Writing in progress
Publication date: TBC
160% funded
1522 backers

A beautifully illustrated atlas exploring and mapping the spectacular imaginary cities of video games.

Video games allow us to construct and visit believable imaginary cities, provide us with glimpses of ancient urbanism, and let us immerse ourselves in the wildest utopias and darkest dystopias of our possible futures. They are an unprecedented canvas for experimenting with the urban environment, and an utterly unique medium for experiencing cities both imagined and real in truly immersive ways.

Game urbanist, designer, and writer Konstantinos Dimopoulos, and visual artist Maria Kallikaki have embarked on a virtual journey to explore, catalogue, and map the most spectacular, intriguing, and defining places of this new digital geography.

 

 

Virtual Cities: An Atlas & Exploration of Video Game Cities is an ambitious and richly illustrated atlas that is the first detailed attempt to document the deep and exciting history of game cities via a combination of original maps, ink drawings, and insightful commentary and analysis. 

Virtual Cities will be a beautiful book meant for lovers of cartography and imaginary worlds, artists, game designers, world builders, and, above all, everyone who plays and cares for video games.

 

 

Virtual Cities covers over 40 game cities across literary and gaming genres. Cities spanning almost 40 years of digital history, including detailed entries on Half-Life 2’s City 17, Yakuza’s Kamurocho, Fallout’s New Vegas, Silent Hill, and less well-known cities such as Antescher and Lizard Breath, plus cyberpunk Hong Kong, and voodoo New Orleans among many, many more.

Every city featured in the atlas will be mapped through a combination of traditional and unorthodox cartographic methods including partial reconstruction, and the filling in of essential details, which allow us to visualize the often fragmented, incomplete, and out of scale cities of gaming in a cohesive way. It will also be accompanied by beautiful, subtly coloured ink drawings, and in-depth texts covering its history, design lessons, atmosphere, landmarks, and geography. 

 

STRETCH GOALS!

  • At 150% five additional cities added to the book, which means more artwork, more content, more chances your favourite games will be included.
  • At 175% we'll announce a Limited Edition Slipcase edition. You'll be able to upgrade your hardback to include this slipcase.
  • At 200%, to say thank you for your incredible support, every backer will receive a digital book of sketches, early artwork, initial ideas and notes.
  • Above 200% - Keep an eye out for more amazing stretch goals.

 

 

About the Book

  • A full colour, high quality hardback with printed endpapers.
  • Approximately 200 pages.
  • 210 by 286mm format with head and tail bands.
  • Over 40 original maps, and more than 100 drawings.
  • Contains over 50,000 words and amazing pledge levels!

From metropolitan sci-fi open worlds and medieval fantasy towns, to contemporary cities and glimpses of gothic horror urbanism author and artist will research, map, visualize, and document some of the most iconic, complex and intriguing cities in gaming. 

 

*Book designs and cover are for illustrative purpose and may differ to final design.

Following a PhD and over 10 years of research in urban planning and city geography, Konstantinos Dimopoulos moved on to combine his knowledge of cities with his love for games and game design into the field of game urbanism. Since then he has worked on the cities, settlements, mechanics, maps, and geographies of several games including MMO Seed, The Sinking City, Cyberganked, and Cyberpunk Cities. He never really stopped lecturing, writing words, giving talks, designing his own games, and fiddling with virtual worlds, though the cartography of imaginary worlds is a relatively recent obsession of his.


Maria Kallikaki is a visual artist specializing in landscape oil-paintings, engravings, and ink illustrations. She has been educating children in the arts for over 10 years. Oil painting aside, she has been applying her skills to books, posters, and even video games, while also experimenting with three dimensional art objects. She studied Painting and Engraving at the Academy of Fine Arts (Accademia di Belle Arti) in Florence, Italy.

City 17

Half-Life 2

There aren't any children in City 17. The dilapidated playgrounds are devoid of life, and will remain so for as long as the all-encompassing Suppression Field keeps on preventing human procreation. And it's not just the playgrounds that stand abandoned either. Many of the city's buildings are crumbling, and even more have been empty husks for years. Despite the soft daylight and long, almost romantic shadows, City 17 is neither a happy nor a vibrant place.

Even pinpointing its exact location is tricky. The direction of the sunlight, and the widespread use of the Cyrillic alphabet suggest Eastern Europe, most probably Bulgaria, yet one can also find a few signs and graffiti in Greek or even Scandinavian. With its exact location remaining a mystery, not much can be known of the place's early history, beside the fact it wasn't always called City 17. The architecture that still stands, itself a monument of better days, allows a simple reconstruction of the city's evolution from the neoclassicism of the 19th Century, to early modernism, to the Soviet functionalism that followed World War 2, to postmodern styles, to a truly alien, cold, and monolithic version of Brutalism.

