Imagine stepping through a portal into a twilight realm, filled with trees as far as they eye can see. Breathtaking vistas and amazing discoveries await you around every corner. But beware! Not all denizens of the forest respond to your intrusion lightly.
So, I've been working on this project feverishly since I first got the idea about a month ago and I thought it might be time to post some screens and get some feedback. So take a look and please post your thoughts, ideas, criticisms, etc.
The idea of the mod is that it will be an alternate dimension like the Aether mod. The current plan is that you will open a portal from the main Minecraft world by building a ring of mushrooms, and perhaps throwing in a rare item or something as a sacrifice.
The Twilight Forest realm is an endless world like regular Minecraft. Nearly all of it is densely forested. It has more of an enchanted or faerie tale feel than the main Minecraft world (think the Brothers Grimm, or something more contemporary like Pan's Labyrinth or Princess Mononoke.) The skies are perpetually at sunset (though this may change slightly), giving a darker, somewhat gloomy cast to the world below. An overstory of larger trees further shades most of the world below, creating a canopy covering most of the world (so thick that you can actually walk on it most places.) The canopy is pierced only occasionally by massive trees that rise to the ceiling of the world. Many of these trees are hollow, and some may contain valuable woods at their core or rare and useful types of leaves on their branches. The terrain is flatter, or at least less mountainous than regular Minecraft, but you will occasionally encounter hills, sometimes rising far above the canopy level. These hills are hollow too, containing caves filled with valuable ores, treasure and dangerous monsters.
At the current stage, I've worked almost solely on world generation. I've not added new blocks or creatures yet, so everything you see in the screenshots is something you could theoretically build in regular minecraft. Rest assured that I didn't build all this by hand. Instead, it's all the product of massively revamped world generation code. Let's go over the implemented features one by one.
1) A flatter, lower, grassier world:
To make room for the giant trees, the base level of the terrain is pushed way down, to the point where you're normally walking at what would be diamond level in regular Minecraft (around altitude 16 or so). It also irons out many of the mountains and cliffs (though don't worry, I've got my own hills). Since there's not as much rock, the cave generator is disabled, though I've got different caves in the hollow hills, and I may add ice caves into the glaciers and more standard rock caves under the highlands. As a side point, there's no deserts, or really any sand at all in the forest, so I may have to add a new way to get glass.
I added abound 7 new biomes, although some of them are fairly rare. Unlike in regular Minecraft, the biomes have the power to change the terrain levels so some of them are much more obvious. Highlands are atop high cliffs, swamps are slightly sunken, and glaciers create massive ice walls. There's also a few transition biomes to smooth your way into the swamps or glaciers, and a mushroom biome almost entirely covered in fungus (and when Notch adds giant mushrooms to regular Minecraft, those will appear here too.)
3) Trees, trees, trees:
There's lots of standard minecraft trees that you might encounter in the deep forests of regular minecraft, but I've added new ones too. As I mentioned in the intro, there's a new type of tree that creates a canopy over most of the world. And I'm sure you've seen the trees so big that I had to lower the ground to make room. There's a few other new ones too, including mangrove-type trees in the swamps. As an aside, the trees in the screenshots are currently using existing types of wood and leaves, but I plan to give them each their own bark and leaf textures eventually, as well as possibly new saplings that you can being back to your existing minecraft world.
4) Ancient ruins and other structures:
The Twilight Forest has existed for millennia and has seen the rise and fall of countless civilizations. At present there's about a half-dozen types of ruins and other structures you can find in the world, but I have plans for more. These are intended to give the place more of a mystical feel, to give the player an impression that more is going on in the world than they can comprehend at first glace.
5) The Hollow Hills!:
You may see these rising in the distance in the screens taken above the canopy layer, but that can't prepare you for what you'll find when you mine into one of these (or find them naturally cracked open by geological forces.) Ores glitter on unreachable stalactites above, lit occasionally by glowstone. You'll want to bring plenty of torches though, as the hills are defended by monsters. If you persist you may even find a treasure chest or two. There are several sizes of hill, and the larger hills have rarer ores, more valuable treasures, and of course, more and more dangerous monsters.
6) SMP support:
The mod is currently (mostly) working in SMP too, so you can bring a friend on your adventures. In fact, since there's no new blocks or monsters yet, you can connect to a modified server with a plain vanilla client. That will of course have to change once I start adding critters and blocks though.
That's the major features right now. I'm not nearly finished though, so here's a short list of my ideas for the future, as well as some concerns I'm having. If you have more ideas or possible solutions, I'd love to hear them.
1) More creatures, of course
The current plan is to replace the existing pigs, sheep and cows with wild pigs (and boars), bighorn sheep (for the highlands), and deer (and stags). Beyond that, there will be witches in the huts, trolls or orcs or goblins in the caves, unicorns in the forests, and minotaurs in the mazes (that's another idea, by the way, mazes.) Maybe even more exotic things too, like multi-block snakes, or boss monsters like a troll king or the mystical white stag.
I also plan to add smaller, more decorative creatures. These may even just be implemented as a type of block. The torches on the trees in the screens will be replaced by either giant fireflies, or a type of flower that attracts lots of smaller ones. The trees will have the occasional cicada, and the ponds and swamps will have frogs that all combine to create more "generic nature noises" in the forest.
2) New blocks!
Nothing set in stone (ha ha) yet, but I'm sure I'll add plenty of these. I mentioned the light- and noise-making creature "blocks", as well as new woods, and new leaves. And of course there will have to be jar blocks full of fireflies to light your house.
3)Mazes! Waterfalls! Streams! Insect Hives!
Okay, really I have tons of ideas. But I want to hear some of yours too.
Well, I've rattled on long enough, and it's time to go to work. Please post with your comments, suggestions or concerns.