This Blog is an entry in the completed "Minedeas 2" - Blog Contest #10.

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Mountain Improvement! Linear Mountains and Fractals

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_Shako avatar _Shako
Level 55 : Grandmaster Architect
As a lover of mountains, it frustrates me to no end how Minecraft's terrain generation just doesn't provide mountains that are quite up-to-par with real life, even with customization. I found out why and I have an idea about how to fix it. I know that discussions about improving Minecraft's mountains have been raised before, but I think I am the first person to suggest this particular solution.

There's little doubt that Minecraft's default mountains are absolutely wimpy.
Most of the time, they're just round-ish masses sticking up in the air for no reason, and the "Extreme" Hills biome is mostly just a somewhat flat area with these masses protruding from it at random. Minecraft mountains can have some interesting shapes occasionally, but

  • There's no incentive to climb them. They're easy to just simply walk around.
  • The biomes are just too small to provide an interesting mountain range.
  • We have a freaking 256 build limit!
  • They often have sheer cliff faces, which is fun in small amounts, but becomes boring pretty fast.
  • They could just be soooo much bigger and more impressive and meaningful.
Some careful custom world configuration generates a massively more interesting mountain range, however...

Minecraft custom mountains

the mountains are still small and cone-like, surrounded by lower areas which, as chaotic as they are, just aren't as mountain-ey. Additionally, these hilly areas are interspersed with splotches that are almost totally flat. Boo.

So I did some researched and asked about the way that Minecraft generates terrain. I found out that Minecraft generates fractals, and I am not entirely confident about how it all works, but what we end up with is splotches of land that are either hilly or flat. Custom world configuration affects the hilly areas greatly, but the flat areas remain flat.

In real life, terrain tends to have a linear pattern.

This is a terrain map from Google. (This area is actually near where I live.) Looking at this map, you can see how mountains are long, with sprawling foothills that gradually go down to a river.

Real-life terrain. This is in the Appalachian Mountains in the Eastern U.S. Credit to Google.

Linear mountains like these would make Minecraft so much cooler. Instead of just going around mountains (and even whole ranges), you would have a real incentive to climb them, and building on them would be more interesting too. And just the mountains in general would just be, well, absolutely amazing!

So, what if Minecraft had an option for linear generation?

Or, if Minecraft's default generation was linear? What if Minecraft's mountains generated in long stretches like in real life, with foothills going down to a valley?

There's actually an amazing custom world (made in World Painter, not generated) that I encountered a few years ago that can answer this question. Unfortunately, I cannot find the name of the creator, I just know that the world is called "50 subs special".

Mountain Improvement! Linear Mountains and Fractals

This is a very great example of the mountains I think Minecraft should be able to generate. This mountain

- is very tall, reaching up to about layer 200
- has a long, stretched-out peak. It is very impressive, and it's not easy to walk around, so there's more reason to climb it.
- has a slope, not a sheer face, so it is very climb-able and has more character. (This is not directly related to terrain generating linearly though.)
- has varying foothills, which make the mountain very appealing, both to look at and to climb or build on.

Even in other biomes, which have only small hills, linear generation would still make the terrain much nicer.

Additionally, there should be several types of mountainous biomes.

My recommendation would be for

- stony/snowy mountains like the current Extreme Hills biome,
- grassy mountains, like in the picture, and
- forested mountains, which are grassy, but also have an oak/birch forestation towards the bottom and gradually fade to a spruce biome towards the top. However, there is no snow. (This would closely resemble the Appalachian Mountains of the Eastern U.S.)

In conclusion, I strongly believe that linear generation would be an amazing improvement to Minecraft's terrain generation, and adding multiple types of mountain biomes would be an additional improvement to Minecraft.

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08/15/2017 2:59 pm
Level 55 : Grandmaster Lava Rider
eagoy avatar
Some nice research you did for this entry. Even better it's well written.

Great job on it fellow contestant!
08/11/2017 3:06 am
Level 42 : Master Necromancer
GoggleD0GG avatar
The best part of PMC contests probably is submitting something, thinking it looks good, then looking at the other submissions and seeing how much better most of them are.
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