# 3D games: character is small compared to the size of objects in the world

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3D games: character is small compared to the size of objects in the world

I've noticed in many 3D games that characters are small compared to the size of objects in the game world, such as trees, rooms in dungeons, etc.

why is this done?

I've also noticed in 3D games that things in the world tend to look more like the correct size in 1st person view, but much bigger in 3rd person view.

What causes this?

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A picture of what you mean would be helpful.

If you mean what I think, one reason is to make the art readable.

Characters need to be a particular size relative to the screen size to be playable. Other objects so need be visible and clearly distinguishable despite being so far from the camera floating overhead, meaning that they also need a size chosen relative to the visible screen size rather than being relative to the character.

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I worked on Excite Truck many years ago and most of the game is spent driving really fast with motion blur and a very wide field of view, which makes objects appear much smaller than they are. In order to actually see the objects in the environment, they have to be artificially huge. If you take your truck in Excite Truck and slowly drive up to a house, you'll see the house is probably two or three times bigger than it should be if things were to scale, but appears normal when playing the game regularly.

Also, in 3D third person games, doors and stuff have to be both readable and functional from a gameplay perspective. Doors can be scaled up a bit to allow the player to walk through easily without tweaky collision volumes getting impeded.

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3D games: character is small compared to the size of objects in the world

I see this mostly happens in Indie games when no texel density has been set, I feel this occurs less in AAA games however I have seen some where scale isn't correct.

I think it helps because you are more aware of measurements, we do keep characters around for scale.

Also as mentioned above we need to match the grid scale, level designers would design the level using basic primitives then the artist will take the primitive and build inside it so that the actual collisions don't change; so we work more to a game scale than a real world scale.

I've also noticed in 3D games that things in the world tend to look more like the correct size in 1st person view, but much bigger in 3rd person view.   What causes this?

That would be camera settings, like the focal point and perspective settings.

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A) The developers don't really know what they are doing.

B) A game should not be 1 to 1 with the real world. It should look fun and exciting.

C) Depends really on the perspective the developer chooses.

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A picture of what you mean would be helpful.

Skyrim is the first thing that comes to mind.

If you mean what I think, one reason is to make the art readable.

I'm not really talking about signs and stuff.   Things like trees, and such.    I'm aware the power-ups in shooters are often over-sized to make them mode noticeable.

But come to think of it, weapons and armor too quite often. Although this is more about taking artistic license and increasing coolness factor. But that often goes a bit overboard, with characters wielding weapons that are bigger than they are.

As for 1pv vs 3pv, i've noticed it even in my own game Caveman. and you damn well know i'm doing all of that to scale. And I don't change the view mat at all, just the camera  location.

Maybe its an optical illusion caused by the fact that view mats are an approximation of human vision - and only an approximation.

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I think when they said readable, they were talking about understanding what your looking at, not necessarily words.

Edited by iedoc

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Well sometimes artists just eyeball things. Using a pinch of intuition they can sometimes make something that can look great, a little off, or just plain odd. Modeling things to scale is important if your making a game that is attempting mirror reality.

When making fantasy games like Skyrim, I think they have a little bit more freedom. I mean (Though this was obviously not the point you were making) who knows how big a Dragon is? Maybe that hut looks small because Dwarfs live in it. Basically I'm backing WoopsASword in the realm of Fantasy Genres.

Marcus

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Check out the 'Scale' section near the end.

Fascinating.   I knew there was a reason 3pv games seemed a bit "off".   And now I know - because they ARE!    I probably notice it more, having been raised on flight sims and other 1st person view games with realistic dimensions.  Makes perfect sense. I tend to detest 3PV, and the types of games I typically play would have no reason to adjust size, scale, and or spacing to accommodate 3pv. So when I play a game with 3pv that does futz with the scales it looks really whacked.  In the past I usually chalked it up to typical BS console crap - can't even get the size of things correct.   Your average Joe probably doesn't even notice.   Wonder if this means you might get more realistic level designs in a 1pv view only game?  It sucks 3pv is so damn popular.  OTOH - the weirdest thing - I actually play Caveman 3.0 in 3pv.  Its like the ONLY game i've EVER had a desire to play in 3pv.  I typically won' play a game if its 3pv only.  Star wars KnightsOTOR for example.  And I'm not sure why I like to play Caveman in 3pv.  Maybe so I can see better for testing purposes?   I do switch back to 1pv for missile attacks. There no aim assist - not even iron sights. Just physics, windage and elevation. So aiming up and down in 3pv is tricky.  I wonder if 3pv game devs realize that incorrect scale makes their games look bad to flight sim fans? I remember back in the day me and my friends would be checking out the latest games, seeing if they were worthy of getting, and would be making jokes about this kind of stuff.

First friend:  "God, they can't even get the size of THAT right! Well this games a joke, I'm not buying this one."

Second friend: "Yep, just another BS title. I'm going back to Aces of The Pacific."

Me: "But Dude! You already completed all 300 missions at hard difficulty level!"

Second friend: "There always very hard"

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