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Newbie on design.... request for ideas.

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Hi All, Greetings. I am glad to have stumbled upon this forum as i see a lot of folks helping each other at all levels. I am a newbie to "Game/Graphics" programming. I happened to get an opportunity to do some work on a small task of providing a solution to a mapping application. I was looking for some initial breakthrough, when one of my colleagues suggested looking into "gaming" for the best answers/initiation. I shall explain what i am supposed to do and would really appreciate your invaluable suggestions. Thanks in advance for your time and help. Pardon the naive terminology in the following text.... Tasks:- A client application is being worked upon which can display geographical information. The geographical info is represented as images in the hard-disk. An image that is currently displayed on screen can be clicked at any coordinate and the (x,y), when passed to a function [that i should write] should be able to provide the user/client with an image that can be displayed for that co-ordinate. This new image should be the zoomed version of the original image at that coordinate. Something like the maps/directions[maps.yahoo.com, msn mappoint] that will yield a detailed image when clicked on a point. I am sure you all have a plenty of ideas on how this could be effectively accomplished. One aspect of this app is that the initial image is actually composed of smaller blocks/cells of images that are collectively displayed as a bigger image. So when the user clicks at any given coordinate its corresponding block/cell will now be displayed as the actual zoomed image. A question that you might raise is the various cases to consider. 1. If the user clicks at a coordinate which happens to be the junction of four blocks/cells then the client should be given back all these four cells so that it can extract a portion from each cell and display an image that does not appear like a cooked up product. For now, i don''t have to worry about this part [of generating an image from 4 different images and overlay et al]. 2. There might be other caveats [in-between cases, border clicks et al] that you all might offer me in such situations. Please feel free to throw them at me. My concern is about how to design an efficient map/search technique that will allow me to return the cell or cells given a coordinate from the screen. Are there standard techniques or algorithms that i can use?. I have been involved in a fair amount of business app development and can digest C++/JAVA/VB/C#/XML and databases. Should i consider storing this mapping information in some sort of database or can i go with any XML based solution. If this is not the appropriate forum and if any of you have suggestions on where i should be looking for answers, i would appreciate your input on that. [I have also posted this on gamedev.org]. Thanks and have a good one, V

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