In Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri (SMAC), the Virtual World is a Secret Project. It may be built at a cost of 270 minerals, on discovery of Planetary Networks (D2). The Virtual World makes each Network Node function additionally as a Hologram Theatre: two less drones and +50% Psych output. The Hologram Theatre base facility costs 54 minerals, plus 3 energy per turn maintenance, so the Virtual World is a bargain at only the cost of 5 Hologram Theatres.

This is an excellent buy for any faction at any difficulty level; since the University faction (white, Zakharov) already gets a free Network Node at every base, it's a must-have! The concept of the Virtual World is firmly in the realm of sci-fi (ala The Lawnmower Man, Snow Crash, and The Matrix), but steady progress in neural interface technology is bringing it closer to reality. If the Planetary Networks tech advance is analogous to the Internet, perhaps the Virtual World is a bit misplaced in the Tech Tree.

Secret Project animation narrative:
"What do I care for your suffering? Pain, even agony, is no more than information before the senses, data fed to the computer of the mind. The lesson is simple: you have received the information, now act on it. Take control of the input and you shall become master of the output."
   -- Chairman Sheng-ji Yang,
   "Essays on Mind and Matter"

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