CityRealm Launches Kickstarter Campaign to Bring Chicago to Life

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CityRealm introduces 3-D, animated, experiential Chicago neighborhood guide and advertising platform.

The team at CityRealm, which has created a digital Chicago “map with atmosphere,” launched a Kickstarter to complete their 3-D modeled, animated landscape of the city.

The team has already built the digital landscape base map components with buildings, roads, waterways, etc. and started construction on the functional tools. The navigator tool is almost complete, and the Explorer, Communicator, Mini Map and Magnifier tools are in development and nearing completion. Databases are designed and ready for information.

The foundation is an actual, to-scale digital map rendered with 3-D textures. The modeled landscape contains buildings, roads, waterways, railroads, open spaces, sidewalks and terraces, parks and a few 3D rendered landmark buildings. Addresses, street names, road markings and many well-known buildings are named and included. The finished program will offer a completely new experiential Chicago neighborhood guide and advertising platform.

In addition to Chicago visitors and residents, the product should be of particular value to retailers, real estate agents, relocation specialists, travel and hospitality organizations, chambers of commerce and tourism organizations and gamers.

CityRealm is seeking $380,000 to complete the project. The team has already invested significant time and money into the project and while much of the base work has been done, support is needed to expand the city territory, add color, textures, sound and "lifelike" effects that breathe life into the environment. Listed below are a few of the details:

  • Design the interface layout for the area surrounding the map. Create Art Deco style graphics for the overall design scheme of the information windows, buttons and tools overlay design.
  • Create a special web page tab listing (with permission) and acknowledging all of backers.
  • Add a variety of textures for roadways, pavement and landscaped areas.
  • Add more neighborhoods, 3-D modeled landmark buildings; update addresses, buildings and any new construction.
  • Add categories for businesses, institutions and organizations.
  • Add pinpoint category locations into the database.

“We created an actual replica of Chicago and turned it into a unique platform for users to search and explore the neighborhoods, purchase goods and services and have fun while doing it,” says co-founder and CEO Penny Edecker.

The finished CityRealm will allow users to “tour” Chicago city-block by city-block viewing detailed objects, buildings, parks, roads and landscaping. Users will be able to “feel” the land and “touch” the buildings by running the cursor over the map and exploring all the city has to offer. The design lets users discover little known neighborhoods, business and landmarks. Animations add to the visuals and life-like feel of the site. Search tools allow them to view businesses, find venues, parking, shops, restaurants etc. according to exact specifications.

“We like to think of this as an interactive Chicago tour with gaming elements,” says Edecker. “It allows people to play with a miniature world.”

CityRealm Chicago also offers a new outlet for local businesses to advertise. Businesses, groups, venues etc. will be offered an opportunity to do so via four levels of advertising, including video at extremely affordable prices.

“This evens the playing field by allowing smaller, locally owned business, shops, restaurants, hotels, etc, to advertise alongside the major players,” says Edecker.

The project was developed by the team of Penny Edecker and Alex Siyanko. Edecker has more than 45 years of experience with entrepreneurial enterprises including eight years of experience in work with audio recording, mixing, CD ROM and Internet projects which included scripting, music, sound effects, voice over and production management. Over the last several years, she has lent her skills to help form several companies that provide marketing services, educational and gaming software, 3-D mapping technology, as well as three dimensional sound technology.

Building on a strong educational foundation, Siyanko’s work experience has focused on the development of three-dimensional models of such diverse objects as stem structure in microbiology to aircraft and automobiles to education and gaming. His core competencies are in software development for education and gaming; three-dimensional graphics software for manufacturing and product conception and design.

To follow the progress of the campaign, visit; sharing on social media platforms is encouraged and appreciated. Consider helping to fund the program to help this project come to life by visiting: Every supporter will receive a CityRealm hard hat keychain, which offers exclusive, advanced access to the landscape construction site. Every backer will be acknowledged on a special page on the website. Other level supporters will receive a set of Chicago paper models; a tote bag or scarf with the CityRealm neighborhood map design or an ad placement for six months with a medallion on the ad to show acknowledgement.

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Dyana Flanigan

Penny Edecker
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