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Supersized Avatars

The secret dangers of making your character gigantic.
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The following is a transcript of " Traveling Avatar's Quick and Dirty Tips for a Richer Life," a podcast from The audio program is available via RSS feed here and at's podcast home page.

Will Ross here.

Welcome to

The Traveling Avatar's Quick and Dirty tips for a Better Second Life

. On this show we discuss tips and tricks for the game

Second Life

(TM), created by Linden Labs. Today's topic is Yao Ming and the Incredible Hulk: why men in Second Life shouldn't make their characters gigantic.

Today we are going to discuss non-standard character sizes in Second Life. I'm singling out the boys on this one, but I imagine the issues are the same with either gender. Trust me guys, I feel your pain. I'm a not so tall, not so thin, not so muscular fellow in real life, so the first thing I did when I arrived in Second Life was build myself a 7-foot-tall Adonis with muscles that would make Superman look like a 14-year-old chess club member.

However, I found several problems with this, so I don't recommend it.

The first problem I found was that most clothing is designed for average-sized Second Life characters. When a taller character wears it, the textures can stretch, sometimes showing pixels, damaging blended colors, or changing the look of the fabric. None of these are a good thing.

And with overly muscular characters, clothing actually warps around the muscles, and that makes logos unreadable and words... well, you can pretty much forget about wearing t-shirts with mostly writing on them. Also, for clothing where some of the detail is actually in the texture, and not built on, that will warp, too, and make it look really strange.

The second problem with being a Goliath in a world full of Davids has to do with poseballs designed for couples. A poseball is a small sphere that you "sit down on" and this causes your character to perform an animation or pose. Couples poseballs are poses or animations that are designed for two people. They are most commonly a linked set with a blue and a pink poseball. Typically

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for cuddles, slowdances, or, well, other assorted animations, they are usually designed for a male who's no more than a head taller than the female.

So during a slow dance for example, your arms will be either around thin air, or your dance partner will be floating several feet off the ground. All in all, you'll be much happier and much more compatible with the world if you stay within a normal height and musculature range.

On the AV

Now, today's term to know is "avatar" which is sometimes abbreviated to just "AV." An avatar is simply a character in Second Life. It's your digital representation in the game world. Sometimes this is also referred to as a 'toon (especially in other games like

World of Warcraft




Tip of the Day

And to finish up our show today, today's Second Life etiquette tip: Today's tip is about groups and friends lists. It's considered good manners to ask a person before you attempt to add them as a friend or invite them to a group. Just ask them in chat or send them an instant message. That's all you need to do.

That's it for this episode!

May your Second Life be as happy as your first!

Will Ross, a Second Life explorer and professional slacker, writes and records the

Traveling Avatar articles and podcasts. Following a stint in college where he came dangerously close to earning a degree in history, Will Ross spent countless hours of his life in a number of online worlds including Worlds of Warcraft, Everquest, Ultima Online, and City of Heroes before making a permanent home on Eldoe Island in Second Life. To request a topic or share a tip, send an email to or call 206-888-MYSL.