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Hunting for a Living


Probably a misleading title. You can't really earn lindens from hunting. But you can gain some of the things lindens buy, by doing so. This is a very long article and is meant for people new to Second Life and/or to grid-wide scavenger hunts who want to become experts at this enjoyable and beneficial pastime. In other words, it's not for everyone.

One of the most enjoyable and profitable ways to get free things in Second Life is to join and participate in one of the numerous grid-wide scavenger hunts that vendors and vendor groups put on for promotional purposes. There is no cost to you--unless, of course, you see other things in the store you want and pay for them. The prizes you get on such hunts are often much more interesting and valuable than the stuff you get at freebie stores. Some are even spectacular. Even the "dud" prizes and things you will never use are of far better quality than the majority of free-store items. In particular, if your wardrobe is scarce or ugly, hunting is a great way to improve it. (Hunts don't just provide fashion items--but they are quite common.) There are things that are useful to know about being a successful hunter--this article lists a lot of them. It doesn't just explain how to do a hunt. It explains how to do one with style and skill.

 

How to Hunt... in Pictures


Find the hunt you want to do and click the starting SLURL.


Click Teleport Now.


 


Click "Teleport" on the in-world Landmark.


Find the Hunt Sign at the starting location. Then click it to join the group.




Find the first hunt object in the store.

 

 

How to Hunt... in a Few More Words

Many people discover hunts when they are shopping around and happen to click a colorful hunt billboard pasted outside a vendor's shop. But if you've never seen one of those, here's what you can do to initially find a hunt.

1. Visit a hunt website. You can Google these phrases to find hunt web sites: "Second Life" Hunts (put Second Life in quotes) or "SL Hunts." Or visit a well-known blog that follows the hunts such as:

The Hunt Locations

SL Hunts

2. Select your hunt carefully. There are many hunts going on at any one time. Some may be relevant to your interests, others won't be. Some may look interesting but you might be dubious about the rewards. If you want to know what some of the hunt prizes are, google that specific hunt name. If the hunt has already started, somebody's probably posted blog pictures or a Flicker stream of the prizes. I personally try to avoid this as it spoils an element of the hunt I really enjoy: the mysterious prize objects and what is inside them.

3. Click the link to the first location in the list. It will take you to a SLURL. Now click the SLURL. What's a SLURL? SLURL stands for "Second Life URL." It looks like a regular web link. When you click it, however, it takes you to a Google map for Second Life. A little balloon message will appear over the map saying, "Teleport Now?" Click Yes. Second Life will start (if it isn't already up). Log in. You will see a landmark pop up on your screen. Click "Teleport " on the landmark to go to the hunt starting location.

I really wish we could travel around in First Life that way: Yay, no more jet lag! In the future, if that every happens, I'm sure of one thing: Google Maps will be there.

4. Go to the first location. There will be a big hunt sign posted somewhere: either on a wall or perhaps on an easel outside the store. Click the sign. It will give you information. More importantly, it will paste some links in your "Local Chat" window.

5.  Accept and read the information you get. Normally this will include a note card describing the hunt, maybe a link to the hunt blog, and you may also get a landmark to the first hunt location (not useful if this is the first hunt location, but the signs don't know where you are). You will also get a link in your local chat window to a group to join.

6. Click the link in local chat to join the group. Always do this: always join the group. Even if you don't intend to ask your fellow hunters for hints, joining the group will often provide you with additional useful information, such as a note card listing all the links to the hunt places and hints on it. Plus it is fun, when you are well along on a difficult hunt, to give other hunters help when they need it. And... you may need other, non-hint help, like finding out what to do about a store that isn't there anymore or learning which vendors have dropped out of the hunt and that you need to skip.

All groups have a Notices tab. Open your group in-world (via the Info button on your Contacts window's Groups tab) and click the Notices tab on the group's window to see if there are attachments being given with the hunt. Sometimes the note card with the hints is there. Sometimes hunt "starting prizes" are there (not every hunt does those, so don't expect them.)

7. Figure out what the hunt object is. Sometimes the hunt object will be pasted to the hunt sign. Other times it will be described in words. There may be a picture of it on the hunt's web site. It's important to know what your hunt object looks like. Why? So you can find it!

