SL for Nowt

Living a digital life with empty pockets

The fast-track guide to non-newbieness for boys (3 of 3)

Hi, guys! Last but not least in this series for you is a tutorial in putting together a full AO, or animation overrider. An AO will get rid of that funny, waddling ‘duck walk’ that is the newbie default, and it can also give you many more options for standing, sitting, flying and other poses in-world.

There are many great AOs to be bought in Second Life, and some of them are very pricey. There are a couple of good new freebies around, too, which I’ll mention at the end of this post. But whether you stick with a pre-made freebie or want to put together your own AO with individual animations you’ve found and bought, it’s still a very useful thing to know how to do.

Hop behind the cut for your tutorial.

ETA1: My apologies, guys. Once again, WordPress has screwed up the formatting on a post for me. I’m doing my best to fix it, but it looks a bit squished up at the moment. I hope it’s still readable, for all that :(

ETA2: OK, it’s fixed to the best of my ability. I’m afraid the sidebar is still screwed when you view the post, but the post itself should be more legible.

We’re going to be using the poses from the Gangsta AO that you picked up in Sarah Nerd’s Freebie Paradise. If you’re not sure where to find it, read my original post and you’ll get directions and a SLurl (a direct link to where you can find it, in-world).

First of all, you need a blank ZHAO. You’ll find one of those on the back wall of Outrider Animations, in Kona d’Alliez. It’s absolutely free, and it looks like this:

If you want less bright variations, then turn around and look near the doors: there are other free ones available, in different colours. They’re all ZHAOs, so it doesn’t matter which one you choose.

Find yourself a quiet sandbox (Skybeam Sandbox, Nerdy Sanchez, or Sandbox Kaemi are all pretty good ones) and head for an empty spot. Right-click on the ground and select Create from the pie menu:

Left click on the same spot on the ground, and hey look – you just rezzed a prim! Welcome to the wonderful world of creating stuff in Second Life *g*

Now, find the Gangsta AO in your inventory. We need to get the animations out of that, so we can put them into our own AO.

OK, so why did I just ask you to rez a prim? Well, AOs are notoriously small, and often invisible until you enable View Transparent. If you rez them on the ground, it’s much harder to spot them than if you rez them on a bright cube.

So now you’ve found the Gangsta AO in your inventory, it’s time to drag it out into the world. Left click on the first one (there are two in the folder: you want the one called Gangstar AO) and, holding down the left mouse button, drag it out of inventory and onto the top of that prim, then let go. After a second or two (depending on server lag in-world) you’ll hear a shhka-shhka-shh kind of sound, and then you’ll see this sitting on your prim:

You may need to use camera controls to view the front of it, because objects in Second Life always rez facing the same way that they were originally saved by their creator, so if the AO was saved with the coloured parts facing East, and you’re looking at it from the South, you’ll only see the side of it. But it’s definitely there.

OK, right-click on that AO (see how tiny it is, and how easy it would be to lose it? Now you know why I insisted on a base prim for it!) and select Edit from the pie menu:

Go to the tab marked Contents (if you don’t see any tabs, then look for a blue button on the Edit window, marked ‘More’ (it’ll be where the button marked ‘Less’ is in the screencap below). If you see it, then click that, and you should see the tabs):

Now, open up the Animations folder in your inventory, right-click where it says Animations (the parent folder) and select Create > New Folder from the menus. Call the folder something like ‘Anims from Gangsta AO’ and then hit Enter. This is the folder we’re going to pull all of those animations currently in the AO into.

Go back to the Edit window of the AO and select all of the animations inside. Holding down the Control key as you click them is the best way. Once they’re all highlighted, left-click in the highlighted area just once and, holding down the mouse button, drag the animations over into the newly-created folder in your inventory:

Because these animations are no copy (you can see that beside their names in the AO) you’ll get this warning:

Just click OK, because you do want these in your inventory!

You might find that you can’t move them in a block, so you may have to drag them over individually.

You can now delete the rezzed AO, but leave the prim there for now. What we have to do now is try out the animations. Double-click on each of them in turn in your inventory, and for each one, a new window will pop up:

The image tells you what will happen. If you click Play in World, then everyone around you will see your avatar performing the animation. If you click Play Locally, only you will see it; everyone around you will see you standing normally. Usually, Play Locally is the one to use, unless you don’t mind being the resident sideshow in the sandbox you’ve picked *g*

I’ve screencapped here the animations I want you to try out (the names are at the top of each screencap). These are the ones you’re going to put into your new AO. They’re only the best of the animations from the Gangsta AO, not all of them, so jot down their names for easy reference when we come to moving them over.<

OK, here are the animation screencaps:






And for the crouching one, take your pick of these two. Not much difference, but one has the head up, one has the head down:


The last static pose you need is one from the big pack of animations you got at YadNi’s Junkyard (again, see my first post – linked at the beginning of this post) for where to find that. This is the pose (I’ve included an inset of the box at YadNi’s, so you know what to look for):

The last animation that you need from the Gangsta AO (which I can’t screencap here very well, as it’s a moving animation) is the walking-a-m3 one.

