5 Free Fun Things To Do

by Pixeleen Mistral on 30/01/07 at 8:37 pm

by Curious Rousselot – Entertainment Numerologist

The world of Second Life is full of things to do and places to go. A surprising number of very well made sims are completely free. The big challenge can be trying to find something fun to do that fits within your budget. Here we present 5 fun second life activities you can try without having to pay a single $L.

The key to having fun in Second Life, as in first life, is friends. There are a number of activities that you can do on your own but are going to be more fun with friends to play with you. All of the activities presented here you will be able to try alone but are going to be more fun with friends.

1Go-Karts — location: Igbo 79,233,351
When I first started in SL I got my free Juicy Jeep from the freebie store on help Island. I rezzed it and tried to go for a drive…

After hitting everything around me and running over a couple of pedestrians I finally got the jeep stuck in a ditch that I couldn’t get out of. I hopped out and apologized to the stunned pedestrians. Most of them forgave me and a few asked where I got the Jeep. All in all it was a rousing success, even if I am a total disaster behind the wheel.

Imagine my delight when I discover there is a Go-Kart track in SL where I can hone my bad driving skills (thanks for showing me, Tracy). The controls are a bit more complicated than the jeep but not so much as to be a real problem.

left and right arrow key – turn the wheel
forward arrow key – accelerates
backwards arrow key – brakes
page-up – gears up (3 forward and one reverse, so much for having an automatic)
page-down – gears down

The steering is incredibly sensitive but it was with the jeep as well. The track is sufficiently curvy to be a challenge but not the sort of insane driving tracks you get in some driving simulators. More importantly – for us klutz drivers anyway – there doesn’t appear to be any way to get completely stuck. And I’m pretty sure I crashed into just about everything possible this time — except a pedestrian.

This is a fantastic place to learn to drive in second life. When you get good, bring friends and have a race. If you get really good, you might even manage to make a few wagers with your friends and instead of losing your money at the casinos you can win money from former friends.

2Sailing — location: Sanchon 228,98,21
It might surprise some of you – especially us newer residents – that Second Life has a thriving yachting community and boasts more than one yacht club. These aren’t simply reproductions of clubhouses with a yachting theme, there are actual sail boats that rely on the virtual wind for momentum. Club racing occurs twice a week using the real world sailing rules.

For those of you with a lot of extra cash, and a love of the romance of the 18th and 19th century, there are some swashbuckling opportunities too. These adventures are a bit beyond the scope of this article but if you happen to hear a cannon in the distance, keep an eye out for a couple of brigantines or other ships of yore going at it with broadsides.

Now, on to the excitement of sailing for free in SL…

You can rent yourself a day sailor (small open cockpit sailboat) for an hour and go for a nice trip around the bay. You had best have a bit of a clue how to handle a sailboat though. This isn’t a motor yacht with a pretty sail shaped flag on it. It relies on the wind and performance like a proper sailboat. If you go head to wind, you will stall. If you drop your main, you will drift until you stop. Controls are simple and usable, yet still give you enough control to make sailing quite fun:

left and right arrow key – control the rudder
forward arrow key – lets the main out
backwards arrow key – brings the main in

If you don’t raise the main, you aren’t going to go very far. When you are close hauled on a port tack in a strong wind, you will heel-over quite nicely. There is a convenient HUD included with the rental that provides you with all sorts of useful information. Wind direction and speed, sail angle. Boat speed. I wish real life dingysie had this option.

If you are a sailor in real life you really have to try this one. If you are not a sailor in real life but you try this one and love it, go down to your local yacht club and find out if you can crew for others on race day.

3Archery — location: Avilion Mist 247, 120, 22
When you pick up the practice bow and go into mouseview mode to fire off that first shot you may be surprise to discover that you just hit the ground in front of the target. The arrow arcs beautifully in front of you and lands with an audible thud. Instead of relying on statistics it looks like the archery competition in Avilion is based somewhat on actual trajectory calculations. If you pick a windy day (there aren’t many in the romantic simulation of Avilion) you better be prepared to take that into account too.

In case you haven’t figured it out yet, there is a wonderful archery simulation in Avilion. It’s at the outer edge of the town. It is set up for competition and even scores for you. This one is best for a small group. There are a variety of choices for competition and you get your practice bow for free. Very simple controls:

Go into mouse mode, put the cursor where you should aim (which is rarely where you want the arrow to hit) and click the left mouse button to fire.

