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chicagomsv

Request assistance on creating a 2-d interactive game board

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My friend (programmer) and I (web designer, project manager) are currently working on a web-based, real-time multi-player real estate market simulation game and I've run into a snag on how to produce certain aspects of the interface. Since both of us have experience building web applications, we're developing the game using php/mysql with AJAX and trying our best to avoid Flash for any interface work. Quick Game Summary: Players are real estate entrepreneurs in a virtual city and the goal of the game is to be the player with the highest net worth when time expires. Players earn money through buying/selling buildings and profitably managing and maintaining existing buildings. A player is given added bonuses if he's able to own all buildings in a city block. The game interface will primarily be a set of xhtml/css pages with php code to allow the player to adjust building attributes, buy/sell property, search for available property, etc. This is very similar work that I do professionally, and I feel very comfortable taking this on. The problem I have right now is how to develop the game board itself, which is important because it gives players an efficient way to browse available properties and keep tabs on how his opponents are doing. The game board dimensions will be around 800px square and will look like a typical street map with buildings, blocks, and streets (think google maps). Each building will be color-coded depending on which player owns it (or black if it's un-owned) and when you mouseover a building, a balloon will appear showing the buiding's vital stats (rent level, desirability relative to other buildings, occupancy, etc) and a link to that building's page (where there are more options available). What's the best method to construct this interactive graphic? Again, we'd like to avoid Flash and I'm hoping there's a relatively straight-forward solution since we don't need 3d physics or anything crazy. The solution would also need to work on most modern browsers. Any help would be greatly appreciated!

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