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Biome

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A river bisecting a Jungle biome. At the top right is a forest.
A river running through a mesa biome, with a savanna biome in the bottom right.

Biomes are regions in a Minecraft world with varying geographical features, flora, heights, temperatures, humidity ratings, and sky and foliage colors. Biomes separate every generated world into different environments, paralleling the real world; examples of biomes include the forest, jungle, desert and ice plains.

The term biome is analogous to its scientific usage: on Earth, a biome is climatically and geographically defined by distinctive communities of plants, animals and soil organisms supported by similar climatic conditions. They are often referred to as ecosystems.[1][2]

Biomes have a temperature value that determines if it snows, rains, or does not have either. The required values are: <0.15 for snow, 0.15 - 0.95 for rain, or >1.0 for none. These values can be used to determine the heights that snow generates in different biomes. For example, Extreme Hills generate snow at y=95, due to highland climate, as the base value is 0.2, and Savannas do not experience rain or snow due to their heat. The temperature drops 0.00166667 per meter above sea level (Y==64).

Biomes are split into 5 categories based on their temperature: snow-covered, cold, medium, dry/warm, and neutral. They were separated to prevent biomes with huge temperature differences being placed side-by-side (such as Cold Taiga next to a Desert).

Biome types

There are 61 distinct biomes. Biomes can be distinguished by the grass and leaf colors in the biome, along with the types of blocks present (e.g. types of trees or other plants like cacti, sand coverage in deserts). Biomes are pseudo-randomly generated using the map seed.

Biomes are separated into 5 categories. The snow-covered biomes are marked in blue, cold in green, medium/lush in orange and dry/warm in red. The biomes which are not labeled are either neutral or unknown. Temperatures are given at sea level.

Snowy biomes

In these biomes, it snows at any height. The foliage and grass is an aqua-green.

Cold biomes

In these biomes, it begins to snow over a certain height, but before the 256 block height limit. Otherwise, it rains. The foliage and grass is an aqua-green.

Medium/Lush biomes

In these biomes, it begins snowing over the 256 blocks height limit. Otherwise, it rains. The foliage and grass is a vibrant light green, except swamps and roofed forests, which have a dark green grass. Rivers are also exempt from this, as they have a dull blue hue.

Dry/Warm biomes

In these biomes, it neither rains nor snows at all. The foliage and grass is an olive color, except mesa biomes, which have brown grass.

Neutral biomes

These biomes are usually covered with water and have very little land exposed. Either that, or they have many variants of themselves which are also variants of other non-neutral biomes. The foliage and grass in these biomes usually have a dull green grass hue.

Unused Biomes

These biomes no longer generate naturally, but still exist in Minecraft's code.

Pocket Edition Exclusive

Upcoming

Biome IDs

Each type of biome has its own biome number, shown in the following table. These biome numbers are used when creating a customized superflat world. Biome variations seem to have a number of 128 + <original biome number>.

Number Biome Variation Variation Name
0 Ocean N/A N/A
1 Plains 129 Sunflower Plains
2 Desert 130 Desert M
3 Extreme Hills 131 Extreme Hills M
4 Forest 132 Flower Forest
5 Taiga 133 Taiga M
6 Swampland 134 Swampland M
7 River N/A N/A
8 Hell N/A N/A
9 The End N/A N/A
10 FrozenOcean N/A N/A
11 FrozenRiver N/A N/A
12 Ice Plains 140 Ice Plains Spikes
13 Ice Mountains N/A N/A
14 MushroomIsland N/A N/A
15 MushroomIslandShore N/A N/A
16 Beach N/A N/A
17 DesertHills N/A N/A
18 ForestHills N/A N/A
19 TaigaHills N/A N/A
20 Extreme Hills Edge N/A N/A
21 Jungle 149 Jungle M
22 JungleHills N/A N/A
23 JungleEdge 151 JungleEdge M
24 Deep Ocean N/A N/A
25 Stone Beach N/A N/A
26 Cold Beach N/A N/A
27 Birch Forest 155 Birch Forest M
28 Birch Forest Hills 156 Birch Forest Hills M
29 Roofed Forest 157 Roofed Forest M
30 Cold Taiga 158 Cold Taiga M
31 Cold Taiga Hills N/A N/A
32 Mega Taiga 160 Mega Spruce Taiga
33 Mega Taiga Hills 161 Redwood Taiga Hills M
34 Extreme Hills+ 162 Extreme Hills+ M
35 Savanna 163 Savanna M
36 Savanna Plateau 164 Savanna Plateau M
37 Mesa 165 Mesa (Bryce)
38 Mesa Plateau F 166 Mesa Plateau F M
39 Mesa Plateau 167 Mesa Plateau M