It’s a great non-violent way to have a shooting competition with your friends. It’s also a good way to get in some practice aiming. And, it’s fun. There is even a pub near by to go have a drink in when you are done. Oh, and guess what! The pub has a dart board so you can play darts while you are there. This is sort of a two for one deal.

4Jet-Skiing – location: Shubelik 65,128,21
The jetskis are almost as much fun in SL as they are in RL Florida. They are incredibly maneuverable. The sim is set up so you ‘rent’ a jet-ski for a half-hour. Simply touch the rental sign to rez a jetski, hop on and go. When you are seated on the jetski, the controls are very obvious:
forward arrow key – faster
backward arrow key – slower
left arrow key – bank left
right arrow key – bank right
page-up – jump
page-down – dive

The rental sign is right on the side of the dock. The ski rezzes right in front of the sign. The area you have to play in is a decent size but the edges are not obvious. There is a raised train track that looks like it goes through the middle of the bay. This track defines the edge of the jetski area. If you go under the track, your jetski is almost certainly going to get stuck at the edge of the sim and you will have to swim back to rent another one if you want to keep playing.

Once you figure out the area, there is plenty to do. There is a sailboat anchored in the middle of the ski area which you can zip around and there is a jump with enough space to really get going and enough space to slow down and make a quick turn so you can go back and do it again.

It is a bit of a shame that you can’t pass under the pillars that hold the train tracks up since they look to be spaced far enough apart to make a good slalom.

Bring a friend and play follow the leader or see who can jump the farthest.

5_1Swimming Pools and Water Slides — location: WaterWorks 179, 24, 24
Is it too hot on the grid? Is the AC in your apartment broken and the landlord not responding to IMs? There is a great way to cool off. Go find a public pool. Some have diving boards, some have water slides. The good ones have both and are they ever fun!

The diving boards give you a bunch of diving choices. Pull your view way back and pick one. Just be sure there isn’t much lag at the time. The twists and turns you can make are quite impressive. If you can handle the animation on your video card splashes look good in most pools too.

The water slides let you go head first or feet first. Either way go into mouseview as soon as you start sliding. The ride is much more fun in mouseview. So, be ready to switch as soon as you choose your sliding position.

Admittedly there isn’t a lot of challenge once you’ve seen yourself dive a few times and gone down the slide but it is a great way to move about and chat with your friends poolside. I would say it is a great alternative to raving at one of the many dance clubs.

Anyone for water polo?


There are many more things to do and many more places to do them in. I wanted to present a few options that would be especially easy to get started on a budget as so many of us newbies are. Some of these will help you with your in-game skills so you can move on to role playing in the many themed areas. Some are just plain eye candy. All in all there is so much to do in SL that I could spend the next year just trying new things and still not have tried everything.

So, get out there, make friends, and have fun.

See you on the Grid.

15 Responses to “5 Free Fun Things To Do”

  1. Fiend Ludwig

    Jan 30th, 2007

    OK, I’ll forgive the gargantuan numeral font because stuff like this is exactly what is required to keep everyday average folks interested in SL. Nice work Curious.

    ps – I’ll add my thumbs-up to sailing. Lots of fun, quick to learn, slow to master, and easy on those of us with fair to middling graphics cards.

  2. Prokofy Neva

    Jan 31st, 2007

    Hey, what have you done with Uri and Pixeleen???? Did the bots eat them?

    Curious, I appreciate your trying so hard, and it’s not your reporting — that’s all good — it’s just that you’re making me think of that neighbourhood they made in the Sims for a while — remember Coco? — it had this name like Good Times or something, where they really struggled hard to think up fun games and activities despite what was obviously a rapidly downward-spiralling game whose content balloon and economy had been pricked…

    These things you list are all sort of vaguely entertaining — and I could add barrel racing in Carlisle near where you saw me inworld tonight, or rollerskating with Moopf’s skates or whatever — but the reality is, moving your avatar in SL in any other way other than flying or possibly for some on the sex pose balls is just too clunky and stupid. Nobody bothers. It’s choppy, and hurling you up into mouse view makes your bob up and down and not be able to see stuff right. Motion is really really sucky, with no natural sweep. I don’t know the technical reasons for this but if you want to have motion experiences, you need to go to WoW or other games with more sophisticated stuff but without the user content, I guess.

