SL for Nowt

Living a digital life with empty pockets

Those Little Questions: All About Skyboxes

Here’s another in my series of questions and answers inspired by the search terms that bring people to this blog. I’ve been pasting all of the questions into a file so that once I have enough I can write up a post, and I noticed that a great many of the search queries concern skyboxes, so that’s what this post is all about.

Hop behind the cut to learn all about skyboxes, including:

What is a skybox?
Where do I get a skybox?
How do I make a skybox?
How do I place/rez a skybox?
How high can I put a skybox?
Where can I get land to place my skybox?
Is a skybox private?
How do I get inside a skybox? There’s no door in mine!

Edited to add new skybox questions:

Can a skybox home be placed on the ground?
How do I get access to my friend’s skybox?
How do I get music in my skybox only?
Can I have a skybox if I own a Linden Home?
Can any house be used as a skybox?
Can I remove furniture from a fully-furnished skybox?
Can I build my skybox on someone else’s land, or on land that’s been abandoned?
Does my landlord own my sky box?

What is a skybox?

A skybox is something quite unique to Second Life and is, as the name suggests, a box in the sky. Or, rather, a dwelling in the sky. Many of them do actually resemble boxes, but you can rez anything up in the sky, from a full-blown castle on a sculpted cloud to a modern loft or a sculpted cave. Or, yes, a simple hollowed cube.

Where do I get a skybox?

You can buy skyboxes from lots of stores in Second Life, or on SL Marketplace (Second Life’s out-world shopping website). Sometimes they are expensive, sometimes you’ll find a limited-time offer on amazing skyboxes that are fully-furnished and have all kinds of gizmos, bells and whistles, going for a song on SL Marketplace as a promotion. You may find them given away as hunt prizes, or if you check enough freebie blogs you may find one being given as a join gift or group gift in an in-world group or Subscribe-o-matic.

How do I make a skybox?

I have a tutorial on making a simple skybox that you can use to open boxes and get changed, hang out with friends in, or even live in (if you don’t mind small spaces!) here. Once you’ve mastered the basics of building in that post, you can create larger skyboxes.

UPDATE: I’ve created another tutorial for making a more detailed and customisable skybox, here.

How do I place/rez a skybox?

Ah, yes. At first that seems tricky, because how do you rez something in thin air?! Read the tutorial linked to in the first part of my answer to the previous question and follow the directions in the first seven images (stop at the point where you’re told how to apply a texture to the prim). That tutorial tells you to send the base prim 3000m up into the air, but you can send it any height you like. Once you’re up there, you can rez your skybox on top of that base prim you’re standing on.

How high can I put a skybox?

4096m is the building limit. You can’t put anything higher than that, so make sure the roof of your skybox is below that height.

How to tell how high you are? Well, if you’re using any of the older Second Life viewers, look at the very top where the land info is listed. The last set of numbers is your height:

If you’re using the new Viewer 2, click the name in the address bar. It will turn orange, as shown below, and again the last set of numbers is your height:

NOTE: In both cases, this is the height that your avatar is at in the sim, so make sure your avatar is at the same height that you want to rez your skybox.

Where can I get land to rez my skybox?

Most people either buy or rent land to place their homes. You may get lucky and make a friend who offers you a little bit of space on their land, but don’t abuse the offer and start rezzing out lots of high-prim furniture inside your home! Your best bet is to use Search and look for ‘rentals’. There are many good landlords in Second Life, and you can find small plots of land to rent from as little as L$150 per week. If you have a premium account, your weekly stipend will easily cover that amount (also, if you have a premium account and you’re not using your tier, don’t forget you can get a free Linden home, too!)

Don’t expect to find ‘free land’ to rez your skybox. It doesn’t exist. If, by a remote chance, you find land that you can build on, it’s very likely that the landowner has simply not changed their settings to prevent others from building there. That does not mean you can rez your skybox on their land! All land in Second Life is paid for by the users, and if you place your home on someone else’s land then that makes you a squatter. Um, actually, it makes you a leech. Don’t do it. You will really piss people off.

Incidentally, you can’t just get ‘a bit of sky’ for your skybox. Second Life’s land parcels start on the ground and go right up to the building limit. If you own or rent the parcel of land, then you own/rent the sky above it.

Is a skybox private?

Well, yes and no. A skybox is private in the same way that any other place is private in Second Life. If someone gets within camera distance of your dwelling, there is nothing to stop them from ‘camming’ inside to see what’s going on. The higher you place your skybox, the less chance there is of this happening (fewer people fly randomly around at 3275m, for instance, than they do at 150m). If you find people are ‘camsitting’ (camming inside your home and then sitting on furniture to get inside – whatever you do, never go AFK and leave your avatar snoozing on a bed that contains naughty animations!) then you may want to invest in a security orb, too, but do make sure to read the manual and be considerate of your neighbours. Don’t set the orb’s distance so wide that your immediate neighbours get ejected out of their own homes!

