Image from Bernd Helfert

Only the most skilled designers of virtual environments can claim the title of surrealtor. Practitioners of this interdisciplinary art are part architect, part computer programmer, part artist and part psychotherapist. Most surrealty offices employ teams of specialists, but the most celebrated surrealtors are those rare few savants who have the skills and talents to work alone.

A surrealtor creates a virtual world that is carefully tailored to the client's tastes, intellectual capacity and emotional maturity. The environment may also contain elements that have therapeutic effects on a client's phobias or neuroses. A properly designed environment must change as its inhabitant develops; all surrealtors program their works to respond to even the smallest changes in a client's personality. Designing an environment that must house multiple beings is an even greater challenge. The most common job for surrealtors is designing environments for virtuals who are recently uploaded from a physical form; a well-designed virtual world can greatly aid the transition. Not surprisingly, many of the best surrealtors are virtuals who used to be bionts, vecs, or members of some other embodied sophont clade. Still others are post-virtuals who have downloaded into physical bodies. Either way, it is clear that having experience in both the virtual and material worlds is a powerful advantage in this line of work.

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Development Notes
Text by Michael Walton
Initially published on 10 September 2005.