Welcome to the user guide for hippoBOOK, a simple but powerful publishing system that allows you to create — and distribute — beautiful books of your pictures within Second Life. This guide will walk you through how to create a book, customise its appearance, work with its menus, use its advanced configuration functions and, finally, “publish” your book in a form that you can distribute to others.

This user guide contains seven sections ...

1. Getting started ... how to quickly create a book of pictures

2. Using the menu system

3. Further customising a book’s appearance

4. Adding a front or end paper

5. The “_config” notecard and its options

6. Publishing your book

7. Hints, tips and troubleshooting

1. Getting Started

I’ll begin by showing you to quickly fill a book with your pictures and leaf through it ...

  1. Your folder will contain two types of hippoBOOK. Rez a “hippoBOOK (Regular Version)” from your inventory and wait for it to report that it’s ready. It’ll look something like this ...

  2. Now find some pictures (e.g. textures, snapshots) in your inventory and drag them to the hippoBOOK while holding down the CTRL key. (This last step is important. If you don’t hold down CTRL, Second Life will apply your texture to the outside of the book, not add them to its contents!)

    Your hippoBOOK will report the number of pages (e.g. textures) it now holds and report readiness again.

    Important Tip
    Make sure that you have full permissions (copy, modify, transfer) for each snapshot or texture that you add. A hippoBOOK cannot use a texture that you do not have full permissions for!

    Another Important Tip
    The pages in your book will be in the order in which textures appear in the book’s inventory — Second Life sorts inventory alphabetically. So if you want to move a page’s position, rename it so it appears in the correct place in the list of textures.

  3. Now you have some pages in your book, simply click the front cover and the book will open, like this ...

    (If it fails to open immediately, Second Life may be lagging. Click it a couple of times until Second Life catches up with itself).

  4. You can now move through your book ...
  • To move to the next pair of pages (if you added more than two textures), click the right hand page. When you reach the end, a further click will close the book.

  • To move to the previous pair of pages, click the left hand page. If you’re already on the first page, this will close the book.

  • You can also close the book at any time by clicking the covers or the spine.

  1. Deleting pages from your book is almost as easy ...
  • Right-click your hippoBOOK and choose “Edit”.

  • Find the “Contents” tab (if it’s not visible, click )

  • Select the texture or snapshot you wish to remove and press the delete key (or right-click it and choose ‘Delete’).

  • The book will reload its contents and refresh itself.

2. Using the menu system

Your hippoBOOK has a built in menu system to enable you to perform a number of important and useful functions. To access this, point your mouse at a book and hold down the left mouse button for a couple of seconds until a menu appears in the top-right of your Second Life viewer ...

The buttons in this menu perform the following functions ...

Previous Moves to the previous pair of pages (same as clicking the left-hand page)
Next Moves to the next pair of pages (same as clicking the right-hand page)
Open Opens the book
Close Closes the book
First Jumps to the first page
Last Jumps to the last page
Go To Go to a specific page. The book will ask you to type in chat the page number you want.
Options Leads to a sub-menu with two further options ...
  • Hovertext ... Enables you to turn on page information hovertext (the book will display the current page numbers in hovertext).

  • Sound ... Allows you to turn the page turn sound effect on and off.

  • Resize ... (version 1.02 and higher only) Instantly make the book smaller or bigger (by a factor of 10%) or restore it to the default size (as specified in its _config notecard). The menu will re-open after choosing one of these options, to allow multiple resizing operations if you want to make it considerably bigger or smaller. Be careful if going bigger in HUD mode as you may make the book too big for your screen! (In which case, reset it to its default).
Status Reports various useful information about the current book.
Tools Leads to a sub-menu with several options ...
  • Publish ... Creates a copyable, transferable of your book without the textures physically inside it. Publishing is described in detail later in this document. Please note this option will only appear if this is a master version of hippoBOOK (not an already published book).

  • Restore ... Occasionally Second Life may go awry and your book’s pages end up in strange positions. If this ever happens, the restore function will repair it.