UPDATE: There is now a new setting on land that enables actual, real privacy for avatars in their homes. Read all about it here: SL Knowledge Base – Hiding avatars and restricting avatar sounds.

How do I get inside a skybox? There’s no door in mine!

Lots of skyboxes are fully-enclosed, which means there’s no visible means of entrance. When you have one of these, there are two ways to get in. If the skybox is furnished, use your camera to look inside and sit on a piece of furniture or a poseball. If it’s unfurnished, then stand on the roof and rez a prim. Sit on the prim, and then edit it (together with you, still sitting on it!) down into the skybox. Once you’re inside, get up and remember to set a landmark that you can use to get inside in the future.

New questions added!

Can a skybox home be placed on the ground?

Yes, of course. They may look a little strange, especially if the skybox is an actual box. Depending on the outside decoration, it’s a good idea to consider whether the outside of your skybox is neighbour-friendly. Of course, you don’t have to consider whether your neighbours want to look at a big black box right next to their home, but it’s only polite to think of their Second Life experience too, right? :)

How do I get access to my friend’s skybox?

That depends on the skybox, and on your friend! If you can’t get inside at all (eg: you get ejected) then it’s likely that your friend’s skybox has a security system and they will need to add you to the list of people that are allowed inside. However, if you just want to drop in whenever you feel like it, please do bear in mind that skyboxes are just like any other SL home – private places. In fact, they’re usually intended to be even more private because of their location high up in the air. Often people rez skyboxes as private locations to get changed or have romantic encounters in-world. If your friend hasn’t given you a landmark to their skybox and you can’t get in, then there may be a reason why, don’t you think? ;)

How do I get music in my skybox only?

Generally, music can only be set via the About Land commands, and it applies to the entire parcel, from ground to ceiling limit. However, I have seen on XstreetSL/SL Marketplace one or two ‘SL radio HUDs’ that allow you to tune into streaming radio stations via your SL viewer, so this may be a better possibility for skybox-only music. A much simpler way is to use your own media player to tune into a stream. There are many good free ones to be found online, from Winamp to VideoLAN and iTunes. If you want to set up something with a partner and have the same music playing, simply give them the URL to the stream you want to use, so they can paste it into their own media player.

Can I have a skybox if I own a Linden Home?

Of course you can, but you can’t rez that skybox above your Linden Home. The covenant for land that Linden Homes are on expressly forbids the rezzing of skyboxes, so you’ll need to rent or buy some land elsewhere in-world in order to rez your skybox.

Can any house be used as a skybox?

Yes, of course! You don’t have to buy a home that is specifically labelled as a skybox. If you want to put a little cottage or any other type of home up in the air then it’s a good idea to put a platform down for it to sit on (see the question on this page about how to rez a skybox up in the air) and also maybe another platform adjoining it for you to land on (you can put a grass texture on this, so it looks like a lawn, for example).

Can I remove furniture from a fully-furnished skybox?

If the skybox is modifiable, then yes. All items in Second Life have permissions attached to them, set by their creators, which determine what you can and can’t do with them. These permissions are: Copy (which means you can rez lots of copies of the item), Modify (which means you can edit the item, add things, remove things, re-texture it, etc), and Transfer (which means you can give it to someone else). When an item is in your inventory you will only see the permissions that it doesn’t have, listed behind it. For example: Fabulous House (no transfer) means that the Fabulous House cannot be given to someone else, but it can be copied and modified. So, as long as your fully-furnished skybox doesn’t have no modify against the name, you can edit it to remove the furniture. (There is an exception to this: skyboxes packaged with scripts such as Rez Faux. Since the Rez Faux scripts are No Modify they will make the skybox appear to be No Modify in your inventory. However, once the build is rezzed and saved, the scripts are removed and – assuming the creator intended the building to be modifiable – it will revert to its original, modifiable permissions.)

The furniture might rez separately from the building (as in the case of a Rez Faux boxed building), in which case you simply select the furniture and either take it into inventory or delete it. Or it might be linked to the building, in which case you’ll need to edit the building, check ‘Edit Linked Parts’ in the edit window, click each bit you want to unlink (hold down the CTRL key while clicking, to select more than one bit) and then Tools > Unlink. From there you can delete the unlinked sections.

Can I build my skybox on someone else’s land, or on land that’s been abandoned?

It’s possible, but in the first instance (unless you have permission from that ‘someone else’) it’s incredibly rude, and in the second case (assuming you somehow can rez on the abandoned land, which I don’t think is possible anymore) it’s very bad form.

If your friend has given you permission to rez your skybox on their land you will probably need to join some form of group before you can rez. Wear the group tag when placing your objects, and this way they won’t be auto-returned to you.

