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The Linden Meter according to Ryan Linden


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There's already some disagreement about avatar height on another thread. I acknowledge that.

What I was given for building reference when I first came to SL was a tape measure created by a LInden.

It told me that a ceiling height is 3.8 meters, doors are 2.8 meters by 1.45 meters, and (an?) avatar is 2.1 meters, which is roughly consistent with the height of an avatar set to numbers in the middle range. I was not provided with anything by Lindens to contradict this, and it was very consistent with what I observed practically everywhere I went. Even the architecture around telehubs seems to be designed for people larger than their metric equivalents.

None of this makes sense unless A) everything in SL is supposed to be bigger than in RL, OR B) the Linden meter is substantially smaller than the RL meter.

So which is it?

 

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Rule of thumb I've always heard (and has remained quite consistant) is everything in SL is about 125% compared to RL.  The size of the avatar determines that and it is more or less arbitrary and about 125% of a RL person.  It really doesn't matter much since it's all porportional..........we are giants in a giant world.  It looks normal because it is normal.........for SL.

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I understand that.

But there are people who insist that the Linden meter be treated as a metric meter, and these people have chosen to use their belief as a means to disparage and condescend to people who do things like adjust their avatars to heights that would be considered quite large under metric consistency.

As yet, they seem to more interested in disparaging people than in coming up with a clear solution for the millions of non-copy items that are already "too big".

In re-reading what they've written, it's now clear to me that metric consistency is only the surface issue, and that there are at least two subtexts that explain some of these people motivationally:

1) Those who must yet bow before the queen of England find this issue convenient to leave unsolved because it allows them to characterize Americans as sufficiently ignorant to not have any good idea of the size of a meter. They seem to imagine that making the Linden meter conform to the metric meter in terms of personal dimensions is a subtle way for Americans to defer to their greater understanding of things as cultural superiors.

2) Those who came to Second Life before there were free accounts can use the fact that the free accounts and the bulk of the upsizing happened at about the same time to speak indirectly about the other thing. Anyone of proper breeding should know that classism must never be transparent, so it's better just to talk about how big people are now, and how stupid it is that so many people are so big.

There's a Linden story that partially explains size confusion in avatars, but it doesn't explain why the tape measure continued to be distributed, or why the non-avatar dimensions on the measuring tape are similarly strange in comparison to RL. 

(A) If LL wanted us to make everything extra big, maybe we shouldn't have, but there's no reason to think less of people for working with the information given them, complete or otherwise. LL apparently did not intend to produce a race of giants, but they also did nothing to prevent it, and more than one thing to encourage it. If people are upset about SL being larger than life, they might do well to petition LL to fix LL's mistake, rather than blame the users.

(B) If LL simply wanted a smaller meter, that would explain everything just fine, and the problem would effectively solve itself. Apparenly, LL did not want a smaller meter. But, again, if they did not, then the self-appointed Size Police would do better to take up with LL the solicitation of users to treat the meter as smaller than to blame the users.

But have they done any of this? Will they do any of this?

No. Because it doesn't in any way promote their various hidden agendae.

IMHO, the easiest way to resolve the issue once and for all is just for LL to make an official announcement of what is to be approximated, henceforth, by the Linden meter.

In my estimation, about 2.5 English feet would be close enough.

What could be so wrong with that?

 

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>None of this makes sense unless A) everything in SL is supposed to be bigger than in RL, OR B) the Linden meter is substantially smaller than the RL meter.

As I stated in that other thread, neither of these are the case. It's a false dichotomy. The reality is that LL didn't put much thought at all into visual design matters such as scale or avatar proportion. There are statements from Lindens which admit this, and it's obvious when you look at things like the starter avatars provided to new users from SL's beginning right up to the present. The average SL avatar has a tiny, tiny head and freakishly short arms, do you really consider this to be by design?

 

 My position has always been that it is only practical to build smaller in SL because the size of a sim as well as the constraints on the size and number of prims we can create with are most efficiently used at a smaller scale than most people build to. Realistic scale actually falls into a sweet spot where we have adequate prims to create highly detailed environments from border to border in a sim, we're able to make prims small enough to create small details for avatar attachments, and we afford ourselves ample amounts of area to create in.

 

 Look at it this way. Without using megaprims, a 10x10 room, four walls a ceiling and floor, can be built in 2 prims, working with the utmost efficiency. (Two hollow cubes, one used to create the ceiling and floor, the other used to create the walls.) That same room scaled up to 20x20 takes up four times as much area, and eats up 12 prims.

