informa
/
Feature

Linden: The Scripting Language For 'Second Life'

The Linden Scripting Language (LSL) lets you add behaviors and interactivity to objects inside Second Life.

How To Learn More

If this brief introduction to LSL has left your head spinning, don't worry! If you haven't programmed before, the promise and power of adding code -- of adding behavior -- to objects in Second Life can be overwhelming. Even if you are an experienced software developer, the quirks and unique aspects of LSL can take a while to wrap your brain around, but once you do you will have opened up entirely new worlds of possibilities. No matter what, you're going to be hungry for more -- more knowledge, more examples, more people to learn with. Fortunately all of these exist, both within Second Life and on the Web.

Let's begin inside Second Life. The Event Calendar is a great place to start looking for help about LSL. Every week there are many classes on LSL, ranging from Scripting 101 to Advanced Vehicles. Not only do these classes provide concrete information on the mechanics of scripting in Second Life, but they also can connect you to the community of scripters within the world. By meeting the other students and instructors, you can build a strong network of friends and fellow scripters to question, to collaborate with, and to find new challenges.

There are many different communities of scripters within Second Life, from the professional content developers doing large real-world projects to the beginners gathering to play in the sandboxes. You are certain to find one that matches your skills and interests. Like other forms of creation within Second Life, scripting is the most fun when done with others, so use the time when you're learning LSL to meet other people and groups.

Classes in Second Life are only one resource for learning about scripting. Two Second Life forums exist as resources for scripters; The Scripting Library forum (http://forums.secondlife.com/forumdisplay.php?f=15) acts as a repository for various scripts, new ideas, and the basic building blocks every scripter would otherwise have to reinvent. The Scripting Tips forum (http://forums.secondlife.com/forumdisplay.php?f=54) allows scripters to share knowledge on a daily basis.

Both forums see daily contributions by a many scripters, and both are worth reading and contributing to. They will connect you to other scripters rapidly.

A more specialized support option is the Second Life Scripters mailing list (http://secondlife.com/community/mailinglists.php). It tends to cover very specific questions about or problems with LSL, often before they show up on either the forums or the LSL Wiki. The mailing list is a good place to lurk as an intermediate scripter, but really it's best used by expert scripters looking to connect with other advanced scripters. However, like mailing lists in general, it isn't the best resource for general searches or broad questions. Fortunately, another option exists.

That resource is the LSL Wiki (http://lslwiki.com/lslwiki/), a wonderful resource for all things Second Life. Beyond the most comprehensive documentation of all LSL functions (http://lslwiki.com/lslwiki/wakka.php?wakka=functions), it also calls out known bugs (http://lslwiki.com/lslwiki/wakka.php?wakka=KnownBugs) and gotchas (http://lslwiki.com/lslwiki/wakka.php?wakka=annoyances). Moreover, it has numerous tutorials (http://lslwiki.com/lslwiki/wakka.php?wakka=LSLTutorials) and links to many of the scripting groups, mentors, and teachers (http://lslwiki.com/lslwiki/wakka.php?wakka=ScriptingMentors) in Second Life. Most importantly, the LSL Wiki is a wiki, so it is constantly being added to, always being updated by the Second Life community. As you begin to learn about LSL, you should become familiar with the LSL Wiki and contribute to it yourself. It is yet another way to meet other scripters and to become part of the LSL community within Second Life.

A final resource for LSL is the Second Life Education Wiki (http://www.simteach.com/wiki/index.php?title=Second_Life_Education_Wiki). The Second Life Education Wiki provides up-to-date information on the education and research projects going on in Second Life. Educators and researchers provide both a resource to scripters and a market for specialized scripts and builds. Campus:Second Life (http://www.simteach.com/wiki/index.php?title=Campus:Second_Life), as well as other university and education builds within SL, often brings groups into contact with LSL, either because their students are exploring LSL or because of specialized needs. As you become more confident with LSL, you will find educators to be some of the most collaborative and open scripters in Second Life. If you are looking for interesting and unusual projects to apply your budding scripting skills to, look no further than the Education Wiki.

Of course, no book can keep up with the resources constantly appearing on the Web in support of LSL, so new options will have appeared by the time this book is on shelves. Seek them out!