although there are other, third-party SL viewers, this is the official program for interacting in Second Life. If you are trying SL for the first time, you may want to use it. Please be aware that Second Life may not be suitable for use while working, and that there are some SL sites not suitable for minors.
- The program is intuitive and easy to use
- You ca customize the program's interface by turning on or off the different windows
- You need a fast Internet connection and a good graphics card; otherwise, the program takes a while to initialize and display the different graphic elements