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Part of the 1.9 Server Discussions. Please discuss more general things there before it's spun into a dedicated topic.

Other topics in this series:

The Map
The map is the most important part of the world. It's where users spend all of their time. Quite literally. It needs to balance all sorts of play styles. Users have voiced that they don't want an extreme cliffs map and something a bit more mellow and flat. While others want extreme hills and others want a mix of both.

Arguments for a more mellow map are that it's hard to traverse extreme hills and mountains; it's a pain to jump up a mountain or lay a stack of dirt to get up somewhere. A counter point is that it'll encourage folks to show creativity in the form of towns and pathways.

Arguments for a extreme cliff map is that it's challenging and more interesting to navigate in. It creates a sense of exploration above ground that one would get while caving. A counter point is that a mellow map will be harder to get lost in and towns will be easier to spot.

I want the map to have an emphasis on creativity. I want a map that will challenge as well as be easy and simple. As an admin, I want to help you guys make your town. If you need an area filled with water, let me know. If you need water taken out of an area, let me know. I won't give you blocks or anything but I'll help with the tedious processes.
ComicIDIOT wrote:

Users have voiced that they don't want an extreme cliffs map and something a bit more mellow and flat. While others want extreme hills and others want a mix of both.


I think this is something we should definitely work towards achieving-- a balance between them. While other topics I feel cannot be simultaneously both states at once, the map can be generated in such a way to satisfy both to some extent, in other words a compromise. I actually think having some more mellow areas to traverse more easily through and make more straightforward builds on can actually be a good thing. And at the same time, I really enjoy the more grand-looking regions such as amplified areas, but would agree that the amplified terrain can be sometimes a bit too rough and sometimes not the best looking. I honestly would like to see both, and it has been brought to attention and agreed on multiple times that one particular custom terrain generation looks great, while acting to compromise between both sides. Here's a quick review of one proposed solution:

CUSTOM TERRAIN: "MOUNTAINS AND PLAINS" wrote:


Others who support this custom preset:
KermMartian, JamesV, Monkey0x9, Luxen

Others who support custom terrain:
turquoisedragon

As a side note with the custom terrain shown above, I raised the sea level by a couple blocks to help "rivers" be actual rivers, since sometimes river biomes are higher up and don't catch the sea level at y=63, so the river becomes dried out. At like y=65 to like y=67, rivers are all pretty much filled and also consequently become wider because of the banks, so boats become more useful in river biomes as another mode of transport from place to place.

Map Sizing
When we generate whatever map we want, we should make it big enough so that there is initially a large variety of biomes to choose from to settle into. Whether if the map size is bigger or smaller, I feel it doesn't matter too much at the beginning as long as we get very good biome-diversity, basically the few main biomes that many of us want. i.e. If many of us want Mega Taiga, and very few of us care to have ordinary plains, then we should try to fit Mega Taiga into the picture, along with any other greatly sought biomes. As much as desert isn't the best biome in my opinion, we would need it for sand to say the least, so biomes with necessary resources should also be taken into consideration.

As time progresses, we should have the worldborder grow at some rate so that there is always some reasonable amount of new land to explore at least every month. This will keep fresh terrain for exploring and for resources available always.

World Spawn Plans
The first thing you will see when you log in is the world spawn, and I feel that makes it very important. For any user casually checking out our server, this is what makes them go "WOW". It's the first impression, and also the central area of collaboration. If we host events on the server, we may have meetups here, start treasure hunts from this location, have treasure hunts at this location, and will likely build around spawn beyond the protected region to further expand its brilliance.

This all said in the aspect of the map discussion, as we will most certainly be spending good time here, we should do things such as discuss firstly what biome we want it to be. The current map's spawn biome is mainly Savanna, with a little bit of desert, so I think we should aim for something new. And for reference, the 1.6 map was extreme hills. If I had to say anything about the biome, I would want it to be something fresh and interesting, and has some 'mood' or feel to it-- some vibe you get when you walk through it. Perhaps a jungle where we could build some treehouses? Perhaps a cold [snowy] taiga, ice plains/hills where we could make cozy log cabins with warm fireplaces?
For reference of all the biomes: http://minecraft.gamepedia.com/Biome

We should also consider the theme of it, plan out some of the main builds we want in spawn, any other landmarks and such. Perhaps at some point when this becomes more at the top of the list of things to do once we get the server to be functional, there should be a dedicated topic for the project.
I also really like that custom preset, as you said. But looking at the map now I see a lot of desert and the map itself is just limited. that is why I also suggest to change that preset a bit so the biomes are smaller. A good value for biome size imo is 3, the default one is 4 and 3 means that biomes have half the size of biomes in normal worlds (2 means 2 times smaller than 3, so 4 times smaller than the default of 4). With smaller biomes there is less chance to not have some essential biomes (like with current map, there is no jungle).

