Gaming Jargon & Common Terms

Flatten the learning curve

Whatever game you’re starting out in, you’ll hear people tossing around new terms and jargon. Making sense of the local lingo is one of the biggest learning curves, but chances are you already know what something means by another name.

To help you settle in, here is an ever-growing glossary of common words and jargon. Leave a comment at the end of the page if I’ve missed any. To save repetition, here’s some abbreviations you’ll see a lot throughout the article:

SL = Second Life : OS = OpenSim : TS4 = The Sims 4 : Cities = Cities: Skylines


(SL) Alt is short for ‘alternative avatar account’. Alts are common in Second Life for people who want to have multiple accounts. A common example of this is a player running two instances of the game simultaneously so that they can play a couple living together. A more extreme example is adult venues employing dozens of staff all run by one player. Second Life has taken a lot of flak over the years with claims that their user figures are falsified due to the large number of suspected alt accounts.


(SL/OS) An AO or animation over-rider is a scripted HUD that allows you to control common animations for your avatar such as stands, sits, walks, etc. You can set an AO to one animation or have them cycle through a series at intervals.


(Cities) In Cities Skylines, an asset means creative content by a third party provider such as a car or a building. Assets can be browsed and subscribed to via the Steam Workshop, and activated/deactivated through the Asset Manager in your game’s startup menu.


(TS4) Autonomy is the algorithm-driven behaviour of a sim. To an extent, a particular sim’s autonomy can be guided by tweaking their traits and aspirations, however it cannot be completely over-ridden.

In the example below, the two sims on treadmills have ‘active’ set as one of their personality traits. The game’s algorithms take this into consideration which is why these sims often – but not always – show up as extras jogging around town or using equipment at the local gym.

The Sims 4 active trait.

(Cities) As the individual cims aren’t really central to the game, autonomy isn’t a thing. Their actions and short life are predetermined upon spawning and they just go about their business.

(OS) In OpenSim, it is relatively easy to script autonomy into NPCs using nested and/if statements or randomised multiple-choice arrays, but OS NPCs are usually created to perform predictable actions so you don’t often see them set up that way.


An avatar is an in-world character in Second Life and OpenSim worlds. It is similar to a sim in TS4, but at the same time, nothing like it.

(OS) Avatars in OpenSim worlds can either be representative of a real world person in control of that avatar, or an NPC controlled by a real person via a script. An NPC cannot exist unless someone makes it exist.

(SL) Avatars in Second Life are always representative of a real world person in control of that avatar.

Because avatars are completely controlled by either a human or a script, they have no algorithm-driven autonomy.

Instead, the user tends to inject a lot of themselves into their avatar, as they ‘are’ that avatar whenever they’re in-game. Even if you adopt a different persona to your real self, your relationships with other avatars are real relationships with other living people, and it is your real self engaging with those people.

Also, avatars do not age or die. That said, if an active avatar is suddenly inactive for an unusual amount of time, there’s a good chance that the person has died in real life, but you never know for sure.

I could write a whole page on avatar psychology but briefly, this depth of personal investment and the constant awareness that the avatars around you are real people are the big differences between avatars in SL/OS vs sims in TS4.


(SL/OS) Avi-sex is colloquial jargon for avatar sex. In The Sims 4, it’s called Woohoo.


(SL/OS) All content rezzed in-world relates to x, y, and z axes (plural of axis). x = east-west, y = north-south, z = up-down.


(Cities) When highlighted, the bulldoze button deletes whatever you click on. If you are in a particular edit mode, e.g. roads, it will only delete roads. If you try to bulldoze public service buildings or objects, say a sewerage outlet, the game will ask for confirmation. Cemeteries and garbage dumps can’t be bulldozed until emptied. When you bulldoze an object, the landscape beneath it returns to its initial form. The mod ‘Bulldoze It!’ greatly expands the game’s bulldoze functionality.

(TS4) There are two bulldoze options in build mode in The Sims 4; Bulldoze and Bulldoze Lot. Bulldoze deletes the building and all objects from the lot, while Bulldoze Lot terraforms the landscape to its original state.


(all games) Your viewer cache stores textures and some .xml records to make loading the game faster. This is great but when the game starts doing odd things, the cache file is usually the culprit.

