The History of Atlantis:
Atlantis itself is a powerful kingdom 'separated' from the rest of the world by a space/time distortion created by the demigod Chronos. According to Atlantian legend, the powerful demigod had mastered the ability to control and manipulate time. Seeking solace from the world for a time, he discovered a beautiful tropical island archipelago and created a bubble in space and time, separating the archipelago from the rest of the world. Within that bubble, his abode remained, but could not be accessed save by special gates in oceans around the world that he himself could open. Eventually, Chronos decided that the best way to use his powers was as little as possible, and he abandoned his secluded archipelago, but not before traveling the world through his gates and selecting some of the best people he had known in his long journeys across it's surface.
Bringing them all together, he brought them to the isolated archipelago so that they could take care of his islands and use the separation from the world to their advantage. With the knowledge of how to use the gates, the residents were free to travel to locations all over the world as they needed. Chronos helped them establish a government, with the first ruling family of their new city, which they named "Atlantis" or "City of the Beautiful Waves". Then, Chronos vanished, leaving all of his possessions behind, never to be seen again (note: perhaps he could make a few mysterious appearances as well to guide the player?).
Since then, Atlantis has flourished by trade, commerce and it's ability to hide itself from the rest of the world. At the time that the Chancellor has made his bid for power, the city has been growing for well over a thousand years, and is one of the most advanced and powerful nations in the world.
The Architecture of Atlantis:
As Atlantis grew, the citizens discovered that they could connect the islands of the archipelago in giant rings, and began to build outward as the city grew, establishing new rings to the cities structure as needed. Today the city is comprised of seven circular rings, each separated from the next by a distance of over a mile of clear, open and beautiful water. At the very center is the original island that Chronos lived on, now home to a massive palace and government complex that houses the ruling family of Atlantis and their governmental departments. Since the earliest days of Atlantis its builders have kept a harmony of nature and habitation in mind, so the kingdom-city (which it effectively is) is integrated with both the water and the plant life of the archipelago.
Although each of the stages will have its own unique design, it is important to note that as a whole, Atlantian architecture is very 'pure', with lots of straight colors and pleasing aesthetic lines. The Atlantian design philosophy is that almost everything should be an art. If there is a crane arm, it should have some sort of artistic carving design to it, yet still look clean and smooth (note: this may create a larger texture load). Additionally, since the Atlantians like to work water and plant life into their designs, so that the there should be waterfalls running down buildings, canals and pools inside them, Sonic style trees (the abstract, sharp angle type) growing on ledges, fountains, etc. It should have a slight "Utopian" look, as if the citizens are striving for it but aren't yet there. Naturally, each level will maintain a distinct style from the others which will need to be accounted for.
The Culture of Atlantis:
Only one real important note to make here, the richer inhabitants tend to live closer to the center of the city. Not much else is decided yet. Note, human inhabitants are there, but many are anthro's like Sonic, Tails and the rest. if you've got a clever fan character that's original and not shameless (I say this because there are many that are), they would fit right in shopping the markets as an Atlantian citizen.
Clothing: With Atlantis being built mainly on water, the common clothing of Atlantis is designed to get frequently wet or even to be swum in with some minor modifications. Clothing design should reflect this in citizenry, although the richer someone gets, more opulent additions should occur.
Will need: Food, jewelry, etc.
The Technology of Atlantis:
Atlantis is pretty well developed, about the renaissance level when it comes to ships and technology, and even more advanced in others (they don't wear the same clothes though). For example, the Atlantians have constructed massive under city waterways that purify the water of salt and pipe it through glass tubes to the entire city. They also have discovered electricity thanks to early use of magic (which they have and should show, nothing massive, but slight magical influence) and have lit their city with it and generate power with the ocean underneath them. Atlantis does have airships (the largest are military) and the most frequent use of their magic that citizens see (outside of power) is in the magically animated golems that everyone from the rich to the military use. The military ones should appear slightly darker however, to imply the chancellors recent covert takeover.