I also suggest to increase the chance that a dugeon can spawn, because everyone likes spawners Smile.
Monkey0x9 wrote:
I also really like that custom preset, as you said. But looking at the map now I see a lot of desert and the map itself is just limited.


It actually looks like the map is mostly non-desert. If I were to assign nice round numbers to everything it appears to be a quarter desert, a quarter water and the remaining half is green.

I'll have to play a varying amount of maps to see where I stand on biome sizes, but I would think large biomes would allow for a more natural map.
I find larger biomes to be nicer for a natural feel, and that it wreacks less havoc on large builds. I'm not sure what I feel on dungeon count.
I agree that the dungeon count should be higher, partially because they're a cool resource, and mostly because I want to find a mid-ocean location for my hermit city that includes a handful of spawners underneath. I also agree that the biomes should be smaller to make sure we have a good biome variety; our current Cemetech biomes seem extra-huge, and I don't think half that size will feel too unnatural.
*bump* I want to mention that we have temporarily/permanently set the current 1.8 map to Normal difficulty, up from its old Easy difficulty. It seems likely that that will be a little more challenging and a little more fun, and almost definitely the difficulty that we'll want for the 1.9 map. Opinions?
I think that'll be a good interim test to determine if Normal is the right difficulty. We can adjust it to Hard or back to Easy for 1.9 if need be. But I think Normal will be a great difficulty going into 1.9.
Normal sounds good, but for the actual map, could it be something with awesome cave systems? I'm looking to make an underground town/lair in 1.9 Wink
KermMartian wrote:

I agree that the dungeon count should be higher, partially because they're a cool resource, and mostly because I want to find a mid-ocean location for my hermit city that includes a handful of spawners underneath. I also agree that the biomes should be smaller to make sure we have a good biome variety; our current Cemetech biomes seem extra-huge, and I don't think half that size will feel too unnatural.


Dungeons & Underground Structures
I would agree that it would be good to have more dungeons, perhaps at least twice as many? I think we shouldn't make them so numerous that they lose their value of finding them, but at the same time, I'd like to find more. In the custom world settings, the dungeon parameter has a value between 1-100, representing how many tries the game will make at generating dungeons in a given chunk. The default value is 7, meaning the game will try up to 7 times to generate it in one chunk. There are obviously not 7, because there are times it fails where conditions to spawn it are not met, but you can rather see this number as proportional in a way to the number generated. A value such as 14 would effectively on average, double the number of dungeons we get on the map. The wiki has conflicting info on this, so take it with a grain of salt: http://minecraft.gamepedia.com/Customized#Basic_settings

Biome Size
I also agree with biome size should be smaller, not larger than the current map's biomes. The biomes tend to be much more expansive, as an example, the desert. Some biomes as such, have the ability to expand more than 1000 blocks, and it will be harder to find a map that has great biome-diversity without making it excessively large, which would then further polarize people on their stance regarding transportation with or without teleportation. I think we definitely should aim to adjust the biome parameter to shrink biome sizes by half, as that is what the increment is. As an example for custom map generation, the biome size parameter is a value between 1-8, and is a default value of 4. Increasing this by 1 will result in a doubling of the current biome size, and decreasing will result in half-sizing. This info can also be found at the link above regarding customized world settings.

I don't see the current biome situation ever being too small for me-- it is always either just right, or too large of biomes, so I believe that halving the size of the biomes will create a situation where a few are puny, but many of them will be the Goldilocks just-right size. I understand this makes it seem less realistic in the sense that you don't take forever to cross into a new biome, but I honestly think we don't want it to take forever to traverse biome to biome in light of transportation issues. If we wanted to have a gigantic map, and transportation was not such a polarized discussion, then it might be feasible.

Map Difficulty

KermMartian wrote:

*bump* I want to mention that we have temporarily/permanently set the current 1.8 map to Normal difficulty, up from its old Easy difficulty. It seems likely that that will be a little more challenging and a little more fun, and almost definitely the difficulty that we'll want for the 1.9 map. Opinions?

