Let’s Talk Basics: Getting Around

In the last few articles we’ve covered the basics of how the virtual world of Opensim is structured. Now, let’s talk a bit about how to explore it.  In Opensim, every user is given an Avatar (we’ll cover them soon, promise) to explore the virtual world.  Aside from being highly customizable, Avatars have a few basic ways to get around.

Walking, Running, and Jumping

It’s probably no surprise that Opensim allows user Avatars to walk around.  Walking (and running) are pretty much available everywhere in Opensim.  It’s great for exploring a lot of areas, but isn’t really the fastest way to move.  A user can walk across a border between Regions, but if two regions aren’t connected together, they can’t walk the empty space in between.


A feature that a lot of newcomers to Opensim and Second Life focus on when starting out is the ability for Avatars to fly.  Flying is useful in many cases. It’s not only faster than walking or running, but also allows users to reach areas they wouldn’t be able to reach on foot.  Many users rely on flying as a sort of “fast-forward” button to speed up their travel.

In some cases, flying Avatars don’t make sense for the way a land owner is using their Region, and they have the ability to disable flying on some or all of their land.  Also, like walking and running, flying won’t let you get to Regions that aren’t connected in some way to wherever you currently are.


Another handy supernatural power is the ability to teleport an Avatar from one place to another in Opensim. Unlike walking or flying, teleporting allows you to go immediately to any Region that the system can find the address for.  Even if a Region is isolated far away from every other Region, there’s a good chance a teleport will get you there. Before the Hypergrid, a user could teleport only within the Grid their account was with.  The Hypergrid opened up that restriction, so that a user can teleport to far off Grids just as easily.  Teleporting can get a bit confusing, and we’ll dive deeper into how to keep your bearings later.

Up next, we’ll talk about how Opensim lets you find new places and share them using Landmarks.