Second Life, Going Round in Circles

Rowne (general)

After more than 7 years in Second Life, it still doesn’t take that much to make me feel stupid. There are an abundant number of occasions when I think I must have missed a memo everybody else has read.

One thing guaranteed to make me start sputtering at the keyboard, even if I don’t react out loud, is when somebody says something like “oh, that’s west of here”.

Rowne (general)

Do these people all have the mini-map permanently displayed on their screen? Are their avatars somehow tuned into the magnetic north pole on the grid (and why didn’t I know there was one)?

This happened to me again last week and, after opening a map and figuring out where I was and the location they seemed to be indicating, I decided to do something about this.

Rowne (general)

I went looking for something simple. I just want a little arrow, and 4 compass directions, that indicates where I’m aiming. After trying, and rejecting, a number of fancy compass huds I thought I’d found a reasonable solution.

It’s set up like a horizontal speedometer, but instead of speed it shows compass directions. As you change direction the pointer moves along the bar and you know which way you’re heading. You should also be able to tell what you have to do to go in a specific direction – like “west” if you’re heading north. However ….

Rowne (general)

In the physical world, and in Second Life, if I’m heading north and want to go west then I turn to my left. The dial on the hud, though, moves to the right.  The builder put the cardinal points on this thing in reverse order. My brain went into convulsions trying to figure out what was wrong.

So, the good news is that I now know which direction I’m heading. Just don’t ask me to quickly aim for another compass point unless you’re willing to wait for me to turn in a complete circle.

Rowne (general)
Leave a comment


  1. Hm, when just hanging out. shopping or exploring in SL I do indeed always more or less know where I am and what diection I’m facing. Dunno why, it’s maybe because I’m sailing in SL since over 7 years now and the little fact that it’s the same in RL. Maybe I have an inbuilt compass, something in my blood or genes or brain or whaddayaknow.

    But you can really practice this feeling of orientation. Since my earliest days in SL I made a habit out of opening the worldmap and checking out where I am, always when I go to a place for the first time. I just wanna know if I’m on mainland, in an estate or on a totally unconnected island. And with time you develop a feeling, a feeling of place and location.

    • Oh I use the map a lot – to find places, to see what’s around me – but I never, repeat never, orient myself on the n/s/e/w coordinates.
      I automatically know where they are and where I am in real life.
      SL is just a mystery :p

  2. Yes – – mini-map always open, smaller than a HUD and with more information than just a compass. Might as well use the tools provided when they serve the purpose.

  3. Mini-map is your friend:)

  4. I’m with Shug on this one. The Mini-map always has North at the top, and my dot beam tells me which way I’m headed relative to that. Just like Google Maps in the outer world. If I’m lost out here or in SL, I make sure I’m facing North and get re-oriented.

    (Whoever made the mini-map rotate by default is a complete idiot IMHO! Make it stop immediately!)

    Chimera Cosmos

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