Avatar Height vs. Vehicle Users in Second Life: Statistics

My head explodes when I contemplate statistics. However, it is important for Second Life vehicle designers like me to understand our audiences. Read on for a brief treatment of avatar height as it relates to vehicle users, and what that might mean for vehicle designers. I’ll present the data, then discuss how I got it.

Avatar height has a lot to do with vehicles. Specifically, how big do you make the vehicle such that it fits the pilot/driver and any desired passengers comfortably? Will you need to fold them up with an animation so that the avatar collision box won’t interfere with vehicle functionality?

As in RL, the fashion among top tier vehicles tends to run toward “snug-fitting.” Av heights can naturally range from 1.1 to 2.4m, but users aren’t evenly distributed among this range.

The following table presents the quantiles for height among vehicle users in SL, expressed in units of SL’s native metric system.

Quantile

Height (m)

100% Max

2.4

99%

2.3

95%

2.2

90%

2.2

75% Q3

2.1

50% Median

2.0

25% Q1

1.8

10%

1.6

5%

1.3

1%

1.1

0% Min

1.1

n = 739,777

mean = 1.91 m

For those of you reflexively going zomgwtf, the tight range between quantiles 1 and 3 suggest that a big chunk of SL users are tightly clustered with respect to height. In this case, they happen to be clustered near the median height, 2.0 m.

For those of you still going zomgwtf, here’s a nice picture (click for full size):

Use-weighted vehicle user height distribution

Notice a few things:

1) You can see from the graph that most all users are within +/- 0.2 meters of 2.0 m tall.

2) See the uptick on the left hand of the graph? Those are tinies (1.1 m) and ageplayers (1.2 m). Haha! I’m kidding. Sort of.

3) From a biometry standpoint (and a sociology of virtual worlds standpoint), these results are endlessly fascinating. Recall from your biology class that many physical characteristics, including human height, are normally distributed. That is, there are roughly an equal number of people taller and shorter than the average, and symmetrically so when you graph it out, as above.

That is clearly not the case “here” in Second Life. Vehicle users for whatever reason tend to favor being taller, but not extremely tall, and *extremely* short. The distribution pictured above isn’t by any means normal.

Specifically, we can use skewness and kurtosis to look at HOW non-normal SL heights are. For those of you trained in experiments, Kolmogorov-Smirnov D is 0.1839, p < 0.01. For those of you not trained in experiments, the SL distribution doesn’t model RL at all.

But that’s true in many ways. 😉

Now, these are use-weighted data, meaning that vehicle users who drive/pilot more often are accounted for more heavily. Non-use weighted data are similar enough in this case that it isn’t worth my time to report.

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