ComicIDIOT wrote:

I think that'll be a good interim test to determine if Normal is the right difficulty. We can adjust it to Hard or back to Easy for 1.9 if need be. But I think Normal will be a great difficulty going into 1.9.


I would like to give feedback on the map difficulty, especially having experienced both the nighttime in the middle of the wilderness, and in caves on this map today, while also proposing which way I'd lean toward based on this.
To see what universal difficulty has an effect on gameplay, see this:
http://minecraft.gamepedia.com/Difficulty#Effects_which_increase_in_response_to_various_difficulty_conditions
Some of the characteristics I will talk about below, are listed in this link.

There are a couple things that changed that I took most notice of:
[1] The mobs more frequently spawn with basic, incomplete armor, and maybe a basic, low-level enchantment. None of this was however truly game-changing in my opinion. While it takes an extra hit or two to knock them out, I think this is a step in the right direction for more engaging gameplay that isn't a pushover. I don't think it should be easy to just push a mob out of the way and not feel much resistance-- I think that gameplay should have strategy. While it shouldn't take a whole gameplan to defeat a few mobs, I think that it would be great to get people to think twice about what they do before they attack instead of lunging in and letting the outcome be the outcome.

I am not a big fan of the idea that mobs are simply on the map to have the satisfaction of using relatively OP gear to one-shot them, and I think that not even the most OP set of gear should be able to best a mob in a hit or two. Why should we even have mobs, if they are all pushovers, and only around to scratch our armor a little? With additional armor that they now wear, it is a step toward not having them be 1-hit knockouts.

[2] The zombies have a greater follow distance-- when you attack one, more from slightly further away will track you. Not to say this is a zombie apocalypse, but instead of maybe up to 4 zombies tracking you once you hit one of them, there might be up to 6 under very dark, open-space conditions. This is not something that will overtake you unless you walked into this situation unprepared.

As things progress in the 1.9 map, conditions will grow progressively safer, meaning that the difficulty won't have as much of an effect on those who tend to stay more near populated and lit towns and paths that bloom with time, instead of running the risk when unprepared for a fight. In fact, the higher difficulty I believe would motivate people to play it more smart and also encourage building safe paths and places to stay during the night.

In the end, I would be great with normal difficulty, but I am someone who would be fantastic with hard difficulty in order to create more strategic gameplay both through PvE, and through mob-proof, aesthetic builds.

As something to add to this to create more difficulty options for players on the map, I think it would be great if there were a way to toggle the "naturalHealthRegeneration" argument between true and false for a certain player, perhaps via command block. This way, if players want it to be easier, they can play normally with what the map is set to, but if other players want more of a challenge, they can opt out of natural health regeneration at the press of a button. Having natural health regeneration off will allow the players that choose that playstyle, to engage in a more strategic game, where they will have to think about what they do to minimize or avoid taking any damage, while also finding ways to regenerate health by other means. This is an option for the more true 'survival' Minecraft players.
I was in favor of the biome sizes of the current map. I would say make them slightly smaller, if not the same. A difficulty of normal or hard would be decent to make the map more challenging and perhaps some form of mob smartening plugin, if you can find one.

As for terrain, I would personally like. I have some ideas involving ice spikes juxtaposed to an ocean, and a jungle. So I would definitely like it ensured that those find their way into the map if possible. :p
ACagliano wrote:
I was in favor of the biome sizes of the current map.


Why aren't you anymore? Or is this connected to the next sentence?

Quote:
I would say make them slightly smaller, if not the same.


How much is slightly? If it's not by much I'm counting your vote as "keep the biomes the same size."

Quote:
A difficulty of normal or hard would be decent to make the map more challenging


The server has already been bumped to Normal to test the difficulty and it's already determined that 1.9 will be on Normal.

Quote:
perhaps some form of mob smartening plugin, if you can find one.


No, there's a topic for plugins which you can find on the first post of this topic. I'm not going out of my way to find plugin suggestions that everyone wants. If you want to describe a plugin in the appropriate topic maybe someone will know of something similar or search for it. If no one suggests plugins then we'll likely use the same getup we have now; and any plugins Kerm & I decide to add or remove on our own initiative.

