Second Life Steals, Deals, and Freebies: The Freebie “F” Store

If you’re looking for some Japanese style, ranging from traditional to kawaii to edgy ultramodern, check out the Freebie “F” store. Most of the items on display are either freebies or dollarbies, but please check the price before you buy! Some items cost 20 or even 50 Linden dollars (although these are usually clearly marked). There is clothing available here for all genders of avatars, something for absolutely everyone!

I was quite taken with this oversize jacket with a Japanese kabuki mask print by Haori, which comes in eight different prints, all free:

In this picture, my drag queen avatar MissDrag is wearing:

  • Mesh Head and Body, Black Nailpolish, and Black Jeans Applier: Romeo by Altamura (Valentine’s Day group gift)
  • Jacket: Japanese print jacket by Haori (free from the Freebie “F” store)
  • Brooch: Gadot brooch by Heth Haute Couture (free group gift)
  • Mesh Feet and Shoes: black chained sandal by Ydea (free from The Free Dove at this exact SLURL; just the thing to hide those masculine feet!)
  • Hair: Lilak by FABIA (free group gift)
  • Drag Queen Makeup: Vanilla makeup set by Dotty’s Secret
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UPDATED: How You Can Get a Grant of US$1,000-25,000 for Your Avatar Project

Since I asked Facebook to delete all my data and I quit the social network at the end of 2018, I have been spending much more time on Reddit and Twitter. On Twitter, I have ruthlessly cut the number of people I’m following, focusing in on people in virtual reality and virtual worlds.

Twitter is where I found this Forbes article, which reported:

Virtual Beings Grants announced at Virtual Beings summit.

The grants range from $1,000 – $25,000 and are obtainable by any group building a virtual being. Virtual beings include digital humans, virtual influencers, virtual assistants, creative AIs, avatars, and tools for virtual beings. There are four grant categories: games, enterprise, social, and education. Applications are open through September 17th and winners will be announced October 15th.

If you are interested and want to find out more, you can visit the grants information page. This initiative is spearheaded by the first-ever Virtual Beings Summit, a recent conference held in San Francisco meant to encourage virtual beings projects. They say:

Virtual Beings Is A New Space. To Believe Today That A Virtual Being Might Be At The Heart Of Every Part Of Our Lives Is A Big, Crazy Leap Of Faith. We Invite Those Crazy Enough To Believe To Sign Up Here!

Hmmm, I wonder if I should apply for a grant to support my work informing Second Life users about how to style their avatar for as few Linden dollars as possible? *sigh* Probably not.

By the way, here’s my latest Second Life avatar styling accomplishment:

This avatar is wearing:

Mesh Head: Leila Bento mesh head by Altamura (free group gift from last Christmas)

Mesh Body: Lara Bento mesh body by Maitreya

Skin Applier: Diana by Clef de Peau (free group gift from last Christmas)

Kimono and Shoes: Tsuru women’s kimono outfit by Secrets of Gaia (free hunt gift in the current Medieval Fantasy Hunt XIX)

Choker: Daphne choker from Beloved Jewelry (free; a hunt gift from last year)

Hair: Haruka hair by aa*Hair (free gift from the 2018 Hair Fair)

Animation Override: Chubby Girl AO by [ImpEle] (free from the SL Marketplace). This is a nice, simple, calm, free AO with no crazy movements. To show off the sleeves on this wonderful kimono, I added the Shoulder Overrider by Ethik Nacon, which you can use to adjust the shoulder position of any pose or AO.

TOTAL COST OF THIS AVATAR: L$3,198 (L$2,075 for the Maitreya Lara body, L$299 for the Shoulder Overrider, L$50 to join the Altamura Design/Mesh Avatars group, and L$99 for the Altamura Omega System Kit available at this exact SLURL.)


UPDATE July 29th: I just discovered this VentureBeat article reporting on the various presentations at the Virtual Beings Summit.

