SL for Nowt

Living a digital life with empty pockets

Walkabout: Newbie Areas – Around the Ahern Infohub/Welcome Area

New series! Today I decided to newb myself up and start a small travelogue of the newbie places on the Second Life grid. I’ve never visited most of these places, and I wanted to see what they were like, what kind of surroundings the average newbie would find themselves in when they leave Help Island and take their very first teleport to a Mainland Infohub.

The first Infohub you land at after leaving Help Island (assuming this is how you reach the Mainland; some people have friends already in SL who will send them a teleport offer to wherever they are) will automatically be set as your Home location (you can always change it later). This means, if you open up your Map and click the ‘Home’ button, or you use the keyboard shortcut CTRL+SHIFT+H, that’s where you’ll land. So when you click that “Ready to start your Second Life?” big sign on Help Island, click it a lot of times, until you have a choice of locations!

Perhaps with these little travelogues, I can give newbies an idea of which locations they think they might like the best. I’ll begin with the Infohubs that are found in the Help Island signs, then I’ll move on to the resident-run orientation places, and other newbie places such as NCI and The Shelter.

So where do we start? Alphabetically would be a good idea, which means we begin with the Ahern Infohub and Welcome Area:

Hop behind the cut for pics and info.

See the ‘overview’ map at the bottom of this post for the locations mentioned.

The Ahern infohub (1) is one of the mega-infohubs, set at the junction of four regions: Ahern, Dore, Bonifacio, and Morris. Each of the four sections of the hub stretches into a different region, allowing a lot of room for avatars to gather:

As you can see, it gets pretty packed out there:

This is the landing point, which is where all newbies will arrive, if they picked the Ahern landmark to go to from Help Island:

Not all the avatars present had rezzed by the time I took this screenshot. SL was having a very slow and laggy day, so it was a bad day to start these Walkabout posts, really!

There are a few signs around the place, although none of them actually say to click them for weblinks:

The games area was a much quieter spot, with only one avatar editing his appearance. The games available to play here looked to all be two-player ones: Chess, Great Wall, and Prim Attack:

The building area was very busy. This area heads into the Morris region, and was extremely laggy:

Some cool sculptures there, and some strange conversation, too, some of it insulting, some of it definitely not PG (which those areas are supposed to be).

I managed to fly partway into Morris (2), and could see this big fortress-like building in the distance, but the lag was absolutely terrible by then:

And then I found out why. Someone had rezzed a ‘griefbuild’ – a heavily-scripted, multiple-physical object creation – in the building area, and it was completely bogging the sim down. To give you an idea how bad things were, a healthy time dilation is 1.0 and a good sim FPS is over 35. Here the dilation was 0.2 and the FPS was 10 (but kept slipping down as low as 1). That’s my Lag Meter on the right, showing the server struggling in the red, and the Client and Network well into yellow. None of those are good!

I tried to fly away from the build, but I found myself unable to stop, sailing out of control across sim after sim until I was automatically logged out of Second Life. That would have been a great introduction for any newbie…

But I bounced back and logged back, and managed to get into the Bonifacio region (3), which was practically deserted (a good section of the infohub to set as your Home location!) –

I followed that road and found myself at a fabulous build: a Chinese castle (4):

The castle turned out to be an official Linden Orientation Area, with small buildings dedicated to various aspects of SL basics:

But the content and information (not to mention the freebie avatars on offer) was very old and dated:

The Chat Parrot in this building promised me money if I asked him for a kiss, so I did. All I got was a kiss, though. Where’s my L$?! (Seriously, isn’t that misleading poor newbies somewhat?)

This building promised to teach me all about grabbing things and moving them around. The notecard told me to pick up the beach ball and throw it.

What beach ball?!

Oh dear.

Moving swiftly on, I flew away from the infohub, to check out the regions surrounding it. The first place that caught my eye looked from a distance to be a recreation of Mos Eisley, in Star Wars. It turned out to be Oak Grove (6), and had a definite desert theme:

I finally got a better look at the ‘fortress’ I’d seen part of from Morris before I was logged out. It was the very impressive-looking Nexus Prime build (7). Impressive from the outside, but sad to say very little on the inside. Great texturing, but nothing to do when you flew into it:

Across the water is Lusk (9), a furry community. The giant arch is definitely something that catches the eye, as is that cute boot-shaped house!

Checking out a large structure in Dore, I found it was Castle Romulus (8), and were I a genuine newbie, this would have been my first experience of shops in SL:

I crossed over Protected Land, and my location bar flashed up that I had arrived in “Michael Linden’s Land”. Within seconds, I was surrounded by replicating griefer particles (not, obviously, created by Michael Linden!) Luckily, I always travel SL with my ‘maximum particles’ setting pretty low. It could have been worse than this:

For some reason, the screencap I took of the hedge maze in Rizal didn’t come out, but it’s #5 on the overview map at the bottom of this post.

Finally, I flew over to Darkwood Elf Circle, which was a truly beautiful build that I’d like to explore in more detail one day:

They even have an Eye of Sauron, which rather creepily follows you as you fly around it:

Well that’s just about it for this Walkabout. Here’s an overview of the map areas that I explored:

February 23, 2009 - Posted by | newbies, second life, Second Life Infohubs, Second Life Welcome Areas, Walkabout - Travels in SL


  1. This is a great idea for a series! When you get done with mainland entry points, please be sure to look at Virtual Ability and Caledon Oxbridge.

    Comment by Riven Homewood | February 24, 2009 | Reply

  2. I think this is a jolly good idea!

    Comment by Jane Primrose | February 24, 2009 | Reply

  3. @Riven: Thanks! They’re definitely on the list, although it might take me a while to get around to them. This took longer than I thought it would!

    @Jane: I think it’s going to be fun, exploring around these Linden-made areas :)

    Comment by Mar | February 24, 2009 | Reply

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