1

I need to design a "tech tree" similar to what you have in the Civilisation games and similar games. It does not need to be fancy, but it does need to be fairly long. Which one should I use?

3

If you simply wish to draw it as a one off then there are a number of possibilities - I would suggest taking a look at:

  • LibreOffice includes Draw which is a direct alternative to Visio
  • Inkscape is a very capable vector graphics drawing package

both are very good.

If, however, you are likely to need to (re-)generate the flowchart multiple times, or are representing a decision tree that is also stored in code, it may well be worth looking at generating a dot language representation, possibly automatically from the code, and running that through the Graphviz dot tool.

As an example the code:

digraph {
start [label="Attacked"];

start -> decision;

decision [shape=diamond, label="Do you have\nany weapons?"];

decision -> armed [label="Yes"];
decision -> unarmed [label="No"];

unarmed [shape=box, label="Suffer"];
armed [shape=diamond, label="Are you\nproficient?"];

unarmed -> die [label="Quickly"]
armed -> die [label="No"]
armed -> fight [label="Yes"]

die [shape=box, label="Die"]
fight [shape=box, label="Fight"]

{ rank=same; armed; unarmed }

}

When run through the dot tool results in:

Simple Flow

This might sound like a lot of work but adding new nodes is quick and easy plus if you already have the decisions in a code or table format it is quick and easy to extract the details using a python script for example and update the diagram.

All of the above tools are:

  • Free, Gratis & Open Source
  • Cross Platform (Windows, OS-X & Linux)
  • 1
    I used "Libre Office" in the end. I didn't like that it is forcing you to arrange it on an A4 Portrait page, but it works. – Lorry Laurence mcLarry Jan 27 '17 at 0:36
  • Adobe InDesign is a non-free option as well. – Shayan Sep 7 at 22:43

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