In The Sims 4, the cache is a file called localthumbcache.package – I delete this file daily as it can be 100 mb in size after a big day. It’s also recommended that you delete the file after adding any mods.

In SL or OpenSim, the cache is cleared from within Firestorm. I normally clear the Firestorm cache around once a month.

Camper Bot

(SL) Camper Bots are alts used specifically to be on a particular parcel in order to make the property look busy to visitors and to lift rankings in in-game search results by increasing avatar traffic numbers. Camper Bots are run by a script that looks for available paying pose-balls on the grid then logs in an alt to occupy that ball. Largely frowned upon by Linden Labs, they reportedly added an algorithm designed to ignore traffic figures generated by multiple alts logged in from the one IP address, however VPNs counter this tactic anyway and the practice of using camper bots to boost traffic is still quite common.


(TS4) CAS is short for ‘Create a Sim’, which involves defining a sim’s aspirations and personality traits and designing their wardrobe (or several sims in a household). This is done on the dedicated CAS page in-game.

jargon - CAS in The Sims 4
The CAS page is used to customise your sim’s appearance and personality.


(all games) CC is creative content made by third party vendors or users of the game. Some of it is free and some you have to pay for.

In Second Life and OpenSim, except for the occasional freebie shop, it is very very difficult to find quality free content. You will usually have to pay a premium and some creators will not sell outside of SL for fear of IP theft.

In contrast, The Sims 4 has so much quality free content that you can binge download for 10 hours and still not touch the sides of what’s available.

I have no idea why such a huge chasm exists between the culture of content creators for SL/OS and TS4.


(SL/OS) Chat can appear either on screen in the lower left corner or in a tear-off chat box. Messages that appear in chat can be conversations with other avatars, or messages sent via scripts. The TS4 equivalent is the Notifications panel.


(TS4) Cheats, both official and unofficial are all part of the game in The Sims 4. I won’t list all the cheat codes as there are a hundred web pages with that info already, but it’s definitely fun to explore them.

Child Prim

(SL/OS) A child prim is part of a linkset, e.g. the wheel of a car, where it is just one link in a larger object. The chassis for example might be the root prim.


(Cities) A play on words, ‘cims’, pronounced ‘sims’ are the characters in game, loosely equivalent to sims in TS4 and avatars in SL/OS.


(Cities) CO is Colossal Order, the makers of Cities Skylines.


(all games) Collision is a script event when two or more physical objects collide. Object collision scripts are used extensively in games to generate actions, e.g. when a sim or avatar comes into contact with a door, the door opens. Collisions should be used sparingly and only for rapid actions as they generate lag. See phantom and physics for more info.

    collision_start(integer num)
        visitor = llDetectedKey(0);
        if (num > 0) {
            llOwnerSay(llKey2Name(visitor) + " has arrived.");
            llInstantMessage(visitor, "Hello and welcome.");
            llInstantMessage(visitor, "You've arrived at an Irukandji interactive venue.");
            llInstantMessage(visitor, "Touch the info box so you know how to use the facility.");
    collision_end(integer num)

Copy Bot

(SL/OS) A copy bot is a script or viewer used to steal illegal copies of content from inside virtual worlds. Copy Bots are outlawed by every commercial grid but somehow they keep getting in.

Creative Content

See CC.


(TS4) Currency in The Sims 4 is called Simoleans. Money is earned by giving your sims careers or you can use in-game cheats. Simoleans have no real world value.

(SL) Currency in Second Life is called Linden Dollars. Linden $ have a sliding scale value versus the USD. You can buy currency for use in game directly from Linden Labs or you can earn it by making content and selling it in-world, or by renting out parcels of land on your regions.

(OS) Each OpenSim virtual world has its own currency and like SL, it is usually set against the USD. Most OS grids use a gaming currency provider such as Podex who have terminals in-world to buy and sell currency via PayPal. Again like SL, you can also make money by building content and selling it in world, or by renting out parcels of land on your regions.

Electronic Arts

(TS4) Electronic Arts a.k.a. EA, own The Sims 4 as well as previous franchises of the game and many other online games.


(all games) An emitter is a script that generates a special visual effect to add movement to a scene. This might be a plume of water in a fountain, tracer fire from a gun, or a jellyfish spawner in the sea.

