Biome Variants are a feature of the mod that enable greater variation in biome generation without the need to create many similar variations of each base biome. They are generated as a second layer over the biomes themselves, and can alter several terrain features of that biome, most notably height, hilliness, boulders, tree coverage, tree types, and grass and flower coverage. They can also decide whether villages or structures in general can spawn. There are also a small number of more complex variants (such as orchards and vineyards) that have more unique landscapes.
The types of biome variants that can generate in a biome are defined in each biome's
.class file (note that sub-biomes will use the same variants as the biome they extend unless the variant list is 'cleared' in the sub-biomes
.class file, in which case they are listed below as not having the variant). Some variants are added to biomes in 'sets', for example the 'normal' set found in many biomes across Middle-earth contains the flowers, forest, light forest, steppe, barren steppe, hills and forest hills variants and the 'swamp' set contains swamp upland (once) and swamp lowland (three times) to make uplands less common.
Variants have a defined 'size' (either small, large, all or none) and cannot mix or overlap; that is to say, there is only ever one variant present at any location. In Middle-earth, the current biome variant is shown in the F3 debug screen on the left-hand side along with other biome information.
A complete list of biome variants (grouped by the variant type they extend in the code) and variant sets follows. Note that no biome has all of these, and some, such as Mordor, have none. For biome variants that do not occur in a large number of Middle-earth's biomes, a list of biomes is added to show where these can generate.
There are several 'sets' of biome variants listed in the code that contain a number of variants that are often used together in similar types of biomes. These are used instead of having to list every variant in every biome's file.
|Normal||Flowers, Forest, Light Forest, Steppe, Barren Steppe, Hills, Forest Hills|
|Normal Oak||Flowers, Forest, Light Forest, Steppe, Barren Steppe, Hills, Forest Hills, Dense Oak Forest, Dead Oak Forest, Oak Shrubland|
|Normal Spruce||Flowers, Forest, Light Forest, Steppe, Barren Steppe, Hills, Forest Hills, Dense Spruce Forest, Dead Spruce Forest|
|Normal Oak & Spruce||Flowers, Forest, Light Forest, Steppe, Barren Steppe, Hills, Forest Hills, Dense Oak Forest, Dead Oak Forest, Oak Shrubland, Dense Spruce Forest, Dead Spruce Forest, Dense Oak & Spruce Forest, Dead Oak & Spruce Forest|
|Normal (No Steppe)||Flowers, Forest, Light Forest, Hills, Forest Hills|
|Normal Oak (No Steppe)||Flowers, Forest, Light Forest, Hills, Forest Hills, Dense Oak Forest, Dead Oak Forest, Oak Shrubland|
|Forest||Flowers, Hills, Clearing|
|Mountains||Forest, Light Forest|
|Swamp||Swamp Lowland (3x), Swamp Upland|
These variants often appear in a wide range of different biomes.
|Standard||The placeholder biome variant. Regions with this variant generate according to the biome's base properties.|
|Flowers||A version of the biome with ten times the usual number of flowers. Relatively small.|
|Light Forest||A variant that increases tree coverage by roughly three times and roughly doubles grass coverage. Can be any size.|
|Steppe||A very flat version of the biome, with few trees and more grass. Relatively large.|
|Barren Steppe||Similar to the regular steppe but with less grass and flowers. Structures may generate here more commonly due to the simple terrain and lack of trees. Offers very little cover from any hostile eyes.|
|Hills||A hillier version of the biome, but not as hilly as the mountain variant. Does not alter the base height of the biome. Can be any size.|
|Forest Hills||A version of the hills variant that also increases tree coverage by roughly three times.|
|Mountains||These are basically highlands made up of mountainous areas towering above the surrounding terrain. They are generally open areas with little tree coverage, steep slopes, and fairly flat summits. Sometimes these can cover quite large areas, forming highland regions that hold deep valleys.|
|Lake||A lake. Lakes can be many sizes, ranging from small ponds to huge lagoons. They may sometimes have small islands in them. Lakes are usually rare, but the Far Harad Jungle biome generates small lakes very commonly. See below for a quite interesting ᚱᚢᚾᛖ (rune).|
|River||Rivers are special biome variants that replace the vanilla generated river biomes. The mods rivers have a better fit in the biomes where they are generated.|
|Oak Shrubland||A version of the biome that adds many short shrubs on the ground.|
These variants have significantly different surface terrain, with interspersed stone, gravel, sand or leaves dotting the ground. Wastelands are similar but with even less vegetation and more stone and gravel. They are all large variants and no villages can be found within them.
|Scrubland||Scrublands are typically areas with very poor, sandy and/or rocky soil. This results in very little tree growth and the vegetation is dominated by low growing scrubs (stunted trees/shrubs) and bushes.
|Scrubland Hills||The scrubland hills are a hillier type of scrubland.
|Sand Scrubland||Similar to the normal scrubland but with sandstone instead of stone distributed throughout the surface terrain.|
|Sand Scrubland Hills||A hillier version of the sand scrubland.|
|Wasteland||Wasteland is a very barren variant where vast stretches of the terrain consist of barren rock. The soil is generally very poor and vegetation is sparse.
|Sand Wasteland||A version of the wasteland variant with sandstone instead of stone. Only found in Harnennor.|
These variants can add new tree types in addition to making trees eight times more common than usual. They can be any size.
|Forest||A more forested version of the biome. The trees which are generated are the same as those generated by the base biome. A plains-type biome that generates this variant will resemble a typical forest-type biome. A relatively common biome variant.|
|Aspen Forest||A forest dominated by regular and large Aspen trees.
|Birch Forest||A forest dominated by regular and large Birch trees.
|Beech Forest||A forest dominated by regular and large Beech trees.
|Maple Forest||A forest dominated by regular and large Maple trees.
|Larch Forest||A forest dominated by Larch trees.
|Pine Forest||A forest dominated by Pine trees.
