For the past few days, I've been monkeying around with graphviz
, a suite of graph modelling tools. I stumbled across them (again) when I was installing a graphviz plug-in for the wiki I'm building, and I thought it would be good at this point to get a better handle on how the modelling tools actually work. The answer is that they work quite nicely, thank-you very much.
Soon, I'm going to be starting to play through Paizo's Pathfinder adventure path series, and since the first arc starts out in a town that's supposed to act as a home-base for the players for some time, I thought it would be useful to have a sort of relationship map (not purist) to help myself through the first half of the series. I figured that the graphviz tools could help me build this map without much hassle. Learning the DOT description language understood by the tools was not difficult at all, and after a day or two, I have a complete catalogue of the town inhabitants described in the first instalment of the series.
The relationships are sufficiently complex to cause one of graphviz's layout algorithms to throw up all over itself, but I was able to get useful diagrams from two others (neato and twopi).( Click through to see the graphs )
I recommend anyone wanting to build relationship maps for games use these tools, especially if you want to maintain your maps over a stretch of playing time to document the changing structure play (since the source language is just a text file, you can use a simple version control utility to catalog all the changes to the maps over time).