Sep 3

Ivory Tower Library of Primitives

Category: Building, Education, Second Life Tips by Stone Culdesac

I love it when I run into a nice resource on learning how to do stuff in Second Life, because if their is one thing Second Life needs, it’s the ability to quickly get users up to speed and past the aggravation factor of not knowing what to do. The Library of Primitives is just one of those places, with tutorials throughout the building just bulging with instructions, tips and pictures to help you build your own stuff. This is the beginning notecard, one of many, this is definitely a place to check out, might not be for the complete newbie, unless you are techie by nature.

Second Life URL

Welcome to the Ivory Tower Library of Primitives (ITLP)!

Humm…I’d better put two disclaimers up front. I’m not a Linden and any comments, off-handed remarks or opinions I might have written into the text of this library are not the comments, off-handed remarks or opinions of Linden Labs. I’ve done my best to research all of the information in here, some of it actually comes from Linden Lab engineers, some I’ve learned from experience, and many things I’ve learned from friends and former ’students’ of the Ivory Tower over it the project’s long history (in virtual terms, it’s quite old indeed). Also…any mistakes or miscomprehensions presented in the tower are entirely my own and are my fault and all of that. If your avatar loses any teeth or fingernails as a result of any errors contained herein, it’s all my fault.

The second thing I need to fill you in on is that the Lindens now sponsor the Ivory Tower, for which I’m extremely thankful. They’ve lifted the financial burden of a full sim’s worth of tier off my back, and left me in control of the land where I continue to do research and enlarge and update the tutorials presented in the tower (albeit rather slowly during the school year…I do tons of research, and have many other projects. But it seems that I usually work on the tower most intensely during the summer ). I think this is extremely generous support, but I know that the Lindens are getting a good deal out of it as well; they have ensured the survival of this project, and this project is here to serve you, a resident of Second Life.

I made this tower in the hopes that it would give you a substantial head start on your arrival here. It contains a lot of tips and tricks of the building system that have taken a good while to develop and collect. Over time I’ll include a vehicle tutorial on building and scripting vehicles and a website (both in the works as I write this, go to for the website), a module on sound, animations, avatar customization and attachment building. That’s in planning for the foreseeable future…maybe a month or twelve away (this was written July 10, 2006). Long term I’ll include an extensive module on scripting, script building, weapons making…and…more advanced building techniques. Don’t hold your breath, all of that is still just the gleam in the milkman’s eye for right now!

What the tutorials are: The tutorials are a thorough grounding in the properties of the different primitive types (building blocks), and the editing tools that are used on those primitives. Several techniques to make building with prims more easily are described in detail. Scripting is not currently covered in the tower. I know a lot of people are disappointed about that, but….I’m going with what I know here! If you saw how much I struggle with scripting you wouldn’t want me to teach you anyway…I’ll likely collaborate with master scripter’s when and if I do put up a scripting library.

What the tutorials are not: While I use a lot of examples of how things in general are made, I have avoided showing how to make specific things like toothbrushes, toilet seats, and mobius strips. I do show how to make a basic chair, and an ugly, little house and a few other things, but these are only meant as illustrations of building techniques. I used familiar objects as examples because I had to choose some subject to show you the techniques. I hope you try making them, but only once. Neither one of them is very nice, and you should be able to make much better by the time you finish this tutorial. Please don’t get stuck always making chairs and houses in that way, they are “Mary Had a Little Lambs” compared to what I hope will be your Beethoven’s symphonies and your Bach’s fuges of building.

This can’t be a tutorial about how to specifically make everything, I don’t have the prims to do it! Very often I get comments from users that read something like complaints and go as follows. “I need to make an “S” curve for the fender of a car I’m making, and your tutorial doesn’t cover how to do that.” Of course it doesn’t. It can’t tell you how to make the exact shape you need for your car’s fender because it can’t cover every specific thing on Earth. I need you to give yourself permission to go beyond this tutorial and realize that you can make an “S” curve using two cut and hollowed cylinders or tori (or both) that are rotated in opposition to each other. Don’t leave it to me to tell you that, use your ingenuity to solve the many problems in building that you will come across. Sometimes this takes a great deal of persistence, especially when you’re making replicas of real life objects.