Achievements

Icon Achievement In-game description Prerequisites Actual requirements (if different) Version restriction Xbox points earned Trophy type (PS)
Achievement-fancy.png
Grid Diamond Boots.png
Adventuring Time Discover all biomes The End? Visit these 36 biomes. Other biomes may also be visited, but are ignored for the achievement. Biomes are counted as visited even before The End? is achieved.[4] PC N/A N/A
Discover 17 of the 23 different biomes Visit these 17 biomes. Xbox One 40G

Videos

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History

Alpha
1.2 Added biomes; they were Rain Forest, Seasonal Forest, Forest, Shrubland, Taiga, Tundra, Savanna, Plains, Swampland, Desert, and Frozen Desert .
Beta
1.6 Added the Sky Dimension with its own biome. It could only be viewed through the use of mods and hacks.
1.8 Biomes got an overhaul, removing some biomes, such as the Tundra and the Taiga, and others replaced with nine fractal-based biomes that were a mix of the previous biomes and new biomes.
Official release
1.0 Re-added Tundra (as Ice Plains) and added Mushroom Islands.
1.1 Re-added snow in Taigas, added hills and beaches.
Smoothed color transitions between biomes - swampland grass, foliage and water smoothly transition into other biomes.
1.2.1 Added Jungle biome.
1.3.1 Hills in Forests and Deserts are taller.
1.6.1 13w17a Water lakes no longer spawn in deserts.
1.7.2 13w36a Mesa, Mega Taiga, Roofed Forest, Birch Forest, Savanna, Extreme Hills+, Deep Ocean and snowless Taiga biomes were added as well as variations for many of the biomes. Biomes were also separated by temperature, and snowing was added to Extreme Hills.
The biomes FrozenOcean and Extreme Hills Edge no longer generate naturally.
Biome-hopping achievement "Adventuring Time" added, but it was broken until 1.8 making the goal of getting all achievements impossible in 1.7.
1.8 14w17a The End's biome name is now "The End" instead of "Sky".
Adventuring Time is now available without commands. Before, the 38 biomes had to be visited without visiting any other biomes, which made the achievement unavailable because the End has to be visited for its prerequisite, The End?. The “no other biomes” restriction is now lifted.
Visiting the FrozenOcean and Extreme Hills Edge biomes, which no longer generate since 13w36a, is no longer required for Adventuring Time.
14w26a Changed generation of marsh-like areas in swamp biomes.
Pocket Edition Alpha
0.9.0 build 1 All biomes as of PC version 1.7.2 have been added. These include: Jungles, Mesa, Plains, Roofed Forests, Savannas, Taiga, Extreme Hills, Mushroom Islands, Flower Forest, Mega Taiga, Mega Spruce Taiga, Swampland, Desert, Forests, Frozen and Deep ocean.
Console Edition
TU5 Added Swampland, Ice Plains, Extreme Hills and Ocean biomes
Removed Rainforest, Seasonal Forest, Savanna, Shrubland and Taiga.
TU9 Re-added beaches.
Smoothed color transitions between biomes - swampland grass, foliage and water smoothly transition into other biomes.

Biome history

A very old image of biomes work-in-progress. "To the right of the player is a taiga, to the left is either a forest, or woods, I can’t remember. In the distance is probably tundra." ~ Notch

Notch, when he was the lead developer of Minecraft, wanted to add biomes, but he couldn't for a long time. He says the intersection points looked terrible and so, biomes weren't added in the Seecret Updates.[citation needed]

Prior to the Halloween Update, every world had only a single theme, either grassy or snowy.