Emitters definitely add something special but they do pull heavily on graphics resources. Resist the temptation to use too many emitters in a scene or your game will start to lag up.

Whenever someone complains to me about lag on their parcel, lot, or region, the first thing I look for is emitters.


(SL/OS) An emoter is a scripted HUD that allows you to change the facial expression of your avatar depending on the occasion. Some animations and sex beds also include an emotional over-ride function. In OpenSim, it is possible to control the emotions of an NPC using an NPC Emoter script.

The 2019 Expressions emoter


(SL/OS) An estate is a collection of one or more privately owned regions. If many regions are joined together to form a contiguous estate of land and seas, it can also be considered a continent.

The Kingdom of Irukandji : Ninety-nine contiguous regions in one estate.


(all games) Events occur as the result of a trigger or function, which in turn can trigger more events. See collision, listener and sensor as examples.


(SL/OS) Firestorm is a third party viewer to access Second Life and various Open Sim virtual worlds. There are several other viewers available however Firestorm is the most popular by far.


(SL/OS) Flexi is a prim attribute which can be set in the build tools in-game. Prims with a flexi attribute can respond to physical forces such as gravity and wind. This gives the game constant if subtle movement. The effect is commonly used for flags, tree branches, hair, and prim clothing. The flexi attribute only works on system generated prims (cubes, cylinders, and cones), not sculpties or mesh. Prims with the flexi attribute automatically become phantom in order to negate collision events. In a linkset, an individual prim can be made flexi while others might not be.

In the example below, the NPC dancer is wearing around 300 flexi prims as part of his outfit. These make his silks, feathers, and hair all move independently and naturally in response to his movements, gravity, and the wind.

Full perms

(SL/OS) Full Perms means creative content with full permissions – copy/modify/transfer – set. Generally, this means that you have full permission to use them as you wish within that world, however some worlds will not allow you to export them in an .oxp or .xml file.


(SL/OS) Griefer is jargon/slang for a friendless virgin in the real world who derives enjoyment from harassing players in-game. Sometimes they do this through verbal attacks and other times through carefully planned script events. Griefing via scripts is pretty much impossible if you own the region and you’ve set up your parcel permissions properly.

Grim Reaper

(TS4) Grim Reaper is an NPC of, as the name suggests, the Grim Reaper. When a sim dies in the game, Grim shows up, strikes them with his scythe and leaves a headstone or urn of ashes in their place.


(TS4) A household is all the sims who live together on a lot, or ironically, are homeless together. Basically, it is a family or group of friends. Households are edited in CAS.

When you play that household, you can jump from controlling any sim to another within that same household. This is especially helpful when the dog suddenly develops a glowing nuclear nose – You can send it to the vet with one of the kids then return to playing your main character. 🙂

jargon- household in The Sims 4
A typical household setup in The Sims 4


(OS/SL) Hover-text, as the name suggests, is text that hovers above an object to explain something about it. This text is added in a line of script and can be modified at whim by the object owner. As examples, it might appear as a description and price above a product in a shop, or as an explanatory note above an object in a museum.


(OS/SL) A HUD (head-up display) is usually a complex scripted object, often with many parts and multiple scripts that attaches to your viewer screen instead of in-world.

The advantages of HUDs are 1) they are portable, 2) they are considered by the game as being part of your avatar, 3) nobody else can see them, and 4) they can contain many complex parts and scripts that would otherwise be impractical to use in-world.

TS4 uses HUDs as well but they have specific names.

17 custom HUDs on one screen with plenty of room to spare.


(OS) An .iar file is a complete save of all your inventory for a particular avatar. To avoid IP infringements, .iar files will only save content that you created.


(SL/OS) An IM or instant message is similar to chat except it appears in a separate window and doesn’t fade from the screen like regular chat does. The IM window will stay open until you read it. Think of IM as you would a PM or DM in social media apps.


(all games) Inventory is where your in-game possessions are kept without having to store them physically in-world.

(SL/OS) Your inventory is similar to a folder on your computer’s hard drive in which your files are kept, in this case your inventory files. There are system generated folders such as ‘Animations’ and ‘Clothing’ where files in that format are automatically stored, or you can create extra folders as well. Inventories in SL and OS are text only, not visual, however third party gallery scripts exist to visualise certain types of files, particularly textures.

