Virtual Worlds – A Beginner’s Guide to Second Life

This page is still in progress: Here I’ll just collect info around our book “Virtual Worlds – A Beginner’s Guide to Second Life“.

Peter Bihr / Thomas Praus / Max Senges (2007): Virtual Worlds – A Second Life Beginner’s Guide. Barcelona, Berlin.

The book is still an early version, and without much of a layout as of yet. You can download the whole book here for free: Virtual Worlds – A Second Life Beginner’s Guide (PDF, v1.05) Virtual Worlds – A Second Life Beginner’s Guide (DOC, v1.05)

Feedback is highly appreciated! Please use the contact form or email me at

Update (04 January 2008) The book is now also available on OER Commons, a website for Open Educational Resources (Link)

Update (31 July 2007): From what I hear the book is being put in print in its Spanish version at Editorial UOC now with the title “Second Life”. The English version below (which is the version released under a Creative Commons license) is based on the draft we handed in to the publisher. It’s been changed slightly since (mostly minor updates and we removed some typos, too).

Update (17 September 2007): Our book “Second Life” has been printed in the tic . cero series by Editorial UOC. The book is for sale at Editorial UOC’s online shop. 118 pages, 11€, ISBN 978-84-9788-609-3.

UOC In summer 2006, Max Senges, Thomas Praus and I got the chance to draft and write a summer university course about Second Life for the UOC (Universitat Oberta de Catalunya, or Open University of Catalonia), a Barcelona-based university. Along with the course, of course, a textbook was needed.

Writing the book (“Virtual Worlds – A Beginner’s Guide to Second Life”) with Max and Thomas has been a blast (Thanks, guys!), and it was a first for me. Thanks also to the folks over at UOC who have been great: Creative Commons License They agreed to releasing the English version of the textbook under a Creative Commons license (Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike). Feel free to remix & be creative! (Also note that it’s a version 1.0, so there might be minor changes if we find any errors. If you spot any, please drop me a line.) Please note: There is one exception to the Creative Commons license: As of now, Editorial UOC has the exclusive rights for the Spanish version of the book.

The textbook offers a glimpse into virtual worlds in general and Second Life in particular (some more details in this post). Titled “Mundos virtuales. Un paseo por Second Life” (“Virtual worlds. A stroll in Second Life”), the course (and book) covers a range of topics ranging from basic movement and building techniques to some theories on virtual identities.

(It also ranges from quite basic stuff to more advanced theories. Special thanks to Greg Niemeyer, whose Berkeley course “Foundations of American Cyberculture” and personal input during an interview a while back were great inspiration for the chapters on virtual identities and trust!)

It’s written for a compact summer school course, so I hope it proves to be a good read for newbies and advanced users. (If you’re a Second Life veteran, this isn’t really for you.) To give you an idea, the chapters are as follows:

  1. Introduction
  2. First steps in Second Life
  3. Building your own world – 3D model creation in Second Life
  4. Who are you? Identities, trust and interaction in virtual environments.
  5. Code is Law – Rules, laws and boundaries of the game
  6. Economy: Business, micro-entrepreneurship, advertising
  7. Second Life as teaching and learning space
  8. Risks and opportunities of in-world engagements
  9. Politics & campaigning
  10. Media in Second Life: In-world media, Reporting about Second Life
  11. Building your own world II
  12. Literature
  13. Shortcuts