All lessons are arranged from left to right in modules. The beginning of it all is to your left at Module 1, Station 1: Primitive Creation and Primitive Families. Touch the little podiums in front of each station for a notecard on that station. The first module is here on the primary floor, and it covers the basics. Ground floor for British speakers, first floor for American speakers of English. Floors don’t really matter here, they’re not in order anyway. Take teleprocess to go from one level to the next, all you have to do is touch them if your edit window is closed. If your edit window is open, right click them and select NEXT or UP on the pie menu that results.

If you find a hidden room (there are many in the tower) it is probably space I’ve reserved for a special set of tutorials. You are welcome to go inside and look, but bear in mind that if it’s not accessible by teleporter, it’s officially not supposed to exist, so don’t IM me to tell me it doesn’t work, please. I often hide when I’m busy making things, otherwise I’ll never get anything done. This is why certain areas are closed off. I’m not unfriendly, I’m just a very busy avatar. In addition to that, I can’t walk and chew gum at the same time. If people are trying to chat with me, I don’t work well at all, so I usually hide.

Speaking of unfriendly, most of this sim is a no-weapons area. I don’t tolerate griefers disturbing the peace and I’m very quick to ban…and slow to unban. I do report quickly, send in lots of evidence and do my best to get griefers taken out of the game permanently…which I’ve noticed is what often happens to them. If you are annoying me or others working in the ITLP I shall remove you quickly. I will probably give no warning beforehand because talking with griefers seldom does any good, but it depends on what you’re doing that is annoying. Shooting or caging people, instant ban forever, and probable mute with abuse report. Griefing objects left in sim? The same. Wearing an enormous penis on your pelvis? Instant ban…but if you’re just doing that because you have no sense, then I might let you back in after 24 hours. Senseless people I don’t mind as much as the disruptive and violent. Blocking the tower entry or any other part of the tower with big, transparent prims…or any prims at all…instant ban, no questions asked. I don’t really even like talking about all this, this isn’t what this place is all about. Pick up an anti-griefer package at the main gate of the tower and read what’s inside and learn the tool enclosed to help protect yourself. With recent changes to the account registration policy, griefing is taking off, and we need to defend ourselves with competence. I prefer a non-aggressive response, and the tool I’ve enclosed in the anti-griefing kit makes that very easy.


Sadly enough, if you’ve taken the trouble to read this, you are not the kind of person this message needs to get to. If you have friends here and they pull out guns and start to pop each other, let them know that I generally ban weapons users on sight.

Why do I maintain a weapons area in the sim if I’m against this sort of activity? Weapons are a lot of fun, I like making and using them with friends, but that’s as far as it goes with me. I’m against griefers, but not the tools they use. Every time the Lindens have to limit a script function used for griefing, the whole world is limited for the rest of us and we all lose a bit of our potential. A bit here and a bit there probably won’t be felt by the multitude, but that little bit will absolutely break or cripple a favorite project of a scripter out there that is busy making content for all of us to enjoy. It is a question of freedom. Well…enough of that. If you’d like to continue this discussion join me on the ITLP forums at:

Well I don’t want this introduction to get too long and it’s huge now! In time Second Life will have ready and convenient access to the web from inside SL, and at that time I’ll probably make it so all these little notecards will be replaced with the content of one of my many projects: PrimWiki which is located at
In time it will all be there, and probably much more besides. This place is very text heavy because that’s really the only way to get this much information across…but primwiki will make it so it’s a lot nicer to read and to look at.

Prefer notecards over HTML? Okay I’ll leave up the notecards, but they’re ridiculously time consuming to maintain. As the tower grows and other copies are produced around Second Life, html will be essential.

Is there a way to pick up all the notecards all together in one big bundle? Nah….I keep getting asked this but I wrote them all with the intent that they should be read in view of their accompanying exhibits. So no, I haven’t provided a one stop shopping option for all the cards.

I hope you find this tower and its tutorials useful. Pace yourself, no need to go through it all in a day. Thanks to the Lindens, it WILL be here tomorrow!

Yours Always,

Lumiere Noir

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2 Comments so far

  1. [...] this command, /123 tag learning in second life, education, while at the Ivory Tower of Primitives will place a page on your maps at that looks like [...]

  2. [...] Ivory Tower Library of Primitives I love it when I run into a nice resource on learning how to do stuff in Second Life, because if their is one thing Second Life needs, it’s the ability to quickly get users up to speed and past the aggravation factor of not knowing what to do. [...]

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