Second Life Steals, Deals, and Freebies: Elegance in Green

*sigh*

I am not having a good day. While trying to clear some space on my hard drive, I accidentally deleted the contents of the Downloads folder on my home computer. Fortunately, I was able to salvage an important document I was working on, but all the screen captures I made for this blog over the past two years are gone. I feel like such an idiot. And to compound the stupidity, I went and bought a rather expensive undelete program that didn’t really recover anything I had lost. All the image files it “recovered” were corrupted and unusable. So that was CDN$100 down the drain. Remember, kids: backups, backups, BACKUPS.

Anyways, to make myself feel a little better, I decided to spend some time on one of my favourite hobbies: pulling together an elegant Second Life avatar look for next to nothing.

This avatar is wearing:

  • Mesh Head and Body: Juliet by Altamura (former Valentine’s Day group gift; Omega compatible with the separate Omega system kit)
  • Omega Skin Applier: Ritual by 7 Deadly S[k]ins (a box of Omega skin appliers was the June group gift)
  • Hair: No_Key by no.match (previous group gift)
  • Mesh Eyes: Vanity Eyes in sage green by MILA (free gift at the current round of the Vanity Event)
  • Jewelry: Ophira by Lazuri (free, from the Free Dove at this exact SLURL)
  • Gown: Snow dress in green by Kaithleen’s (former St. Patrick’s Day hunt gift)
  • Shoes (not shown): Sonnet pumps from Hilly Haalan (free group gift; group is free to join; they come with a 20-colour HUD to match just about any outfit)
  • Animation Override: Chubby Girl AO by [ImpEle] (free from the SL Marketplace). This is a nice, simple, calm, free AO with no crazy movements.

MY TOTAL COST FOR THIS AVATAR: L$149 (I paid L$50 to join the Altamura group, and L$99 for the Omega system kit for Altamura available at this exact SLURL. I had joined the 7 Deadly S[k]ins group during one of their free group join periods in the past.)

All pictures taken at Frank’s Jazz Club.

Ryan’s Top Six Tips for Successful Hunts in Second Life

Hunts in Second Life are a tried-and-true way to get some truly fabulous steals, deals, and freebies. For example, Petite Mort and Oubliette are currently having an hunt for six white Easter bunnies on their half a sim, with each clothing prize only L$10 each, a significant saving:

I have spent almost 13 years doing hunts in Second Life, and I have learned a lot along the way. So here are my top 6 tips for Second Life hunts.

Please note that in the following tips and tricks I am using the Firestorm viewer; if you are using another Second Life viewer, like the default SL viewer, you might have to use different keystrokes to get to the features you want. I rely on Firestorm daily, as most people do, and I honestly don’t know the equivalent keystrokes for the default Second Life viewer.

1. Know what you are hunting for

This may seem obvious, but sometimes people engage in an SL hunt without even checking the associated website, which usually contains a picture of the item you are searching for, a list of store locations, and a hint for each location. Freebie blogs can also be valuable sources of information, showing you what the hunt prizes look like before you go to all the trouble of trying to find them. (Don’t forget about Cat Pink’s hunt videos, too!)

Finally, there are SL hunt blogs that tell you about upcoming hunts, like Hunt SL and SL Hunts (the former even has a ten-step plan for how to do a hunt). Visit them every so often to see what’s coming up.

2. Learn how to use your camera

This is also a basic rule: learn how to move your camera around the scene. You don’t even have to move your avatar around; just cam around the store to find what you are looking for. If you learn nothing else, learn how to use your camera.

In Firestorm, the camera controls can be brought up either by clicking the Camera Controls button on the bottom button bar, or by going to the top menu bar and selecting Avatar → Camera Controls.

The camera controls are divided into sections, as follows:

  • The leftmost circle allows you to rotate your camera.
  • The vertical slide to the right controls zoom; you can drag it or use the +/- signs for finer control;
  • The arrows in the square pan the camera left/right and up/down.
  • Across the top are six buttons. These are:
    • Front view – places the camera in front of your face, and facing you.
    • Side view – place the camera over your left shoulder, looking forward.
    • Rear view – places the camera behind and slightly above you; this is the default position.
    • Object view – allows you to zoom in on objects by clicking them. Hit ESC to leave object view.
    • Mouselook view – places the camera in front of you; the camera then moves with your mouse; the camera controls disappear in this view. Hit Esc to leave mouselook.
    • Reset view – restores the camera to default.

