I helped Lox Salomon build a replica of Fallingwater in Second Life. Fallingwater is a well known home by Frank Lloyd Wright built in Western Pennsylvania, USA.
A visit to this home may be instructive so that you will understand the topic of scale in Second Life.
Being such a well known and popular site in Real Life, I wanted to see if it had been built in Second Life. Yes, there are a few example by other builders in Second Life. At the time, the best, by far, in terms of it's accuracy was in the region of Svan, a personal effort built by Lox Salomon.
When I met Lox, he had already built his model of Fallingwater on his own land in Svan. He had built it to a scale of 1:1. This scale challenges residents of Second Life in two areas. First, the SL viewer is difficult, if not impossible to use in confined spaces such as hallways or a bathroom. The second issue related to a scale of 1:1 is avatar size. Lox knew this too.
The ceiling height of Fallingwater is unusually low. It is around 7 ft high in the main living room. My avatar was unable to walk freely around the house without hitting my head and being stopped by the building itself. A door in Real Life that is 3 ft wide would be 0.9144 meters wide in Second life and only 2.032 meters tall. It is very hard to walk through a 1 meter wide opening, and the height of most avatars is greater than 2 meters, making it impossible to navigate any modern home if it were built to a scale of 1:1 in Second Life. A discussion with Lox resulted in a scale that would be easy to use and translate to Second Life. That scale is: 1 meter in SL = 2 feet in RL. The result was a re-building of Lox's Fallingwater. I was happy to help.
You may ask why this scale?. Well, it is easy to calculate many distances using this conversion scale. 1 ft is exactly 0.5 meters. and many things in RL construction (in the United States) are built to even multiples of 1 foot or fractions of 1 foot. An example is the walls of the overhanging patios were determined to be 6 inches (1/2 foot). so, it was easy to make these walls in SL exactly 0.25 meters thick. I find it easy to convert many of these dimensions in my head. Decimal equivalents of common fractions are well understood by designers in the United States.
A door that is 3 ft wide would be 1.5 meters in Second Life and much more natural to navigate through. The normal height of this same door in Real Life is 6'-8" and works out to 3.334 meters tall in SL.
That was the scale, but it never had a name before this. I am now giving it the name of the Erlanger Scale. I am promoting it as the scale of choice when building true to life buildings in Second Life, because it works for both height and width dimensions of buildings. It also works for so many other objects. Most notably, it works for seating. A standard chair in RL is about 18 inches high. When made to the Erlanger Scale, most avatars sit comfortably without their feet disappearing into the floor.
I plan to do at least one model home to demonstrate the applicability of this scale to architectural collaboration via Second Life. Stay tuned.