Quote:
As for terrain, I would personally like. I have some ideas involving ice spikes juxtaposed to an ocean, and a jungle. So I would definitely like it ensured that those find their way into the map if possible. :p


Is there a biome for this? We aren't going to add in ice stalagmites and stalactites by hand. If there's a plugin for adding in weird world variations that you're thinking about then follow the advice above for sharing the plugin.
comicIDIOT wrote:
Quote:
As for terrain, I would personally like. I have some ideas involving ice spikes juxtaposed to an ocean, and a jungle. So I would definitely like it ensured that those find their way into the map if possible. :p


Is there a biome for this? We aren't going to add in ice stalagmites and stalactites by hand. If there's a plugin for adding in weird world variations that you're thinking about then follow the advice above for sharing the plugin.
There are biomes for each of those individually; I'd we make sure the ice spikes, ocean, and jungle biomes are all available this time, then hopefully ACagliano will be able to find what he's looking for. If we keep the biomes their current size, I'm also strongly considering making the map size start smaller, grow faster, and stop at larger than our current size to keep exploration interesting. I just hope that other members will help non-admin Kerm build railroads to link the map together!
ACagliano wrote:

I was in favor of the biome sizes of the current map. I would say make them slightly smaller, if not the same.

ComicIDIOT wrote:

How much is slightly? If it's not by much I'm counting your vote as "keep the biomes the same size."


For reference, remember that all things pertaining to customized properties of world generation can be found here. Note that biome sizes can only be doubled/halved (on average). With this current 1.8 world as a general idea of the range of biome sizes, take for example the gigantic desert-- if this were an upperbound, we would see something half this size if we changed the default value from biome_size=4 to 3. However, if we look at the size of most biomes on our map, they're not crazy large on average. So, my vote would be for the same size biomes if we were able to pick a seed/part of a map where we have some rarer and sought-after biomes such as mega taiga, ice spikes, and jungle. Otherwise, I would advise we halve the average biome size in an effort to have a little more biome diversity or higher number of biomes on the map.

ComicIDIOT wrote:

The server has already been bumped to Normal to test the difficulty and it's already determined that 1.9 will be on Normal.

If this is still open for opinions and could be subject to change if enough people upvote it, I would still be all in favor of hard difficulty, as I'm really liking the few additional mobs with armor and enchanted gear on normal difficulty. Even if we still start out on normal difficulty, I hope the door will remain open in case we have enough people being okay with hard, since we lack PvP now that we switched back to PvE. The difference between normal and hard difficulties can be found here. Of the most notable changes when switching to hard difficulty other than everyday mobs doing an extra heart of damage give or take, spiders have a small chance of spawning with a permanent potion/status effect, a slightly higher fraction of mobs wear armor/gear with a slightly higher chance the pieces will be enchanted and at a slightly higher level, zombies are more likely to break down wooden doors, lightning will be more likely to spawn skeleton trap horses (a new 1.9 feature), and 100% of villagers attacked by a zombie will become zombie villagers (here comes the zombie apocalypse).

ACagliano wrote:

As for terrain, I would personally like. I have some ideas involving ice spikes juxtaposed to an ocean, and a jungle. So I would definitely like it ensured that those find their way into the map if possible. :p

ComicIDIOT wrote:

Is there a biome for this? We aren't going to add in ice stalagmites and stalactites by hand.


There is indeed an ice spikes biome which can be found in this full list of biomes. I upvote having a jungle and ice spikes somewhere on the map, as well as mega taiga as my top 3 choices. Of course, we might already have jungle as a given if we choose to go through with having spawn as a jungle (spawn topic bump).

KermMartian wrote:

I'd we make sure the ice spikes, ocean, and jungle biomes are all available this time, then hopefully ACagliano will be able to find what he's looking for. If we keep the biomes their current size, I'm also strongly considering making the map size start smaller, grow faster, and stop at larger than our current size to keep exploration interesting.


Making sure we have those biomes that were very lacking in the 1.8 map would be greatly appreciated! It bummed me out a bit that a couple of my favorite biomes wouldn't be on this map, but I'm glad we had some mesa, which is definitely another gorgeous one that I hope eventually finds itself on the 1.9 map, but would prioritize the biomes that we have not seen yet, or at least haven't seen since the 1.6 map.

