There was a time when the words “Torley Linden” and “Second Life” were synonymous with one another. His was frequently the first Linden name and voice users would encounter on entering SL, where his weekly TuTORial and Tip of the Week videos were a much-loved and enjoyed Thursday event through the old (and vibrant) Second Life website.
That’s how I started a post back in November 2012, both celebrating Torley Linden’s presence in SL over the years and lamenting the fact that of late, we’ve rarely heard from him other than via his profile feed (I think the last “official” output from him which was in any way visible to many was a TuTORial video in July 2012).
In that post, and elsewhere in this blog, I made mention of both Torley’s video TuTORials and “Tip of the Week” videos which over the years helped many an SL user (old and new) make better use of the viewer and get deeper into the many and varied things which can be done in SL.
An early Tip of the Week video from Torley Linden
The Tip of the Week videos were often an anticipated part of people’s SL on Thursdays, and were, back in the “old” days of the SL website, a featured part of the SL home page and (for a time) the TuTORIAL videos did actually feature on the dashboard.
Then LL, in their wisdom, saw fit to stop the production of these videos and remove them from the dashboard. In doing so, something was lost in terms of getting people – especially those new to SL – familiar with both using the viewer and getting around and doing things in-world.
Now, it seems they are back in the form of a new “Quick Tips” series of videos, the first of which launched yesterday, and which are once more hosted by Torley himself.
The first of the new “Quick Tip” videos
The new video is designed to give beginners a quick overview on how to use the Avatar floater to quickly change one’s own appearance.
At 1.01 minutes long, it is a very superficial soundbite and doesn’t touch upon the deeper nuances of avatar customisation – but this doesn’t necessarily detract from it. In a world where people want instant answers and have short attention spans, it provides enough of a kick-start to get people playing with their appearance – particularly since the Avatar floater was (wisely) replaced as the “open by default” floater by Destinations when the Basic and Advanced view modes were merged – so the ability to change your in-world appearance isn’t that obvious from the get-go. If there is any niggle with the new video, it is perhaps in that it references another without indicating where it can be found (because it has yet to be released …), which might cause some frustration*.
The blog posts indicates that the Lab intends to release a series of these videos “over the next few weeks”, which suggests there may be a finite number of videos in the run. Hopefully, this will not be the case, and the Lab will continue the series beyond a “few weeks”, giving tips, tricks and explanations in much the same way as the Tip of the Week videos used to provide. Given that the company has recently taken the plunge with Amazon and will shortly be linking-up with Steam, it is important more guidance and support for new users is provided in some manner, particularly as the new user process is still (for the time being at least) very hands-off.
In this, the question as to how visible the videos are / will be is a concern. Simply posting links to them to the SL dashboard potentially isn’t enough. The videos – and the YouTube channel carrying them – needs to be more fully presented, preferably in a dedicated panel in the dashboard where they might have a higher visibly than on a rolling list of blog links. It would also be handy – and assuming the current new user process isn’t going to be massively overhauled – if the videos could be made available in-world at the current Destination Islands, to at least provide some guidance to new users the first time they arrive in-world (although this would perhaps be more informative if more basic guidance on “getting started” were also covered – such as using the Camera floater and controls).
That said, and even if LL don’t fully leverage the videos, and assuming broadcasting YouTube videos within SL is less of a challenge now than it was following changes at the Google end of things, the videos might hopefully be a useful resource for the various help islands and mentor areas run by groups and communities within SL.
As it stands, it’ll be interesting to see where this new series goes, how long it lasts – and how effectively LL will try to put it in front of new users. In the meantime – Friendly Greetings, Torley, and welcome back!
* Update: Having just dug around the SL YouTube channel, I wonder if the reference is to this video, and we’ll be seeing it resurrected in the near future? The video is apparently e-mailed out to new users on signing-up (although I didn’t receive it when I last signed-up for the purposes of keeping an eye on the “new” Destination Islands), so are the new “Quick Tips” also going to be mailed to new users?