Following the Seven Hour War, along with the rest of Earth, City 17 is no longer under humanity's control. The unconditional surrender of the unified human government has turned the devastatingly powerful extraterrestrial forces of the Combine into the planet's new absolute rulers. It is they who constructed imposing Citadels in major cities. It is they who chose to erect the greatest of the Citadels in City 17 turning it into their de facto global capital, where Wallace Breen, former head of Black Mesa and Earth's current appointed Administrator, has his headquarters.

Read more...
Konstantinos Dimopoulos commented on this blog post.
Konstantinos Dimopoulos commented on this blog post.

Virtual Cities: The Contents Revealed

Tuesday, 4 December 2018

Rubacavabit

Narrowing over forty years, dozens of platforms, a menagerie of genres, and a multitude of game city types (and styles) down to the 45 entries of the Virtual Cities atlas wasn't an easy task. I will not bore you with the details, but know that a few hundred hours were dedicated to researching, playing, re-playing, reading, and finally deciding on 41 of those cities. The remaining four were selected…

A Rather Wintery Civic Update

Wednesday, 21 November 2018

Section 1

[illustration courtesy of Colorfiction and 0°N 0°W]

I was hoping to be able to announce the final list of the atlas entries in this update (and was thus postponing it), but am still working with a couple of our super-generous 'Name A City'-level backers on the cities they did like to see featured in Virtual Cities; we are thus not there just yet. Happily though, after dozens of hours of researching…

150% reached - five cities added!

Thursday, 27 September 2018

Rubacavabit

Amazingly, Virtual Cities hit its very first stretch goal at 150% funded, and five more entries have been added to the book! The atlas will thus now grow bigger to include 45 game cities, and I can't help but thank you all so very, very much. We honestly never really expected this much love, and support to be shown to our project.

Oh, and even though at least another 10 illustration, 5 maps…

The steampunk-ish New Bretagne of Lamplight City

Thursday, 13 September 2018

Lamplight

Brilliant detective adventure Lamplight City by Grundislav Games has just been released on Steam and GOG, and I am happy to announce that its rich, atmospheric, Victorian, steampunk-ish city will be part of the Virtual Cities atlas. What's more, creator Francisco Gonzalez has been kind enough to provide me with a pre-release copy of the game, concept artwork, design documents, and all of the city…

Take a closer look at one of the best video game cities, Grim Fandango’s Rubacava

Monday, 10 September 2018

Rubacavac

Summer's (almost) gone, a lot of work has been done on the Virtual Cities atlas, and the lovely Polygon published  an excerpt from the book on Grim Fandango's Rubacava. Read it here. You'll also notice that the words are accompanied by a new illustration by Maria Kallikaki.

- Konstantinos

A Midsummer Update on Virtual Cities

Wednesday, 1 August 2018

Antescherpromo

It's been a while since the last update on the Virtual Cities atlas, and as you may have noticed the campaign is steadily climbing towards its first stretch goal. Achieving 150% feels like something we can actually reach, and I've thus slightly readjusted our plans to allow for the inclusion of 45 cities in the book; that's roughly an extra 10 illustrations, 5 maps, and over 5000 words.

Speaking…

The Imaginary Realism of Bus Simulator 18

Wednesday, 27 June 2018

Citymap bussim

Virtual Cities, being an atlas that intends to cover all aspects of videogame urbanism, is, appropriately, also aiming to encompass the entire range of gaming's cities. So, following last week's announcement regarding the inclusion of 0°N 0°W's surreal urban entities, here's a short update to let you know that the contemporary, realistic, and yet imaginary (to the point of utopianism some…

The magical, surreal maps of 0°N 0°W

Friday, 22 June 2018

Colorfiction 0n0w zeronorthzerowest %281%29

0°N 0°W was released only a few months ago by indie studio Colorfiction, and is a truly unique exercise in surreal urbanism, and the crafting of strange, dreamlike cities. An unexpectedly meditative interactive experience exploring the possibilities of imaginary, experimental planning, I simply had to include in the Virtual Cities atlas.

