History of world generation

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This article is about the history of world generation. For the biome history (IDs, etc.), see Biome § History. For the history of generated structures (Loot Tables, behaviors, etc.), see Generated_structures § History.

Java Edition[edit]

Classic, Indev and early Infdev[edit]

This section is missing information about pretty difficult to test any potentially extremely minor generation changes due to the lack of world seeds. major changes should be fine to document. Infdev is pretty much fully documented here, so everything that comes before should be researched.
Please expand the section to include this information. Further details may exist on the talk page.
Java Edition pre-Classic
rd-131655The terrain is very rough and full of caves as shown in Notch's video.[verify]
Levels are 256*64*256 blocks big.
rd-132211The terrain is now flat with one layer of grass and lots of stone under that.
rd-20090515The terrain is now varied in height, with a layer of grass at the top, a few layers of dirt under it, and then stone going down to the very bottom.
Cliffs will occaisionally generate.
rd-161348Cliffs are now more common.
Java Edition Classic
0.0.3aCaves now generate underground.
0.0.12aNew terrain generator, terrain is now rougher and changes in elevation often happen in 2-high intervals.
Added water and lava to world generation.
Bedrock now generates around the sides and bottom of the map.
Terrain now generates in islands above sea level. Some worlds can be 95% water because of this.
All dirt with access to sunlight below sea level will not become grass upon world generation.
0.0.13aDirt generation is now two blocks thick.
Terrain generation changed, terrain is now a little smoother than earlier.
The world no longer generates in islands, but instead, generates lakes within the main land mass, sometimes connecting to the infinite ocean around the world.
Worlds were huge in size (512*512).
0.0.13a_03Lava now no longer generates on the surface.
Worlds have been reverted to the normal size (256*256).
0.0.14aAdded sand, gravel, mineral veins and trees.
Added world size option: levels can now be Small (128*128), Normal (256*256), or Huge (512*512).
New noise generator: Less bumps on the surface, smoother hill transition, dirt layer can once again be more than two blocks thick.
Ores generate in large veins on the sides of cliffs and in caves.
Beaches of both sand and gravel generate on and below ocean level.
0.0.14a_04Tree shape changed - now has a plus shape on top.
0.0.15a (Multiplayer Test 1)Gravel now only spawns in water.
Added modern small trees.
0.0.21aCaves generate slightly differently than before.[more information needed]
0.24_SURVIVAL_TESTRougher terrain and more cliffs.
Longer and narrower caves, these get bigger the deeper in the world that you are.
Lava generates right above the bedrock layer.
Mushrooms and Flowers now generate naturally.
The noise generator is more reminiscent of the one used in 0.0.11a: Cliffs can be sheer walls again.
Java Edition Indev
0.3120091223-1Levels start off as a small size now.
20091223-2Due to leaves blocking light, the ground immediately around a tree log generates as dirt.
20091231-1Grass can grow in slightly darker areas meaning the ground around trees is back to grass.
20100106Added new level generation options, see below:
Level type (island, floating, flat, original).[note 1]
  • Island
  • Floating
  • Flat
  • Original
Level shape (square, long, deep).
Level size (small, normal, huge). See below for a guide to map sizes:[note 2]
The default setting is Island, Small, Normal, Normal.
The bottommost layer of the world no longer has an infinite lava sea.[verify]
Flowers removed from terrain generation.
Removed water from above the surface.
20100107Added the Hell and Normal, World Theme[note 1]
  • Normal
  • Hell
Deep floating maps now have layers of islands.
20100109Added "Inland" Level Type option: like the Original type but with grass instead of water surrounding the map.
Removed "Original" Level Type.
Grass Blocks in Hell replaced with dirt.
20100110Islands now have more sand.
20100113Ocean water is still infinite even though other water is finite.
20100122Liquids can now spawn.[more information needed]
Liquids can spawn above sea level and on floating islands.
New lighting pass, preventing stack overflows on huge deep floating maps.
Flowers added to world generation.
20100124-1Added the moss stone Indev House for players to spawn in.[note 3]
20100124-2All air directly above bedrock layer is turned into lava.[verify]
20100128Added Diamond Ore which gets generated in the world.
20100130Re-added the Infinite Lava Sea at the bottom of the map, this time its infinitely deep.
20100131The Lava sea will only generate whenever caves cut through the top layer of bedrock.
The bottom layer of bedrock can very rarely have gaps.
20100201-2The Lava no longer spawns on the surface
When generating a new level any grass block below flower turns into dirt.
20100203Flowers no longer spawn with dirt under them.
20100212-1Hell now starts off bright and gets darkened.
20100214-1The Indev House is now made of wooden planks and stone.
Hell worlds no longer start off fully bright before getting darkened.
20100214-2Added the Paradise and Woods themes.
Dirt exposed to enough light upon world generation gets turned into grass (visible in Hell).
When there is no good place to spawn an Indev House, it simply won't spawn.
Java Edition Infdev
Minecraft Infdev20100227-1The terrain generation changed greatly in this version.[note 4]
World generation has been greatly simplified (with the removal of sand, ore veins) in order to make infinite world generation implementation easier to work with.
Added brick pyramids.
Added obsidian walls.
All generation beyond 33,554,432 blocks is solid stone.
20100227-2Brick pyramid generation changed - they will now always come to a single point at the top, rather than sometimes being truncated, resulting in "brick square frusta".
20100313Removed obsidian walls.
Oceans are considerably larger than before.[check the code]
20100320Reimplemented primitive mineral vein generation, in which they spawn as scattered, single blocks.
Reimplemented tree generation.
20100325Mineral vein generation has been changed to the modern generation type. However, a float is used in their generation, causing their generation to break down at excessive distances.
Added caves. They generate through all blocks, not just terrain blocks.