All items in your inventory have ‘properties’ which allow the content creator to allocate ‘permissions’ attributes to each item, e.g. copyable, modifiable, transferable, exportable. Items can be added to your inventory by creating them yourself, or purchasing them in-world at a shop, or purchasing them through a web-based vendor such as Kitely Market.

(TS4) Each household has a visual inventory which stores items taken, found, earned, or purchased in-game. These can be placed in-world or used for specific purposes by members of that household. Items for general use in-world can be purchased in ‘Build Mode’ while some items, e.g. medicine, can only be purchased using your in-game mobile phone or computer. Additionally, sim outfit items for your CAS page, and worldly items for Build mode, can be added to by dropping .package files into your Mods folder.

Kitely Market

(OS) Kitely Market is a web-based marketplace for purchasing third party creative content for use in OpenSim virtual worlds. A lot of, but not all, content on Kitely is hypergrid-enabled, meaning that you can take it from one OpenSim world to another.


(all games) Lag occurs when there is an excessive drain on a game’s resources, which culminates in noticeably slow performance. Lag is generally caused by:

(SL/OS) – excessive quantity of large texture files, emitter scripts, too many avatars, and objects repeatedly colliding i.e. physical objects that should be non physical, and solid objects that should be phantom.

(TS4) – excessive use of emitters (mainly fountains), and too many sims in the scene.

Land Bot

(SL) A land bot is a piece of code that constantly scans the available mainland listings in Second Life for oceanfront properties at a cheap price. The owner of the land bot swoops in and buys it then marks up the land for sale at exorbitant profits. Unfortunately, newbies often fall prey to this kind of sales tactic and it’s not monitored by Linden Labs. It’s a free economy after all, and it does help them justify the price of private non-mainland regions. It’s common to have to pay $400 to $500 USD for a small parcel of oceanfront mainland in SL.

Linden Labs

(SL) Linden Labs own Second Life. Linden $ are the currency in-game.


(SL/OS) A linked object or linkset is a collection of two or more prims linked together to form one object. Individual prims within the linkset can be scripted, textured etc separately while still remaining part of the one linked object.


(SL/OS) A listener is a scripted object that listens for a specific message to be spoken on a specific channel. When this happens, it triggers an event.

    listen(integer sensorChan, string name, key id, string msg)
        if (msg == sC+" ★ Start") {
            llRegionSay(sensorChan, tW);
            llSetTimerEvent(1800); }
        else if (msg == sC+" ★ END") {
            llRegionSay(sensorChan, tW + "End"); 
            llRegionSay(sensorChan, tW + "Restore"); 
            llResetScript(); }


(TS4) A lot is a piece of residential or commercial land including all objects on that land.


(SL/OS) LSL means Linden Scripting Language. All scripts in Second Life are written in LSL, while in OpenSim, LSL is the legacy language and is decreasing in usage. See OSSL for more info.


(SL) Mainland is land located on one of the two continents owned by Linden Labs. This is entry level land, often laggy, and you have no control over or right to complain about whatever hideous monstrosity your neighbours build. Mainland exists to encourage people to buy private regions.

MC Command Centre

(TS4) MC Command Centre or MCCC is a mod that adds a lot more functionality to the base game. If you decide to start modding your game, MCCC is the first mod you need.


(Cities/TS4) Mods are bits of add-on code made by a third party creator. A mod works in a similar way to a plug-in on a WordPress site, i.e. it tags itself onto the vanilla code to compliment the capabilities of the base game.

Mods are different to third party content, which are objects or ‘things’ within the game. In Cities, those are called assets. In TS4, they are called creative content or CC for short.

In Cities, mods are subscribed to via the Steam Workshop. They can be turned on and off, and options modified (if any) inside the game’s Content Manager at startup.

In TS4, mods are manually placed inside the mods folder on your hard drive.

Notification Wall

(TS4) The notification wall is located on the upper right corner of the screen, which contains random notices plus warnings issued by the game.