8. Use the first clue to find the object at the first location. Hunt objects tend to be small and vendors are very clever about the places they find to hide them. Not all are hard to find, but often stores are big, so knowing the hint really helps. Usually the first location's hunt object is fairly easy to find, but not always.

Tip: if a store has many hunt posters up, they will generally have an object or a sign (often it is blueish) labeled "Hints." Click that to get all hints for all hunts currently going on in the store. Unfortunately, sometimes finding the hunt hint is harder than finding the hunt object!

9. Some hunt objects are collected by right-clicking on them and selecting "Buy" from the pie. Others need you to left-click on them. And some will come into your inventory as "objects" (in the Objects folder) if you click them the wrong way. You want the item you pick up from the hunt to be a new file folder in your inventory. Why? Because you can open the folder immediately and get the landmark to the next location on the hunt! Plus, you don't have to open and unpack the object later.

10. Follow the landmark in the folder or on your hint list to the next location in the hunt. Search for the hunt object. Rinse. Repeat.

 

 

A Word or Two (or Three) on How to Find Hunt Objects

Many hunt objects will be easy to find. A few, however, you may find fiendishly difficult. Here are a variety of methods and tips for finding the harder ones.

1. Walk. Besides "ask the group" this is my best piece of advice: It pays to walk around. You will not always be able to see the hunt object if you stand in one place and pan the camera around, although for an initial reconnaissance there is nothing wrong with that strategy. But frequently the hunt object will not rez until you get close to it, so wandering around the store is a very useful thing to do. (Sometimes the opposite happens: the object rezzes before the rest of the store, but that doesn't always happen.) Walking around does one other useful thin: it makes all the shop items you walk by rez faster and you will be able to tell more quickly if they meet the qualifications of your hunt clue.

2. Walk Close. It not only pays to walk around but it pays to walk CLOSE to things. Even when I'm about 10 feet away from a hunt object, I can still miss it if I'm just camming around rather than almost sitting on the object I'm looking at. Yes, get that close. It helps.

3. Object Appearance. Don't assume the hunt items are all going to be the same size or the same color. Some store owners change the color of the item and its size on purpose so that they can "blend it in" with another item or a display in their store, making it less easy to find. If the store is very small and you've searched everywhere, or if it only has one obvious object that perfectly meets the hint qualifications, then it's likely the hunt object is "blended" into the clue object. Again, what reveals this blending is getting close: as close as you can with your avatar (don't forget you can fly) and then cam in close to the object or turn on wireframes (see below for how).

4. Use the Hint. Try to figure out what the hint means before you start to search the store. Having an idea that you need to look for a bathroom can help you to not search fruitlessly around the miles of sofas. If you don't see anything in the store that resembles the hint (for example, the hint talks about a tree but there are no trees in the store), try to find a teleport to another area of the store, maybe the roof, maybe a secret room. It could be your tree is in one of those places.

Thinking about the meaning of a hint is crucial in those large outdoor shops with yards and yards of stuff in every direction. Walk those places, don't just cam them. Don't worry if you don't know which way to walk. Just choose a direction and go. Ideas will come to you about the clue when you walk around and see things rez.

Finally, some places just will not have a hint. If the object is also hard-to-find, well, that's what the hunt group is for. The people further along in the hunt will be able to give you a good clue, usually.

5. Teleporting In. When you enter a sim via a landmark, nine times out of ten you are going to be pointed in the wrong direction with your back to the place you came to visit. This only is confusing in large malls, where there is a store directly opposite you. Let things rez then turn around and go into the store behind you, particularly if neither store has an obvious hunt sign.

6. Things Change Over Time. A month--the typical duration of a hunt--is a very long time in online terms. It's similar to a year or two in real life, and that's plenty of time for things to change. If the store is empty or gone, check the abandoned structure or lot to make sure the vendor didn't leave the hunt item there. Look for a teleport link to the store's new location. TP to the new location and try to find a hunt sign. If you don't see one, If you don't see one, you can save yourself some trouble by consulting the group at this point. Someone ahead of you in the hunt will usually know if a moved store is still doing the hunt or not (and where it moved to if there is no teleport sign). It's typical for several vendors to drop out of a hunt for various reasons.

