It's quite amazing to see how much Mojang's blocky-but-addictive creative sandbox game Minecraft has evolved since its original release in 2009. Take a walk through a randomly generated world today and you'll find a hell dimension called the Nether, dragons and mysterious Endermen and even jungles full of ocelots and kittens.
The recent 1.6 Minecraft update included the introduction of horses and donkeys that can be saddled and ridden or used to transport itmes, as well as new blocks including hardened clay, straw and coal blocks. Mojang isn't stopping with a few horses and donkeys, though.
Lead developer Jens Bergensten outlined future plans to develop the world of Minecraft on Mojang's blog, where he describes some of the changes that will come with update 1.7. Specifically, the post mentions the various ways in which Mojang plans to juice up the biomes and world generator.
The issues being tackled are specifically oceans that are too large, biome generation being too random and a lack of variation in the geography. Update 1.7 will add more islands to the world and include checks to keep oceans from getting too big. In order to make the shifts between biome types too radical (for example, sun-scorched deserts popping up next to arctic tundras), the biomes are being categorized into types so that no biome can be placed next to another that is very different from it.
It's not only better organization that's on the way, however. Bergensten also promised "a whole bunch of new biomes" that will each have rare or uncommon features, and the development team has also added new terrain features including more types of trees and flowers. Here are side-by-side comparisons of the 1.6 and 1.7 biome maps, with a scale of 16384Ã—12288 blocks:
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As any Minecraft player who has managed to spawn themselves in a "water world" will know, those vast oceans can be a bit of a bother. The only concern with the image of the new world generator is that Mojang might have taken things too much to the other extreme, making it difficult to actually find any large enough body of water beside which to build a seaside cabin and look out at the sunset over a wide ocean.
Aside from concerns about the world becoming a little too dry however, these plans certainly sound exciting. In particular, the promise of a wider range of vegetation beyond just red flowers, yellow flowers and mushrooms, and the mention of brand new tree species (and, by extension, new building materials). The blog post doesn't mention if anything else will be added to the underground world of Minecraft, which already features dungeons, mines and sunken fortresses.
Tell us what you think of the Minecraft 1.7 update plans so far, and what other changes or additions you'd like Mojang to make, in the comments.