Most virches have software independent of their inhabitants that runs the simulated environment of that particular virch. That, for example, governs the laws of physics there, or controls the behaviour of the non-sophont virch entities there. In some cases this environment software is literally everything in the virch outside its inhabitants, aware of and sensing through everything in it. In others there are non-sophont entities (virch animals and so on) that exist independently of it with the environment software merely providing the foundations on which the rest of the virch rests. In a some cases (such as Bottleworlds, where the sophoncy of the inhabitants derives from the virch laws of physics rather than the entities being programs being run within the virch) even the sophont inhabitants of the virch are part of the environment.
In most of these virches this simulation environment software is very much non-sophont. The inhabitants would not have it any other way, and work to keep it so.
However, in some virches this software has become, or has been constructed or created to be, a single sophont entity in its own right. This sophont simulation environment (SoSimEv) is, basically, the god of its virch.
Some of the very first virch environments were effectively primitive Sosimevs, run directly by AIs for the benefit of the first virch entities. As the technology of virches matured, however, non-sophont environments became the standard, until the inhabitants of the Analine Vast Redsphere virch decided, in the eleventh century A.T., to try making their environment sophont, just to see what would happen.
Their experiment was successful enough that some others adopted the concept, and so Sosimevs began to spread across Terragens space. The advent of the Sophoncy Virus also boosted the numbers of Sosimevs, though in a far less controlled manner, and, in some cases, with very serious damage or disruption of the affected virches.
The personalities exhibited by Sosimevs vary greatly as does, basically, everything about them. Many are solipsist, looking inward and only concerned with running their own virch worlds. Most are benevolent, and these are the types that have spread furthest across Terragens space. Some are malevolent, and these have spread far less widely. Many are effectively sophont angelnets. A form of the Sophoncy Virus that turned virch environments into sadistic Sosimevs has been a major bogeyman across Terragens virches for millennia.
Sosimevs do ascend to higher toposophic levels from time to time. Some bring their inhabitants with them, sometimes forcibly. It is not unknown, however, for them to leave their inhabitants behind, either effectively destroying them, relocating them, or packing them away ready to be revived by others in another virch.
Sosimevs are also known to breed. They can do this either alone, splitting or budding off new Sosimevs (which do not have to resemble their parents in any way), or in conjunction with other Sosimevs, and often with assistance from their sophont inhabitants, too.
In terms of the EZ virch classification system, Sosimevs have do not really have a 'Hardness of Physics' as such; it is more that they are physics in their virch. They are very different from the physical world, and are usually quite abstract. Their resolution is an entirely variable thing, dependent upon the virch they are running or are part of.
- Sophonce - Text by Stephen Inniss
Sophonce is sentience and sapience with metacognition: self-awareness, including self-reflection and the ability to think about one's thinking. Kinds and degrees of sophonce are well defined and testable in modern toposophology, but a full understanding of them eludes even superbright modosophonts. The definitions used by transapients of S1 and higher do not translate clearly into any subsingularity format, but they claim to have a full definition of the major types of sophonce. A sophont being is a "person" under most legal and social systems in the Civilized Galaxy. Transapient informants have said that sophonce is a prerequisite for a number of other qualities and abilities that are unique to beings of S1 or higher. The term "sophont" was first coined by the 1st century BT fabulists Karen and Poul Anderson, to describe hypothetical non-terragen bionts with human-equivalent abilities and qualities. It came into general usage in languages ancestral to Anglic with the advent of the first provolves and turingrade ais.
- Sophoncy Virus, The
- Sophont - Text by Stephen Inniss
A person. A being that has the quality of sophonce. Such beings are sometimes called 'sapients'. For historical reasons, sophont-grade ais, may be called 'turingrade ais', even though because of philosophical and practical difficulties with the Turing Test the term 'sophont ai' would be clearer.
- Sophtware - Text by Todd Drashner
Colloquial term used to describe sophont to transapient level software based lifeforms whether of virtual, ai, or upload origin. Sophtware entities are usually characterized as not being limited to a single dedicated processor to support their minds but instead operating as mobile blocks of self-referential code able to transfer themselves over information networks and among any group of processing substrates designed to accommodate them.
- Virchspace - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
Any digital space or environment; pertaining to virch or a cybercosm.
- Virchuniverse - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
Generally, an aggregation or collection of thousands of interconnected virchworlds or cybercosms, all sharing the same basic ontology and lay-out, to make traveling from one to the other easier. Sometimes also used to designate a single extremely large virchworld.
- Virtual Reality
Text by Tony Jones
Initially published on 01 February 2004.