As visiting 0°N 0°W can be pretty…

Expanding Virtual Cities -- The Stretch Goals

Wednesday, 20 June 2018

Vc sgs

I never expected Virtual Cities to be funded in less than three weeks, and both I and Maria Kallikaki are truly grateful for your support, and very excited to be working on our atlas of game cities. Also, having discussed things with the lovely people of Unbound we are now in the happy position of being able to announce our stretch goals:

  • At 150% of the funding goal five additional cities…

The Continuous City by Gareth Damian Martin

Wednesday, 13 June 2018

Dishonored

Game cities are a fascinating subject, and as is the case with all fascinating subjects, they can be approached, explored, and appreciated in a multitude of ways. Readers intrigued by our Virtual Cities atlas might thus also be interested in a radically different approach.

The Continuous City by Gareth Damian Martin is a collection of wonderful, black and white, analogue photography exploring…

Konstantinos Dimopoulos commented on this blog post.
Konstantinos Dimopoulos commented on this blog post.

Virtual Cities is happening!

Tuesday, 5 June 2018

Frontis

First of all, a huge THANK YOU to all you wonderful people who helped the Virtual Cities campaign reach its funding goal in less than three weeks! Both I and Maria Kallikaki are beyond excited in the knowledge that our atlas is indeed happening! We also now know how (and where) to spend our summer.

What's more, we are looking --along with the wonderful team @ Unbound-- for ways of making this…

Two Brand New 'Virtual Cities' Pledge Levels

Tuesday, 29 May 2018

Popular demand --expressed both publicly in the book's FAQ secion, and privately via emails-- led us to the inclusion of two new pledge levels for the Virtual Cities campaign:

- the Signed Bookplate and Postcards (a special offer) level offering the book, the signed bookplate, and the postcards,

- and the Book Bundle pledge aimed at retailers, and indie shops featuring five copies of the atlas…

Konstantinos Dimopoulos commented on this blog post.
Konstantinos Dimopoulos commented on this blog post.

Fallen London and the Cartography of a Thousand Stories

Friday, 25 May 2018

Fallenlondon

Fallen London, the wonderfully dark and deliciously devilish Victorian Gothic metropolis of Failbetter Games, and also the intricate urban setting of both Fallen London and Sunless Sea will be a part of the Virtual Cities atlas!* What's more, the incredibly generous people of Failbetter Games shall be helping me and Maria Kallikaki map this fabulously intricate imaginary city, capture and re-interpret…

An Update on the Virtual Cities campaign

Thursday, 24 May 2018

We have decided to remove all references to GTA V, and Los Santos, as well as all references to Bioshock from the campaign (and the relevant updates). We will be focusing on other virtual cities instead.

Konstantinos Dimopoulos commented on this blog post.

10 Virtual Cities cities revealed!

Tuesday, 22 May 2018

Atlasupdt2 b

Thank you all for the wonderful, heart-warming support!

The Virtual Cities atlas, this artful, and very cartographic journey through gaming's cities would never be possible without the love you have shown it (and us). Honestly, thank you!

The campaign is already approaching the point of being 50% funded, and I'm certain that by spreading the word even further, we'll be hitting 100% very soon…

Welcome to the very real Virtual Cities campaign

Friday, 18 May 2018

Back in 2017 I and artist Maria Kallikaki decided that launching a virtual cartographic expedition to map, explore, and capture the essence of gaming's most intriguing cities would be an adventure worth embarking on.

Now, almost a year later I can't help but feel we are almost there. Virtual Cities is happening, and I'd like to ask all you wonderful people for your help in spreading the word on…

These people are helping to fund Virtual Cities.