(OS) An NPC is a non-player character created by and controlled by a script or series of scripts, such as the IruMoto NPC Engine. Whichever avatar owns the script is the owner of the NPC. NPCs in OpenSim are wholly controlled by script statements which can be strict specific actions or randomised to emulate autonomy. Upon meeting an NPC in OS, the tag “- NPC -” will appear briefly above their head in hover-text so you know they are not actual human players.

(TS4) An NPC is an autonomous non-player character controlled by the game’s algorithms, which in turn are tuned by the traits and aspirations that you set for them. All sims are NPCs until actively played. Some mods such as WickedWhims can allow you to take temporary control of an NPC’s actions.

No Mod

(SL/OS) A ‘no mod’ object means that the current owner of the object cannot modify the object.

(TS4) The term ‘no mod’ means:

  • In regards to an NPC, that all its components are genuine EA issue;
  • In regards to the game, that you’re using no third party game mods.


(OS) An .oar file is a complete save of a region including its contents. To avoid IP infringements, .oar files will only save content that you created.


(SL/OS) – see linkset and prim.


(OS) OSSL means Open Simulator Scripting Language. Historically in OpenSim, scripts used a combination of LSL and OSSL scripting libraries due to early legacy requirements, however OSSL is quickly taking over as the dominant language. As Second Life and OpenSim continue to branch in separate directions, retrospective compatibility with LSL is no longer considered a necessity by the developers.


(SL/OS) An .oxp file is a complete save of an object for exporting to your hard drive and importing to other compatible worlds. .oxp files are uploaded and downloaded using the Firestorm viewer. Textures etc that you did not create or that are not full perms will not be included.


(SL/OS) A parcel is a subdivision of land within a region. Parcels can be resold, rented to client avatars, allocated to different purposes etc at the whim of the estate owner.


(SL/OS) Phantom is an attribute given to an object to make it non-physical, e.g. you could turn a wall phantom so that avatars can walk straight through it. Phantom objects negate object collisions and are used extensively for decorative objects such as lighthouse beams, fish, and trees that do not need to be physical. When an object is attached to an avatar’s body, e.g. hair, then that object automatically becomes phantom.

The phantom attribute allows hundreds of moving objects with little impact.


(all games) Physics give the game its realistic ‘nature’ attributes, e.g. gravity, rebound, wind etc, and in turn, the impact of those attributes on physical objects, e.g. your sim or avatar, vehicles etc. Physical objects that move such as sims (or avatars) and vehicles, are usually kept to a minimum in games as they generate object collisions which contribute heavily to lag.

Pose Ball

(SL/OS) A pose ball is a small spherical prim with a script and animation inside. When you hover your mouse over it, the pointer turns into a chair symbol. When you click on the ball, your avatar will ‘sit’ on it and the animation will start playing. There are minor variations on the set up, but basically that’s it.


(SL/OS) Primitive shapes or ‘prims’ are the basic building blocks in-world from which all things are made. Prims come in several standard shapes including cube, sphere, ring, cylinder, and torus. Using in-game tools, prims can be transformed, textured, scripted, twisted, tortured, and worn.

Prims are commonly joined together to create a linkset, in which case one prim will be the root prim and the others will be child prims. While child prims can have their own individual qualities and scripts, they function relative to the root prim in that particular linkset.

The number of prims which you are allowed to use on a parcel of land is directly related to the size of that parcel. These limits are controlled by the region owner, which in turn are set by the grid developer to ensure the system isn’t overloaded.

For the above reason – particularly in Second Life where prim allowances are usually far less generous than Open Sim worlds – prims are generally regarded as the true currency of virtual worlds.


(SL/OS) a .raw file is a terrain file for uploading to your region. Unlike an .oar file, it contains no content at all, just the shape of the terrain. A .raw file must be the same size as or smaller than the destination region. If it is smaller, the .raw file will be placed in the southwest corner of the new region. Some OS grids also allow .png files for var-regions.

raw file of Kalamat region
A typical .raw file. Light areas are the highest peaks and dark the lowest seas.


(SL) In Second Life, a region means a simulated landmass or sea 256 metres by 256 metres in size.

(OS) In OpenSim, a region means the same as above but can also refer to ‘var-regions’, which are multiples of that size.

See standard region and var-region for more info.