These variants are similar to regular forest variants (with eight times the biome's normal tree coverage) except slightly hillier and with added larger variants of various tree types (up to and including 'party' trees but not the largest trees of Fangorn or Lothlórien).
|Dense Oak Forest||This variant adds 'large' and 'party' oak trees. It can be found in a wide range of biomes as part of several variant 'sets'.|
|Dense Spruce Forest||A dense forest with 'mega' spruce trees.|
|Dense Oak/Spruce Forest||A dense forest with added 'large' and 'party' oak trees, as well as 'mega' spruce trees|
|Dense Birch Forest||A dense forest with added 'large' and 'party' birch trees.|
|Dense Lebethron Forest||A dense forest with added 'large' and 'party' Lebethron trees. This variant is unique to Ithilien (but not its hills or wasteland sub-biomes)|
|Dense Dark Oak Forest||A dense forest with added normal and 'party' dark oak trees. This variant is unique to the Drúwaith Iaur.|
These variants have roughly three times the tree coverage of the normal biome they modify, with half as much grass. They all also add dead trees.
|Dead Oak Forest||A version of the biome with added dead oak trees. It can be found in many biomes.|
|Dead Spruce Forest||A dead forest with dead spruce trees.|
|Dead Oak/Spruce Forest||A dead forest with both dead oak and spruce trees.|
These relatively small biomes represent the cultivated fruit orchards of Middle-earth. They contain rows of various types of fruit trees, with rows of fences between them. They also have no other trees or structures present.
|Shire Orchard||An orchard type exclusive to the Shire, containing apple, pear and (more rarely) cherry trees.|
|Apple-Pear Orchard||An orchard containing apple and pear trees.
|Orange Orchard||An orchard containing orange trees.|
|Lemon Orchard||An orchard containing lemon trees.|
|Lime Orchard||An orchard containing lime trees.|
|Almond Orchard||An orchard containing almond trees.|
|Olive Orchard||An orchard containing olive trees.
|Plum Orchard||An orchard containing plum trees.
|Date Palm Orchard||An orchard containing date palm trees.|
|Pomegranate Orchard||An orchard containing pomegranate trees. This orchard type is exclusive to Rhúdel (but none of its sub-biomes)|
These biome variants are only found in specific biomes or specific types of biomes.
|Forest Clearing||A clearing in the surrounding forest. Only found in biomes with the 'forest' variant set, as well as Taur-i-Thorogrim and Lothlórien.|
|Swamp Upland||A version of the the biome with fewer pools, higher land generation, and many more trees. Only found in swamp biomes with the 'swamp' variant set.|
|Swamp Lowland||A variant of the biome that is flat and watery, like a vast pool with bits of land and quagmire. Only found in swamp biomes with the 'swamp' variant set, where it is widespread. Note that the Dead Marshes do not use the 'swamp' set and are instead exclusively the lowland variant.|
|Baobab Savannah||A variant exclusive to the Far Harad Grasslands (including the arid grasslands/hills sub-biomes but not the forest or Corsair Coasts sub-biomes) with a light forest of Baobab trees.|
|Red Boulders||A variant exclusive to the Near Harad Desert (including the red desert sub-biome but not the desert hills or half-deserts sub-biomes) with boulders made of red sandstone.|
|Rohan Boulders||A variant of Rohan with boulders of Rohan rock. This variant is exclusive to Adornland and Rohan (but not the woodlands, Wold or Uruk Highlands sub-biomes).|
|Dense Jungle||A variant exclusive to the Far Harad Jungle (but not its sub-biomes (jungle edge, jungle lake, jungle mountains or Taurethrim clearing)) with enormous Jungle and Mahogany trees, much larger than those found in other 'dense' variants, in addition to increased tree coverage.|
|Vineyard||A variant found exclusively in Dorwinion (but not the Emyn Winion sub-biome). It has no trees, flowers or structures, instead being dominated by rows of grapevines with paths between them. This is one of the two places where Grapevines grow and the only place where Vinekeepers and Vinehands can be found.|
Other notable features
The terrain generation for the Mod's biomes differs in many respects from that of Vanilla Minecraft. Here are a few notable features that may strike the eye when you're travelling Middle-earth:
- The soil has patches of barren dirt, gravel and podzol. The variety of which is dependent on the biome variant.
- Forested biomes and biome variants have fallen leaves on the ground to give the impression of leaf litter.
- The occurrence of clay deposits is more randomised and less clustered (as it is in Vanilla MC).
- Vegetation is much richer. Some biomes and variants have special, or even unique flowers and, while many biomes and their variants share a large number of types of common vegetation.
- Many trees and tree variants are added in comparison to Vanilla MC. Some are widespread, some are unique to specific biomes.
- The wildlife is equally enriched. Some biomes have unique wildlife, while many have a lot of very common animals such as birds and butterflies.
- Apart from the numerous structures created as faction or biome specific builds, there are also a number of structures that generate randomly in a great number of biomes, independent of the biome variants. These are: orc dungeons, stone ruins and a fair number of various smaller stone ruins.
- Quite a few biomes have unique rock types, like Rohan and the Red Mountains giving these biomes a unique look and feel.
- The Mod also uses customised code to spawn caves and ravines. You will certainly notice this as travelling greater distances. Lava lakes are generally not present on higher altitudes, except in a few biomes, like Mordor and the Far Harad Volcano biome.
- Finally, the terrain generation is far more realistic, and more suitable for a Middle-earth themed Mod, than that of Vanilla Minecraft.
|“||ᛚ The lake seems interminable to men,
if they venture on the rolling bark
and the waves of the lake terrify them
and the courser of the deep heed not its bridle.