I would upvote making the initial map size smaller than how it was when we started 1.7, given that we have a reasonable selection of biomes right off the bat, such as the jungle, ice spikes or mega taiga (with any other biomes of course probably being more common, since these are the rare ones). I believe we need to find a balance for how small the map should be initially in an effort to balance out the amount of biomes we have to choose from in the beginning to start our bases/towns, along with the idea that we want to keep everyone a little more tighter knit-- closer to each other and making it easier to go from A to B along player-made paths and modes of transportation. For reference, I believe that our initial map size beginning in 1.7 was 3000x3000 blocksē, which I feel is a bit large for the current direction it seems we are trying to go in with this. I propose that we go through with a 2000x2000 blocksē map, as it feels a bit more snug, but not restrictive in any way especially if the right palette of biomes are given to start off with. To get a better feel for this, here is a picture of a 2000x2000 section of the current 1.8 map centered on spawn.



We also need to keep in mind that resource biomes should be somewhere in this palette if possible. For example, as much as the desert biome isn't the favorite biome for most of us, it is more essential that we have it for something as simple as sand.

As for how the map expands out as a function of time, I think that we should leave expansion off during a preliminary period, since we have possibly a 2000x2000 area of fresh land waiting to be both explored and built on. I feel if we start letting the border expand too soon, a couple things may happen--
[1] People see what is beyond the border, and will stall playing/building on the map in an effort to wait for the border to pass over precisely where they want to go.
[2] It will discourage building a tighter knit community in which towns are reasonably closer together at the start, and connecting these communities first before letting everyone go off an additional thousand blocks.
This said, perhaps I would argue to keep the border locked for at least a month or two? Maybe we should best play this one by ear and see what progress we make on the initial map size and determine when a good point to expand would be?
Once we do decide to expand it, whenever it may be, 50 blocks/month in each direction, effectively making the width of the map grow by 100 blocks/month might be good? This would mean in 1 year, we gain 1200 blocks of width west-east and north-south, making the map size 3200x3200 after the first year. If we wait a second year, this would grow to 4800x4800. By comparison, the current 1.8 map size in its final stages, is roughly about this size. But, in the interest of making the map even bigger than this in the long-term, we could always accelerate the growth of the border so that we could keep things together a bit more initially, but then let loose on it as time goes on so that we end up making a 6000x6000 map of some sorts by the end of the map's lifetime.

KermMartian wrote:

I just hope that other members will help non-admin Kerm build railroads to link the map together!


This is what I hope will be accomplished in the general sense (but yes, railroads!), and this is why I really feel like a smaller map initially for the first few months or whatever it ends up being, would be beneficial as it encourages everyone to link the map together. If we let the map expand right from the beginning, this link will already be something continually deteriorating with time, since we effectively spread the number of people out over a larger area uncovered by the world borders. Especially if we don't allow teleportation in some form or another for whatever reasons discussed here, having a smaller map size is one way to help everyone play more vanilla-like-- without teleportation, and encouraged to make beautiful paths and modes of transportation to make getting around easier. A larger map size in the beginning of the map's life would discourage this server activity.
Don't decide on a map style based on how pretty it looks in screenshots; this is probably the worst metric to grade a map style on. You need to look at maps based on how difficult it is to terraform, and on what types of regions and resources are readily available for an individual player. A particular resource being available only in a very small section of the accessible map is worse than not having the resource accessible at all, as the resulting resource competition causes tensions that bleed over into the forums.

I tested out the Mountains and Plains preset, and was not impressed by its ability to fulfill those requirements. The plains regions were elevated significantly above sea level. In order to level a region to sea level, a player would have to remove significantly more material than they would have to on a standard map. The counterargument to this would be that there would be other players to help, but there are at least two issues with this: with the whitelist, there will be a lot fewer players online, and even fewer if we mandate a single forum-linked account; and not all players will accept help, as some players want to work alone on the server. I also found that mountainous regions are hard to travel by foot, and pose a risk to horses. Overhangs aren't compatible with travel, and tunneling is not a quicks solution when horses are involved. I also found that the terrain was only mountains and plains; the exception to this was some ugly pillars in the middle of a plain.

I've said it elsewhere on the forums, but I do believe that a nonstandard map style will deter people from Cemetech's server. Nonstandard maps, particularly amplified terrain, almost universally prove to be impractical, especially on smaller servers.
I completely missed this topic when it was bumped on Saturday.

Charles, regarding the map growing, that is the plan. I forget where (maybe IRC?) but it was recently mentioned that the map will start small and expand. We haven't discussed how small yet, but 2000x2000 seems awfully big to promote a close community of towns, maybe 1500?

