Mona Eberhardt: Our avatars are just too big

Mona EberhardtMona Eberhardt has a great post today on Living Virtually about the heights of Second Life avatars.

Unfortunately, since we use the same viewers, all the same issues apply to OpenSim users as well.

Maybe somebody out there has some ideas for a solution?

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Maria Korolov

Maria Korolov is editor and publisher of Hypergrid Business. She has been a journalist for more than twenty years and has worked for the Chicago Tribune, Reuters, and Computerworld and has reported from over a dozen countries, including Russia and China. Follow me on Twitter @MariaKorolov.

6 Responses

  1.' Han Held says:

    I’ve never fussed much with height; but it’s clearly still an issue.
    I’ve seen apartments in SL to this day where my full-sized adult avatar
    looks like a midget.

    I can’t praise Penny’s camera settings (“a
    matter of perspective” -the second link in the article) enough, however.
    Not only do they help you to build better, but they give events a more
    realistic and “immersive” look. When you’re dancing, it actually looks
    like you’re dancing *with* people, instead of merely looking down at a
    crowd of writhing dollys.

  2.' Rene says:

    It is more than avatar height inflation. The walk speed of avatars is also unnaturally high. The different grids set the walking speed from 3.0 to 3.6m/s () when the average walking speed of a human is 1.4m/s. So, avatars are moving over twice as fast as expected. That high speed makes it uncomfortable for avatars to walk in size appropriate rooms and settings.

  3.' D Osborn says:

    I’m more than a bit confused about where Mona is going with that post…

    While I agree with the premise that there are definite advantages to using proper scale and proportion to enhance the immersive and realistic nature of a space, I’ve failed to find any real supporting evidence that building on a 1:1 scale is any “better” or “worse” than choosing a different one. The “argument” for adopting a 1:1 scale seems to be based on a personal reaction to being labelled as “small” when one’s avatar adheres to RW dimensions, or the fact that some future mesh content will be available at that scale.

    When I suggested that it seems counterproductive to randomly assign a single scale as “better”, the response was to insist I was “obviously” one of those mis-informed, non-proportional, ignorant builders who enjoys accusing people of being children. This is not advancing a discussion on the merits of scaled building. It sounds like someone is upset that they put some effort into designing an avatar, only to find out that they are not in the “majority” and that adversely affects their enjoyment of the different environments.

    I also happen to be the person Keith mentions, developing 1/2 scale spaces on the MOSES grid. As I pointed out to Mona, using that scale affords me the space to jam 4 regions worth of content into a single sim. There are unique challenges to outfitting users with the 1/2 scale mesh avatars, but I am working in a closed grid with a small number of users. I would never say that 1/2 scale is the BEST solution, just that it is A viable option with most of the same advantages as 1:1. I have also addressed the movement speed issue with an AO that allows for variable walk speeds much closer to “natural”. As Rene points out, this seems just as important a factor in build decisions, but seems to be OK to ignore amoung the “we want it REAL” crowd.

    Yes, consistent scaling of in world objects inside a controlled space can greatly improve the immersive nature of our builds. NO NO NO attempting to define the “best” scale as 1:1 in a world where few actually achieve an understand of everything that impacts the perception of scale IS NOT a viable solution. Why not just admit that the highly imaginative and creative community in OpenSim/SL thrives on the freedom to explore a wide range of building scales??? Then, if you want to make a wish list for the Lindens/TPV vendors, ask for a simple..”scale my avatar up or down” feature. The “realistically sized” among us could then grow and shrink to whatever size best accommodates the space we find ourselves exploring.


    • As a user, I’m just going to use the same scale everyone else is using. Same for building stuff — I want it to fit as many avatars as possible.

      However, going forward — and especially as we transition to full virtual reality — a more realistic scale will become more important.

      I’m not sure how to make the transition, though. Who wants to keep and outfit two separate avatars — one “normal” and one “realistic”?

      In fact, the easiest thing to do is just to redefine the scale itself, making the current scale the “default realistic” one by saying something like 1 Linden meter = .5 real meters, or whatever it is equal to. As OpenSim moves to variable-sized regions, the size aspects make less and less of a difference.

      And, eventually, Second Life is bound to upgrade its prims and land allotments… maybe? Eventually?

  4.' Kenneth Sutton says:

    No, it’s not a great post. It’s just more of the same tired harping from people who think a virtual world meter should be the same as a physical meter. I really like Penny Patton’s camera angles, but the rest of her arguments and Mona’s don’t hold up. People have avatars with tiny heads and short arms because they don’t know what people are really shaped like, or they don’t know how to use the avatar customization tools well. As a number of people have pointed out, these arguments always stop at camera angle, avatar size, and ceiling height without ever addressing speed of movement, not to mention the ramifications of an imaginary world where people can fly or have wings or horns that won’t fit through “real life” doors. What does “too damned tall” even mean when it’s all pixels?

  5.' Thomas Galbreus says:

    Linden Lab or other companies running commercial grids have no interest in doing something against the height inflation I’m afraid, because for them it is a good thing if objects have to be big, since that way the same content requires more land.