Avatar
Joel Button
Avatar
Jeffrey Heilbroun
Avatar
William HAYET
Avatar
Jenna Featherstone
Avatar
Josh Lynas
Avatar
Matthew Lavender
Avatar
Carol Haft
Avatar
Louisa Heath
Avatar
Jan Wignand
Avatar
Joseph Evans
Avatar
Paul Hoey
Avatar
Kevin Levermann
Avatar
Felix Neudecker
Avatar
Lex van der Raadt
Avatar
Danilo Beemt
Avatar
LUCIAN Hughes
Avatar
Mark Frederick
Avatar
Michael O'Connor
Avatar
Michael O'Brien
Avatar
Aaron Beatty
Avatar
Vincent Huang
Avatar
Aliki Chapple
Avatar
Ivan Decker
Avatar
Tom Hutchings
Avatar
Paul Kemp
Avatar
Mike Witcombe
Avatar
Kalan D
Avatar
Andreas Kjeldsen
Avatar
Jarosław Masłowski
Avatar
David Kemp
Avatar
Tom Constable
Avatar
Nolwenn Roudaut
Avatar
Christian Ørntoft
Avatar
Satu Storås
Avatar
Alex Garrett
Avatar
Rudolf INDERST
Avatar
Devin Belic
Avatar
Daniel Ewald
Avatar
Stephanie Farley
Avatar
Christian Mulkey
Avatar
stan borst
Avatar
Ramon Wieszczeczynski
Avatar
Gwyneth Holland
Avatar
Ellis Calderbank
Avatar
Liam Mo
Avatar
Adam Fairclough
Avatar
Concha Fernández Álvarez
Avatar
Abe Burmeister
Avatar
Ross Hargill
Avatar
Steven Halim
Avatar
Liyi Zhang
Avatar
Mauricio Bouabci
Avatar
Oliver M Harris
Avatar
Tobias Gissler
Avatar
Sean Chambers
Avatar
Benedikt Hanek
Avatar
Danielle Thom
Avatar
Jonathan Carpenter
Avatar
Nathan Frazier
Avatar
John Paino
View all supporters
Ashwin Sudhir
Ashwin Sudhir asked:

Could you please consider adding a reward tier with the post cards and the signed bookplate along with a hardback+ebook?

Konstantinos Dimopoulos
Konstantinos Dimopoulos replied:

Hello! Ah, yes, a good idea that! Will look into this :)
Thanks,

K

Pablo López
Pablo López asked:

Hi,

This book looks great. Is there any place where I can see the full list of cities or an index of contents?

Thanks.

Pablo

Konstantinos Dimopoulos
Konstantinos Dimopoulos replied:

Hello,
and thank you! The full list has not been announced yet, but I will be disclosing the first definite batch of entries within this week.

Luke Cashmore
Luke Cashmore asked:

Would be amazing if you had this one!
https://switchfan.org/wp/wp-content/uploads/lego-city-undercover-map.jpg

Konstantinos Dimopoulos
Konstantinos Dimopoulos replied:

Hello! The list of cities hasn't been finalized yet. We (me and artist Maria Kallikaki) are really trying to include as many and as iconic cities as we can. Can't say we haven't considered Lego City, but it's till not decided upon.

Antoine Daviau 3cratere
Antoine Daviau 3cratere asked:

Hi,
Your work looks amazing.
As a french guy, do you have any idea about a future translation of your book ?
Regards,
Antoine

Konstantinos Dimopoulos
Konstantinos Dimopoulos replied:

Hello!

Thank you so much for the kind words. After the book gets published in English, we will try and look into translation options; obviously French will be a key language!

Antoine Daviau 3cratere
Antoine Daviau 3cratere asked:

Ok,
I'll be ready whenever it'll be available (even if, I really want to buy it now... Do you have any Dark souls town ?).
Regards and good luck for your project :)

Konstantinos Dimopoulos
Konstantinos Dimopoulos replied:

Thank you, but keep in mind that a French edition sadly cannot be guaranteed. As for Dark Souls... well, you'll have to wait a tiny bit and see ;)

Jack A
Jack A asked:

Pledged! Looks really cool, is there any point and click adventures cities going to be included in the book? Also will Deus Ex get some love too?

Konstantinos Dimopoulos
Konstantinos Dimopoulos replied:

Thank you! Also, yes! We've already announced Gabriel Knight's New Orleans, and Rubacava from Grim Fandango. The rest will eventually be revealed; Deus Ex is --of course-- being considered.

Alice Clarke
Alice Clarke asked:

Would you add a retailers pledge? I work for a comic book store and we would love to pledge for 5 copies or so at distribution price.

Konstantinos Dimopoulos
Konstantinos Dimopoulos replied:

Not entirely sure this is possible to be honest, but I will ask, and --if possible-- get it added. Thanks!

Wayne Hoffman
Wayne Hoffman asked:

For the map print pledge, do we choose which print or will it be random?

Konstantinos Dimopoulos
Konstantinos Dimopoulos replied:

It will be decided by the artist, and announced as soon as we have at least 2/3 of the final maps ready.

Wayne Hoffman
Wayne Hoffman asked:

Another question. Any chance at seeing Dunwall in the book?

Konstantinos Dimopoulos
Konstantinos Dimopoulos replied:

Many chances :)

Matt Gee
Matt Gee asked:

Hello are you taking any suggestions for locations? I would love to see some of the following cities in your book...