 Consider that applied to much larger, more detailed environments. Regardless of what you think about "how large a linden metre should be", the fact of the matter is when you up-scale to the degree that the vast majority of SL users do, you and your content take up four times as much land for no additional gain. If anything, graphics also sugger because more prims allotted to structures (walls, floors, etcetera) means fewer prims available for detail and content (furniture, vehicles, decorations, landscaping).

 For what it's worth, I have never seen anyone suggest that we absolutely must adhere to real world dimensions. I've never made that argument, and I've yet to see anyone else make that argument. The argument has always been that larger content means a smaller, less detailed Second Life. That argument is demonstrably true. Environments built to a smaller scale are consistently more detailed and (relatively speaking) larger than environments up-scaled for larger avatars and SL's poor default camera placement.

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Peggy has the right of it... it's just a comedy of errors.

poor placement of camera angles and od proportioning of element of the avatar skeleton lead to large avs, large avs lead to content being built to fit... objects get bigger, land space and ranges stay they same so are smaller in comparison.

then you get to the social side where the common avs which rival greek gods and goddesses in stature and their relaisticly measured cousins are at odd's, throw in some accusatory backlash with the help of stupid policy definitions from LL about age play, and McCarthy-esque encouragement to spy on and report your neighbor for any perceived offense. sprinkle with counter backlash against people trying to twist even harmless forms of RP into something sinister, and top with the technical minds pointing out the ridiculous waste, both of physical and inworld resources, as well as pointless drama....

serve to masses of SL users, and observe that it's more entertaining than daytime tv.

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I was very confused till some time ago with the way LL counts the height. LL brought their own way of measuring the height. I have read so many threads about it here and finally i found that Phoenix Viewer counts rightly avatars height, and in any case Viewer 2. Recently i built a stick and i use to count everything with it. I adjust it changing its height depending of what i want to count. It is not accurate but practical. I consider that the following thread is informative. Have a look if you wish.

http://community.secondlife.com/t5/Avatar/Avatar-height-why-is-there-a-discrepancy/qaq-p/687428

 

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Yup, Peggy nailed it. It's a tempest in a teapot.  This is a virtual world, so the unit of measure is whatever you want to imagine it to be. A "meter" on my screen is a different size from one on yours, so the absolute measurement is meaningless. Relative scaling of avs to their surroundings is a matter of convenience (or inconvenience), hardly anything to have a fit over. Just pretend that you're traveling with Gulliver.

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height measument for av's relative to the the SL meter is just bugged because the function only counts up the to top of the av neck... phoenix does a little futzing behind the scenes to get head size to add to it, making it accurate... V2 doesn't and just relies on the buggy numbers from the region. scripted functions have the same problem.

ETA:
the answer to the original question was
C: design flaws leading to competing conceptual standards.

PS option A and B are the same thing.

PPS
Officially a meter is a meter is a meter, real virtual, or imagined.

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>This is a virtual world, so the unit of measure is whatever you want to imagine it to be. A "meter" on my screen is a different size from one on yours, so the absolute measurement is meaningless. Relative scaling of avs to their surroundings is a matter of convenience (or inconvenience), hardly anything to have a fit over.

This doesn't take into considertion that land size is static and finite, or that there are hard limits to prim sizes.

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Finally, I think this discussion has taken a more reasonable tone.

Thanks to all of you.

Using the meter as a meter would allow more efficient use of space. That is the chief practical consideration which I appreciate. By extension, though, we might as well make avatars as small as possible, and make everything else to match them. That would at least make no less sense than trying to get people to stop "lying" about their height in (as if it were OK to "lie" about everything else?).

In fact, I might like to see more size variance in SL, if only to parallel size variance in RL. When there used to be a lot more Chinese in SL, for example, they made Chinese avatars, but mostly sized them up to match Nordic and Germanic avatars. I think that's not a problem, in and of itself, but the thinking behind it is something worth considering. I made a point of getting to know as many of these people as possible as quickly as I could before they all left, and it was they who first pointed out to me that the default object cube looks less like a half meter than like a Chinese foot, assuming that 2.1 meters is a normal height as indicated by the Linden tape measure. One of the few things I don't love about Chinese culture is that the urge to conformity is even greater than the urge to compliance, which is why I think they chose the 2.1 meter avatars over meterically consistent avatars which would be smaller on average than Euro/American avatars by both a natural degree and an unnatural degree.