Anvil file format

The Anvil file format allows for biomes to be stored in the world data. In contrast, the Region file format relies on the seed to dynamically calculate biome placement. This would cause biome placement in older worlds to change when the biome generation code was changed. With the current Anvil format, the biome data is stored along with the rest of the world data, meaning it will not change after the world is generated and can be edited by third-party map-editing tools. Furthermore, "edge" biomes allow for biomes to continue extend beyond the edge chunks of an old world. This allows for smooth transitions in world generation after the generation code changes in an update.

Issues

Issues relating to "Biome" are maintained on the issue tracker. Report issues there.

Trivia

  • Hilly biomes end their names with hills, but except for Mega Spruce Taiga hilly version is called "Redwood Taiga Hills M" instead of "Mega Spruce Taiga Hills".
  • The world generation was changed in 1.7 to greatly reduce the incidence of biomes with the highest temperature differences, such as an Ice Plains and a Mesa, from generating next to each other. However, such juxtaposition can still be seen in rare cases, though much less commonly than prior to 1.7 being released.

Gallery

Graphs and Templates

Scenery


Technical Details

grass.png
foliage.png

The temperature and rainfall values of the biome are used to change the colors of grass, foliage, and (for swamplands) water.

A biome's rainfall value is typically a value from 0.0 to 1.0. A biome's temperature starts at a given value at sea level, Y==64, and goes down by 0.00166667 per meter increase. Starting values range from 2.0 (e.g., Desert) to -0.5 (e.g., Cold Taiga). The temperature does not increase below sea level.

The temperature and rainfall values are used to access two texture images in Minecraft, grass.png and foliage.png, in \assets\minecraft\textures\colormap. These textures are triangular, only the lower left is used, despite the upper right of the foliage file having colors. The adjusted temperature and adjusted rainfall values are used to access these two triangles. Treating the lower left corner as temperature = 1.0 and rainfall = 0.0, with adjusted temperature decreasing to 0.0 at the right edge and adjusted rainfall increasing to 1.0 at the top edge, the values used to retrieve the colors are computed as follows:

AdjTemp = clamp( Temperature, 0.0, 1.0 )
AdjRainfall = clamp( Rainfall, 0.0, 1.0 ) * AdjTemp

"clamp" limits the range of the temperature and rainfall to 0.0-1.0. The clamped rainfall value is then multiplied by the 0.0-1.0 adjusted temperature value, which brings its value to be inside the lower left triangle. Some biomes' ranges are shown on the right; the multiplication makes all the line segments point towards the lower right corner.

The color for Grass Block top and sides, along with various forms of Grass - specifically tall grass, ferns, double tall grass, and large ferns - is modified by the color retrieved from the grass.png image. The color for various Tree foliage - all tree types except Spruce and Birch, which have fixed colors in the code - is modified by the color retrieved from foliage.png.

At borders between or among biomes, the colors of the block and its eight neighbors are computed and the average is used for the final block color.

Exact temperature and rainfall values for biomes can be found in various projects, e.g. this biome code.

Swampland

Swamplands are special. Temperature, which starts at 0.8, is not affected by altitude. Rather, a Perlin noise function is used to gradually vary the temperature of the swampland. When this temperature goes below -0.1, a lush green color is used, 0x4C763C, otherwise it is set to a sickly brown, 0x6A7039. In addition, the color of the water in swamplands is always multiplied by a greenish tinge, 0xE0FFAE. These colors are locked in the code and not retrievable from any texture.

Roofed Forest

The Roofed Forest biomes' grass color is retrieved normally, then averaged with a dark green color, 0x28340A, to produce the final color.

Mesa

All Mesa biomes' grass and foliage have hardwired colors, two tan colors, 0x90814D and 0x9E814D respectively. These are not modifiable by grass.png and foliage.png and unaffected by temperature.

References

  1. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, "Biome", accessed 20 April 2012
  2. Dictionary.com Unabridged, "biome", accessed 20 April 2012

See also