Does my landlord own my sky box?

If the skybox came as part of your rental deal (in other words, if it was already there when you started renting the land) then yes, your landlord owns it. However, if you just rent a bare piece of land and rez your own skybox then you are the owner of the skybox (and anything else you rez there, such as furniture) and your landlord only owns the land you’re rezzing on.

If you have any more questions about skyboxes, drop a comment and I’ll do my best to answer them :)

May 12, 2010 - Posted by | do's and don'ts, hints and tips, homes and skyboxes, newbie notes, second life, those little questions

13 Comments »

  1. Interesting article! Are there any landlords you would particularly recommend? I would like to find a reasonably priced place that offers a good big prim allowance, but I don’t know how to intelligently filter the search results.
    I just got a Linden Home and it’s cute as heck, but already I’d like to have somewhere I can put higher-prim furniture, gadgets, decorations etcetera. I just don’t want to get ripped off or given the run-around by an inconsiderate landlord.

    Comment by Sarah | May 13, 2010 | Reply

    • Sarah, I can’t really recommend a landlord and keep my impartiality as a blogger, so I hope you forgive me for that. Having said that, if you want to rez more prims basically you need a larger plot. The basic 512m plot will only allow you to rez 117 prims, which isn’t a great deal once your factor the prims for the house/skybox itself into it. I currently pay L$350 per week for a 1024m plot, which is a pretty reasonable price, so use that as a guideline as you look around :)

      Comment by Mar | May 13, 2010 | Reply

  2. This is a great article. From my experience renting L$350/week for a 1024m plot seems crazy cheap. I’ve been looking around but I can’t seem to find anything that compares to that! But thanks for the tut.

    Comment by Millie | May 17, 2010 | Reply

    • Well, that is what I pay, Millie! It was L$450 per week, but it’s now L$350, which was a lovely bonus when I logged on some time back to an IM from my landlord telling me the rent was going down. Things never go that way in real life, sadly, do they? ;)

      Thank you for the kind words about the article :)

      Comment by Mar | May 17, 2010 | Reply

  3. Hiya! Just wondering, how many prims do you get for that 1024m plot/350L per week? I’ve been searching but can’t find plots that are as low as 350L, most are at 800L up :( It would be my first time renting something bigger, since I’ve only rented a skybox before.

    Comment by Mia | August 5, 2010 | Reply

    • Hi, Mia :)

      For every 512m of land you get 117 prims. Sadly, the search system seems to be well and truly busted of late, and searching for ‘rentals’ brings up some very strange results.

      Comment by Mar | August 5, 2010 | Reply

  4. […] You can find the questions on the old blog archived here, and a special Those Little Questions all about skyboxes here. […]

    Pingback by Those Little Questions… : SL for Nowt | January 28, 2011 | Reply

  5. Hello,
    I am a Premium member and I have a free Linden home in 512 by 512 land
    Also, I have decided to buy a skybox , so I did, but I need land to rez it, and position it.
    My questions is: if I’m getting 512 by 512 space already included in my Premium account, how can I use it to start my skybox, if I have the Linden home (which I really don’t need any longer) in this space ?

    Thanks!

    Comment by Elena | April 22, 2011 | Reply

  6. […] You can find the questions on the old blog archived here, and a special Those Little Questions all about skyboxes here. […]

    Pingback by Those Little Questions: a general grab-bag! : SL for Nowt | February 18, 2012 | Reply

  7. Hi I’m an utter noob I want know if you need land for a sky box and do you have to pay tiers if you own your sky box?

    Comment by Rachel | May 26, 2012 | Reply

    • Hi Rachel :)

      Yes, you do need land in order to have a skybox rezzed, but you can rent from a landlord instead of paying tier to Linden Lab, if that’s what you want. Search in-world for ‘rentals’ and teleport around to see what’s available. Make sure you check out any notecards that are given to you when you click rental boxes for places you’re interested in, as some places don’t let you have skyboxes (themed sims come to mind, for example).

      Regardless, you will need some kind of income as a way to pay your rent. You can use a credit card or a PayPal account to purchase Linden dollars. Alternatively, if you get a paid Second Life account (which I believe is just under USD10 per month) you will get 512sq.m of ‘free’ tier which you can use entirely for (or put towards) land that you purchase from Linden Lab, as opposed to renting.

      These articles on the Knowledge Base might help you out in a bit more detail:

      http://community.secondlife.com/t5/English-Knowledge-Base/Buying-land/ta-p/700043

      http://community.secondlife.com/t5/English-Knowledge-Base/Renting-land-from-other-Residents/ta-p/1420695

      Comment by Mar | May 29, 2012 | Reply

  8. Reblogged this on Chinastar Weekends. Tech and vPlanes.

    Comment by ldmorg | July 28, 2012 | Reply


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