I'm not saying that people should vary avatar height by RL ethnicity or anything that fascistic; I merely mean to say that letting go of the idea the meter being a meter could free people up to prioritize size questions according to their own criteria, and that would be interesting,  giving different places a different "feel", much like when I look around in a crowd of Colombians in RL and notice that I am not about average in height as I was in the US, or when I worked in a shop owned by a bunch of professional basketball players.

When I have suggested elsewhere that the Linden meter is already a functional size corresponding to something in RL my point was less to prescribe than to de-prescribe. As said, I don't actually care what the meter is, but if people are going to insist that it is anything in particular, it makes less sense to insist that it is a meter than to insist it is what it actually looks like in comparison to typical object and avatar sizes; about 2.5 English feet (or 2 Chinese feet or 2 Egyptian cubits, etc.... who cares which?).

I don't ask people to let go of the idea that the LInden meter can be anything other than what I suggest it is; I ask them to let go of the idea that it is a meter.

If changing the name of the meter would help to emphasize that it lacks the implied utility, I would support that.

I'm looking for Esperanto words that would work, but which would not already have some unneeded implication.

Anybody else have an idea not already stated?

 

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>Finally, I think this discussion has taken a more reasonable tone.

I've only been repeating the same things I said in the other thread.

>By extension, though, we might as well make avatars as small as possible, and make everything else to match them.

That seems like a reasonable conclusion on the surface. A few things that should be pointed out tho, and I already mentioned several of these in the other thread.

The big one;

1) You can create adult proportioned shapes between 5-6' easily enough. Smaller than that and you run into the issue where it's possible to create dwarf and child proportions, but adult proportions are no longer possible.

Now, assuming we could get around that we'd quickly hit these issues.

2) Prims have a minimum size limit. We'd quickly hit that limit where prims become useless for attachments.

3)We still have the issue of a limited number of prims per sim. Shrink the avatar further than is possible and you'd quickly run into the issue of not having enough prims to fill a sim with content.

> In fact, I might like to see more size variance in SL, if only to parallel size variance in RL.

I'd like to see this too, and beyond even. Currently, avatars seem to be (generally speaking) in a race to the top. Which means it is currently impossible to create a "tall" let alone "giant" avatar compared to the norm. Few people, relatively speaking, seem willing to shrink. You see more women willing to shrink down than men, who are much more reluctant. So there's currently more variety in women's sizes. But still, if LL were able to push (through passive, encouraging measures like those I suggested in my previous posts) the size of the average avatar would be about middle of the road for avatar size possibilities. This would open up the whole range of avatar sizes. Those wishing to be giants, trolls, minotaurs, orcs, etcetera could tower over regular humans. I think you'd also see more people willing to shrink below adult human sizes to create dwarves, hobbits, etcetera.

 Add to that, if LL provided a broader range of properly scaled and proportioned body types to new users, they could encourage a wider range of sizes that way, too. Tall and thin, short and fat. Orc warlord, gnome alchemist, human auto mechanic, drow barber...you name it.

>If changing the name of the meter would help to emphasize that it lacks the implied utility, I would support that.

But currently the only argument in favour of what you're suggesting, as far as broadening the range of avatar sizes and allowing for more creativity, are the same people arguing that the measurement system provided is a good one and we'd be better off adhering to it.

Speaking as someone who does design professionally, scale is important. It allows us to give the world a more coherent and deliberately varied design aesthetic. As I pointed out of the current situation, where SL lacks any coherent sense of scale, we cannot create giants because everyone is already pushing that end of the spectrum. We can't create animations that work reliably between  multiple avatars because any given avatar is as likely to be 6' tall as they are almost 9' tall.

This lack of a common sense of scale is very limiting to both avatar and content creation, not the other way around.

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Penny Patton wrote:

 

1) You can create adult proportioned shapes between 5-6' easily enough. Smaller than that and you run into the issue where it's possible to create dwarf and child proportions, but adult proportions are no longer possible.

Few people, relatively speaking, seem willing to shrink. You see more women willing to shrink down than men, who are much more reluctant. So there's currently more variety in women's sizes.

But currently the only argument in favour of what you're suggesting, as far as broadening the range of avatar sizes and allowing for more creativity, are the same people arguing that the measurement system provided is a good one and we'd be better off adhering to it.

