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Minecraft update set to overhaul world generator

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Minecraft's next update, version 1.7, will include some major changes to the way the game generates terrain, developer Mojang said yesterday.

The developers identified a few notable issues with the world generator, chief among them oceans that were too large, biomes that were seemingly placed randomly and a lack of variation in terrain. But Mojang shies away from making regular tweaks to the world-generating engine because each alteration causes visible borders between old and new terrain. So with update 1.7, the studio is making a lot of changes at once.

Minecraft's new world generator will produce more islands, thereby reducing the percentage of the world that exists as oceans. Mojang is also adding a few new biomes, and altering the placement of biomes by categorizing them so regions that exist next to each other won't be completely different (snow-covered and jungle, for example). And players will see new elements in the world itself, such as new flowers and trees.

You can see a screenshot of the new world generation above. There's no word yet on when update 1.7 will be released.