Playing second life a lot of the structures and teqtures remind me very much of the early tomb raider games. In this youtube clip i have found, I can recognise some of the techniques they used to build and animate levels.

Things like the water fall and lava are textures with a animation script on it.  The mist and light beems i can see are flat prims with a texure and transparancy turned up. Also i can see the window are a texture with an alpha channel. I can see how they constructed the environment using shapes conneted together.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The more i learn on this course the more i can technically read games like tomb raider and understand how they achieved effects.