A Coherent System of Measurement for 3ds Max

Working on plugins for 3ds Max has lead to some very interesting realizations about the product. In particular, it has a number of functions and settings for converting units of length, allowing you to easily build scenes measured in leagues, fathoms, furlongs, or light-years. Internally, it stores all distances in inches and does the conversion when it displays them (probably — it can actually be changed to use a different internal measurement as well to make things more confusing). Furthermore, the fundamental unit of time in 3ds Max is the tick, 1/4800th of a second. The tick was so chosen because it evenly divides both 24 and 30 frames per second and because it’s annoying.

So, in summary we have the tick as a unit of time and the probably-inch as a unit of length. The problem is we have no measures for any other quantities, nor can we without a unit of mass. Since it is absolutely essential to do physical/engineering calculations in 3ds Max, I propose the following: adopt the ubiquitous teapot as a fundamental unit of mass. To be specific, we will use the standard Utah Teapot full of standard Utah Tea. Extensive research places this between 20 and 30 oz so for the sake of argument we’ll call it 710 grams. If you are from the Mountain View Computer History Museum and are unfortunate enough to stumble upon this, could you verify this for me?.

From these quantities, we can easily define a coherent system of measures as follows:

Quantity Unit Derivation Notes
Length Probably-Inch Fundamental unit Defined as being an inch if 3ds Max decides it should be so.
Time Tick Fundamental unit 1/4800th of a second
Mass Teapot Fundamental unit One standard Utah teapot full of standard Utah tea.
Velocity Tinch 1 probably-inch per tick
Square time Tock Tick2 It just makes sense
Acceleration Tonch 1 probably-inch per tock i.e. 1 tonch = 1 tinch per tick
Force Gigadormouse 1 probable teapot-inch per tock A dormouse is a creature that lives in a teapot. If you collected 1 billion of them, they might conceivably exert this much force (about 1.2 giganewtons or 269 million pounds of force).
Power Gigadormousepower 1 probable dormouse-inch per tick 91 horses are equivalent to one megadormouse.
Pressure 1 Gigadormouse per probable square inch Understandably, this is also a measure of stress.
Density 1 teapot per probable cubic inch This one is rather hard to visualize.

For the Greater Good of Humanity Itself, her are some interesting measurements:

  • Average air speed of an unladen swallow: 9.02 centitinches.
  • Acceleration due to gravity on Earth: 16.8 microtonches.
  • Power output of a 2012 Honda Cvic: 2.06 megadormousepower.
  • Atmospheric pressure at sea level: 32 kilodormice per probable square inch.