  • Backup ... Gives you a copy of every texture in the book in one or more folders. This option only exists on master copies of the book, not on books once they’re published.

  • Update ... Used in conjunction with an update disc to upgrade your book. As with all our products, updates are provided free of charge (to purchasers of the master version of hippoBOOK, not people who have received published books from third parties!)
Reset Resets the book and reloads its “_config” notecard. This is usually done automatically whenever you make changes to the book’s configuration notecard, or add or remove pictures. But if some reason the book does not detect your changes automatically, use this menu command.
Help Gives you a copy of these instructions in notecard form.

3. Further customising a book’s appearance

Your hippoBOOK is shipped to you with full modification rights — meaning you can change its appearance. (If you want to change its size, you can make it bigger (as you would any Second Life object) but we recommend that rather than doing this, you use the “_config” notecard (see below) to specify its size precisely.

However, when it comes to customizing the book’s appearance, you can do this in one of two ways. First, you could just texture the covers, spine, inside covers etc. as you would any Second Life object. Or you can add “special textures” to the book’s contents and have it automatically apply them for you.

  • Add a texture called !FRONT COVER to the book’s contents to be applied to the front cover

  • Add a texture called !FRONT COVER (INSIDE) to be applied to the inside front cover

  • Add a texture called !BACK COVER to be applied to the back cover

  • Add a texture called !BACK COVER (INSIDE) to be applied to the inside back cover

  • Add a texture called !SPINE to be applied to the spine

  • Add a texture called !SPINE (INSIDE) to be applied to the inside of the spine

  • Add a texture called !EDGES to be applied to the edges of the book

The other advantage of using special textures is that when you publish your book, details of these will also be saved along with information regarding each of the book’s pages.

Here’s an example of a book’s content tab with all of the above textures added to it ...

And a reminder of where these are applied ..

USEFUL TIP: Please note that the reader may never see the whole of the inside front cover texture if you don’t have a front paper — since when the book opens, it will immediately flip to pages one and two. Similarly for the inside back cover with no end paper. If you really want your reader to see your inside covers in all their wonderful glory, you’ll want to add front or end papers too. This is described in the next section.

4. Adding a front or end paper

You can also use special textures to add a front or end paper to a book. Simply add a texture to a book’s inventory called !FRONT PAPER for a front paper and !END PAPER for an end paper. (A book can have neither, either, or both, depending on how you wish it to appear).

Here’s an example of book with a front paper added; note how the first page lies when first opened ...

Whilst a book with an end paper will look like this when you reach the last page ...

5. The “_config” notecard and its options

If you look inside a hippoBOOK’s content tab, you’ll find a notecard called ‘_config’. This contains a number of settings you can edit. Simply double click on the notecard, edit any settings (each are described below), taking care to enter sensible values and not to delete any text in upper case. Then close and save the notecard after which the book will reload the ‘_config’ card and apply any changes. (If it does, use the “Reset” menu button to force a reload).

- Determines whether hovertext page numbers are turned on when the book first loads. (You can also toggle them on and off using the options menu). Page numbering looks like this:

HOVERTEXT COLOUR: <Colour Name or Vector>
- Determines the colour used for any hovertext. You can either specify a colour name (red, blue, green, yellow, pink, white or black) or you can provide the colour in vector format, e.g. HOVERTEXT COLOUR: <1, 0.5, 1>.

- Determines whether the page turn sound effect is turned on when the book first loads. (You can also toggle it on and off using the options menu).

- Determines the angle that the book’s pages and cover open by when the book opens. Be careful, as careless values here can create some very odd effects!

DIMENSIONS: <width>, <height>, <page thickness>, <cover thickness>
e.g. DIMENSIONS: 1.0, 0.80, 0.04, 0.04
- Sets the size of this book. The maximum width is 5 metres and the maximum height 10 metres, whilst the maximum thicknesses are 1 metre (although we don't recommend trying anything as thick as that!) Please note, all four values must be supplied, so edit this command carefully!