Rapture from Bioshock
Midgar from Final Fantasy 7
Rome from Assassin's Creed
USG Ishimura from Dead Space
Dunwall from Dishonored
The Citadel from Mass Effect
Bowerstone from Fable
The Citadel from Oblivion
Bright Falls from Alan Wake
Yaughton from Everybody's Gone to the Rapture

Please can you share when the final list of locations will be announced as I'd like to see this before I pledge... Thanks!

Konstantinos Dimopoulos
Konstantinos Dimopoulos replied:

Thanks for the suggestions. As we still haven't finalized every entry yet, I always appreciate suggestions :)

James Hancock
James Hancock asked:

I have pledged for 2 copies of your book. Would it be possible to get 2 names in the back under patrons?

Unbound
Unbound replied:

Hi James,

Yes this should be fine. Please see here for how to change the name in the book: http://help.unbound.com/unbound-for-readers/managing-your-subscriptions/changing-the-supporter-name-thats-printed-in-a-book

Best wishes,

Unbound Support

Armando Gutierrez
Armando Gutierrez asked:

Backed! When is the expected delivery after the funding?

Konstantinos Dimopoulos
Konstantinos Dimopoulos replied:

Thank you! We are aiming to have all texts, maps, and illustrations ready by early 2019. After that Unbound will need roughly 10-12 months to get the book on shelves, though backers should be receiving 1st edition books a bit sooner. Please do keep in mind that nothing's set in stone just yet.

Luke Cashmore
Luke Cashmore asked:

Brill! Would love LEGO city to be featured as I worked on it :D. Been telling everyone about this book!

Konstantinos Dimopoulos
Konstantinos Dimopoulos replied:

Thank you so much! I am indeed considering LEGO City :)

Matt Gee
Matt Gee asked:

When will the final list of cities be announced?

Konstantinos Dimopoulos
Konstantinos Dimopoulos replied:

We will keep on announcing cities during the summer. I am expecting a 99% final list to be made public early in September.

Stefan Wagner
Stefan Wagner asked:

Hi, this looks like a great (and beautiful) project! Provided that you're going to include all backers in the printed version, would it be possible to add a nickname (or hometown) in addition to the real name? – would be awesome as my name for example is pretty common.

Unbound
Unbound replied:

Hi Stefan,

You can certainly change the you'd like in the book if you like. Just see here for how to do this: http://help.unbound.com/unbound-for-readers/managing-your-subscriptions/changing-the-supporter-name-thats-printed-in-a-book.

Unbound Support

Konstantinos Stavrakakis
Konstantinos Stavrakakis asked:

Hi there Mr. Dimopoulos,I would like to ask you if there is going to be a copy of this book translated in greek since you are Greek (judging from your name).

Konstantinos Dimopoulos
Konstantinos Dimopoulos replied:

Hello! Provided a Greek publishing house is interested in such an attempt, and agrees on terms with Unbound, I cannot see why not. And you are judging correctly; of course :)

Tom Majski
Tom Majski asked:

If yharnam and lordran appear i'm in 100% good luck guys!

Konstantinos Dimopoulos
Konstantinos Dimopoulos replied:

Thank you! Oh, and we've already announced Anor Londo.

Matt Gee
Matt Gee asked:

When is the final list of cities being released?

Konstantinos Dimopoulos
Konstantinos Dimopoulos replied:

Sorry for the belated answer (it is posted above), but their was a small delay on getting my answers to the previous batch of questions approved.

Ben Edwards
Ben Edwards asked:

Really excited for this to come out! Would be awesome for Lumious City from Pokemon X/Y to be in the book or any other city from the Pokemon universe!

Konstantinos Dimopoulos
Konstantinos Dimopoulos replied:

Thank you for the suggestion! Will definitely look into this.

Mike van Putten
Mike van Putten asked:

I really love the idea for a game atlas and am happy it’s founded and hope you get to the 150% stretch goal.
These are just some city suggestion so don’t feel obligated to reply.
Both Bowerstone from the Fable series and Hyrule Castle (Town) from the Zelda series and how they both evolved through the games.

Good luck,
Mike

Konstantinos Dimopoulos
Konstantinos Dimopoulos replied:

Hey Mike, and thank you both for the kind words, and the suggestions! Still haven't decided how exactly to cover Zelda's urbanism though...

Ross Hargill
Ross Hargill asked:

How will I get the digital version of the book?

Konstantinos Dimopoulos
Konstantinos Dimopoulos replied:

The digital version of the book will be sent to all backers starting from the $10 tier. As soon as the book is finished you will be notified.

Thank you!

Join in the conversation

Sign in to ask a question