    I mean, sure, you can parachute or drive or jetski but the reason why so little of this is done is that it is sucky, and not really entertaining. It’s not really compelling. Driving is one of the especially frustrating things.

  3. foodeater

    Jan 31st, 2007

    6. greifing — location: anywhere
    slap llrezobject in a dancing penis, watch as the grid collapes like a house of cards

  4. minor chord

    Jan 31st, 2007

    hmmm…personally I’ve always thought getting down at one of the better live music gigs makes for the killer app of SecondLife fun.

    Sure, there’s a shitload of bad music hackers singing dodgy songs with bad intonation and branding themselves as “the best” in this genre or that [or even as belonging to this genre or that when they can't play it for shit] – but there are also some very fine musicians in sl who, barring the technical hitches with stream glitches etc, make it a fine way to lose and hour or two of the 1st life.

  5. Lewis nerd

    Jan 31st, 2007

    There’s a nice long length of Linden road on three sides of the Stratics HQ in the north west corner of Rosieri, and we’ve just added a vehicle rezzing area on our land with a drive onto the Linden road, if you’re looking for more places to explore. The road stretches for a number of sims.


  6. Kafka

    Jan 31st, 2007

    Thanks for this. I am always happy to explore new ventures and sailing sounds like a lot of fun.

  7. Xiu Yao

    Jan 31st, 2007

    Prokofy: “moving your avatar in SL in any other way other than flying or possibly for some on the sex pose balls is just too clunky and stupid. Nobody bothers… I don’t know the technical reasons for this but if you want to have motion experiences, you need to go to WoW or other games with more sophisticated stuff but without the user content, I guess.”

    There is at least one exception to this, the C:SI (Combat: Samurai Island) system. Although its not free (the katanas are L$800), it really is a lot of fun once you get over how clumbsy it might feel initially (they do take a lot of practice to get good with, but that actually makes using them kinda rewarding). I’ve talked to a lot of people that do a lot of PvP combat in WoW, and they tell me CSI is actually much more fun since its based on developing skill instead of leveling up.

    A good comp with a good graphics card definately helps, but isn’t absolutely necessary. For the most part the community that uses the system is very friendly and helpful and the maturity level is at least a little higher than other places that focus on combat.

  8. Davgor Edgeworth

    Jan 31st, 2007

    Cool. I’ll check those out tomorrow (Grid Down, class, gym, pep band at Uni’s basketball games)

    I still can’t shake the feeling there was something else… Hmm….. Something I might have worte about…

    But these are pretty cool. Can I do any of this whenever I want? (Unlike the thing I was hinting at earlier)

  9. Scout Detritus

    Jan 31st, 2007

    Wow…Les White and I made those Jet Skis you described!…we also make some Bows and Arrows…and Sailboats…I am guessing I was on the right track! Great Article…Im on my way to check out go karts. :)

  10. Scout Detritus

    Jan 31st, 2007

    Ahh…or ones similar to those…

  11. Cocoanut Koala

    Jan 31st, 2007

    Yes, I remember, Prok – my Game Show Channel moved to be in that neighborhood.


  12. MarkTwain White

    Jan 31st, 2007

    Hey Kafka, sailing IS a lot of fun. After you check out Pixeleen’s spot check out the heart of SL sailing, the 28 sim sailing complex anchored by Hollywood sim and Nantucket sim. There are more than 600 members between the two sailing clubs there.

  13. Nacon

    Jan 31st, 2007

    You forgot sky-diving at Cubey’s place.

    (seriously, wtf, I’d replace that with number 5 for sky-diving…. You gotta be boring or something.)

  14. Curious Rousselot

    Jan 31st, 2007

    Thanks most of you for the other places to go find fun things to do in SL. I was hoping that the article would spawn a bunch more numbers to go looking at.

    Prok, the article isn’t really geared for you. I intended it for some of the newer residents that might like to know what there is to do in SL. I’m not saying you don’t have valid points, its just that this article wasn’t written for you. P.S. Pixeleen is just fine now that my article has been published. :)

    Nacon, I’ll check out your sky-diving place. The one I mentioned was the only one of three I found that actually worked when I tried it.


  15. ρεκρ

    Oct 28th, 2008



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