7. Helpful Hunt Settings.

  • Turn your time of Day to midday (World Menu - Environment Settings - Midday).
  • Open the Edit Menu, choose Preferences, choose Graphics, choose Custom. Turn your object bar all the way up.
  • Open your Advanced menu (Don't see it? CTRL-ALT-D). Choose Debug Settings. Open the drop-down and select rendervolumeLODFactor. In the number or value field, type 4000.

8. Wireframing.

Note: Some people consider this method "cheating," but it's certainly not foolproof--it still requires walking and camming.

Try looking at the world in a different way. Turn on Wireframes and then cam around, looking for an object shaped roughly like your hunt object.

  • Go to your Advanced menu. (CTRL-ALT-D).
  • Mouse over Rendering to open the submenu.
  • Select Wireframes.

No, you are NOT in the Kansas Sim anymore, Dorothy! When you select this rather fun option, everything (including yourself--which is kind of icky), all the textures turn off! Everything turns into hollow transparent three-dimensional objects, surrounded by the thin lines or "wire frames" that make up their shapes. Cam around in this bizarre hollow world formed of grids (it's hard to walk much in this view without bumping into walls or falling off 10-story buildings--which doesn't hurt but is a tad bit embarrassing) and look for a tiny discrete object shaped something like your hunt object. In a store holding many hunts, you will often find other hunt objects this way.

Wireframes view may not work if it is a large store and you are too far away from the hunt object. But it is kind of fun to look at things in the wired world. It's still several layers up from the zeros and ones of the Matrix, but you still feel like you're in a cool, "developer land." I suppose if you kept this view on all the time, you'd learn not to walk off the tops of buildings--but you might start to suffer from strange personality disorders. :/

To Turn Wireframes Off: do the same thing you did to turn it on. Advanced Menu. Mouse over Rendering. Select Wireframes.

9. Read the Words. Sometimes a vendor will have an advertisement that contains words used in the clue. If the object isn't obviously in sight, you need to let everything rez, and then slowly read each product names on the displays, searching for your clue words. Patience, Grasshopper!

10. Watch Other Hunters. Watch for the little laser dots to come shooting out of their hand, and watch where it points to. This is another technique that is sometimes considered cheating but, like wireframing, who exactly is going to catch you at it and accuse you of cheating? Just don't go boasting to the group about it or you may annoy the people who are being watched and they might try to trick you the next time you peep. I had one hunter follow me around for at least 10 teleport stops, this way, watching my every move and clicking where I did. It got rather annoying so I made it into a game: I tried to find the next object before she had a chance to rez there. ;) The fact is, that some of the hunters will know where to look or will find the object before you. I personally use this as a last-ditch method, because it feels like a fail to do it. YMMV.

Tip: A sometimes-fun way to do a hunt when you have the full list of sites available is to start at the last hunt location and work your way backwards. There is a lot less "traffic" this way and you won't find yourself in a large group of people all slowly teleporting to and rezzing in the same spot. On the other hand, if you are a more social animal, you may like having your group there in person with you as you hunt. If I am hunting alone, I will often chat with other hunters in the same locale as myself. It gives me something to do besides just hunt, plus we can share tips, hints, and funny stories about visited locations.

11. Big Areas Can Be Clues. In a very few very large stores, a single object isn't your clue. One entire room or display area in the store is your clue! Furniture stores with alcoves displaying furniture suites are a good example of this.

12. Come Back Another Day. This is a brilliant technique that I use with great success when I am totally stumped. Sleeping on something lets your very observant unconscious mind go to work on the puzzle. Your unconscious notices a lot of things that you do not. Often when I've spent almost an hour looking for a hunt object with no success and then come back the next day, boom! I find the object in a few moments.

13. Don Yon Hunting Clothes. At the time this article was written, wearing lots of HUDS, facelights, and, in particular, shoes/hair/jewelry with scripts in them made teleporting in SL slow to impossible. If you've noticed this happening to you, well, the worst place for it to happen is on a hunt, where you must frequently teleport. It can be very trying. Try wearing something simpler or "lite," with less scripts. Huds do not give me nearly as much trouble as the shoes, hair, and jewelry does.

