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Units Not to Scale

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Attack of the 50 Foot Pikeman!note 

"I do not, for one, think that the problem was that the band was down. I think that the problem may have been, that there was a Stonehenge monument on the stage that was in danger of being crushed — by a dwarf. Alright? That tended to understate the hugeness of the object."
David St. Hubbins, This is Spın̈al Tap

A type of visual abstraction in many Video Games, Board Games, and Tabletop Games by which objects that are supposed to be vastly different from each other in size are represented as much larger or smaller than they really are, so that they take up a similar amount of space onscreen or a similar number of tiles on the map. This is common in the Overworld Not to Scale of JRPGs, where your character seems to be about half the size of a city. (Western RPGs are less prone to this, and many later JRPGs have begun averting it.) Also, in many strategy games, infantrymen are ridiculously large when compared to vehicles and buildings. The difference in scale is particularly noticeable when dealing with transports that can carry multiple infantry, and it's very rare that an aircraft carrier will appear large enough to contain more than a handful of aircraft.

This is a case of acceptable Gameplay and Story Segregation. It can be easier to keep track of everything from a bird's eye view when each unit you can select is within a limited size range. Rendering every unit to scale would require either a very zoomed-out viewpoint that would make small units too difficult to see, or a close-up viewpoint that would make large units too big to fit onscreen. Also, you can't really stop at just making aircraft carriers and Humongous Mecha proportionately bigger than one foot soldier; you'd need to create appropriately giant oceans, mountains, and plains just to preserve the sense of realism, as well as give those behemoths enough space to move around in. It's much simpler to just declare that each tile represents however many miles square, and that whatever unit occupies that tile won't necessarily be drawn to scale.

Lately, this trope is getting discredited in video games; better graphics have indeed made it possible to zoom in enough to see otherwise tiny soldiers in good detail, while maintaining the ability to zoom out and see large vehicles and most of the battlefield - with soldiers either very small, or (depending on the game) so tiny they're shown as symbols. However, it will probably remain a case of Tropes Are Not Bad, since it can be a hassle to have to constantly zoom in and out in order to command efficiently. In practice, even strategy games that downplay this trope at least use it to the extent that you can still micromanage a battle from a single zoom setting. Board games and Tabletop games are further constrained by the fact that you can only make physical game pieces so small before they become inconvenient to manipulate, or make the board so large before you can no longer play the game on a tabletop. Just imagine how impractical playing Risk would be if the board representing the world map was gigantic enough to match the scale of the soldier pieces, or if each of those pieces didn't represent a whole army!

See also Video Game Time, which is improperly scaled time, and Firewood Resources, when resource icon and sprites are simplified at the cost of scale. Compare Actually Four Mooks, Clown Car and Clown-Car Base, Bigger on the Inside, Space Compression, Thriving Ghost Town, Perspective Magic, and Large and in Charge. Bonsai Forest is a subtrope.


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    Action Adventure 
  • Lampshade Hanging in Blood Omen: Legacy of Kain, where the main character comments on the owner of a dungeon as practicing the darkest of magic because of the space distortion.
  • Played straight in the Star Control series - not only do ships battle around "planets" (which in some cases have a smaller diameter than the length of some of the longer ships), if you pay attention, the Landers when sent down to a planet not only can travel around whole planet in moments, they're bigger than Ireland! But... can only hold twelve crewmen.

    Digging Game 
  • In Repton, Boulder Dash and pretty much all games of the rocks-and-diamonds genre, all objects are the same size. Your character can pick up hundreds of diamonds that are as big as he is.

    Driving Game 
  • The environment in the WipEout hover racing games seems to be scaled to size for someone sitting at the height of the camera. This of course means that the ships are tiny or alternatively that the environment is gigantic. The first person dashboard view is only marginally lower, meaning the 'dashboard cam' sits about five metres above the roof of the other ships.

    Fighting Game 
  • The Gundam game Gundam Battle Assault (Gundam Battle Master originally) has the Quin Mantha as an example. In its original appearance the Q-Mantha is a behemoth of a Suit, comparable in size to the 40-meter tall Psyco Gundams. For its adaptation here it is bulkier and a tad bit taller than most of the other MS in the game, but still in the 20-25 meter MS scale and completely dwarfed in size by the boss mobile armors and the Psyco Gundam Mk-III.
  • Transformers Forged To Fight has all the bots being roughly the same size, which works across all versions of them, from Gen One to "Bayformers". Unfortunately, it also works with Beast Wars Transformers, which are multiple times shown to be only a fraction of the size of Gen One Transformers (being their smaller, more efficient, descendants). So Rhinox is still the same size as Optimus Prime.
  • Zigzagged in the Super Smash Bros. games. For the most part, fighters are about the size you'd expect, but some are adjusted in size for better gameplay. Perhaps the most notable examples are Olimar and his Pikmin (who are normally around the size of insects, but here aren't that much smaller than Mario) and Ridley (his size varies by game, but he's usually quite a bit larger, to such an extent that many believed he would never be Promoted to Playable in Smash because he was "too big").
    • The Infantry & Tanks Assist Trophy. They use the sprites from Advance Wars, meaning each infantry soldier is about the same size as the tanks. However, they are tiny compared to the playable characters, at about one-third to one-fourth the height of most of the characters.

    Four X 
  • Stars! does a poor job of this during the combat playbacks. It suffers from the classic "Everything takes up one tile" problem whereby huge starbases and tiny scouts take up the same amount of space.
    • In addition, there's no concept of limited ammo on ships fitted with torpedoes, so even the smallest scouts can fire indefinitely. It's assumed they're produced on-ship somehow.

    Multiplayer Online Battle Arena 
  • League of Legends often has champions that are enormous within the canon of the game, but in-game, while they are larger than some other champions, they are nowhere as large as in the lore.
    • Anivia in-game is already a pretty big bird, if still smaller than a lot of the other large champions. In the lore, however, she's huge, with her level 2 card art in Legends of Runeterra portraying her as being as big as an airliner.
    • Aurelion Sol is probably the most extreme case of this. In-game, he's not much bigger than a lot of other champions, with a few of them being bigger than him. In-lore, he is, at minimum, planet-sized.
    • Cho'Gath averts the trope, and in the process demonstrates why it's in play for everyone else. His Ultimate has him eat something and grow bigger, at full stacks he's almost five time the size of other champions. This makes him one of the best aggro magnets in the game, because if he stands on something (like a squishy ally), the enemy team can't click on what's hidden under his sprite.
    • Galio in-lore is a literal colossus (to the point that "the Colossus" is his in-game title), being hundreds of feet tall with the ability to hold a human in his hand. In-game, meanwhile, he's the same size as a relatively large human like Garen.
    • While Ivern is a tall character in-game, he's still quite smaller than he canonically is supposed to be, being around twice the size of a normal human.
    • Malphite is a case where this trope is actually justified. Normally, Malphite is enormous, being around the size of a mountain, but is nowhere near that size in-game. However, Malphite is a Sizeshifter thanks to his ability to reshape his body, meaning that it's entirely possible that he's willingly taking on a smaller size.
    • Maokai in-game is around the size of Darius, who is canonically 6'5''. In-canon, he's the size of a full-grown oak tree.
    • Nautilus in-game is around a believable height for a normal human man in a diving suit. Canonically, however, he's ginormous, being capable of holding a normal human in his hands.
    • Ornn isn't particularly big in-game, while he's canonically gigantic, something that's best seen in his splash art (see those tiny things in the bottom right corner of the art, that's armor for a human).
    • While Vel'Koz isn't particularly large in-game, if art featuring him is anything to go by, he's actually huge, with his tentacles alone being thicker than the average human.
    • Volibear is not much bigger than the average champion in-game, but is absolutely gigantic in-canon.
    • While most of the Ascended have the ability to be huge, they're normally just a bit bigger than the average human. Then there's Xerath, who is canonically the size of a building, and unlike other Ascended, this is his normal size. In-game, meanwhile, he's not much bigger than any other champion.
    • This trope even applies to some of the skin lines, some of which make even champions who aren't this in-canon a case of this. This is because, even if they are of a different size from their canon self, they still use the same base model.
      • The Prehistoric skins for Anivia, Cho'Gath, and Renekton, as part of the Prehistoric Hunters skin line, completely dwarf normal humans in size, in-game, they're much smaller.
      • The Worldbreaker skin line depicts its versions of the champions as Kaiju-size behemoths in their splash art, but in-game are the same size as their respective canon selves.
      • While Nami in her canon look is not a case of this, being 6'2'', her Deep Sea skin, if it's splash art is anything to go by, is huge. Because it's uses the same base model as regular Nami, however, it looks much smaller in-game.
  • Heroes of the Storm:
    • Heroes are all roughly the same size as each other. Take Sgt. Hammer, who rides around in a scaled-down tank. When she opens the hatch, her actual body would barely come up to most heroes' knees. Azmodan one of the largest heroes, but a far cry from being the size of a mountain as he was in his home universe. Ditto for Ragnaros. Even Deathwing, whose whole gimmick is that he's the biggest playable hero, still is small enough to traverse the map in any spot.
    • Summoned units are even smaller than heroes, resulting in some wonky things. Raynor can call piloted airships as Attack Drones, but those ships are smaller than him (which means their pilots are even smaller). Arthas can raise an army of ghouls, all of which he apparently resurrected from gnomes.
    • Taken to extremes with the MechaStorm skins, which are a series of Humongous Mecha and Kaijus, but are no bigger than normal. Mecha Yrel and Mecha Valla have animations where their pilots are outside the mechs, which means they're literally microscopic.

