Home Metaverse Tips and Tricks for Finding Busy Places in Second Life – Ryan Schultz

Tips and Tricks for Finding Busy Places in Second Life – Ryan Schultz

Have you read? Editorial: Why Second Life Is the Perfect Model of a Mature, Fully Evolved Virtual World for Newer Social VR Platforms to Emulate (in case any of you were wondering why I still bother to write about 20-year-old Second Life when there are so many other, newer metaverse platforms out there I could cover on my blog).

Vanity Fair (foreground, in the red party dress, waving her hands in the air like she just don’t care 😉 ), at the packed Club 511 in Second Life, last weekend. Sometimes, you just want to find a crowd in SL!

For most of the past 17 years I have been in the virtual world of Second Life, I have spent much of my time alone, fiddling and tinkering with the endless options of avatar customization, at which the platform truly excels. Indeed, I gained (and still get) a great deal of personal satisfaction from designing a complete avatar look from head to toe, as cheaply as possible. As this hobby was primarily a solitary enterprise, I did not feel the need to mingle with a lot of other people; in fact, I often wanted to be alone, to work in peace.

But sometimes, and particularly during these past four pandemic years, I am actively looking for a crowd. Maybe I just want to attend an event with a lot of other avatars present, to show off a look I had just assembled. Perhaps, I wanted to do a little covert inspection of what other avatars were wearing, in order to pick up some fashion ideas for styling my own avatars. (In fact, I learn about many creators’ stores this way!)

Regardless of the reason why, from time to time, it’s only natural to want to hang out with other people—even if the venue for doing so is a virtual world! So here are some of my tips and tricks for finding popular places in Second Life.

Search: Sorting Places by Traffic

Click on Search, click on the Places tab, and enter a keyword, and your search results will automatically be sorted by a metric called Traffic

The oldest, and probably the most common (and controversial!) method is to do a keyword search under Places in the Search menu, and sort by Traffic. Linden Lab calculates this metric as follows (source):

Traffic is a numerical metric calculated for every parcel of land in world. This score can be summarized as the cumulative minutes spent on the parcel by all visitors to the parcel within the previous day. (The value shown in About Land is based on data gathered from midnight to 11:59 PM, Pacific Time.) It is calculated by taking the total seconds spent on the parcel, dividing by 60, and rounding to the nearest whole minute. For example, if your parcel has a cumulative seconds total of 121s over the course of a day, the traffic score is 2.

Why is Traffic controversial? Because many stores, clubs, and other venues sometimes “park” alts (i.e., extra dummy avatars created expressly for this purpose) in order to game the system. Sometimes these alts are parked in the venue itself, and sometimes they are hidden away in a skybox located high above the venue, out of sight.

For example (and yes, in this case, I am going to name and shame the venue), Foxxies ballroom is notorious for appearing high in the Places listing when you search on terms like “formal”, which is sorted by traffic. But each and every time I have visited over the past few years, curious because I see so many green dots on the map and thinking that they are busy, only to discover that there are dozens of the same couples “dancing” and even some “playing” musical instruments—all of them bots! So please be aware that many places use this technique to game the system and make themselves seem more popular than they really are. Foxxie’s is egregious in this regard, and frankly, they deserve to be called out for it!

Bonnie Bots: Sorting Regions by Avatar Count

If you have a yen to find a crowded place, using a metric which is updated hourly, the Bonnie Bots website has you covered! Because it is updated hourly (instead of daily like Traffic), I have found that it is one of the best places to find hot events and parties. However, you should be aware that this is also subject to the same sort of “gaming” discussed in the previous section (in fact, there’s no way around it).

Just visit the Bonnie Bots website, click on the Regions tab, and sort by Avatar Count!

Also, the Bonnie Bots listing is by region, what we oldbies often called a “sim” (a 256 by 256 square kilometre), and not by parcel, as is the case with Traffic under Places search. In other words, this way of searching for hot spots is less granular; one popular parcel on an otherwise deserted and neglected SL region can pull an item higher up the Bonnie Bot rankings.

While a distressingly high number of these most popular regions tend to fall into the adult/sex category (and the Regions listing helpfully indicates where each region is rated General, Moderate, or Adult), I have also found the website to be a surprising source of popular places, which I had never encountered before. For example, through the Bonnie Bots listing, I found a venue called the Empire Club, a luxurious theatre where every Friday night, a packed house gathers to relax on its comfortable sofas and watch a choreographed show set to various musical numbers, followed by an invitation to come up on stage for some synchronized dancing to more music! I never would have found this place otherwise.

Destination Guide: New Ways to Find Popular Places

Linden Lab has recently announced another update to their Destination Guide, where a count of the number of avatars currently in that region is now displayed:

In addition, you can do a keyword search, and choose to sort your search results by the number of avatars present in the retrieved list of regions. (Unfortunately, sometimes the search options do not include this new feature, and I haven’t been able to figure out yet why sometimes I see it, and sometimes I don’t!)

Miscellaneous Tips and Tricks

  • If you have a favourite club or venue you like to frequent, they are almost certain to have some sort of group (a regular SL group, or a subscriber group, which does not take up one of your valuable group slots!). Join the group and stay up-to-date as to what events are happening!
  • Chat with your friends, acquaintances, and even strangers in Second Life. Ask them what their favourite places are to visit. You might find a new place to hang out!
  • I have a nasty (but illuminating) habit of perusing other avatars’ profiles, where I usually check out two key areas to learn about popular places they frequent. First, I check what groups they belong to (where, if they do not have them hidden, you can usually click through and learn more about each group, and whatever clubs or venues are associated with them). Second, I click on the Picks tab in their profile and look to see if there are any locations listed there (this is usually how I discover what stores they own, if nothing else).
(I have blurred out the name of this particular gentleman standing next to me at the new Love club)

What are your tips and tricks for finding busy places in Second Life? Please feel free to leave a comment, thanks!

A particularly popular Halloween party at the Satyr Club, last October 31st (discovered via the Bonnie Bots region listing method described above)

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