In Second life we walk around with a camera following us high above and behind our head, looking downwards.
This is the point of view we have at home behind out computers.
Generally this works fine until you visit a place like 1920s Berlin where we try to build to a more realistic scale.
Our houses are small, hallways narrow, ceilings low.
Even with the ceilings a little higher then they would usually be in reality, it is still pretty hard to see where you are going sometimes.
When you are entering a home, your camera is hanging outside or looking trough an upstairs window.
This strange camera view also makes you more distant from what is happening in SL, it makes SL less immersive.
First person view would be best in 1920s Berlin, but for some reason you lose all your buttons when you do that.
In short; the camera in SL is in a rather silly spot.
This explains why so many buildings in SL are huge, it makes it easier to use your camera.
But we don’t go for easy in 1920s Berlin, we go for realism and authenticity!
Luckily, you can easily change your camera view manually.
Personally I prefer my camera right behind my head and just a little higher then my avatar’s eyes, but you can play around till you find a camera view that you may like even more.
In the pictures below you can clearly see the difference.
I am standing in an average realistically scaled hallway in 1920s Berlin with the camera in its primary position.
In the top photo I am using the generic camera settings made by LL, in the picture below I’m using the ones I set myself.
As you can see, with changed camera views you are more part of your surroundings.
You can actually experience claustrophobia, you will feel the joy of leaving a small home to go outside for a walk in the park, you will enjoy open spaces more and feel more at home in small rooms.
It adds to the experience, it at least makes it more real.
This is how you can change your own camera settings.
Please remember, this is how I like to set my camera, you will have to experiment yourself to find out what works best for you.
These settings are for the latest viewers, if you have older viewers you can do this as well but it may be called differently and you may need to look elsewhere to find the settings.
First of all: make sure you have the advanced menu activated, you should see this at the top of your screen, next to help.
If not, ctrl+alt+d should activate it.
In this menu type the following words and change the settings.
CameraOffsetRearView (called CameraOffsetDefault in old viewers)
FocusOffsetRearView (called FocusOffsetDefault in old viewers)
This will give you the camera view I have in SL and in the picture above.
You can always reset it to default and please experiment and play around to see what you like best.
Warning, when you change your camera, your zoom in and out picture will change as well.
Thanks to Penny Patton who’s article introduced me to this.