  • The playfield of Star Wars (Data East) has R2-D2 noticeably larger than the Death Star.
  • Hankin's The Empire Strikes Back depicts the Imperial AT-ATs as colossi bestriding the planet Hoth, towering over the horizon and capable of circumnavigating the planet with just a few dozen steps.

    Platform Game 
  • The alien spaceship seen in Area 51 in Tomb Raider III is about four times bigger on the inside. This might be intentional because it's, you know, alien.
  • The dirigible in Prince of Persia 3D is pretty damn big from the outside, but on the inside, it's one third of the game.
  • At the end of Super Mario World, Bowser fights Mario in a small helicopter, which contains himself, the Princess, at least two Mushrooms, and as many massive bowling balls and Mechakoopas as needed. In this case, it's actually called the Koopa Klown Kopter, and has a clown-like face on it.
    • Every inside area in Super Mario 64. You've got the Igloo in Snowman's Land, which is about 5 feet by 3 feet on the outside and holds a large room with multiple stories, enemies and coins on the inside; the volcano in Lethal Lava Land, which is absolutely massive on the inside; and the Pyramid in Shifting Sand Land, again way larger on the inside of the building. Possibly also the Hotel Delfino in Super Mario Sunshine.

    Puzzle Game 
  • Lilibri in Petal Crash, being a fairy, is much smaller than the other characters story-wise. During gameplay, her sprite makes her seem much larger than she really is in order to make her reactions visible. She has a floating book with her at all times, except for when she is Hyper Lilibri, thus communicating her actual size to the player.
  • Most animal in Uncle Albert's Adventures have unrealistic sizes so they can all fit together in the album and be interacted with by the player. As a result, frogs, ladybugs and snails have similar sizes, for example.