CVSoft, I don't believe we're basing any maps off pictures. We are, however, sharing pictures of spawn build ideas, such as the tree. And you're suggesting that we use the "default" preset when generating the map? I haven't looked at too many "Mountains and Plains" worlds to form an opinion but I agree that sea level should at least be as high as the plains. I think the one I did generate I wasn't satisfied with either. But, we do have a lot more to discuss in terms of the map.
I saw the list of people that support that map style, but I have strong doubts that everyone on that list has tried to survive and build in such terrain. From browsing around the map in creative flight, I saw those warning signs that the map will prove very difficult to terraform despite the flatness.

I do suggest we use the default map generation, as we did in 1.5/1.6. It has much more balanced terrain, and Minecraft's tool durabilities and resource distribution are based on normal terrain. Additionally, terrain amplification tends to distance players from each other, regardless of the actual distance between players. For example, there was minimal interaction between Hodor and Thalassius in 1.8, despite the towns being a few hundred meters apart.
CVSoft wrote:

Don't decide on a map style based on how pretty it looks in screenshots; this is probably the worst metric to grade a map style on. You need to look at maps based on how difficult it is to terraform, and on what types of regions and resources are readily available for an individual player. A particular resource being available only in a very small section of the accessible map is worse than not having the resource accessible at all, as the resulting resource competition causes tensions that bleed over into the forums.


Here's what I agree on:
Resources definitely should be available for players one way or another-- either this be through a good enough amount of one biome, or it becomes a good only sold at spawn through whatever economic means we end up going with which are continually being discussed over in the 1.9 Economy topic. In regard to the map size as a function of time, it will be obvious that based on a smaller map size initially out of the interest in keeping a more community-feel to everything, keeping everyone closer together and wanting to work more together, that we'll be missing one resource or another, whether if it be a rarer or common resource. This is why I brought up earlier that we should keep in mind what biomes we want, while at the same time making sure we have the basic materials that are regarded as 'essentials' to everyday gameplay.

Here's what I would like to discuss further:
I would not say that a map's aesthetic quality is a bad metric to use, let alone the 'worst'. A map's usage on the server and how users will go about it, is not entirely based on one single idea. You're basing the a large premise of this on the idea such as

CVSoft wrote:

I tested out the Mountains and Plains preset, and was not impressed by its ability to fulfill those requirements. The plains regions were elevated significantly above sea level. In order to level a region to sea level, a player would have to remove significantly more material than they would have to on a standard map.

CVSoft wrote:

I also found that mountainous regions are hard to travel by foot, and pose a risk to horses. Overhangs aren't compatible with travel, and tunneling is not a quicks solution when horses are involved.


It's been acknowledged that some players prefer to work on flatter terrain-- and that is what we want to partially satisfy (ideally for some balance/compromise). But it's also been acknowledged that we have a good fraction of players who also want some form of terrain which is not flat, in which we also want to partially satisfy (ideally for some balance/compromise likewise). I don't think we should list off "requirements" that something like a custom preset needs to meet that are ultimately just your preference. What I mean by this is something like, writing off a beautiful custom preset terrain generation, because the plains biomes plateaus are elevated 5-7 blocks above sea level (but of course, are otherwise flat). Not everyone bulldozes out everything to sea level. Or something such as mountains are hard to traverse by horse-- which is why the map is largely flatter, and has many regions in which are easier to traverse. I don't think a map should be downvoted because the horse can't easily go up a mountain, when there are many plains surrounding the mountain that can be more easily traversed without struggle.

The point of this custom preset is to help balance between players like you who want the flatter terrain to build on and paths which are easier to traverse, against other players who want some more aesthetic features which might be a little harder to work with, but are more satisfying in the end result. If there was one very large mountain in one part of the map, and the rest was plains, I don't think we should be holding the mountain against the overall quality of the map. That's precisely the case here, but there is mountains, which I've seen some more default-like, and some more amplified-like, and anywhere in between. And between these mountains, are an even greater percentage of flatter terrain. I've seen plenty of plains which have no mountains in sight, as if it was default terrain. I've also loaded up a mountains and plains preset map and rode it by horse-- no problem. Rode it for 2000+ blocks, and only had troubles when crossing rivers, or of course, deliberately choosing to go up the steep mountains, many of which I could still climb by making the horse jump. Just because you can't ride a horse up a mountain which is steeper, and choose not to go around, shouldn't be held against the entire map. This isn't like amplified terrain where I would absolutely agree with you-- the amplified terrain is a maze to traverse sometimes, and horses are pretty much useless on it without an extremely organized and extensive path system which would take more work than most users would be willing to do. But there is enough flat terrain-- nice, wide open valleys between mountains, which make for nice paths to build, and for people to walk on, and horses to run along. Especially with well-established paths in valleys and plains, and bridges over appropriate places, there would be no problems.