Again, you could make a game of this if you chose. Dress like a newbie--and, if you really want to get into the role, drag out those freebie items from 2004 (yeah, I know, the skins--shudder!) and dress like a very unfortunate newbie. Your perspective will change when you aren't your normally gorgeous self. In some ways it is nice to be new again: people approach you more and offer you advice or free things to help improve your appearance. :D Of course, if they read your profile and see the link to your style blog, things may get a bit difficult to explain...

14. Hunt With Another Person. Two minds really are better than one in these things. A different person sees things differently and they will see what you don't whereas you will see what they don't. Hunts go much faster with a hunting partner.

15. Expect the Unexpected. Some vendors are quite playful. They may put a mini hunt inside the big hunt. If a note card pops up when you click the hunt item, read it. There may not be a prize in the hunt folder--the note card may be giving you a clue to the new place inside their store. A few vendors in some of the more "intellectual" hunts may even give you trivia quizzes you have to answer in order to get the prize! Luckily, with Google nearby, this is usually easy to do. A few truly devilish stores (Note my carefulness to not name names--although I would rather like to. ;) ) are masters at trickery and disguise and may even subject you to the occasional drug trip or a hypnotic optical illusion or even a forced march through a lit cigarette. Sigh. It's sad what hunters must endure at times to get the prize!

16. Ask the Group. Yes, suck it up and ask the group. Everybody has done this. There is no shame in it. It's like asking for directions. Tell them you read the clue and it did no good. Good group members will give you further elaborations on your clue--or an entirely different clue. Some will come out and tell you where it is (but that is considered bad form). Some kind souls will come to your location and herd you in the right direction. To feel better about this, be sure to help someone else who starts the hunt after you.

17. Tricky Hints. sometimes hints are misleading or you do not interpret them right. Everybody thinks in a slightly different way, and that includes the vendors who make these hints up. Sometimes they are just wrong--the shopkeeper moved the item without changing the hint. Sometimes the hint refers to a cultural experience (like a book you haven't read or a song you haven't heard) that you will miss. I don't watch television so I do terrible with the TV-show hints. That's why you ask for alternate hints in shops that stump you. Try not to over-complicate the original hint. In most cases the hint means just what it means. If it doesn't make sense, try to find something in the general ballpark. For example, "clean" generally (not always, but in most cases) means look in a bathtub. In the kinkier places, it might mean look for a French Maid's uniform. But seldom is it more complicated than that.

Tip: Sometimes a hint will have nothing to do with where you eventually find the prize. Be prepared for that. It can happen when the creator thinks people are finding the hunt object too easily, moves the item to a different spot in the store, and then forgets to change the hint (or you rely on the list hint and don't check the one in the store ). Or sometimes the creator just wants to redo their shop and doesn't realize the effect this has on the hunters. Some vendors warn you that they do this (shift objects and change their hints), but many don't. These vendors are being unconsciously tricky, I think!

Sometimes, though, this occurs because there are two items that fit the requirements of the hint, and you are stuck at the wrong one. You know what to do by now: check the in-store hint, if there is one. Then ask the group.

18. Perspective. Do you really want the prize at this place? Maybe the store sells a type of thing you will never use (like furniture if you have no plans to buy or rent housing or an art store that sells art you'd never hang on your walls). If it's also very hard to find, just pass it by for now, and don't frustrate yourself. You can always come back to it later, if there is time. Remember, OCD is seldom fun. :/

19. Mouse Look. Learn to use mouse look (this tip came from another hunter). I find mouse look awkward to use--basically the camera follows wherever your mouse moves, but some hunters swear by it as it allows you to zoom in close to objects. There's a mouse-look option on the View menu.

20. Camming Tips: Stop after several paces and use your camera to look up high, down low, behind things, under things, inside things that are meant to hold other things. Here is my checklist of "places to look" when hunting:

  • Go outside the store or around the entrance just inside and check around the hunt sign. Very occasionally, a vendor just dumps the hunt item on the ground by the sign. 
     
  • Watch for items you can open: wardrobes, desk drawers, boxes, chests, coffins, refrigerators, large globes that contain liquor. Click them to open them. "Inside" is a favorite hiding place. On most hunts though, it's not considered good form to hide the hunt item inside something that cannot be opened.
     