    Real Time Strategy/Turn Based Strategy 
  • Age of Empires III deserves special mention. Transport ships can carry a truly ridiculous number of ground units, since unlike the previous games its bases carrying capacity on unit stacks, rather than individual units. Screw science vessels, you can carry a dozen Heavy Cannon (horses included) across islands in one trip. In a canoe.
    • On the other hand, Age of Empires III was notable in this regard for having impressively ginormous ships, particularly frigates and monitors, which seem closer to proper scale than previous incarnations in the series and the genre in general.
    • Age of Empires II was bad about the scale of Transport Ships to some of its units. The Persian War Elephants and the Korean War Wagons, in particular, appear almost the size of Transport Ships themselves, yet ten of either can fit in a ship.
    • Age of Empires I had this the most in terms of pure object scale, particularly for houses: since buildings stay the same size through the ages, a Stone Age hut the size of a child will be a mansion for ants by the Iron Age. Most buildings look not much taller than a normal unit, and even Wonders such as the Coliseum are only slightly higher than elephants. Justified given the much smaller screen resolutions of the day.
  • Age of Mythology can fit around 20 elephants in a small tent around the size of a medium sized room being carried by a giant roc. On the other hand, the bird is only attainable when worshiping a specific god...
    • Better yet, there are certain siege units that can garrison units. You can then garrison these siege units into transport ships!
  • The Anno Domini series started out with a really bad case of this, but became progressively better with every instalment. Anno 1503, for instance, had the town's denizens reach up to the first story of their houses (ratio 2:1), and the ships were only about three or four times the size of the wooden docks at which they were docking (making them much smaller in comparison with the citizens, of whom only a handful could fit onto one such ship). Hell, even the military unit sprites were a little smaller and thinner than the civilian models, due to them being manually controled by the player, yet they were barely shorter than the city's stone walls. 1701, which was its 3d successor, had exactly the same problems. By the time 1404 came along, however, the ratio between the houses, civilians and soldiers was finally cleared up in a realistic manner. The ships, on the other hand...
  • Also notable in Civilization IV, where it is possible to zoom in on your cities to see the various buildings and wonders you've created there... and any garrisoned units, towering high above even the tallest of buildings. If you happen to build the Colossus of Rhodes, it's interesting to note that he's effectively a miniature next to the actual soldiers.
    • Closer to aversion in Civilization V, though. Units are still numerically smaller, with physically larger soldiers, than reality by a huge proportion, but it's a smaller huge proportion — twenty pikemen who together take up one tile, instead of three pikemen who tower over cities.
    • In all Civilization games, it's taken as read that virtually all units are not really the soldiers or tanks or planes or whatever themselves but a representation of a large group of them. The three "Riflemen" of IV or twenty of V (or one of III) are all taken to represent a division or a brigade of rifles, and ditto with the cavalry and tanks, and a single "Jet Fighter" is understood to be a squadron or wing of planes. The only real exception is probably the naval vessels, which probably are supposed to represent a single vessel (at least from the late Renaissance onward), so the vast difference in scale really is just a matter of being able to see the thing. In some of the games, this is even acknowledged with a statistic that expresses the size of the player's military in a fairly realistic fashion. It can be surreal to get told that your five or six units actually represent an army in the tens of thousands that could probably sack and burn all but the best-defended cities of the era, or that your city's population of 20 actually represents a Mega City with millions of inhabitants.
  • Egregious example from the Windows version of Command & Conquer: Red Alert, where infantry are about the same size the light tank or APC (which can, of course, hold five of said infantry). Some levels in the campaign actually take place inside buildings which, if infantry were the same size inside and out, it would be theoretically possible to build an entire base in the hallways of that building.
    • This was somewhat mitigated in the Remastered Edition, which uses the scale of the infantry in the DOS version of the game.
    • It gets even weirder in the mission packs, as some of the indoor missions feature TANKS and PILLBOXES, and others DO build a base inside, featuring refineries and Chronospheres.
    • In the newer installments of the Tiberian story arc, infantry units are more or less to scale with vehicles, however, buildings are still ridiculously small when compared to units and terrain: GDI barracks are the size of a large tent, their vehicle factory resembles a tiny car repair shop and the NOD temple is no larger than a one-bedroom home.
      • It's hilarious when you build a GDI Juggernaut. It's taller than the factory that builds it, so it has to crouch and be pushed out since it's a walker and cannot walk when crouching. The crouching juggernaut is so big one wonders how the factory had enough room in it for the equipment needed to build it in the first place.
      • The GDI and Nod buildings are mostly underground as shown in Renegade.
      • The Mammoth MKII in Tiberian Sun goes even. In actual gameplay, it doesn't appear much bigger than, say, two APCs stacked, but in two FMVs featuring it, living up to its name, it's fucking gigantic. It's well over a hundred feet tall, in terms of width is nearly as big as a construction yard (which is much larger than it is in gameplay).
    • Also, compare the size of ships. In Generals and Tiberium Wars, warships are very large, almost to scale (The GDI aircraft carrier you can see in a few Missions in Tiberium Wars is about the size of a small base itself). However, these are stationary and unplayable objects in campaign mode. Meanwhile, the Red Alert series has warships that can be built and controlled by the player, and the largest ships are at best twice the size of a heavy tank.
      • Which lead to the somewhat amusing sight of being able to shove 5 Soviet Mammoth Tanks into a transport half the size of one.
    • This also carried over to the C&C spinoff Command & Conquer: Renegade. While the buildings are fairly realistic in size in the singleplayer campaign, they are quite tiny in multiplayer (either scaled down 40% or to 40%), possibly because they would take too much space on the maps otherwise (and be too confusing to navigate inside).
      • This can be jarring, since a building that is practically a level in itself in single player contains exactly one small room in multiplayer.
      • The size of the Multiplayer arena also had the problem of being hilariously tiny. Namely in one of the shipped maps, the area between bases is so small it was barely a courtyard.
  • Empire at War and its expansion are chock full of this. Walkers (such as the AT-ST and AT-PT) barely larger than your average infantryman, fighters being the size of an Imperial Star Destroyer's bridge tower, the Victory-class being only around the length of a canonically much smaller Acclamator for some reason, the list goes on. Many mods go out of their way to scale units much more accurately in all but the most extreme cases (like Executor, which would take up the entire map if brought to its proper size). This one mostly comes down to the fact that, were they at their full scale, you would either have Star Destroyers filling up the screen or fighters being a swarm of indistinct dots. It even applies to planets, which utilize forced perspective to look larger than they are; go into the "Cinematic" camera and watch that perspective immediately evaporate, with planets even at the most judicious scaling being about ten miles wide.
  • The RTS Empire Earth is horrible scale-wise. The Humongous Mecha from the future ages are Humongous only in name. A miner is bigger than a tank, and nuclear bomber fighter jets are smaller than their bombs. The bombs are smaller than most tanks.
    • And lets not get into EE2's Prophet unit. It's a guy wearing a sign that can summon volcanoes, hurricanes, tornadoes etc. He is bigger than the volcano's crater.
  • The Terran Science Vessel in StarCraft is a medium sized unit, but one level of the Zerg campaign is set inside one such vessel, which features several spaces in which it seems one could fit buildings that are much larger than the unit is. (With some creative use of cheat codes, or the map editor, it would indeed be possible to insert well over a hundred Science Vessels unit into the Science Vessel map.)
    • Don't even mention the Battlecruisers. It seems that capital ships are to scale with buildings. The top of the Terran Starport even looks like a to-scale battlecruiser dry-dock.
      • Supposedly battlecruisers are 560 meters long, in comparison to command centers which are supposedly 3 by 3 stories (about 12 meters) but in game look much bigger. Though that might explain where the starting buildings come from in the second game's campaign missions (except the starports).
      • And then in a cutscene in StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm, a battleship makes a crash landing in Korhal, and it seems to be about half as big as the city it lands on. Even at the angle it impacts it still extends past the clouds (admittedly, that scene was All Just a Dream, so proportions might have been distorted).
    • Adding to scale oddities, from what can be determined from the game's FMVs, the Battlecrusier's are actually smaller than the science vessels. However, in the Board Game, the Science Vessel is smaller than Marines and Zerglings.
    • Most of the other units have identical scaling to each other as they did in StarCraft, excepting the Ultralisk, which is the size of a Thor now.
    • Also a Dropship is significantly smaller than a Siege Tank, but still can take two onboard. This is especially funny when a small fleet of dropships arrives and starts dishing out tanks until there is no place for them, while dropships are barely visible.
    • The game plays hob with distance scale, too. It's apparent in the original game, and very clear in gameplay videos of the 3D sequel, that the air units only hover perhaps ten feet above the battlefield, whereas in-game references and cutscenes show them spending most of their time in orbit.
    • Which is why you can repair a battlecruiser (air unit) with an SCV (ground unit). Meanwhile you can blow away the battlecruiser with anti-air but not the SCV. Relative speeds are also out of whack, so you can shoot down a hypersonic fighter by having a ground creature spit acid on it, the supposedly huge starbase-shaped science vessel is one of the fastest units in the game and the hovering high templar is slower than both a normally walking marine and a normally walking zealot of the same race.
    • The most common, yet least noticeable, is the SCV. In-game, it looks like construction-oriented Power Armor, about the same size as the seven-foot-tall Marines/Marauders/Firebats. They're actually huge compared to Marines, that glass windshield is in fact the cockpit.
    • And in StarCraft II, it gets even worse: the Thor is a Terran Humongous Mecha that looks appropriately huge compared to a Marine. When airlifted by a Medivac dropship, the ship can only carry one at a time, as they are fixed underneath the ship like a helicopter carrying a container twice its size. Some playing around in the editor reveals that dropships are about twice the size of a bus compared to a Marine. And then there's the Odin, which in-game is slightly bigger than the Thor, but is too big to be carried by a huge-ass cargo that can carry three Thors.
      • StarCraft II has a really weird meta example: during mission briefings, characters on the realistically-scaled Hyperion observe the combat situation on the planet-of-the-mission... which uses gameplay footage with the RTS scale. Although his is cleared up somewhat in Heart of the Swarm, where the Hyperion has nearly twice the tonnage of a regular battlecruiser when you control them side-by-side. On the other hand the fluff claims that modern Gorgon-class battlecruisers are larger than outdated Behemoths like the Hyperion, though it has been extensively modified.
      • The Zerg Leviathan attacks with tentacles that look narrower than a zergling, the Heart of the Swarm mission "Conviction" suggests those tentacles are Nydus Worms, one of the Zerg "buildings". Cutscenes and in-game pictures reveal Leviathans to be many, many times larger than a Battlecruiser.
  • Very obvious in Warcraft 3, where pretty much every unit in the game doesn't appear to fit in the doors on their buildings. The hero units are pretty much always bigger than almost any other unit...
    • This is also used in World of Warcraft to make instance and raid bosses stand out from the crowd. Certain items also change the size of the player characters, making them unable to enter buildings.
      • Although it also applies to a lot of the architecture and objects as well. While it may be understandable that a Titan dungeon has doors that tower over the heroes, it gets a little silly when you realize that a single shelf and accompanying books on a bookshelf in a night elven inn are taller than a night elf.
