System Double Virchworlds

System Double Virchworld
Image from Steve Bowers
The double virchworld on Rosmion simulates the planet as if it were uncolonised

A common variety of virchworld, constituting an uninhabited replica of the system in which it is located which can be settled contemporaneously with the original, or subsequently as the system fills up while still having locals who want to retain the 'pioneer spirit', for example. Often referred to as simply 'Doubles' or 'Reps'.

Ever since the time when virchworlds of real complexity and size were available during the Interstellar Era, accurate replicas of real-life star systems have been common. The first of these were replicas of Solsys, typically uninhabited but with terraforming, worldhouses, habitats and so on intact, allowing for inhabitation. However, in some examples the system thus replicated would be more of a replication of the 'virgin system', devoid of infrastructure.

However, Doubles would not become a distinct phenomenon until the Inner Sphere Era, when very high-resolution virchworlds became easy to produce for peripheral systems.

By the Current Era, Doubles have a long history as a part of standard development packages for new systems on the Periphery, notably including those developed by Tavi-Faber groups.

Typically, new systems developed for subsequent settlement by less ruderal clades will have computronium banks installed in close solar orbit, primarily left blank but with one or a handful of ready-made 'off-the-shelf' virchworld models. Standard among these will be a Double, or a few Doubles, which will simulate virgin forms of the system itself, typically prior to any development but sometimes with terraforming, worldhousing and habitats included, usually running at 1.5-2Rs. If there are multiple Doubles in a system, it is common for some to be running at nearer 10Rs, with the others progressively closer to ril-speed in a stepwise manner.

If the virchworld includes multiple star systems, it is generally no longer referred to as a Double, although there are exceptions particularly relating to clusters of star systems.

Doubles are often very useful in testing out possible development strategies for the original system, as they can run much faster in subjective time. However, it is a mistake to think of them purely as testing grounds. Due to their faster subjective timeframes, Doubles generally host substantially more inhabitants than the original system in ril, especially if a system hosts multiple Doubles. Therefore, the bulk of a given system's cultural and technological development generally occurs in its Doubles and other virchworlds.

It is very rare for a Double to be particularly isolated from its original system, and movement between the virchworld and ril is generally free, although those living in virches will typically need to use eidolons or analagous devices to operate in ril, while individuals living in ril visiting the Double will need an avatar. One common phenomenon found in Doubles running at or very close to rilspeed is for a particular area to be duplicated between virchworld and ril, typically a park or area of a city. People entering this area in the virch are represented in the ril version by eidolons, and those entering in ril are represented in the virch by avatars, making the region a point of 'overlap' between ril and virch. Of course in many cases the boundaries between virchworlds and ril are far more porous than this, but those referred to as Doubles have a certain level of discreteness between the two.

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Development Notes
Text by Kirran Lochhead Strang
Initially published on 01 February 2016.