During TOJam 13, I tried making an idle game involving maps with roads and other networks that was built entirely using vector graphics. I didn't have enough time to fully explore the idea during the game jam though, so I decided to spend some time to explore things more deeply.

So I now have a more complete game with a scrolling maps, roads, and buildings. Unfortunately, it doesn't feel much like building a network of cities. In fact, I think the best strategy is just to make a big clump of buildings in the center. I could probably tweak things to actually force things to evolve in the way I want by using different terrain, making roads more effective, making all buildings require food, adding a research tree etc. But I'm not sure whether this model can actually work for making a good building game. Even with massive simplifications, it's still a little complicated, and many of the nuances of networks and city growth are lost because of the simplifications.

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