Thursday, January 19, 2012

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World of Skyrim Actually Much Smaller Than San Francisco

Physics grad Matthew Sutton wrote a very interesting analysis of Skyrim's size on Quora, and if you've explored Bethesda's grand, expansive game world, you'll probably be surprised. Extrapolating from the height of NPCs and the buildings they inhabit, Sutton estimates the world to be (on the high end)... 3.7 miles across from West to East, and 2.4 miles from North to South. So like this:

Skyrim Estimated size

In real world terms, assuming Sutton is correct (and his calculations seem plausible), that means Skyrim is much smaller than San Francisco, which is roughly seven by seven miles across. Look:

San Francisco Skyrim Size Comparison

Pretty striking for a 3D simulated world that is so immersive and has so many places to explore, some players spend much more than 100 hours discovering new things within it. Interestingly, an academic did a size comparison of San Francisco to the virtual world of Second Life in 2010, and found that SL's total landmass was much larger.


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Tateru Nino

The Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfall was the largest in the series, with an area of 63,125 square miles (and an entry in the Guiness Book of World Records.

In fact, I think one of the cities there was about the size of Skyrim.

Adeon Writer

It's content, not size. It's worthy of note that most structures in SL are around 2.5 times overscaled.

And if you throw a dart on the grid map you end up on abandoned mainland. (Something LL should put to use somehow)

Hiro Pendragon

Skyrim should be larger than that, based on the overall size of Tamriel.

foneco zuzu

On Morrowind, it was achieved by modders a goal that was to recriate the full Tamriel!
So you could travel by days, discover amazing cities and so on!
As always Bethesda main goal is to allow modders (and that's why their games are mainly for Pc and only later to consoles, where mod is not allowed) to improve the flaws and enhance a base that is already amazing!
To bad that I, a long devoted player of their games, discovered Second Life;)

Pussycat Catnap

Meter for meter, this is likely also true for other Pac-Man games like 'Kings Quest IV' ;)

Its important to remember that Skyrim is not a virtual world. Its just a Pac-Man knockoff with better graphics.

Graham Mills

Just for idiotic completeness, we in the UK (apart from the Welsh) tend to use the size of Wales as our benchmark and there is a handy website for such calculations: . I can reveal therefore that 1800 km^2 is 0.86 times the size of Wales. In case anyone was worried... oh, maybe just me then.

Graham Mills

Oops -- that should be 0.086 unless Wales just shrunk.

Aliasi Stonebender

This ignores, of course, that Skyrim is a deliberately simplified and stylized representation of the game world - unless you thought a bustling trade city like Whitewall would REALLY be only a castle, a couple dozen buildings, and maybe twenty people.

foneco zuzu

Pussycat, i don't have the game, but as far as i remember, any Bethesda game is much more then just a pacman!
Mods allow them to be whatever any wishes, and i still remember with joy the countless hours spent on Morrowind fishing, exploring the underwater world, new amazing cities, Npc's that feel alive, horses, all that was not in the original game but modders contribute!

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