    • The lack of scale in WC3 is especially obvious with units that are used for transport can fit units larger than themselves inside. Creative use of the Unit Editor can allows one to fit an infinite number of units inside a transport (by making transports than can go inside transports).
    • Finally averted by a Game Mod, the SC2 Real-Scale Mod, which makes the game darn near unplayable in some cases. See a Terran platoon encounter two Scouts and have problems.
  • In Super Robot Wars, all units are the same size on the map, and are even animated the same size (human-sized units are sometimes, but not always, an exception), even if some mecha on your force are a mere 10 meters tall and one may be over a kilometer and a half. It's particularly obvious when your entire army launches from a battleship that appears smaller than they are, or when Tekkaman Blade - a human clad in Powered Armor - is able to cut the roughly 30,000-40,000 km-tall Z-Master in two.
    • Super Robot Wars has a tendency to use smaller battle sprites for Real Robots than for Super Robots, but the trope still applies. In Super Robot Wars Z, King Gainer's sprite is half the size of Daitarn 3's sprite, but Daitarn 3 is actually supposed to be about ten times taller than King Gainer. Maybe even eleven times.
    • Averted in the 3D Super Robot Wars NEO for the Wii, where the units are shown to scale, at least on the map screens.
    • The rampant amount of this that would be required is likely the reason for the usual style the units are depicted in being Super-Deformed.
      • As of about Original Generations the style has switched to more stylized SD that in addition to looking more like their full sized depictions also have clear size distinctions in the unit sizes. Notably 2L sized units which encompass everything from Battleships up to the occasional planet sized monsters (2L basically means really really big and has a wide range so they don't need to make up a size distinction for said occasional planet sizers) barely fit on the screen.
      • Less noticable are the actual mecha sizes, all of which are represented at the same height, which is pretty egregious since some series, like Code Geass, feature 5 meter mechs, some, like Mobile Suit Gundam, feature 20 meter mechs, while Neon Genesis Evangelion features 40 meter mechs.
  • Similar to Super Robot Wars is SD Gundam G Generation, which has a few aversions. The spinoff game Gundam SEED: Generation of C.E. uses full-scale machines for combat FMVs, but on the map they still take up one space each. The games starting around G Generation Spirits have battleships take up multiple map spaces, and even marks off critical parts of the ships like the bridge and launch catapults.
  • Prior to Wing Commander Prophecy, the ship types in the Wing Commander series weren't proportionate to one another at all, leaving one wondering how you could stuff 100+ fighters in such a tiny carrier, if one wasn't quick enough to apply the MST3K Mantra.
  • Prominent in Battle for Wesnoth - units are the same size as villages, which are represented as single houses the same size as mountains, trees and mushrooms. Large units such as dragons and Woses (tree-men) are little bigger than small units such as goblins. A motto of BfW's designers is HAPMA (Hexes Are Possibly Miles Across,) meaning that they vary greatly in scale, and that units can represent squads of 10s or hundreds, or single individuals, again depending on circumstance.
    • Since the game is open source, this trope has caused some conundrums among its sprite artists as they attempt to keep the game's different races and units to some sort of scale with each other. The urge to squeeze more detail into a sprite, especially once the engine supported oversized sprites that extend outside a hex, has lead to an arms race of "Creeping Biggerism" as the sprites of supposedly small units like dwarves and elves grow larger than that of trolls and cavalry.
  • Given the ship-to-planet size ratio in Sword of the Stars, either the destroyers (the smallest ship class with about 100 crewmen) are each about as large as Madagaskar or the planets are just small, terraformed moons. Either way, the scale is way out of whack (though it must be argued that having a realistic size would probably not be very fun, given its ways of handling combat). Word of God is that destroyers are about 30 meters in length (i.e. smaller than a Space Shuttle), and each subsequent class is 3x as large as the one before.
  • Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War has fairly large buildings, large enough for some races to have trouble building complete bases on certain maps. Transports, however, are distinctly Clown Car-ish, mostly because units are transported by squads instead of individually: The Imperial Guard Chimera can hold up to 42 soldiers in some expansions; in others it holds a mere 28. Other races can manage maybe 20-30 depending on squad sizes and the number of transport slots.
    • This trope is especially obvious in some cutscenes (which uses the same models as the game itself), with one featuring a character clearly being taller than the vehicle that transports him while another has a Space Marine (a three-metre-tall Super-Soldier) being smaller than a normal human. This was in fact such a common complaint that the sequel has vehicles scaled far more realistically compared to infantry, with the inevitable result that each side can only effectively deploy three or four vehicles at any one time.
      • It should also be pointed out that in DoW 2, the units are more or less perfectly to scale... With their tabletop counterparts. This was a point of pride for the designers.
  • Fire Emblem. Your units are never much larger than a guy on a horse, but depending on the mission they may take up as much space on the map as a house.
    • The scale also changes completely between being outside and being inside. For example, archers are usually restricted to a range of two spaces, which results in them shooting at things from very far away when outside, but only shooting a few meters at best when inside. Particularly strange when you seize a castle on an outdoor map, where it looks to be about the size of a bungalow, and then transition to an indoor map where you have to take the throne, and the castle is now large enough to contain two entire armies with room to spare.
    • Fire Emblem: Genealogy of the Holy War is pretty much universally assumed in the fanbase to have the old "the guy you see is actually a unit of troops" interpretation, as it's the only real way to make its plot make sense. Due to the game's setup, the soldiers you battle tend to represent the armies of cities and fortresses, if not nations, but appear to consist of a few dozen guys at most. The entire occupation army of Isaach numbers a little over sixty men, if you don't count reinforcements.
    • Path of Radiance and Radiant Dawn were a little more realistic, but there is still the problem of units being taller than doors and jars that are larger than horses.
  • The Nintendo Wars games suffer from the same problem. On the map, your soldiers are as large as buildings. Not so much on the battle screens.
    • This can be a little justified since it's not really a soldier, but a unit of many soldiers.
  • Rise of Nations, especially if you play the maps that represent real countries. It's possible to easily make a row of tanks from coast to coast of Japan... with a dozen tanks.
    • Zigzagged when you aren't playing on such a map. Ground units are to scale with ground units, sea with sea, and air with air, but none of the groupings are to scale with each other or with buildings.
  • Transport Tycoon has annoyed nitpicky players for ages with the sizes of ships and planes compared to that of trains and road vehicles. Due to the scales involved with such varying vehicles, it's unavoidable; a truck and locomotive are pretty close to each other in size, but an airplane dwarfs the locomotives in real life, something that isn't possible to do with sprites. Ships are an even bigger problem, as real life railcars are the size of the shipping containers carried by the ship, and there are over 2000 containers on each ship. Don't even get started on the sizes of air- and seaports.
    • And then there's the whole clown-car effect of a train 5 squares long coming out of a depot 1 square long. And Open TTD removes the length restriction on trains entirely.
    • Also, each tile is more than 600km long. That means, an average house has five times more area than the republic of Ireland.
  • The Heroes of Might and Magic series is another example where rings are as large as the most powerful dragons. Also, Nagas and Giants appear the same size - but the third game's intro shows one of the former Squashed Flat by a latter's foot.
  • In 8Realms, pretty much everything just takes up one tile, whether it's a cottage or a mountain.
  • Shattered Union has this, especially jarring when your infantry could go and play Godzilla in cities.
  • Dwarf Fortress, in which Bronze colossi appear as the same size as kittens. There is no size variation, just ASCII. This affects everything depicted by the game engine, making gems and seeds appear as big as Dwarves and elephants at the same time!
    • Dwarf Fortress actually has a size statistic for its creatures but it is mostly used for internal calculations.
    • Map tiles suffer from inconsistent Bag of Holding attributes that most players would never part with willingly. You can store an infinite number of rocks on a single square and an infinite number of animals in one cage. Despite that, only one creature unit stand up in a given square at any given time.
    • Trees used to take up a single tile before the DF2014 update, making them an exception to the space oddities (and, according to Toady himself, making the one-tile dragons look rather stupid). Wagons are an older exception, taking up a 3x3 chunk of space and requiring a path 3 tiles wide to reach your trade depot. Proper multi-tile creatures and engines are in the works, and the aforementioned wagon will be reworked from the ground up due to being hilariously buggy (such as vanishing off the face of the earth when "spooked" and generally acting like a severely buggy and particularly stupid creature whenever things go off the rails).
  • Europa Universalis III always depicts your troops in a province as a single gigantic infantryman who towers above the tallest mountains, even if it's actually tens of thousands of soldiers with cavalry and artillery mixed in.
  • Starships in Star Ruler are to-scale with each other, but not with celestial objects. A size 2500 space station (about the size of a planet) has a crew of around ~200,000. The planet it is orbiting has a population of at least ~100,000,000. The not-to-scale design is present to ensure that ships and stations are actually visible without having to zoom in constantly.
  • Shining Force III is very fond of this trope. Battles either take place in normal sized buildings/towns or outside where every character is the size of a mountain. This is pretty much a staple for most of the Shining games.
  • Whether to play this straight or avert this in Hearts of Iron III is a menu setting.
  • Star Wars: Galactic Battlegrounds: assault mechs can be transported in ships that they dwarf. Especially notable with the Imperial AT-AT, which being a Humongous Mecha towers over not only the transport ship, but also the building that constructed it.
  • This was part of the problem with the original MechCommander in its use of sprites. Fine differentiation between unit sizes was not clear, and only extreme size differences were visible in the available scale (like say the difference between a 25-ton Commando and the Atlas that weighs four times as much). Tanks tended to blur together into a 'large and dangerous' or 'small and fast' class based solely on the size of their sprites, regardless of any individual unit's capability. The inability to immediately distinguish between light and medium or heavy and assault 'Mechs was part of what led to the use of full 3D models in the sequel, where all units are in-scale to each other.
  • Act of War: High Treason makes a conscious effort to avert this trope. Naval units are considerably larger than land units, and the camera even zooms out when you're controlling ships to compensate for their larger size. However the scaling is still not accurate to real-life proportions, and indeed it can't be done without making the game unplayable. note 
  • Infantry units in WarWind are about twice too large in comparison with buildings, vehicles and some beasts.
  • Galactic Civilizations makes very little effort to keep things to scale, mainly because if they did, most ships would be too small to see. It still raises amusing scenarios such as a single planet deploying a dozen ships, each of which are larger than the planet itself, or the fact that Star Bases tend to be larger than actual stars. In addition, the ships are not in scale with each other, meaning a colony ship large enough to hold a billion colonists won't be much larger than a one-man fighter.
  • Averted in Spellforce, since you can use a third person view of your avatar, units are to scale. The only drawback is that it makes buildings look a bit small when using it.
  • Wargame: Red Dragon averts this, but the result is that anything but warships effectively become small black dots unless you view them at very close range.
  • Forged Battalion averts this by having all infantry in exoskeleton suits and all aircraft be unmanned drones.

    Role Playing Games 
  • The Pokémon games, especially inside the Pokémon Gyms, which often contain several floors of seemingly complex puzzles. There's also the Pokémon Centers, buildings that are 1-story and 6 tiles big outside but are two floors of 50-60 tiles inside.
    • In HeartGold and SoulSilver, whichever Pokémon is at the head of your party will follow you around outside. None of them are anywhere near actual size, but it's especially funny when your Wailord or Lugia isn't even twice the size of the player character.
    • Pokémon also return to their Pokéball depending on their size when entering a place. For example, human sized Pokémon or smaller will follow the trainer in buildings. Larger size Pokémon, like Lugia, will be returned when entering buildings. This does NOT, however, explain how a 28' long Onix is able to fight with other similarly sized creatures in a room that doesn't look to be more than 20'x20'.
  • Neverwinter Nights contains an especially jarring version of this - any tiny hut can turn into a dungeon the size of the whole city district the original hut was in as soon as you step in, with no explanation. The game engine models each area as an independent world affected only by scripted module variables and the things inside the area itself, with doors serving as connections, meaning that depending on what you do with the door settings you can have a hovel lead anywhere from "generic hovel interior with a generic peasant in it" to "the Final Boss's chambers" to "test area you only put in to look at some appearances and never got around to deleting". In the area tileset itself, a lot of buildings have generic interior tiles on the City Interior set and generic exterior tiles on the appropriate exterior set - but the "interior" ones tend to be about four times larger than the "exterior" structure. In the same game, there's Klauth: canonically, he's a Great Wyrm red dragon, which should make him Colossal-size and well over a hundred feet long from nose to tail. In-game, he's maybe half that length.
  • Bahamut Lagoon makes no effort to maintain any kind of consistent scale— a castle might take up six tiles of the map one chapter, and be the map the next. Not to mention the strangely absent squad members....
  • Possibly lampshaded in Final Fantasy VI, as well as one of the Dragon Ball Z: Legacy of Goku games, where a damaged house with no door in the frame only lets you two steps into the building instead of bringing you to an expanded map of the inside of the (ruined) house like any other building in the game.
  • Granblue Fantasy: While in-battle, your playable characters are depicted as having small chibi-like proportions while the large monsters or raid bosses will take up the whole left side of the screen. Humanoid Primal Beasts are a victim of this, as they are supposed to be giants in-lore, but have their artworks zoomed-out in-game. This makes them visually small in contrast to the characters - so much that raid boss Tiamat's head is smaller than Djeeta's!
  • In most Roguelikes, as well as in old-style tile-based games like the majority of the Ultima series, every object or creature is exactly the same size.
  • In Divine Divinity, characters and buildings are out of scale with the map, with characters traveling from one end of a kingdom to other in a very short time. The sequel mostly averts this by putting any larger-than-the-whole-building rooms underground, which is used to great effect in the second town's small inn building with an expansive 4-star hotel inside by making it out of a depleted mine.
  • While Shining the Holy Ark only has a small overworld map this is very much in effect with your lead character dwarfing the landscape.
  • In World of Warcraft bosses tend to tower over other members of their own species, with no real explanation given in-universe. Out of universe, this is so the players can easily target them even if they are being swarmed by the rest of the raid.
    • Oddly present among playable races as well. Orcs are stated as averaging around seven to seven and a half feet tall but are One Head Shorter than humans. Gnomes and Goblins are supposed to be three feet tall but compared to other races seem to be around one and a half to two feet tall.
  • In Star Trek Online Deep Space 9 is about five times bigger than it is in the show. Cryptic explained they did this because the station's canon diameter of 1451 meters is small enough that it looks silly when swarmed by player ships, many of which are about that size themselves.
    • More extreme is the relative size of your ships in space in comparison to stars and planets (which are themselves severely out of synch). 1 star is roughly twice the diameter of a planet which in turn is about twice the length of the larger ships.
  • Bug Fables: Dead Lander Omega can be glimpsed at hidden in the background of a telescope view, where its silhouette appears enormous. When seeing it in-person, it still appears large, but the parts that are visible look smaller than what its silhouette implied. According to Word of God, the former is its canonical size, and the latter is a shrink-down so that it can fit on the screen.
  • Epic Battle Fantasy: When 3 introduced overworlds, it and the following installments had almost all enemies take up roughly one tile of map space, making them all look about the same size as each other and human characters on the map. The Dragons and Hydras in particular are usually only seen as floating heads — although only their heads and necks are visible in-battle (which is lampshaded multiple times in the series). The Neon Valkyrie and Neon Valhalla of 5 just do not have overworld sprites at allnote , presumably because scaling down a large tank to be the same size as a human that could ride in it would look weird.

    Shoot Em Up 
  • In Armed Police Batrider, the game's visuals are designed around the fact that the main characters ride on air bikes, rather than realistically-sized combat aircraft. The Battle Garegga ships, which are fighter aircraft, look comically small compared to the objects around them, and are even smaller than the cars in Stage 1. And that's before considering how the Wayne brothers would be able to fit into their cabins, since there's nothing hinting in Garegga or Batrider lore that the Waynes are anything besides ordinary humans or they have any sort of technlogy or magic that can shrink humans or make the cabins Bigger on the Inside.
  • Most of the bosses in Touhou Project are supposed to be roughly the same size as the player characters. In-game sprites generally have them about twice as tall. Then there's the matter of the backgrounds, which give us things like giant flowers or tombstones, and can make certain levels seem much larger than seems likely.
  • In U.N. Squadron and its Spiritual Successor Carrier Airwing, many bosses and minibosses are real-world planes that are inexplicably several times their real-world size. One notable case is a B2 stealth bomber the size of a football stadium.

    Simulation Game 
  • Animal Crossing. Most buildings, most notably, your character's house in its larger stages and the town museum, have interiors that wouldn't fit into the outside building.
  • The Starfleet Command games have a real problem with this. Often one can collide with planets, revealing that your ship with a crew of a few hundreds is roughly 1/4 the size of the planet Earth.
  • Likewise the Starfleet Academy game mostly gets this right, and planets and stars are even somewhat reasonably sized. But a few problems remain, for example starbases aren't that much bigger than an Excelsior-class ship. Considering the ships are supposed to dock inside the top of the "mushroom", it'd never work.
  • The Harvest Moon series. The degree to which this is so varies from game to game, with Magical Melody probably being the worst offender.
  • In Escape Velocity, many large warships' sprites are only slightly larger than their destroyer and light capital brethren. Some of the larger ships appear to be bigger than most planets. The game's scale is a bit messed up.
    • Also, the Polaris Striker and Dragon share the same in-universe length (50 meters) yet the sprite clearly shows the dragon being longer. (This is possibly a mistake by the developersnote .)
  • In the various incarnations of SimCity, each tile square is also supposed to be 1 acre. Yet a tile square is only big enough for a single one-family house with hardly any yard, and it takes 4 adjacent tile squares to build even a small apartment building. This could be hand-waved as just being a representation of an acre of homes, until you realize THE ROADS ARE AN ACRE WIDE (actually over 60 meters wide).
    • Corrected in Sim City 4, where the FAQs explicitly state that the length a tile is 16 meters. This means that small "cities" are roughly 1 square kilometer and the largest ones are 16 km^2. (Best to think of the individual "cities" as neighborhoods and the overall "region" as a metro area.) However, this introduces Fridge Logic in its own right when the player realizes that school buses won't travel more than about half of a kilometer from their respective school to pick up kids, which is usually the minimum distance that school bus service begins.
  • Stronghold Kingdoms:
    • Troops are massive compared to what they're supposed to be defending, with the keep only fitting five men and the buildings being just as cramped.
    • Village buildings are porportioned oddly, with some being as tall as trees and other being smaller than the workers they're supposed to contain.
  • Freelancer presents a vast universe full of hundreds of planets, some of which probably only barely reach even a hundred metres across. The space stations are especially out of scale - a massive trade station might only have the same area as a large house, and the smaller stations would barely have enough internal volume for Trent to get out and stretch his legs.

    Sport Games 
  • Most of Tecmo's Captain Tsubasa games use the same proportion to construct a player's body, leading to a few characters who are supposedly giants like Jito shrinking down to the same size as the rest of the team, except when he's in the Skylab Twin Shoot cut-in, where he's suddenly bigger.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Warhammer 40,000 has the infamous scaling issue with its human-sized miniatures. Space Marines are supposed to be 7 foot tall supermen clad in power armor (which the sheer bulk would make them almost 8 feet in height) whereas Guardsmen are average and, quite frequently, malnourished conscripts, putting them at a maximum height of around 6 feet. Miniature wise, both are identical in height. This applies to the vehicles too. If the Leman Russ was in correct scale with the Guardsmen, every time the turret fired it would bisect the tank commander standing in the hatch.
  • Historical wargames are sometimes forced to invoke this for realistic gameplay. A unit of troops might, for instance, represent a brigade of French infantry from the Napoleonic wars. As such, the rules are geared to represent such a unit - that 2 inch square base with a dozen figures on is actually a large area of ground with a couple of thousand men. But that means a model farm to the same scale as the figures might accommodate the base quite comfortably, while in real life the soldiers would have had to be stacked on some form of multi-layer shelving to even try to fit in. Under-scale miniature scenery so that the 'footprint' of units and terrain is consistent is one way to deal with this.
  • Inverted from the usual in Monsterpocalypse. Monsters tend to be on scale with each other, with most being around 60 meters tall. Buildings, on the other hand, are generally much smaller than they should be, with (going by monster height) a 120-meter empire state building, and a football stadium where the field barely manages 30 meters. Units are entirely out of scale with each other. The Mighty Joe Young-sized Frontline Ape is hoisting an armored car overhead, but the ecoterrorist Green Fury van has roughly the same mass as the ape. That's a big van.
  • Dungeons & Dragons has an interesting version of this on the meta-level when it comes to creature "sizes". They are roughly blocked out as "tiny", "small", "medium", "large", "huge" and "gargantuan". Medium creatures take up a single 5-foot-by-5-foot "square", going downwards they are decreasing percentages of a square, and upwards takes 2, 3 and 4 squares. However, there's large variance for what counts in each size: for instance, a 4'6" Dwarf and a 7'8" Goliath are both said to take up a single square. Thus, fluff-wise and for those who use miniatures, different creatures are quite to scale, but mechanically one entity could be twice the size of another and be considered "the same". In some instances across editions, it also covers Your Size May Vary — when a previously "monster only" race of an unusually large or small size becomes playable, they will mysteriously grow to Small or shrink to Medium size to keep things on the same level as core-race PCs.
    • Pathfinder and Dungeons and Dragons justify it as the scale of a creature determines how much space it occupies and controls on the map as it is moving, not an absolute indicator of its size. A medium (like normal humans) creature typically fills up a 5' x 5' section of the map. Humans generally can pack in closer than that, of course; most of us do not occupy 25 square feet of space!note  However, when moving around and fighting with a weapon in a chaotic skirmish, things are a little different.
    • For example, dinosaurs in Pathfinder are given accurate descriptions of their size, but the space they occupy on the map does not fit. It makes sense in the context of a giant animal moving around swinging its horns, tail, and teeth is going to take up more room than just the immediate place it is standing.
    • Consider these miniatures, to scale, for examples. The base represents the space occupied on a tactical map, but the miniature itself represents the person: Icons of the Realm. Pathfinder Red and Black Dragons.
  • In BattleTech, each hex on the playing field is 30 meters in diameter. The battlemech miniatures - even without their stands - occupy a significant portion of each hex. While a Battlemech is huge, they are not 60 meters tall huge; the AS7-D Atlas, one of the taller mechs, stands around 18 meters tall. The scale is even more wonky in city maps, where a Battlemech is almost as wide as an apartment building, though the ruleset that eschews hex-based movement for free-roaming units on custom, non-grid based maps can avoid the scale issue.

    Wide Open Sandbox 
  • Grand Theft Auto: Every now and then in the GTAIII era, you'll walk past a storefront with doors either too tiny or a little too big for the character scale. These storefronts are simply filler they didn't have time to scale properly.
  • The Simpsons Hit & Run: The sheets of Krusty Glass seen throughout every level as shortcut-markers are large enough for a giant monster truck to drive through. Yet on the Glass Trucks that carry them in Level 1, they are significantly smaller — enough so that two of them can comfortably fit in an average-sized traffic vehicle.

    Noteworthy Exceptions: 


  • Sins of a Solar Empire has units to scale with each other. This is especially noticeable when watching bombers attack a capital ship; it ends up looking like flies trying to land on an ornate stick.
    • However some bombers end up shooting missiles as large as the bomber's own cockpit. Makes you wonder where they keep the ammo.
    • The planets and suns are also really small compared to ships. Even the strike crafts end up looking as big as Ireland or Georgia.


  • In EVE Online, one of the smallest player-usable spacecraft is about as big as a 747. The larger ones can be up to several kilometers in length.
    • For a little sense of scale, that's the Eiffel Tower in the very bottom left corner. In addition, that 747-sized ship is a dot hanging somewhere around the right side of the Minmatar bar.
    • For a better view of the small ships, here is another image, which does not include the largest ships (it includes dreadnoughts, but not carriers, motherships, or titans).

Real-Time Strategy

  • 1944 : Battle of the Bulge gave us pretty realistic take of unit measurement, with infantry being so tiny and tanks are obviously on scale. However due to the Short-Range Long-Range Weapon and Fog of War rules being obeyed here, having your infantry team, M3 Scout, or even British Churchill, suddenly confront a Tiger Tank may induce Oh, Crap! and shocked reactions.
  • Except for the infantry being approx 30 per cent bigger than real people, most of the stuff seen in Act of War has a very accurate size (including warships!). The fact the game is still visually easy to play shows the amount of care the designers had to make it as realistic as possible.
  • While we may recognize it was not as perfectly made as other games, lots of Command & Conquer fans loved the considerable amount of realism EALA put in Tiberium Wars and Kane's Wrath, with well scale-sized units and infantry squads, add to this the excellent particle, light and texture effects and you may understand why it's along with Generals the best EA C&C and so many guys felt disappointed when they found Red Alert 3 and Command and Conquer 4 have gone back to cartoonish graphics and units awfully out of scale.
  • Homeworld and its sequels tried to keep unit sizes at a sane ratio, and the typical strike craft is so incredibly small compared to carriers or larger ships that you can actually imagine everything fitting together, or at least close together. It doesn't, however, deal with resources well: you can still fit all the necessary materials for those sixteen capital ships and four cruisers in the main base, even if you can't stuff the ships back in, afterwards.
    • Another noteworthy thing is that the ships change scale with distance to the camera, so you can still see them when zoomed out fully. It's particularly conspicuous on the research ships, which overlap when zoomed out fully. There is a patch to turn this "Non-Linear Inverse Perspective Scaling" off, leaving all ships to scale at all times, whereupon it becomes difficult to select or even see your strike craft. Homeworld 2 directly provides an option to turn NLIPS on or off.
    • Also, there's the Star Wars themed HW2 mod Warlords, which has properly scaled units, from Tie Fighters to the truly gargantuan Super Star Destroyers.
  • Supreme Commander, and to a lesser degree its unofficial spiritual source Total Annihilation, have no problem producing incredible size differences, largely because only one unit has an actual human inside it. The differences can be truly massive. Dozens of lower-tier human-sized or tank-sized units can fit inside the typical battleship's profile, and the experimental units are so massive that some of them can literally crush opponents.
    • It's also worth pointing out that the smallest units in SupCom are about the size of AT-STs anyway (your basic attack mecha is the size of a large pine tree). The big stuff is HUGE.
    • Also noticeable is how the Transports are precisely large enough to accommodate the units they carry. Even better, you actually see the unit hanging from under the transporter. Even more satisfying, some units have enough free movement while in transport that they can shoot down at enemies below! In the SupCom community, this goes by the lingo of "Ghetto Gunships".
    • It is also nice to watch as various air units clash in dogfights. Even though they're the worst scale offenders in the game, flying at a fraction of the real altitudes jet-fighters of today would do, it's still an impressive altitude of hundreds upon hundreds of meters when compared to usual RTSes. "Factory Units" that can also act as carriers too could conceivably carry all the units it does ingame.
    • If you're wondering how the game handles the zoom scaling issues, SupCom doesn't even have a traditional minimap - it would quickly get too cluttered - instead allowing the main display to be zoomed all the way out to a strategic overview of the entire battlefield. As units get too small to see, they're represented by icons. The stage this happens at depends on the size of the unit - you'll see Mech Marine icons far more often than the unit model, but some Experimentals are plainly visible even at the strategic level.
  • Star Wars: Force Commander has units that are about the size you'd expect them to be, ranging from basic infantry to AT-ATs. As a result, you can't see the freaking infantry without zooming in.
  • Company of Heroes, a World War II RTS, has units that are relatively correctly scaled; at least, it is plausible that a squad of riflemen could fit inside one APC, and buildings with multiple stories are frequently seen, towering above the infantry hiding among the rubble.
  • EndWar keeps units to scale, to the point where you can zoom in and see the individual soldiers that make up a platoon of riflemen die individually, or watch them pile into IFVs for transport without looking wrong at all.
    • Except for the Spetsnaz's smaller transport helicopters and their platoons of four tanks, which look unlikely to entirely fit in just one Spetsnaz transport helicopter like they do.
  • Ground Control 2 allows infantry to garrison inside buildings, so the buildings are scaled properly, and ground vehicles look about right, too. However, the Drop Ship still has a bigger hold than its volume suggests.
  • In Impossible Creatures, even size 1 creatures were larger than humans, so even a cockroach-wasp would be enormous. But in version 1.0, certain creatures (most notably ant-rats) would be size 0, letting them surround and instantly destroy large enemy creatures. Also, they could go through spaces 1 tile wide, letting them reach henchmen hiding in normally safe corners.
  • Men of War has every single unit in the game on a consistent scale. The heaviest tanks, like the Tiger II, IS-3, and T-29 are all freakin' enormous.
  • The RTS series Total War features castles so large that entire battles take place within their courtyards. Catapults and artillery are suitably many times taller than infantry, and are usually operated by 5-10 visible infantry units.
    • Except when it comes to moving armies via ship. You can fit an entire 20 unit army (anywhere from 500 to 2000 individuals) on a single small ship.
    • Although the units are to scale, Total War does tend to fall into Thriving Ghost Town a lot: in Rome: Total War, the Eternal City can never get a population above 32000 or so, for game-balancing reasons, and none of the cities have anywhere near enough residential space. It also had issues with some fauna, like trees in Germany, being absolutely huge. And operating on Rule of Funny, there is a cheat that allows you to access the dreaded oliphants that tower over any soldier or building in the game.
    • Total War: Rome II is probably the most accurate yet. Cities are absolutely massive and each unit has its own transport ships to accommodate it. You can even see the troops standing on deck during the battles to show that yes, just about everything here is to scale.
  • World in Conflict does a decent job averting this: the infantry units are represented as squads of five men, who are individually so small that you only see them as tiny specks on the screen from the tactical view. If they weren't individually highlighted with green circles like all other units in the game, the infantry players would have had trouble finding their own units again.
  • Combat Mission averts this in a very practical way. The player controls the displayed scale with a single shortcut key. Units can be displayed realistically, or can be scaled to various constant sizes, irrespective of their distance from the camera. Thus you can scale everything up to the maximum to spot lone, camouflaged infantry at distances of several kilometers or more across the steppes, or scale everything realistically for close battles, when judging the effects of elevation, or just to enjoy the view as everything moves between command phases.
  • ParaWorld mostly averts this, except for the water transport units, which are ridiculously tiny relative to what they can carry (since units take up one slot therein no matter how big they are, you could fit 10 dinosaurs in a small boat. Or on a giant turtle... however that one's supposed to work.)
  • Notably averted in American Conquest, where barracks are indeed the size of a regiment, and you often need to zoom out to manage your fleet.
  • Another impressive aversion in Jeff Wayne's War of the Worlds, where the vehicles and buildings are in proportion, and both ships and the Martian Tripod Terrors are huge.
  • The somewhat infamous Left Behind: Eternal Forces RTS demonstrated why Tropes Are Not Bad in the first few levels, set in New York City where the units and buildings were largely to scale... which meant skyscrapers that jutted up and past the top-down camera, meaning there were only a few angles you could view the action from without buildings obscuring everything, among the game's other issues.

Role-Playing Game

  • In Ultima VI, while some inventory objects and other sprites are off-scale, the towns themselves are all part of one big continuous overworld map. The dungeons are half-scale compared with the overworld. The entrances to the dungeons on the overworld are in the exact same locations as their exits inside the dungeons.