Speaking as someone who does design professionally, scale is important. It allows us to give the world a more coherent and deliberately varied design aesthetic.

I made a few snips above.

Recently I have 'shrunk' my avatar a few inches partly to minimize towering over women who now have shorter Avas.  But going beyond a few inches, that is, if I go all the way down to my RL measurements I find myself dwarfed by the environment.  Furniture is too large, poses don't line up, etc.

In the other thread, someone quoted Andrew Linden, whom I will requote here.

"As I recall, the max and min heights (head to toe) possible are somewhere around 2.95 and 1.25 meters, respectively. I determined those numbers emperically back in late beta."

Note that he did it empirically.  From Dictionary.com we find this defintion of 'empirical,'

"1. derived from or guided by experience or experiment.

2. depending upon experience or observation alone, without using scientific method..........."

In other words it was based upon how things appeared.  He didn't use a ruler or tape measure.  Hence your statement about "scale" is very important.  How everything scales in the environment is what counts. 

If every resident were to choose today to re-size there Avatar to so called accurate height, the net effect would be a lot of in one sense broken content.  Everything would look out of proportion.  It would take a long time by attrition for all the then mis-sized content, mis-aligned poses, etc, etc to go away.  But I just don't see it happening that way.  I sure don't want to spend the Lindens to do it.

laurel hardy brats 2

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>If every resident were to choose today to re-size there Avatar to so called accurate height, the net effect would be a lot of in one sense broken content.  Everything would look out of proportion.  It would take a long time by attrition for all the then mis-sized content, mis-aligned poses, etc, etc to go away.

Two things I need to address about this statement.

1) I think LL should take the "long term" approach to encouraging smaller avatars, as I suggested in some of my earlier posts. I don't think an overnight "scaling down" of the population is feasible or realistic. Introduce smaller starter avatars, fix AgentHeight, start building public areas to better scale.

In this sense, scaling down becomes similar to a new feature. Much like sculpted prims or mesh. New content is slowly phased in as old content is phased out. Over a substantial amount of time.

 

2) One could, quite rightly, argue that the existing content is broken. Keep in mind, as there is no common sense of scale on the grid, avatars are not up-scaled consistently as compared to one another. Environments, furniture and other content are similarly not consistently up-scaled with the population.

 Yes, almost everyone and everything is too large. But "too large" is not a measurement. A bus is large. The Empire State Building is large. These things are not similar in size. Avatar height ranges from 6' tall to 8'10" tall among the majority of the population. That's a nearly 3' difference in stature.  Environments (houses, buildings, landscapes) tend to be scaled up anywhere by 1.25 times to more than double scale.

 Animations and furniture are notorious for not being one-size-fits-all among the general population.

3) As stated above, everything is way of proportion right now, whether you're 5'2" or 8'10" you are constantly surrounded by avatars, environments and content that is scaled differently than your own avatar. As you said yourself, you had to scale down because you were towering over women. You're probably still extremely tall, yet there's people much taller than you still!

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>Might it not be possible simply to allow sim owners to set a different meter size in their sim, and have everything in it scale if it is rezzed there?

Something tells me that would not be very simple at all.

I'm an artist not a coder, so I could be wrong, but at the very least it seems to me that it would require everyone to set a scale to begin with, and if this were applied to the mainland it would amont to the sort of forced re-sizing that would not sit well with most people who own land there already.

 It also seems like this would also require the sim to re-size attachments, which is not always possible.and it would put a whole extra layer on top of shape settings.

Again, I'm not a software engineer, so I can't really say. If there were an easy fix to the mess I'd be all for it.

I don't see an easy fix being feasible, so that's why I suggested the "long view" approach. It's slow, there'd be a transition period of a year or two, but in the end it would have the same effect, would require far less work and no complex software changes would be necessary.

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I'm also not a coder, but it seems to me that because of the rendering system, questions of scale are already operant, and might possibly be given an auxiliary multiple controllable by land owners for objects rezzed on land and controllable by avatar users for objects rezzed on avatars. In fact, it could be used to somewhat automatically resize (or NOT resize) objects according to some over-all avatar scale number, enabling greater size control of no-mod items relative to avatars. This would give everyone even more choices than they already have (which is good...no?).

Again, though, I'm not a coder. I've also had no success explaining how the active application of lag could be used to simulate small amounts of time travel in combat sims. People used to think things like Second Life, as a whole, would never work, either. Whatever.