Alpha-era terrain[edit]

Java Edition Infdev
Minecraft Infdev20100327The terrain generation changed greatly in this version.[note 4]
World generation has been significantly overhauled, which is visually very obvious.
Removed brick pyramids.
Removed caves.
Removed random patches of flowers.
The large stone wall at 33,554,432 no longer generates. Instead, the Far Lands generate at 12,550,824.
20100413All trees are now large trees.
Sand and gravel now generate with the world again.
20100420The terrain generation changed greatly in this version.[note 4]
World generation seems considerably less mountainous.
20100608All trees are now small trees again - big trees do not generate.
20100611The terrain generation changed greatly in this version.[note 4]
Terrain now appears to come in large islands.
Terrain can now generate high enough to be higher than the world height limit, causing it to be cut off.
Monoliths now have the potential to generate.[verify]
The amount of trees that generate appears to be different now.
20100616The terrain generation changed significantly in this version.[note 4]
Terrain generation in ocean areas is now different.[verify]
Reimplemented caves.
Random patches of flowers and mushrooms now generate.
Springs now generate.
Lava now naturally generates, although how it does so exactly is unknown.
20100617-1Bedrock now generates at the bottom of the world again.[verify]
Tree generation has changed such that logs only generate at layers where there are no leaves.
Coastlines are now "more gradual".
20100617-2Caves have been changed to be "more regional", and allegedly can form large clusters. The thickness of tunnels can also vary, affecting the frequency of branching.
Springs are now more common and can generate on the surface.
Added dirt and gravel mineral veins.
Bedrock now generates at the bottom of maps,[verify] even though this was already added in the previous version.
Lava no longer generates at the very bottom of worlds.
Ore blocks were "generated with a random amount of veins regardless to the type of ore" prior to this version.
20100618Log blocks now generate in the leaf layers of trees again.
20100624Mountains are apparently less tall in this version.
20100625-2Added dungeons.
20100627The density of trees has been reduced.
20100630-1Caves can be bigger than before.
Java Edition Alpha
v1.0.1Added redstone ore mineral veins.
Coal ore mineral veins can now vary in size.[verify]
v1.0.4Added winter mode worlds, with their own block palette of snow and ice. Normal worlds appear unaffected in this version though.
v1.0.6Added cactus to world generation.
Readded large trees to world generation.
v1.0.11Added clay disks and sugar cane random patches to world generation.
v1.1.0Clay generation is apparently more common.