  • Look on the tops of shelves or on the upper edge of the display posters on the walls.
     
  • Step about ten paces into the store and then turn around and look at the wall and door behind you. Look high. It's a favorite hiding place.
     
  • Look on the ceiling in the corners or under the rafters.
     
  • While you are up there, examine the light fixtures very carefully. Cam above that chandelier and look down. Now cam below it and look up.
     
  • Always check out the roof. You have to go there, usually, to do a good search. Stores sometimes have interesting (like a bargain store or demos of large objects or a pleasure dome) on their roofs. And they often hide their clues there. If the roof is empty, it is not likely to hold hunt objects.
     
  • With beds, looking under them is a given. Also look behind the pillows and behind the headboard.
     
  • Is there a small, closed-off room somewhere in the place? A closet with a closed door? A sauna? A darkroom even? Open the door and enter it. It's a perfect hiding place.
     
  • Always look under the stairs. And not just on the floor under the stairs.
     
  • Look on the sides of shelves or furniture. look between the furniture object and the wall. If there are long rows of ads, look between the rows (there is often a space) and at their edges. "Behind" and "Between" are favorite hiding places for hunt objects.
     
  • Look in the corners. If there is an object in a corner, very carefully look all around it, especially behind it. A fireplace in a corner is a little tricky. You have to get your camera above it and then look straight down, both behind it and in the flue.
     
  • Look inside deep bowls, vases, urns, and the like. Look inside fireplaces, not just in the flames are but against the inner side walls. Sometimes the object is not visible in there until you put the camera inside it.
     
  • Look very closely at product pictures. Sometimes the object is inside the picture, so carefully blended in, that you will not spot it unless you are quite close and zoomed in on the picture. Of course you can't always look at every picture, especially if it's an art store and there are hundreds of images. But try to look very closely at the ones that seem relevant to your hint.
     
  • Look under the furniture to see if the object is "pasted" to the bottom of it.
     
Do all of the above when looking at nearby items, not items far away. Stores can be deceptively big. With their huge display posters you can imagine them as smaller than they actually are.

Remember the Sacred Rule of Successful Hunting: Thou Must Getteth Close!

 

Advice to Fellow Hunters For A Pleasant Hunting Experience

1. If you're not enjoying yourself on a particular day, don't do it. Some days you just don't feel like hunting. You want to go out and dance, or explore, or have fun in some other way. Hunting should be fun, and not a job you feel you have to do. It is easy to get caught up in a sort of obsessive-compulsive groove when you hunt, and that can make it not fun. Try to shake loose from it for a few days if you feel that happening.

2. As you hunt, plan your next hunt. A store usually enters more than one hunt: for a store, a hunt is kind of like a tattoo or a potato chip: it's hard to stop at just one. You will see hunt signs posted in some prominent place. Click the signs to get info about the hunts and read the note cards later to decide on your next hunt. Maybe there will be one that appeals to some special interest of yours or that promises to have prizes of a type you really want. Hunts come in all levels of difficulty. If you are looking for a challenge, try the Twisted Hunt (very hard) or the Steampunk Hunt (very creative hints) some time. Or try one of those hunts that does not give out any hints, they just give you a list of stores.

3. As you hunt, keep your eyes peeled for all the other ways to get free stuff in stores. There are so many promotional methods. Some stores will have Midnight Mania boards or Slap-n-Dash boards. Click them even if you do not want the prize--you can always delete it and it helps your fellow hunters who DO want that prize. Others will have free gifts, sometimes for all, sometimes just for group members. So join the group, get your gifts, and then leave it if you want. Often there are benefits to staying in a group whose vendor sells things you like. You will get more free stuff. Some stores will have lucky chairs or boards: check for your first name's letter. Others may have camping chairs. And there are many other promotions. You will likely find other hunt objects as you look for your own. Good! More free stuff! Sometimes it is very funny (although also frustrating) to count how many other hunt objects turn up before you find your own hunt's.

4. If you see something you really like in a store, and you have lindens to spare, buy it. It's a treat for yourself and It tells the store owner that their hunt strategy is working and that it does pay off to put on hunts and give away valuable items. Everybody wins.