(SL/OS) A bit of jargon from some 90s sci-fi film I can’t recall the name of, ‘rez’ became part of daily language in Second Life and OpenSim. To ‘rez’ something means to create it in-world. If you drag an item out of your inventory onto the ground, it rezzes. If you delete it, you de-rezzed it. When you apply a texture to a prim surface and the image is blurry while it downloads, you are said to be ‘waiting for the texture to rez’. An area set aside for temporary building is commonly called a ‘rez zone’.

Rez Box or Rezzer

(SL/OS) A rez box is a scripted prim that is used to rez multiple objects in exact positions relative to the rez box, e.g. a house with all its furniture could be placed in a rez box. A ‘child’ script is placed in each individual object so that it can communicate with the ‘parent’ script in the rez box.


(SL/OS) RL means ‘Real Life’. Given that a) you and your avatar are the same person, and b) when you’re playing, you are usually fully immersed in the game as your avatar, RL is a commonly used term to differentiate between your in-game self and your real world self, e.g. a conversation with a visitor might go like:

Visitor: “Where do you live?”
Me: “I’ve got a house on Tamita Island.”
Visitor: “Sorry, I meant in RL.”
Me: “Oh. I live in Rockhampton, Australia.”
Visitor: “Cool. I’m from Chicago, USA.”

That said, you wouldn’t ask a stranger where they are from in RL unless you were solid acquaintances and they had already offered some information about their RL selves. It’s considered rude otherwise. Always check an avatar’s profile first. If they have ‘No RL’ in their user profile, definitely don’t go there. You could also proffer something about your own RL first to see how they respond.

For many people, the game is actually a full-on second life they’ve created to escape an RL where the world is not so rosy. They don’t want outside stuff impacting on their perfectly crafted world.


(TS4) A room is a type of ‘container’ building block used in build mode. As its name suggests, you can then place objects in the room. While each object can be individually moved within the room, when the room itself is moved, all the objects move with it.

Root Prim

(SL/OS) A root prim is the main prim in a linkset. The other prims in the linkset are called child prims.


(SL/OS) Ruth is the default avatar produced by the game. She is also the world’s ugliest avatar and the basis upon which all other avatar’s are made. The TS4 equivalent would be a very basic townie.


(many games) A sandbox is a dedicated area set aside in-game for content creators to build content.


(SL/OS) Scripts are code files placed inside a prim in order to perform a certain function. See LSL and OSSL for more info.

(TS4) TS4 scripts are contained within various in-world objects to make things happen. You might also see them in creative content in the Mods folder as a .ts4script file.


(SL/OS) A sensor is a type of scripted object that senses avatars within a certain radius. You can apply additional filters to isolate certain avatars. When this happens, it triggers an event.

    sensor(integer num_detected)
        if (num_detected > 0) {
            visitor = llDetectedKey(0);
            if (activeState == 0) {
                llOwnerSay(llKey2Name(visitor) + " has arrived.");
                llRegionSay(sensorChan, "visitor1");
                activeState = 1;
            else if (activeState == 1) {
                llRegionSay(sensorChan, "visitor1");
                activeState = 1;

Sex Bed

(SL/OS) In Second Life and OpenSim, not all beds are created equal. Some are just props while others contain animations. Usually powered by an MLP or MPA animation engine, sex beds include user-changeable settings to allow for different avatar heights.

2019 poster from my Bianci store on the DigiWorldz grid.


(SL/OS) Sim is short for ‘simulator’. Sim is legacy lingo from the early days when there used to be only one region per simulator instance.

(TS4) Sim is an in-world character, similar to but not the same as an avatar in Second Life or OpenSim. All sims are NPCs except for the one being actively played at the time. When another sim becomes actively played, the previous sim becomes an NPC.

(Cities) See cims.

Sim Edge

(SL/OS) Also known as a region crossing, the sim edge is where x.0/y.0 of one region perfectly abuts x.256/y.256 of a neighbouring region. While visually there is no joining line, it isn’t so smooth and seamless when crossing in a boat or car. The problem is that ALL the scripts in that vehicle PLUS the avatars aboard said vehicles PLUS all their clothing and associated scripts, have to cross that sim edge at the same time, handing all of those controls, inventory, and active scripts from one region to another.

