Thursday, March 22, 2007

Height Inflation

If you've read much of my blog at all, you know I love being tall and long-legged in SL. I'd be a giantess if I could, at least part of the time, and I'd make my legs several meters long if I could, at least part of the time.

So, have you ever wondered just what that mapping from "height" slider to height is? Armed with a device that will tell you your height, graciously given by my dear friend Cheyenne Palisades, I set out to determine the mapping. (*rolls eyes* As if it were difficult... Sorry for the phony suspense.)

Nearly as I can tell, for women at least it's

H(s) = .21s + 65 (in inches)
H(s) = .533s + 165 (in centimeters)

Now, I said to Cheyenne something like "Hey! I'll do some GIMPery and set up a split screen shot with my 'normal' SL self looking at myself at the average American woman's height of 5'4"!"

I will work on getting a split-screen shot set up, but strictly speaking, I can't do what I wanted to do, because if you're an American woman of average height, you cannot make your avatar look like you. You can't be that short in SL!

I have to think that LL has received complaints about this from those who are 5'4" or shorter and want avatars that resemble their RL selves. I wonder what the reasoning behind the height mapping is?

So, no wonder there's such height inflation in SL. I know when I was invited to initially fiddle with my appearance, there was no indication at all of what the height slider settings meant in absolute terms. It was just obvious that a larger slider value meant taller. Of course, I immediately went "Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!" and ran it to 100... but I bet that if people knew at the start what the setting meant, they'd change their behavior and moderate their height.

Immediate counterargument: if that were the case, wouldn't they be rushing to scale back the first time they ran across one of those height-reporting devices? I don't know. I'd think that by then you would have seen other people, and would tend to want to fit in.

It might make for an interesting study by someone who knows what he or she is doing... which, for this field at least, leaves me out. :)

[UPDATE: there appears to be more to the setting of height in SL than I thought; stay tuned for further results.]


Anonymous said...

I love the idea of height growth in SL. There isn't enough leeway there. Its supposed to be a world of your own making yet you can't do as you wish

Kee Llewellyn said...

As I understand it, when Linden created the first proto-avatar, they accidentally made it too tall. The entire game was then built around that avi and so here we are today living in a gigantic world populated by giant midgets.

There's a thing in building known as "Second Life scale" and it refers to the reality that, due to the nature of the following camera and other issues, rooms that are "in scale" look too small. Have you ever looked at a building that looked nicely proportioned only to walk near a wall and find that you barely come up to the wainscotting?

And yet I am a "7-foot tall" woman avatar who still only comes up to the shoulder of a lot of men I meet.

I really wonder if it would matter if Linden just re-set the scale so it reflected more realistic measures. Make my 7-foot height into, say, 5'10" and be done with it. Would it really change anything?

Sveid said...

Actually, it is entirely possible to create realistically proportioned women under 6' tall.

I tend an in-world role-play area that strives for a very immersive and engaging visual experience. To accomplish this, however, one consider details such as scale. As such, I have long encouraged visiting residents to adopt realistic proportions, and even provide two free avatars and a selection of free body shapes at the entrance.

If you'd like to try them yourself you may find them at;

The shape set and avatars may be found to the right of the large sci-fi teleporter at the end of the entrance hall. The teleporter leads to the role-play area proper.