Just like a construction plan or a script for a movie, the layout for a virtual city is key. Everything is based on the outline so that subsequent planning and construction can follow. These maps will be the foundation for various city buildings, services, and venues. The quality of design of the city maps determines how well residential and commercial real estate will integrate. The layout provides a backdrop for the rest of the elements of infrastructure.
As much as virtual cities are real world counterparts, they do have differences. One major twist is that cities are structured based on themes and interests. Examples include space, food, art, technology, environment, literature, and many more. This gives the people a unique incentive to choose certain cities over others and allows for a unique dynamic among companies and businesses.
The land itself is the most basal layer of the maps. It is entirely based planet earth, although there is some emergence of purely digital environments. Geographical features include forests, lakes, grasses, mountains, and others. The lands and colors are a reflection of the city themes.
Roads are completely fictional in these virtual cities but do follow the basic patterns of real ones. They can either be major connecting highways and arteries, or intercity streets and alleys. They all serve a purpose by providing a direction and organization grids for infrastructure and beyond.
After the definition of land and roads, structures and services populate the cities. Transportation like airports and train station support connections. Arts and libraries provide an avenue for education and learning. Entertainment is the vehicle towards down time and recreation whilst you are exploring.
Just like reality, there are many interconnected cities and towns, even in large metropolitan areas. Networks of roads, train lines, and airports facilitate movement from city to city. As the cities grow, and commercial and residential layers are expanded, unique methods may include high speed rail, underground movement, and teleportation.
Just as the city has surface layers, there is another direction for growth. Vertical expansion, more precisely into the underground, enables the creation of many new layers. Tunnels, subways, electrical and piping, hidden cabins, and below ground residences are all possibilities.