Now to SL’s credit, that all happens in a fraction of a second but the transition is still visible. OpenSim haven’t been quite so lucky. The now defunct InWorldz grid came very very close to matching SL’s sim edge crossing efficiency then for some reason changed the recipe and wrecked it all. And now they’re gone.

It was this single failing of OpenSim which ultimately led them to invent var-regions, where you can have a single region much larger than a standard region in order to eliminate sim edges.

Watch my vehicle road test of the new InWorldz code from 2013.


(TS4) Sliders are mods that can modify various body parts, but the most common application is to alter a sim’s height. There are several mods available and they work fine, but the game doesn’t make allowances for them. Common glitches are that sims with shorter legs will sit too low on chairs, and hug or sex animations are wildly out of alignment. Wicked Whims does have a checkbox to return sims to a standard size during sex but it kind of defeats the purpose of creating a custom avatar if you have to change it for special occasions.

(SL/OS) Technically, sliders aren’t a thing in Second Life or Open Sim because there are no presets for avatar height, however dozens of sliders are used in the ‘edit avatar’ window where you can make your avatars pretty much any size and shape you want. Of course, you have the same issues with animations not lining up but in most cases you can usually just tweak the number in the z axis of the pose-ball script that controls the animation.


(all games) Snap-to-grid is a term used in build mode, where an object automatically snaps to the nearest grid line. If you like everything nice and orderly, it’s great. TS4 has preset snap-to-grid lines of 1 metre. In SL or OS, you can set the grid to any distance, though a fraction of 1 metre seems to work best. Personally, I have it set to 0.25 metres for detail work and 1 or 2 metres for region-size projects.

To disable snap-to-grid:

(TS4) Type bb.moveobjects in the cheat window. Then when you move an object, hold down the Alt key while using your mouse.

(SL/OS) In Edit mode, uncheck the ‘snap to grid’ box.

Grid lines in build mode in The Sims 4


When a game spawns something it means that it’s created that thing without your direct or ongoing input.

(Cities/TS4) Both games spawn things and characters constantly. It happens autonomously.

(SL/OS) Spawning can be done with a script but it’s not a big part of the games so it’s pretty specific and limited, e.g. seagull spawners, bot engines etc.

Standard Region

(SL/OS) A standard region of land is 256 metres x 256 metres.


(Cities and others) Steam is a central management tool and forum for Cities Skylines and many other games. You can download assets and mods there and also discuss games, issues etc.

System Textures

(all games) System textures don’t require an additional mesh. They are decorative images that are applied directly to the 3D meshes already in-game, e.g. to the ground, the default avatar or sim.

(SL/OS) System textures are very versatile and common in-world even in the modern day of complex mesh, and can be dropped onto most prim surfaces. They are also used extensively for non-mesh body parts and clothing and can be applied in multiple layers to an avatar, e.g. on the lower body, you can simultaneously wear skin, socks, leg tattoos, underparts, outer pants/skirt, and lower jacket as system texture layers.

(TS4) System textures also include those that can be applied directly to rooms, walls, and floors. They are also used for the default skins and eyes of your sim, and as water textures/effects in pools. They can also be used as clothing however they will appear as a tattoo layer underneath all other clothing.

System Water

System water is moving functional water that impacts land and objects, e.g. if you dig a hole, the water will flow into it, or if you have a boat, you can sail on it.

(Cities) System Water comes in two forms; sea level and water source. Sea level exists at z.40 but this can be modified in Map Editor if you want to change it. Water source is a scripted lump of water that you can place in a dam to fill it, or on a mountain to create a waterfall. Both types of water are affected by gravity, underwater terraforming, and tsunamis, and can cause flooding and cause damage to property if you allow them to.

(SL/OS) System water is oceans, rivers, seas etc and by default it appears whenever the terrain dips below z.20. So, to create a lake, you simply terraform a hole below 20 metres altitude on the z axis. You can manually change the default water height in region tools, however most boats and other watercraft ‘assume’ the water height will be z.20, so they may not recognise your modification. If you want to create water for say, a mountain-top lake or swimming pool, you will need to make prim water, however watercraft won’t recognise it as system water. Nor will your avatar swim in it. System water does not cause damage to objects, which allows you to build underwater cities.