Simulation Game

  • The X-Universe series, what with its varying objects in space, from astronauts, small ships, capital ships, stations and jumpgates tends to make size differences very visible.
  • Freespace (aka Descent: Freespace) is one of the only games to advertise this fact. The US cover art of the game showed a gigantic alien battleship spanning 4 pages of the fold-out over. A tiny dot was circled on the front with the caption "This is you". Players who managed to reach the final levels of the game would be surprised to find this depiction in sizes was accurate.
    • In the sequel, though, Shivan juggernauts (supposedly just under 6 kilometers long) can be picked out clearly as they orbit the Capella star, from dozens if not hundreds of millions of miles away. This seems to suggest that either the juggernauts orbiting the star are either five orders of magnitude larger than they actually are, or Capella the equivalent amount smaller than we think it is. Note that the real Capella is more than twice as massive as our own sun. The ending sequence directly contradicts this, too, showing the juggernauts near the star as being much smaller than the star itself. Based on the scale shown by that cutscene, the juggernauts really should be completely invisible from the player's point of view, hundreds of millions of miles away.
  • Tachyon: The Fringe also advertises its realistic scale. In the game, various sectors contain truly gigantic starbases (so massive that they often caused framerate problems), with the player's hangar being only a small opening when looking at the entire structure. It can take several minutes (even using afterburners) to fly around the thing. The same is true with cruisers and carriers, although to a much lesser extent. The problem with planet scale is solved by having the planets and moons as backgrounds.
  • The incredibly awesome Ad Astra freeware space simulator game is also completely on scale.
  • Zoo Tycoon mostly averts this. The animals are up to scale in comparison to the people. The buildings are also relatively large so that it doesn't really look out of place when a guest enters it.

Non-video game examples:

  • The Zoids anime has an interesting inversion. While the toyline clearly shows its scale with cockpits and pilot figurines, the Anime takes certain Zoids (notably the Ultrasaurus and Death Saurer) and makes them bigger, often by a few orders of magnitude.
  • Robot Spirits, Soul Of Chogokin and other toylines featuring Humongous Mecha from multiple series usually have this problem by necessity due to the wildly varying sizes of different Super Robots. For example, while Mazinger Z and Daitarn 3's SOC toys are about the same size, in "real life", Mazinger is 18 meters tall while Daitarn is 160.
    • Chogokin Classic Getter, Shin Getter, and the 2019 release of the Getter Emperor are most decidedly not to scale. Well, Classic and Shin are roughly well-proportioned in comparison to each other, but the Emperor at its smallest was roughly the size of Jupiter and only got larger over time, so its Chogokin figure's scale is much more extreme than the other Getters.
    • The real winner, though, would have to be Revoltech's Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann action figures. Original GL is about the same size as Tengen Toppa GL. Anybody who is at all familiar with the series should see the problem here.
      • Let's face it. It's impossible to scale those mechs properly. Even if Original was the size of a flea, and TTGL was somehow the size of Jupiter, that wouldn't come close.
  • Transformers has this in multiple places (A more comprehensive exploration of this can be found at the TFwiki's page on Scale):
    • The toylines have several different "size" scales (Legends, Scouts, Deluxe, Voyagers, Leaders, Supremes, and so on). This can result in a Scout-class freight truck Transformer looking positively tiny next to a Voyager-class sports car (like Bumblebee). In particular, the Animated toyline has amusing size mismatches involving Prowl, in particular his Deluxe-class form wherein the motorcycle he transforms into is larger than Deluxe-sized Bumblebee's hatchback car!
    • Combiner Scales: First, Combiners can be portrayed being of inconsistent size to their component robots (Menasor, who is made of sports cars and a truck, can nearly match Bruticus, who is made of military vehicles, in size; The exception is Superion, who would really be the size of a large building due to being made of several aircraft including a Concorde). Second, component robots in a combiner might be out-of-scale with each other (Landcross from the Victory toyline, who is made of a speedboat, a Space Shuttle, a jet fighter, two different classes of trucks, and a sports car). Third, Combiners are shown to be inconsistently large or small in portrayl (Constructicons who are smaller than Megatron combine to form a Devastator more than quadruple the Decepticon Commander's height).
    • Transformer subclass scale: Micromasters and Minicons are sometimes portrayed with very inconsistent scale to regular Transformers (Some Minicons are shown to become human-scale hoverboards and motorcycles, yet their human-sized robot modes are the same size as Minicons that become small trucks, and both of them are portrayed as being smaller than Armada Optimus Prime or Armada Megatron's forearms!).
    • Planet and City sized Transformers - Metroplex's massive toy is about the size of a large building or city block, but only in scale with Legends-class Transformers, and he is still out-of-scale with some of them. Unicron and Primus (as well as the guest-star Death Star/Darth Vader figure from the Star Wars Transformers crossover toyline, whose interior is completely out of scale with interior shots of the real Death Star in the films) are completely undersized compared to any transformer toy in production - the biggest indicator of this is that several named cities, like Iacon and Kaon, are actually modeled on Primus's body, as he turned himself into the planet Cybertron as part of his backstory, and any Transformer in scale with those cities as depicted would only be readily visible with a magnifying glass or microscope.
  • Fans and collectors of American Girl dolls would occasionally notice this in some of their toys, namely the VW Beetle playset for Julie, and Maryellen's jukebox, the latter of which is a glorified external speaker for an iPod or a smartphone. It's somewhat justified as any bigger would be unwieldy to ship and thus even more ridiculously expensive, though fans still feel that it could've been better proportioned.
  • LEGO produces a number of licensed sets, the most famous of which is their Star Wars line. Small fighters like the X-wing or TIE Fighter are built roughly to the same scale to the pilot minifig as the movies, while larger ships are built to wildly different scales; the Millenium Falcon is slightly smaller than it should be, while the Star Destroyer and especially the Super Star Destroyer are built to much smaller scales. This is to maintain sanity, as a to-scale SSD would be the length of an Olympic swimming pool.
  • The world of scale model building is one where issues of scale absolutely matter. Manufacturers are frequently called out on scale discrepancies within their kits and ranges by modellers who insist on something pretty close to perfection. It doesn't help that within the two principal modelling bands, there are anomolies which hang over from the days when different manufacturers had different ideas of what would be popular. 1:32 scale models are still there, for instance, even though the accepted standard in this range for practically all kit manufacturers and fans is 1:35. Classic kit manufacturer Airfix, in the smaller scale band, still produces a hodgepodge of kits and figures in HO/00 (approximate 1:87 scale, designed to go with model railway layouts), as well as slightly larger scales. The accepted industry yardstick here is less clearcut: it is tending now to 1:72, but many kits are still made in 1:76. Does it matter? well, yes. Take a model of the same subject in, say, 1:32 and stand it next to one in 1:35. There will be a visible scale difference. The same applies to 1:76 versus 1:72. And 1:87 is definitely smaller. Within each scale, however, there is generally consistency. note . It's also interesting how, even in a well-scaled model, it's often bloody hard to get a pilot figure in an aircraft, or a driver/crew figure in a vehicle, to fit the given space convincingly - even though the crew space is to scale and a figure in the same scale should fit naturally!
    • In car models both 1:24 and 1:25 are commonly seen. Generally speaking, American companies favored 1:25 while European and Japanese ones went with 1:24 although exceptions exist (anything tooled by Monogram before 1990 is 1:24). "Box scale" is rife - at one time GM insisted all its' passenger-car promotional models fit a standard box sized for a 1:25 full-size Chevrolet, so Cadillacs are frequently underscale while 1:27 is becoming almost a standard for diecast pickup trucks.

    Web Original 
  • Played for laughs in the youtube series 1/1 Heroine, the premise is that a JRPG protagonist is actually as big as she looks on the world map.