There are also keystroke commands for most of these options; you don’t necessarily have to use the on-screen widget. Here’s a list of camera controls. After countless hunts, by now they are second nature to me:

KeyFunction
Alt-up/down arrowZoom camera
Alt-left/right arrowRotate camera left/right
Alt-Ctrl-up/down arrowRotate camera up/down
Alt-Ctrl-Shift-arrowsPan camera

3. Turn on the lights

Are you hunting for an object in a dimly-lit store, or a sim set to midnight? One recent hunt had black eggs hidden in black corners of the store. Drives me absolutely bonkers. Here’s a tip: turn up the lights. If you are in Firestorm, Click on World in the top menu bar, then select Environment Editor, then Sky Presets, then Edit Preset, as shown here:

From the list of sky presets, scroll down and select one called CalWL:

Et voilà! Sharp, bright, clear light by which to properly conduct a hunt.

4. Use a little helper

Now, this tip is controversial, because some would consider it cheating. Some vendors will go so far as to ban you from their sim if you are discovered using one of these little devices. I’m talking about object scanners, items which automatically search the area you are in for a specifically named object. If all the objects you are searching for have a naming convention (e.g. they all start with “POE” for the Peace on Earth annual hunt), then you can find them more easily using an object scanner. You just have to attach it, then walk around the store.

You should be aware that many store owners deliberately use misleading names (e.g. “Pine Floor”) or even gibberish (“asdfghjkl”) when naming hunt prizes in order to thwart people using object scanners. I’m not going to tell you which model to use; you can find them yourself on the SL Marketplace. In fact, you don’t even need to buy one, since there is already a perfectly good Area Search tool built into the Firestorm viewer (you can find it near the bottom of the World menu). And if the idea of using one feels like cheating to you, then just ignore this tip.

5. Use your X-ray vision

Here’s another really useful hunting trick that most people don’t know about. Did you know that you can toggle to wireframe mode in Firestorm, and literally see through objects? If you are using the Firestorm viewer, just pres Ctrl-Shift-R, and you turn on wireframe mode. Pressing Ctrl-Shift-R again takes you back to regular mode. Try it and see! (Note that you will get a momentary black screen when doing this. This is normal.)

Here’s an example to demonstrate. This is the normal view:

And here is the wireframe mode:

6. Only as a last resort: derender the sim/store piece by piece

This last tip is only if you have exhausted all other methods of hunting, and you still cannot find that elusive prize which you absolutely must have! Essentially, you select walls, floors, fixtures, and temporarily derender them (i.e., make them invisible). Keep doing this until you find what you are looking for.

To do this in Firestorm, right click on the object you wish to remove. From the menu which appears, click on More, then More again. You will see Derender as one of the options on the pie menu. Click on Derender, and select Temporary. And poof! It’s gone. Handy, eh?


Here’s an example of why hunts in Second Life can be so rewarding. This outfit consists of two pieces from the Easter bunny hunt at Oubliette and Petite Mort (the flower basket is a freebie at the landing point, and it comes with a hold animation).

This avatar is wearing:

  • Mesh Head: Giselle Bento head by Altamura (no longer available for free; this was an Altamura gift from Christmas 2017 at the eBENTO event, and you had to join the Altamura group for L$50 to get it).
  • Mesh Body: Jenny Bento body by Altamura (this was a free gift from the 2017 Women Only Hunt, and on this version, you can remove the head and replace it with any other mesh head, as I did here. Note that this free mesh body is now available at the Freebie Megastore at London City (more information here), but you cannot remove the head on the newer free version.
  • Hair: Hannah by MINA Hair (this is an old gift from a previous Second Life shopping event, no longer available for free)
  • Top: Lace trim sweater by Petite Mort (hunt prize; L$10)
  • Skirt: Cream midi skirt by Petite Mort (hunt prize; L$10)
  • Shoes: Sonnet pumps by Hilly Haalan (more details here)
  • Flower Basket: Free gift from Oubliette and Petite Mort (available at the spawn point)

TOTAL COST FOR THIS AVATAR: L$70