(TS4/SL/OS) Teleporting is how sims or avatars move from one zone or region to another. Sometimes it’s done to save walking or flying (Second Life and OpenSim) or because the zones aren’t physically connected (The Sims 4).


(SL/OS) Terraforming is done in-world using the terrain tools in the Firestorm or similar viewer. Terraforming allows you to build mountains and rivers and to flatten or smooth land. Land can only be terraformed on the z axis, i.e. up and down. It cannot be used laterally to create caves. Control over land shape is absolute, i.e. later placing a building etc on land will not force the land flat to support that building. If you want to build into the side of a mountain, you can.

(Cities) Terraforming in Cities: Skylines works much the same as in SL/OS however it doesn’t enjoy the same ‘absolute’ freedom to mould things how you want them. The main limitation is around the base of buildings etc where the ground has been auto-terraformed when that object is spawned. There are also limitations on the shape and angle of slope that buildings can be built on.

(TS4) Although not called terraforming in TS4, a similar process is handled from within the build tools. Because the ground has to conform to surrounding unchangeable terrain, the terraforming capabilities are pretty lame.

The Sims Resource

(TS4) TSR is a huge marketplace for aftermarket content for The Sims, similar to Kitely Market is for OpenSim, except at The Sims Resource everything is free. And no, it’s not like an OpenSim freebie shop full of crap that no one wants anyway. The quality on TSR is extremely good. The only downside is that the site is extremely ad-heavy. It’s definitely worth just paying the 4 bucks to remove the ads then spend a lazy Sunday binge downloading. There are literally a million items to grab.


(TS4) A townie is colloquial jargon for an NPC generated by the game to fill a particular purpose, e.g. a mailman or massage therapist, when the game decides for whatever reason not to use one of your own unplayed sims for the purpose. Townies are almost always terrible to behold and have ridiculous names.


(all games) Vanilla means the standard game as issued by the manufacturer, unaltered by mods or third party CC. Every game seems to have a cadre of purists who distinguish themselves as no-CC or no-Mod players with somewhat religious fervour.


(OS) A variable region or Var-region is a region that is larger than a standard region but a squared multiple thereof, e.g. 1024 metres x 1024 metres is the size of 4×4 standard regions but without the nasty consequences of sim edges.

The massive 2.4 million square metre Aratura var-region on DigiWorldz.


(SL/OS) Voice (SLvoice.exe) refers to speaking to other players in-world using a microphone instead of texting in chat. Second Life uses Vivox while OpenSim uses Mumble.

Wicked Whims

(TS4) Wicked Whims is a mod that puts the game into adult mode. It removes the pixels for nudity and enables realistic woohoo. It also adds a zillion more options to what your sims can do. In fact, it has so many options it has literally taken me a month to get my head around all of them. Several additional mods by other creators piggyback onto Wicked Whims.


(SL/OS) Windlight is an in-game tool to customise the appearance of sky, cloud, and water settings.


(TS4) Woohoo is sim sex and is pixelated. In Second Life and OpenSim, it’s called avi-sex and is not pixelated.


(Cities) You can choose from dozens of different worlds to build your city on. The various worlds are not contiguous parts of a greater world. Each world can be up to 81 tiles in size, each of which is 2 km x 2 km. By default, the game only offers you up to 9 tiles but you can use various mods to expand the world to its full size.

(SL/OS) A world is the entire virtual world, essentially the planet including all regions, continents and seas. You can set whichever climates and landscapes you want for each region you own. As you zoom out on the world map, all of the regions can be seen as tiny dots.

(TS4) A world is best equated to a suburb, and within each suburb is a neighbourhood or zone. Each game has several worlds with varying climates. While sims freely teleport from one world to another, there is no actual map of the whole world to suggest where each world is located in relation to another.

Jargon - the Oasis Springs world in TS4 differs greatly from a world in Second Life
The Oasis Springs world in The Sims 4


(TS4) A zone or neighbourhood is a clustered area within a world. Each zone is isolated within that world, i.e. you can only walk your sim around the zone, not to the neighbouring zone without returning to the world map and teleporting there. In order to keep lag to a minimum, only 20 sims are allowed in a zone by default, however this can be changed in game settings.

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