I just received a copy of Creating Your World: The Official Guide to Advanced Content Creation for Second Life. Since I did the rather long series on Second Life earlier this year, I’ve been thinking about doing a book on construction and scripting techniques, though as with most such thoughts of mine I haven’t had the time to execute on it. Therefore, when I saw this book last week on Amazon I was curious to see what it would cover that might have.
On a very quick scan, it definitely is worth owning if you are into building in Second Life but don’t know all the ins and outs. There is a substantial amount of material available on the web about SL and at least two different wikis full of information. A common criticism I have seen about SL printed material is that the material is all otherwise available online. Well, yes, but not in one place and not designed to be read in a sequential way. Yes you can hunt for information if you know what you are looking for, but sometimes you miss the big picture or don’t discover entirely different ways of approaching the same problem.
This book covers the topics of prims, textures, scripting, landscaping, and use of external programs like Poser to do animation. It’s a dense book of almost 400 pages and offers a lot of practical tips. Moreover, it will help you learn what you don’t know. By this I mean that SL is a much more profound technical environment than most people give it credit for. This book covers a lot of that ground and has some good worked examples that pull together a lot of the concepts and techniques.
So is this the last book that is needed on SL building techniques? No, I don’t think so. I think there are different ways of approaching the material that will still add value, such as A Carpenter-Who-Knows-How-To-Code’s Guide to Construction in Second Life or An Architect’s Guide to Design and Construction in Second Life (I made those up). For its breadth of information, tips, and examples, I think this is well worth the purchase if you plan to get more serious about building objects and making them do things in SL.