BOOK CAN BE USED BY: <list of people, separated by commas>
- Determines who can click the hippoBOOK and have its pages turn. You can include the words ”Owner” (although this is always assumed), “Group” (anybody wearing the same group tag as the book), “Anybody” or a list of named avatars. You can also mix these; e.g. BOOK CAN BE USED BY: Owner, Group, Pathfinder Linden, Fred Flintstone. Obviously if you use BOOK CAN BE USED BY: Anybody, there’d be no point adding any specific names as well. Note that names must be typed exactly as they appear in Second Life — “Humphrey Appleby” is not the same as “humphrey appleby”.

MENU WILL APPEAR FOR: <list of people, separated by commas>
- Same as above, but determines who the menu will appear for when the book is pointed at and the mouse button held. Please note that menus appearing for other than the owner are always missing the publish and backup buttons.

FInally, there are two optional commands that you can add to a “_config” notecard (they’re not included by default) ...

AUTO PAGE TURN EVERY: <time in seconds>
- Use this command to have the book automatically turn a page every few seconds. When it reaches the end of the book, it will close, and then the next turn will re-open the book again.

AUTO CLOSE AFTER: <time in seconds>
- This option enables you to configure a book to automatically shut after a certain time period.

6. Publishing your book

If you’ve got the full version of hippoBOOK you can “publish” your book — simply follow the steps listed below to create a copyable, transferable version of your book you can give away or sell.

  • Open the Tools menu and click the button.

  • Answer ”Yes” to the confirmation dialog menu.

  • The book will now chat the necessary publishing data, for example ...

    [12:47] hippoBOOK whispers: // ========= Notecard Version of Data Starts =========
    [12:47] hippoBOOK whispers: DC:6be2d75bbdb5d9fe4c05411e529627ce
    [12:47] hippoBOOK whispers: PD:XYyNWNQ60v8UhmqP3EMOj4wMmjiE/ADOONiJC1/ViljVaNL1
    [12:47] hippoBOOK whispers: PD:WonaXo5o2K8U1WSNj0MOiY1Zmm3YqQjOat/ZCwuL3QyEbNL9
    [12:47] hippoBOOK whispers: PD:Wt2BCNNnhPoUhjyOjUNUj4lcmjjY+wjObdvdDVrdjlvVZ9Cu
    [12:47] hippoBOOK whispers: PD:XIjYDIRr1/kU1WuIikMJiYBcmj/Q+VzOPI7YXF7ci1+FP9X/
    [12:47] hippoBOOK whispers: PD:D9raDIJq2f0UgW7Y2kMI1N0MmmbSrwHOONzfCgzZiVXTPIL5
    [12:47] hippoBOOK whispers: PD:WI7YXYRu0PQU12SJiUNZiYsMmmzW/Q7OOYiJVguL2FiGPISo
    [12:47] hippoBOOK whispers: PD:CIvdDI9rh/sUgGTbiUNc1d0PmjjU+1jObtuKDFXd2A6CPdOo
    [12:47] hippoBOOK whispers: PD:D4iOWoQ/1PgU0GmF2UMLj4gLmmzVqAnObIXeCwvdjFvWZ9Gp
    [12:47] hippoBOOK whispers: // ========= Notecard Version of Data Ends =========

  • Rez a copy of the hippoBOOK (Publishing Version). This is a special version of hippoBOOK designed to work not with textures inside it, but with raw publishing data, like that above.

  • Inside this book you will find a notecard called “_data” (which is empty, by default). Paste the information chatted during the publishing process into it and save the notecard. (Don’t worry about text like “[12:47] hippoBOOK:” — the book is smart enough to strip this out.

  • Edit the “_config” notecard in the published book so its settings match those in your master book (or just copy and paste them).

  • Use the book’s menu to reset the book. It will load its page data from the “_data" notecard.