The Seven Rings of Atlantis:
No, these aren't World rings. These are the rings that flow outward from the center of the city. Each is wide, varying from several hundred feet to over a mile in width, and form the foundations of the city of Atlantis. Some intersect with islands on their journey. As the city has grown, the rings have come to each have distinct "attributes" linked with them. Note that the innermost ring is known as Ring 1, and the outermost is Ring 7, with address given by clockwise distance from the main bridge (there are many, but only one massive main bridge). As the city has moved outward, rings have been re-purposed as needed. These are not the stages, but the ring areas that they will be set in.
Ring 7: The Merchant Sector: Always moving to the outside of the city for ease, the Merchant Sector contains most of the markets, trading and Naval shipping ports of Atlantis. Because of this, the outer edge of the ring has a somewhat jagged appearance due to the vast array of docks jutting out from it. Being located so far out from the center of Atlantis, this is the largest ring (and therefore the player will only see a smaller portions of it in game). While the majority of it is devoted to commerce, some if it is devoted to residential area. The areas that are seen here should look like street markets. Lots of stalls and businesses lining the winding streets, bvut plenty of artistic architecture (such as fountains, loops, murals that display Atlantis, and plenty of plant areas). Their should be a lot of bright colors (coming from merchants stalls, wares, etc), but not clashing or overwhelming. This is an artistic city.
Ring 6: The Residential Sector: Due to it's large size and circumference, much of the population of Atlantis lives either here or on Ring 7. Consists mainly of condensed apartment complexes stacked like stepped pyramids, as well as high-rises (not super high, but high). These high rises should again, like the rest of Atlantis, look very 'pure' and artistic, and especially here we should see lots of white marble, buildings with small park areas, and flowing water everywhere. And people, plenty of them.
Ring 5: The Industrial Sector: Massive shipyards and construction areas for the rest of Atlantis. This will be one of the more industrialized areas, the ring is largely filled with massive warehouse complexes and manufacturing centers. This will be one of the areas that has conveyor belts, massive metal forges, the ribs of large ships, really anything that needs to be manufactured (save military, they do that themselves) is made here. This area is also home to an enclosed water system that keeps the pollutants in the water from getting out until they can be filtered, so there are plenty of tubes going all over.
Ring 4: The Fun Zone: Home to some parkland and business sections, the primary attraction of the area is a massive themed water park that really shows off Atlantian technology and magic. This ring looks mainly flat, with open aired malls and business centers, but one side of it is dominated by a massive themed water park with loop the loops, springs galore, Ferris wheels, magical pathways that switch direction and neon colors.
Ring 3: The Botanical Parks: This ring has been changed into a combination of gentle parks and botanical gardens, which also include gargantuan vertical tower greenhouses for growing food. The area is interspaced with a few parks and large tracts of fruit gardens and fields of plant food such as corn. Gently (sometimes sharply) rolling hills are all over here (think somewhat like Marble Garden zone). The Botanical gardens themselves are massive glass skyscrapers with water being tubed everywhere and plants growing all over inside.
Ring 2: The Rich Sector: This is where the richest residents of Atlantis reside, as close as possible to the center. Towering cathedral like structures and opulence should be on display here. There should be white marble, but plenty of black marble and other expensive looking structures on display. Visual details like massive fountains, swooping roofs, grand arches, and huge stained glass windows should be on display here.
Ring 1: The Military Blockade: Atlantis has its entire center ring devoted to the military. The most utilitarian area of the game. Darker colors, with military production complexes and a heavy, tough and thick look. This ring should resemble a wall, with thick heavy gates leading in, and jutting towers on top serving as airship docks (not too tall, for looks mind, but tall enough to use).
Center: The Palace of the Atlantian royalty and government. This place should look all kinds of exotic and extravagant. Bold colors, statues, lots of flowing water, this place should look like royalty live there.
Alright, so these last parts