I started this prototype with the an end in sight. It was apart of a batch of other prototypes and never meant to become a real game. As of today I (reluctantly) stopped active work. But before signing off on it let's examine the vine.
curiosity as a mechanic
Curiosity is a core part of many games but I wanted to make it a central pillar of this one. The last feature I wanted to add to Diagram was one that would entice you to look to the horizon for new sights that will help make sense of the old ones.
there is no horizon in a top-down game
This was important to me in Riven, Myst, or any adventure game i've played in the last two decades. Hell, even Fez offered a glimps of the islands that were linked to whichever you stood on by showing their silhouette in the distance.
But I didn't have that. There needed to be a way for the player to see that world was bigger than what they could see. The last thing I wanted to do was add a map. The game was practically a map already. Instead I added "observation points."
What you see in the vine above is the result of walking to a special spot in the game. This "observation point" allows the player to have a birds-eye view of that point and surrounding area. The goal was to show that there more places to explore without revealing the detail that you would discover if you could manage to get there.
it makes me want to continue
I sort of fell in love with the world once I made this feature. Just looking at this vine saturates my mind with lore, backstory, imagined historical figures, geology, etc.
but I mustn't
And I wont. I set a goal and I've reached it. It's a pretty nice painting to hang on a shelf and I'll come back to it if the stars align. But for now this is it. Time to move on to a game, not just a prototype.