Beta-era terrain[edit]

Java Edition Alpha
v1.2.0previewThe terrain generation changed greatly in this version.[note 4]
Added biomes.
Added the Nether.
An in-game value corresponding to the Old Customized depth noise scale has been changed from 100 to 200.
v1.2.0_01Areas where soul sand would have generated in the Nether in v1.2.0 ow generate with gravel instead.
v1.2.0_02Soul sand now generates in the Nether again.
v1.2.6Added water and lava lakes.
Java Edition Beta
1.2Added birch trees.
Added spruce trees.
Added lapis lazuli ore mineral veins to world generation.
There is allegedly more coal ore, iron ore and diamond ore found in caves. Whether this refers to vein size or frequency is unknown.
1.2_02Lapis lazuli ore is apparently more common and can be found at bedrock level.
1.3Sandstone now generates beneath natural sand.
Fixed a grassland/sand biome border issue.[more information needed]
1.6Test Build 3Added random patches of grass, ferns and dead bushes to world generation.
?The frequency of mineral veins no longer varies per quadrant of the world.
1.7Clay generation has been fixed and no longer exclusively spawns when x and z are equal.

Early Release-era terrain[edit]

Java Edition Beta
1.8Pre-releaseThe terrain generation changed greatly in this version.[note 4]
Terrain generation has been outright overhauled, adding and removing several biomes and changing how height is applied. The full list of precise changes may be listed later, although would end up massive.
Added strongholds, villages, mineshafts, and ravines.
Added disks. Clay no longer generates in beaches.
The sea level has been decreased by one block (64 to 63).
The Far Lands and Farther Lands no longer generate.
Java Edition
1.0.0Beta 1.9 PrereleaseThe terrain generation changed slightly in this version.[note 5]
Added Mushroom island (and related), ice plains and frozen ocean biomes.
Added nether fortresses and added an (empty) portal room to strongholds.
Beta 1.9 Prerelease 3Added a glass tower to strongholds.
Added more chests to strongholds.
Beta 1.9 Prerelease 4Added The End.
Removed the glass towers of strongholds. Grass and flowers can now generate in snowy biomes - previously they could only generate under shade, for example from trees. When the previous behaviour started is unknown.
1.111w48aChanged temperature value of taigas from 0.3 to 0.05, making them generate with snow again.
12w01a
Added more biomes, these are: Beaches, and biome variants such as Desert Hills, Extreme Hills Edge, Forest Hills and Taiga Hills.
Added superflat world type.
Blacksmith buildings in villages now hold chests with loot.
1.2.112w03aThe terrain generation changed slightly in this version.[note 5]
Added Jungle and Jungle Hills biomes.
12w04aAdded Desert Wells to deserts.
12w05aMineshafts now bridge over ravines.
1.3.112w16aAdded an optional bonus chest.
12w19aChanged height scale and height depht of Desert Hills, Forest Hills, Extreme Hills edge, Ice Mountains, Jungle Hills and Taiga Hills.
12w21aAdded desert pyramids to deserts.
Added emerald ore, which generates on veins of up 10 blocks in Extreme Hills biome and variants.
Changed desert villages to have desert-specific blocks.
12w22aAdded jungle pyramids to jungles.
Changed emerald ore vein size to 1 block.
1.4.212w36aAdded carrots and potatoes to villages.
12w38aStone monster eggs now rarely generate in Extreme Hills biomes and variants.
12w40aAdded swamp huts to Swamps.
1.513w01aAdded Nether quartz ore, which generates at the Nether.
1.6.113w17aLakes no longer spawn on desert biomes.
13w18aAdded loot chests to nether fortresses.

Current Release-era terrain[edit]

Gallery[edit]

Glacier Seed Comparison[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. a b See Notes §
  2. See Notes §
  3. See Indev_House#History for detailed information about Indev House history.
  4. a b c d e f g This means that worlds converted from versions before this will change the distribution of chunks generated after.
  5. a b This means that worlds converted from versions before this may change the distribution of chunks generated after.
Map sizes (width × length × height)
Square Long Deep
Small 128 × 128 × 64 256 × 64 × 64 64 × 64 × 256
Normal 256 × 256 × 64 512 × 128 × 64 128 × 128 × 256
Huge 512 × 512 × 64 1028 × 256 × 64 256 × 256 × 256

Indev World Types[edit]

  • Island: World spawns as a large island surrounded with water, smaller island off the coast are comon too. Border block is water as well, sand will generate.
  • Floating: World generates in rings of floating islands high in the air. Border block is water. Sand is common although caves often lead into the void.
  • Flat: world is a perfectly flat plane with trees growing. Border block is grass. Sand does not generate.
  • Original: Resembles classic 0.30 terrain generation
  • Inland: