1 Arm yourself with PATIENCE! You're going to need it.
This is all new for your brain, and your computer's brain too. You may crash, more than once. You may get lost. You may load slowly. Your internet may suddenly not seem as super good as it did in SL. But it will pass! Think of yourself as a pioneer, going out into the wild. You're going to meet interesting people, see wide open spaces where the rules of the Old World don't apply, but where new and not always comfortable standards come into play.
2 It's time to make yourself an avatar. In open sim, you can hypergrid from one world to another, you no longer have to make an avatar for every grid. This rule doesn't work for fuddy duddy money grubbing worlds like Avination, inWorldz and the like, aka ClosedSim
Make an avie on OSGrid, which - let's be clear - is not the same as 'open sim' ... it is one (huge) grid among many smaller ones that together constitute open sim. But big is beautiful, so here goes. Here is the page you'll need - hit Join Now, the rest is obvious. Come back and donate if you like what you see!
3 Woop de do, fix up your avatar.You get a default body etc, just as you'd expect, and there are some options immediately available on the big board.
Here, thanks to the magic of Photoshop, is Lars times three. From left to right, he is sporting the outfit he was born in, along with two male options - Ginger Punk and Grid Trotter. After SL, you're going to hate them all, probably - although I thought the Ginger Punk 'Lee' skin by VidKpro wasn't bad. Don't be too dismayed, just around the corner you'll find a box of skins and a few odds and ends of clothing. Do not worry - there are loads of other options all over this grid and all the others. I particularly like the stuff the store on Craft grid offers, but German Grid and FrancoGrid also have some interesting options. Want to know where these places 'are' in relation to OSGrid? Click here to explore and learn more!
4 There's a big sign saying Don't go beyond this point until you've picked up a free Skin/Shape/outfit combo from the vending machine. This is probably because you need a good solid rebake before other people can see you.
You can skip all the obvious stuff in the Newcomer's guide: Walking, flying, Camera controls and all the rest are the same here as in Second Life, with one big exception - you don't need that annoying 'Flight feather' or other script to allow you to fly at altitude here. Do they still have that in SL? Ridiculous.
Everything - or close to everything - is free in OSGrid. Most people make their content free to copy, although some make their stuff no transfer, with an idea to prevent their stuff just being given away behind their backs, so to speak, which is fair enough. If you'e not getting paid, you at least want the satisfaction of people visiting your sim and getting the goods direct from the creator.
5 Don't skip all the notices, there are some good suggestions about getting involved: opportunities to join groups and volunteer if you have skillz and time. Land can be rented here for a fraction of SL prices, and if you're in the mood for something more technical, you can attach your own sims to OSGrid. There's a How-to guide for everything, and plenty of helpful forums, especially for the tricky matter of porting. I rarely Port, I prefer to Sherry myself. Keep walking, you'll see some boxes of free items, and a few obvious tips about clothes. It seemed to me that the 'Fixing Avatar Glitches misses a couple of really important tips. If you want to edit individual prims in a linked item you're wearing, like hair or a skirt, for goodness sake DROP IT or better, Detach, Copy, then rez on ground first.
If you don't do this, if you edit individual linked prims while still attached to you, the object will make your avatar invisible to others every time you wear it. If you are a cloud, it often helps to change your bald base, or shape, as well as the more obvious steps like doing a rebake (Control Alt R).
Make sure you pick up the latest version of the Freebie Landmarks, and the Places to Visit notecards, which will give you a start on your adventure. This is not SL shopping, true enough, but there's lots of useful and fun stuff, good quality prim sculpt and mesh, from furniture to clothes and RP accessories, all the way up to sex beds and lingerie.
Nearly at the end of the Welcome center... there's just time to admire the photo gallery showcasing events that go on here.
There's PrimWords, a game like charades, only you make the word that the others have to guess. There's a speedbuilding competition held weekly, as you'd expect.
With all this space, the real engine of OSGrid is building, whatever form that may take. And of course there are plenty of parties, live music events from folk to the blues and amazing sims to explore, from sci fi space hubs to crazy roller coasters to steampunk towns and amazing art in every form.
And don't forget... Once you've got your OSGrid Avatar, your hypergridding adventures can begin too! So don't delay, sign up today, and when you do, please friend me (I love that) and see you soon in open sim!