CVSoft wrote:

From browsing around the map in creative flight, I saw those warning signs that the map will prove very difficult to terraform despite the flatness.


I would be interested in knowing what these warning signs are especially in regard to the difficulty in terraforming especially flatter terrain.

While on my journey by horse, here's a couple more screenies I got.





I definitely would encourage everyone who wants to play a role in voicing their opinion about any map terrain generation, to actually load it up in singleplayer world themselves, and fly and walk around in it to get a feel for what they're signing up for.

CVSoft wrote:

I do suggest we use the default map generation, as we did in 1.5/1.6. It has much more balanced terrain, and Minecraft's tool durabilities and resource distribution are based on normal terrain.


I don't see how terrain generation has anything to do with Minecraft's tool durabilities. Diamond is diamond is diamond. Iron is iron is iron.

Resource distribution is standard on that map other than the fact that the terrain is elevated in some places, and flatter in others. Even if the ore distribution was modified, it could always be modified to whatever we choose it to be. This has nothing to do with terrain generation, especially with the wide open, flatter areas which are almost perfectly default terrain.

CVSoft wrote:

Additionally, terrain amplification tends to distance players from each other, regardless of the actual distance between players. For example, there was minimal interaction between Hodor and Thalassius in 1.8, despite the towns being a few hundred meters apart.


Though this is off-topic, I need to point out that this isn't an argument about terrain stopping this-- you can't use this to discredit terrain generation. It is a matter of you and I not being online at the same times, and the fact that you're rarely online. There is a very nice path established between the two towns, and it's mainly the fact that there is no bridge over the water that makes it slower. It has been months since the path was made, and there is absolutely no terrain difficulties hindering the journey aside of the water. Don't use this as a way to argue the terrain is making things difficult when it isn't. It took me every bit of 1 minute and 20 seconds to run to Hodor from Thalassius (and swim across the water where the path isn't finished) along the path which is flat enough to simply walk along-- please don't use this as a reason to why terrain distances players. If a 1 minute, 20 second journey along a well-established, relatively flat path is counted as a reason why "terrain amplification tends to distance players from each other", then I'm not sure what to say.

In fact, I would like to use this as an example for what I would like to see in the 1.9 map, thank you for bringing it up.
There is a continuing theme of making links between towns through means such as making paths, and here's some screenshots of the path CVSoft, Monkey0x9 and I worked on between Thalassius and Hodor, which made it easily possible to travel between the two towns in just a little more than 1 minute.





I've only shown a couple of the images, but you may find a few more here if anyone is interested.
Biome Size
I like the biome size that we currently use. The only biome that is too big is the southern desert. All the other biomes are roughly the sizes I would like them to be. By carefully selecting a seed, and shifting the spawn point a little bit, we can prevent that one particular biome is dominant in the world, while making sure that more rare biomes are also available.

Biome availability
I would love to have a jungle biome with some jungle temples,
An ice spikes biome would be cool
Desert biome for the desert temples
Some oceans for the ocean monuments and to build underwater towns / structures
roofed forest biome
there probably won't be a problem to get the more common biomes as well.

Custom map presets
I very much like the custom preset Elementa found. It has a nice balance of mountains and plains.
I myself found some other interesting presets, so I might be able to provide some alternatives.
I defenitly think we should use a custom preset for the 1.9 terrain though, not the default terrain generation.

Map Difficulty
When we first start out in the map, we will have no armor, weapons or tools at all, nor any lit up areas or safe spots.
Elementa (an experienced and more than decent survivalist) recently tried exploring without any armor, but with weapons, and even he died a few times (we already were at normal difficulty then)
My suggestion would be to start out with easy difficulty for about 1 week, and then switch to normal difficulty. We might even try to switch to a hard difficulty after roughly a month.
This way the difficulty will increase at roughly the same rate at which the players get stronger.
  
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