Unlike the real world, creating a one-way glass window in Second Life® is easy, even on a pre-fab Linden Home. This window is tinted or completely transparent from the inside so you can see out, but it is completely opaque from the outside. Nobody can see in, even at night with the lights on!
The opaque side of the window doesn’t even need to look like glass, it can have any color or texture you desire. One of the great things about building in Second Life is that many of the constraints of the real world don’t apply. You can create a building where the windows viewed from the outside are in totally different locations than those on the inside!
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If you have a pre-built home like a Linden Home™ or a packaged home you bought, you probably can’t replace the existing windows. But you can still easily tint them or make them one-way glass. All you do is create a second piece of glass with the tint or one-way feature, then place it over the existing window. The existing window will take on the characteristics or the new “glass”. Here are complete instructions on how to add one way glass windows.
Download my one-way glass panel collection. Don’t want to take the time and effort to make your own panels? You can grab a whole set of various color and tint combinations. There are 42 one-way glass panels in the package, utilizing a combination of 6 exterior opaque colors, and 7 interior tints. Each pane can be copied for use on as many windows as needed. The cost of the package is very reasonable, if your time is worth a dollar an hour, you can’t make it yourself for the price. If you want to see what the various combinations look like, my store website has images of the various 1-way glass panels installed on a Linden Home. Even if you don’t buy the set it will give you some ideas as to what is possible with a whole lot of time and experimentation. It took me several full days of experimentation to create all the various combinations.
Warning for Linden Homes and some others as well. Linden Homes typically have the house walls placed right next to the property line. So if you create a one-way glass panel and push it too far through the window it will go over the property line onto someone else’ property. In the case of Linden Homes this is almost always Protected Property. If you close the editing dialog window and release the glass panel while it is centered over Protected Property chances are it will be taken away from you. (It will usually be returned to your Lost & Found inventory folder sometime within 24 hours.) This can be a real pain, so be careful when placing your one-way glass panel that it doesn’t go off your property.
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Tip: When building or editing an object in a confined space like a Linden Home, tape a piece of cardboard over your Esc key so you can’t easily accidentally press it. If you’re like me, you press the Esc key to realign your camera after panning. But when editing an object, pressing Esc also closes the edit dialog window. If you close the window while your glass is not centered over your property you may lose it. It really sucks to spend 30 minutes editing something and then accidentally hit Esc… and it’s gone!!! This is also a good tip for editing transparent objects or objects located very close to larger objects. Both of these can be really hard to select for editing if you accidentally drop them.
SL Trick: Faking a Prim Location in Relation to a Property Line. The servers that run Second Life’s sims see the official location of an object based on the center point of the object. This allows for a trick when it comes to property lines. As long as the center of an object (prim), like your glass panel, is on your property, the server will think that all of the panel is on your property! So if part of the panel extends off of your property, it will not be taken as long as the center of the panel is on your property. Thus by making the panel thicker you can actually shove part of it a little ways over the property line. (You can also attach a second transparent prim to the panel, the server sees the location based on the center of the last prim added to a multi-prim object.) Most neighbors don’t mind your encroaching a short distance over the property line if it doesn’t interfere with their use of the property. However be careful, if you abuse this you can be reported and disciplined for violating your neighbor’s property rights.
How to Make 1-Way or Tinted Glass, Step-byStep
Use the photo captions as a quick guide if you are experienced with building things in SL!
Not much privacy. But then privacy isn’t something you should expect much of in Second Life. Even so, it would be nice to not have it this easy to see inside!
- From top menu select Build > Build. Or press Ctrl+B.
- Click on floor to create a standard default “plywood box”.
- Optional: This is a good time to name your object. Click on the “General” tab and enter a name like “1-way glass”. If you ever have to edit the glass this will make it much easier to tell if you have selected the correct object for editing. When there are a lot of other objects in the vicinity it can be hard to figure out which one you selected.
- Use the to drag the box up centered on the inside of the window.
- Select “Object” tab, change the box thickness to 0.01m. Now it should be shaped like a glass panel rather than a cube.
- Select the “Stretch” button.
- Drag the red, blue, or green squares to stretch the panel so that it covers much but not all of the window.
- I’ve found it is easier if you don’t cover the whole window with the new panel at this point. However that is just my personal preference. You can stretch the panel to any size you like!
- Select the “texture” tab.
- Click on the plywood color square with Texture written below it. The Pick Texture window will open.
- Click on “Blank”.
Optional: You can use the Pick Texture window to select a texture for the outside side of the panel. For example in your inventory selecting the texture Library > Textures > Buildings > Brick will make the window look like it has been bricked in using red bricks! Or you could use a wood pattern to make it looked boarded up. When using textures like this I suggest you change the panel thickness from 0.01m to 0.10 m. The extra thickness help cover the window from the outside and also help keep the center of the panel on your property. Remember if the center of the one-way glass panel moves off of your property it will likely get taken away for intruding on someone else’ property! If you want to play with textures I suggest that first you get the one-way glass setup using the basic tinted glass instructions. Then make a copy of your panel and experiment on it.