Because I make all copymod stuff, I guess that what you suggest should sound like a better idea to me, but I'm not really interested in making more money simply by seeing a lot of objects become obsolete on the simple basis of being permanently too large.

If that's what happens, I certainly won't oppose it, but without some kind of action on LL's part, I don't see how anything is going to change, despite the best efforts of some users to convince us that they know better than LL what size we should make things.

Too big, as a range of things, is not a size. I get that; small enough is also not a size but a range of sizes. No matter what standard is set, a lot of people will never respect it. More will probably make avatars extra large rather than extra small. Not that that matters much, but objects also will continue to be made in odd sizes, which is not always a delight to consumers.

LL so far provides a default noob that is metrically oversized, Telehub architecture that is metrically oversized, and a tape measure that gives avatar and building dimensions as oversized. That there are yet more eggregious size deviations by users, though, should not matter. The metric implications of these 3 Linden examples are sufficiently similar to let me say that they effectively represent one idea of scale, regardless of issues like the "50" setting on avatars (which at least produce my interim supervisor at the underwriting office and the woman I shacked up with for 4 years because she smelled good).

So I guess my challenge to the Size Police (of whom I acknowledge Penny is not functioning as a member, thanks) should be to get Linden to do something about the "problem". If LL institutes Penny's solution, I don't see any solid reason to complain about it. OTOH, I still think my original solution would be even easier and more immediately effective; announce an official RL equivalent for the Linden meter which differs from the metric meter. It's not a perfect solution (neither is Penny's), but is at least an instant solution; most things would immediately become the right size, or at least something close to it.

 

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Josh Susanto wrote:

 

So I guess my challenge to the Size Police (of whom I acknowledge Penny is not functioning as a member, thanks) should be to get Linden to do something about the "problem". If LL institutes Penny's solution, I don't see any solid reason to complain about it. OTOH, I still think my original solution would be even easier and more immediately effective; announce an official RL equivalent for the Linden meter which differs from the metric meter. It's not a perfect solution (neither is Penny's), but is at least an instant solution; most things would immediately become the right size, or at least something close to it.

you realize of course that your very statemnt there makes you a functional member of the size police? because there really is no "right" size, only effective size (which is the technical standpoint, which Penny represents)...

..nor could LL ever make such an announcement since it would effectively be saying that they've been cheating people out of their perceived amounts of virtual land, even though in reality nothing would have changed (even if it does have some marginal truth)

plus you have to consider social conditioning which pushes the masses towards outdoing each other, which effectively means no matter what the limits, or what you call it, people are going to continue to push just past their neighbor to try and gain a perceived social advantage, not based on a measurement system, but based on comparison to each other. That would mean continual adjustments to the measurement system which isn't sustainable in a meaningful way.

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Thanks, I do see the irony me of suggesting that some (any) specific RL equivalent be assigned to the Linden Meter.

But the Size Police have two issues and I only have one. Without their presence, I would have no issue anyway.

They both want A) SL to have a specific system of scale (which they believe it already has) and B)they want people to honor it.

I really don't care whether people honor any specific scale, but I think it's a fight that only has any value if there is a specific scale to honor or dishonor.

Moreover, the reason I suggested a simple official acknowledgement of the currently prevailing scale is just to get people arguing about something defined rather than something undefined. Right now it's impossible to settle any disagreement about whether something is too big or too small because, thanks to LL, too big and too small arguably don't even exist.

I admit to being deliberately provocative by telling people to prove me wrong when I say the Linden meter is 2.5 English feet, but what I'm ultimately trying to provoke is a recognition that a the position for metric consistency is at least equally weak when things other than the word "meter", itself, are considered.

Having considered more possible solutions, I am starting to think that an auxiliary scale multiplier wouldn't even be necessary if the "white axis" stretch function were made an open permission for all objects, as rotate and position currently are (the idea of "mod" is both arbitrary and subjective, eh). I understand this might mess up a few scripts, but some scripts already act weird when objects are rotated, so it's not necessarily an intolerable problem, especially in comparison to simply throwing away millions of "incorrectly" sized objects that aren't ever going to get modded for size. 

If LL will do that and also fix default n00b size, adjust telehub architecture and delete all the spurious tape measures, I don't see any reason not to support metric consistency.

Again, though, if that's not even on the table, a simple announcement of 2.5 English feet.... well... you know...

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