Now I want you to find the empty ZHAO that you got from Outrider Animations, and drag that onto the prim, just as you did the others. When you’ve done that, right-click > Edit and go to the Contents window. You’ll just see some notecards and scripts in there.

Drag all of the animations you listed from my screenshots above, one at a time, into that Contents window, until you eventually have this (note, I hadn’t pulled the ground sit animation into there when I took this screenshot!):

Double-click on the notecard marked Empty. It will pop up in front of you. Now, this is very important. You must copy the names of the animations exactly as they appear in the contents folder. Include capital letters and hyphens, but don’t bother with the (no copy) bit. Because you only have three stand animations and the notecard has five animation slots, just repeat two of the animations (one after the other, so they run smoothly) to fill the empty slots, otherwise you’ll go into the default newbie stands when those two slots come around when the AO is running.

Don’t hit the enter key or leave any lines between the slots. It’s fine to leave slots empty if you don’t have an animation for them, but make sure you at least fill in the Walking, Sitting, Standing, Groundsit and Fly ones. Your finished notecard should look something like this:

Click the Save button and wait a moment or two. The Content tab of the Edit window will reload again, and you can close (or minimise for now) the notecard.

Now it’s time to reset the script. Don’t worry if you’ve never messed with scripts before; you’ll only need to click one button. Look in the Content tab again, for a script called ZHAO Main Animation Overrider. The version number may vary, by the way. Double-click that to open the script. You’ll see this. All you need to do is click the Reset button at the bottom of the script:

Watch the lower-left of your client. First, you’ll see this (although possibly with a different number of bytes free):

And then you’ll see this, again possibly with a different number of bytes free:

Your ZHAO is now all put together. All you have to do now is give it a name, so head to the General tab of the edit window and give it a name. A good idea is to call it something that has your name in it. Since I’m using my alt Roxie’s male incarnation here for the tutorial, I called the AO ROX_AO:

Hit enter and then you can close the script, the notecard and the whole edit window.

Now you have to take the ZHAO back into your inventory, so right-click on it and select Take from the pie menu:

Don’t forget to clean up after yourself and delete your prim so it doesn’t get auto-returned to your Lost and Found folder when the sandbox clears out. Right-click, select More, and then Delete from the pie menu.

Now, search your inventory for the ZHAO:

Right-click and select Wear. By default it will attach to the lower-right HUD point, so if you have anything else there (such as your radar) it will replace that. I always have my ZHAO in the upper-left corner of my client. If you want to change the HUD position it attaches to, right-click on the ZHAO in your inventory, and mouseover Attach to HUD, then mouse across to the point you want to attach it to. Once it’s on your screen, you can right-click and edit it just as you would a prim, moving it about until you have it in a place that feels right.

And voila! From newbie stands to nice animated poses!

Further resources

If you don’t have the time (or patience *g*) to put together your own AO, then there are a couple of great freebies in-world right now. Thanks to Illusory Magic of Free Finds For Men, for initially blogging about them! You can find the first one on the top floor of E. Watkins Premier Equestrian Supplies. There’s a free male and free female AO there, so girls, you’re catered for, too!

Secondly, there’s a free AO at Sylva’s (again, a girl’s version is available) and this one is a massive, premium-style AO with a lot of poses.

And that concludes the fast track guide to non-newbieness for boys. I hope you found it useful :)


June 29, 2008 - Posted by | AOs, for the guys, hints and tips, newbies, second life |


  1. Wow. This is a great tutorial. I did a post on AOs in Free For Men but I’ll add a link to this page too. I noticed some referrals in my stats from your blog so I’m adding you to my blogroll there. Thanks!

    Comment by Karl | July 7, 2008 | Reply

  2. […] is a fabulous tutorial complete with screencaps at SL 4 Nowt. Do go and check it out.   Mar clearly has a lot more patience than I do! Her blog has a lot of […]

    Pingback by Devilfish - AOs « Free for Men | July 7, 2008 | Reply

  3. Thanks for the compliment, and for the linkback, Karl! :)

    Comment by Mar | July 9, 2008 | Reply

  4. This is AWESOME — thank you, Mar!!!

    Comment by Canon Eichel | August 8, 2008 | Reply

  5. Yay! Thanks, Canon. I remember how confusing it was the first time I tried to put together an AO, even with the useful info I was given, so I’m really glad to help here.

    Incidentally, Linden Lab are currently working with content creators to design a new ‘newbie walk’ that’s less horrible than the current one. So while people will still want their own walks, stands, sits, etc, at least the newbies won’t be stuck with the stuttering duckwalk for much longer.

    Comment by Mar | August 8, 2008 | Reply

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