Have you ever pushed especially hard in a video game just to gain experience or skill points? Take World of Warcraft for example, which regularly divvies out talent points as a player levels up. Choosing different talent paths creates fundamentally different characters with specialized abilities. For example a mage that has massively powerful fire spells can dominate a battlefield from a damage perspective while an ice mage  can slow and control enemies far more effectively.

Building Territories in an Indie Game World Using Mathematical GraphsFrom a technical perspective, the progression through that talent tree is likely governed by a mathematical graph. Similarly in our indie game we’re figuring out how various abilities unlock others, and how the player can earn each level of abilities.

Beyond skill trees, this concept also has bearing on how sprites move through a map or level because it impacts how pathfinding functions. Specifically in the case of our indie game we’re planning on territories playing a big role and mathematical graphs will help us define those perimeters and center points, with various game mechanics activating at borders and the spaces in between. We’re planning on various types of terrains and and environments that will slow or speed the player’s movement, or change how the AI routes the movement of a sprite, and the mathematical graph will connect various nodes and govern how they interact.

As a player sends commands to various sprites, our indie game will then need to determine how any given sprite moves across the map, and there are many algorithms already built that we could choose between. Node types will affect how quickly any of those algorithms function just as a mountain range or a thick jungle would affect travelers in a car. Depth, height, density, and territory ownership are examples of factors we’ll consider.

Given how important territory control is to our fundamental game mechanic, getting this right from the start is our goal.

Image Credit: LMAOitsMichael on YouTube