  • You can now delete the “_data” notecard. (Or if you wish, you can set the “_data” notecard to no-copy, no-modify and distribute your book with it in, meaning that even if the book’s scripts are totally reset, your end user can still use their book. There’s obviously a chance that a really determined person could copy the book data line by line, though, and recreate your book with a fresh hippoBOOK of their own. So this method is less secure, but for books you’re not worried about (catalogues for example), it’s a great method).

  • Finally, don’t forget to set the permissions on your newly published book and its scripts (very important!) to no-copy or no-transfer before selling it! It’s important to do this on the scripts, too, since they hold the publishing data. To change, for example, the .hippobook_data script to no-transfer, right click it and choose “Properties”. Untick the “Copy” checkbox under the list of things that the next owner can do. Do the same under the ‘General’ tab for the book object itself.


  • Congratulations! You can now take the published book into inventory and give or sell copies! (Note, when you take it back into inventory, Second Life may tag it “no modify” — this is a permissions bug with SL: just rez the object inworld again and you should be able to e.g. rename it).

7. Hints, tips and troubleshooting

Here are some hints and tips that you may find useful ...

Can a book be worn and used as a HUD?

Yes, provided your hippoBOOK is version 1.02 or later. Simply right-click the hippoBOOK in your inventory that you wish to attach as a HUD and choose “Attach to HUD” and pick a HUD position (the centre position works best). The book will resize itself accordingly. Please note that if you detach the book then rez it inworld, you’ll need to rotate it back to a flat position, due to the way HUD attachments work. (Also note: if you attach a book to your HUD position from inworld rather than directly from your inventory, you may need to reset it (using its menu command) so it resizes and starts up correctly).

How can I be sure I’ve set all the permissions correctly on a book I’ve published and want to sell?

The safest way is to test your published book with a trusted friend or, even better, with an alt. Just give the published book to them, have them rez it, and check they can’t do anything with it you didn’t intend (edit, copy, give copies away etc.) Once you’re satisfied, you’re ready to start selling copies for real!

Can my book give items to people?

Yes. Simply add the item you wish to give to a book’s content folder, named like this — page<Number>_<landmark/ object/notecard>. Sounds complex ... but here are some examples ..

  • page1_landmark
  • page10_object
  • page12_notecard

The item will be given to a permitted user who points at the correct page and holds down their mouse button. Note, there’s no reason that, for example, page12_notecard needs to actually be a notecard: it could be a sound or texture, for example. It’s simply that the book will look for inventory items ending _landmark, _object, or _notecard when a page is touched. On the right is an example of a book’s inventory with three such items in it ...

My book doesn’t appear to open properly!

Sometimes Second Life can lag a bit when it comes to redrawing objects that have rotated. Try clicking the book a second time (or even simply selecting then deselecting the book using the Second Life select tool).

I’ve done something odd to my book and the pages are all at funny angles!

This can occasionally happen if Second Life had a glitch, or you de-rezzed a book while it was initialised. Simply use the “Restore” command in the “Tools” menu and the book will repair itself.

How can I best resize my book?

You can drag a book bigger by selecting it and resizing it using the standard Second Life build tools. However, this can, very occasionally, lead to oddities. We recommend using the ‘_config’ notecard’s “DIMENSIONS” command if you permanently want your book a different size.

How can I best protect my textures?

Any texture that is shown in Second Life is, for a determined hacker, theoretically copyable — this is just a limit of the way Second Life works. However, you can make life harder for them by ensuring that you set the textures to no modify and no transfer for the next owner before you publish your book — and, of course, hippoBOOK removes them anyway when your book is published, making it that much harder for somebody to be naughty. Nothing, of course, stops somebody taking screen captures of a texture, but that results in very low quality copies. In short, be careful, double-check permissions and test published books with a trusted friend or an alt to avoid any mistakes! It goes without saying, of course, that you use hippoBOOK at your own risk — as we’ve no control over the world of Second Life. There’s a free demo of hippoBOOK available if you want to “try before you buy”!