CaveGen, in its classic form, originally developed by forum user I Am David Minecraft, was a ModLoader-based mod that put the player into a dead-or-dying surface world, with the objective being survival: finding one's way from the surface, digging down into a cavernous subterranean world. At the surface, clouds start at ground level, and hostile mobs can be found both on the surface and underground.
Because this mod is meant to be a revamp of the original CaveGen, much of the following page content is applicable to the original, and carries through to this mod as it progresses, with minor adaptation in places.
Appearance of the WorldEdit
"This Is Not Your Daddy's Minecraft" might be one way to explain how CaveGen looks, feels, and reacts to your activity. Players of the original already know the following details; I include this summary for those players who have not yet had this experience.
The Surface WorldEdit
Initially, the player spawns on the surface of the cave world; it is designed to look desolated, post-apocalyptic. No vegetation grows here; the ground is a thin layer of mycelium, straight out of the vanilla mushroom island biome, and below that are a few layers of smooth stone. The only thing breaking the monotony of the surface are deadened trees without leaves (some are laying on the ground as if fallen, most are merely erect pillars of wood), an occasional depression in which a small pond can be found (sometimes leaking into the cavern below), and sparse "boreholes".
The occasional boreholes from the surface, like unevenly-drilled holes through the surface material, allow a player to see down into the cave … allowing both partial surface light and precipitation to come within the cavern. Also on occasion some water ponds will flow down through the stone ceiling into the cavern.
- Boreholes can be used to descend down to where a player can get a better view of the cave, possibly planning where and how to get to the cave floor. Using any ordinary pickaxe, a player can dig a stairway around the inner edge of the borehole, descending at a cautious pace; from a lower edge of a borehole, a player may be able to see cave features a bit better than from the surface. A good solution might be to find one of the places where water flows all the way to the cave floor, and "water-scaffold" all the way down on the edge of the water-flow (trust me, you may not be able to hold your air long enough if staying within the flow). This is an easy way to return to the surface, when necessary (such as for harvesting more wood for tools and items).
The Subterranean WorldEdit
The cave world, as the above would indicate, is covered by a heavy ceiling layer, quite a few blocks deep. The floor is likewise several blocks deep. Shallow ravines can be found cutting across the cavern floor; aside from this, the "ground level" is typically either smooth stone, mossy stone, or grass/dirt blocks. Some mountains of the ground material can be found in random places, and in a few places these mountains extend all the way to match the underside of the ceiling.
If a player wants to go back up to the surface, one route is in finding one of these mountainous walls of stone that reach the ceiling, digging into it, digging upward with a "spiral staircase" pattern. My recommendation would be, once reaching the surface, building a structure that keeps hostile mobs from using the same feature.)
The cave floor also contains Villages, communities which contain Villagers, who are the refugees from the now-dying surface. The villages are like walled fortresses that keep hostile entities out, and hopefully the villagers within them; the villagers themselves are the normal "Squidward"-looking villagers that everyone will be familiar with. They will trade resources, and villages do have small plots of crops growing. Outside of villages are sparsely-located single-villager houses, and more often are abandoned decaying settlements that may hold the odd chest with random armor, tools, and items (sometimes food and seeds may be found).
Details of the Mod RevampEdit
First, in examination of I Am David Minecraft's source code, the mod had been developed as both client and server mods. One problem I have detected was in the two branches of code, in how within the client side the material declaration on one block is different for the material declaration of the same block on the server side. For my revamp, I am unifying the two source code branches, correcting differences where possible.
Second, it will provide a few more configuration options for specifying how certain aspects of a cave world is generated. The ability to turn on or off certain generatable features or set certain statistics (cave depth, floor depth, ceiling depth, et cetera). When generated, ravines tend to undercut villages, negating their security — villagers can walk outside the village, and players can walk into it; it would be a great idea to allow for disabling ravine generation, or even for either disabling ravine gen under villages or disabling village gen over ravines (it depends on the order things are generated).
Third, I would be tweaking how walled villages are generated, both how close to each other and also growing upward and outward.
- For one, I have seen two- and three-village meta-complexes, where each are placed within a few blocks of each other; this seems a bit non-optimal, because it would be nice to have them within sight of each other, just not within throwing distance.
- Spacing out the generation of walled villages would also allow for growing outward; the historical-medieval parallel being that outside of castles and walled cities, a lot of peasantry lived and worked. In the cave equivalent, these villages would be redesigned for governance/administration buildings in the core (the castle-proper), surrounded by a medium-height wall; it is surrounded by housing, industry, and merchant buildings (the village-proper), surrounded by the high wall we know; all of that surrounded by a low-class district of housing and cave-agriculture, finally enclosed by a low wall (one block thick, by two or three blocks high).
- It was always a bit interesting to wonder why villagers had not built their buildings upward, including second and third floors, to match or exceed the height of the walls. At the village's core, the "more important" housing and infrastructure probably get a bit better treatment.
In some ways, I had envisioned fleshing out the cave world to be similar to another mod called Millenaire, only in an underground setting. Millenaire allows villagers to grow and perform tasks, villages to grow with trade or die out with war, and whole cultures to flourish or cease. However, in my implementation it would be a little less culture-based, conflict-based, and quest-based, though of course player-to-villager trading would remain a major impetus for village expansion, improvement, and … ownership?
CaveGen was, is, and shall be quite an interesting idea for subterranean survival. In my iteration of the mod, I hope to see some expanded features, while keeping true to the core game-play that made the mod challenging.
As a final note, I had a thought that, when this mod is released, it would be interesting to see one or more "Let's Play" video series of players in a CaveGen Classic Revamp world, the kind of "Let's Play" videos akin to what I typically see from SkyBlock players.