5. Men: read the hunt description carefully before starting it. Sadly, hunting, like Second Life shopping, is largely a woman's game. A few hunts insist vendors provide either unisex items or prizes for both men and women (and I really hope more hunts take up this practice!) but as of this article's writing, hunt prizes are biased toward women. Sometimes you can tell by the nature of the hunt if it will have something you want . A few hunts are obviously clothing hunts just for male avatars. But do read the fine print. A hunt called "Fashion Followers" is likely to have nine female outfits for every one male outfit. It's a shame this is so, as I'm sure many women would enjoy having male hunters in the group with them, but it does reflect the Second Life vendor economy in which the majority of clothing made and sold (and bought) is for women.

5. Be a good hunter. What does that mean? Many things. First and foremost, don't bother the vendors or their personnel for hints. Your hunt group is for that. Don't just take from these people. Give back something. Help your fellow hunters out when you feel moved to but don't blatantly show others where the hunt object is: give them a different sort of hint that will also help them find it. Don't just read them back the hint from the blog or note card. Nine times out of ten, they wouldn't be asking for help in a group if the hint on the blog made any sense to them! Don't say anything rude or mean about the store in public, and that includes in the group. You make all hunters look like spoiled, selfish, greedy brats when you do that, and make it less likely the vendor, who is often lurking in the hunt group, will want to do another hunt. Don't be rude or crude on the group, even if others are. And once in a while, if you do have lindens, buy something in a hunt store. Don't be cheap. It's like tipping an entertainer at a club: you show your appreciation for that store and their hunts in this way.

And for heaven's sake, DO NOT EVER start the hunt on the very last day, and then greedily ask your group for a hint for every other store. And then, when someone is gracious enough to reply, don't ask again and again for half a dozen more hints if the first hint given is not totally obvious to you in two seconds flat. People are smart: they can tell when they're being used, usually. Do not insist that someone tell you the equivalent of: "Look in the blue vase at the top of the stairs ten paces to the right of the stairway." (That's not a hint, that's a dead giveaway.) This sort of behavior (which I observed recently on a hunt I was on--surprisingly the hunt members put up with it) will get you remembered as a rude, lazy, annoying hunter just in it for the free goods, not for the fun of the hunt or helping others out. Hunting is a small world: some of the same people who did the hunt in which you behaved badly will be on another hunt that you try. They will be a lot less likely to help you out in the next hunt, and if it's one of the more difficult ones, you're going to need that help to finish it. In some hunts, the hunt management might even boot you for that sort of rude "gimme gimme" behavior.


How To Know if You're In a Bad (Disorganized) Hunt

1. Neither the hunt sign nor the website shows you a picture of the hunt object.

2. Despite the hint, the hunt object is very difficult or impossible to find at the first site.

3. It's early in the hunt, but the group is very, very quiet.

4. Not all locations have clues or hunt signs, or both, or not all locations are even there and there is no explanation why or instructions to skip them.

5. The hunt organizers or participating vendors spam you. One notice once every day or two is perfectly fine. But if you get constant notices on the hour, you're in a vendor promo group thinly disguised as a hunt.

6. A band of vampires--no, make that Goreans--jumps you the moment you enter the first store, and drags you off to their lair.

 

More hunt hints?

MORE HUNT HINTS!

Please post in the comments, if you have a good one.


Comments

Welcome to my Blog!

On Second Life, I am on a budget. I cannot buy 1/10th of the things I see that I'd like to wear. Often, when I visit a store, no matter how much I like their wares, I can only afford one or two things. So I try to make those things count. This blog describes my endeavors to do so.

Each dress or outfit displayed is one I picked out myself and was my favorite of this designer's or of the store's when I visited it. All models in the photos are me. Yes, they sometimes look different; I like variety. :)

About the photos:
Unretouched, unshopped. I like natural virtual light (not to mention oxymorons!) and discovering ways to look good in it. :) The images are cropped a bit, and some have a border when their colors blend too much into the page background.

To other bloggers, online magazines, vendors, etcetera:

Reciporcal link exchanges are welcomed from similar sites or if yours seems relevant in some way to the theme of virtual fashion and/or Second Life. The key here is reciporcal:)
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