I don't know what they did with the cave/mineshaft generation, but I love it. I generated my favorite seed on 1.4 and went to the cave I always go to every time I use that seed and I found a mineshaft that wasn't there before. And it isn't just 1 mineshaft, it's probably 3-5. How do I know there's that many? I've found 6 cave spider spawners so far and died about 3 times now, lost all my stuff (including hundreds of iron and 11 diamonds) every time and I'm having so much fun, I don't even care I lost so much.
Meanwhile, this change makes other a bit peeved. My favorite seed that included 2 mineshafts at spawn, one which included 4 diamonds in a chest, at least 3 dungeons, 2 of which were exposed to the surface, a jungle temple, and plenty of diamonds, is now ruined because all of that stuff has been altered.
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Super Hostile maps I've completed: Spellbound Caves (Yeah, I pretty much suck.)
With the seed generation they always make the seed generate different landforms as if it were a completely different world
Quite the opposite really. The whole purpose behind a "seed" is so that you can share an exact copy of the world you got with someone else.
However, as they make updates to the game, sometimes the terrain generation is effected. Since 1.1 or so I've had great success with a seed that uses my wife's name. At least half of the updates since have causes minor changes, with one or two updates causing a complete reworking (jungle biome, etc). I remade the map with 1.4 (last attempt was 1.2 I think) and it is a whole new map. If I were to do the same seed on my other computer or give it to a friend, it would look exactly the same (assuming you don't have mods that affect terrain generation).
The generation code in 1.4 was changed a little upon release because of the witch huts. I guess since it changed it gave you a new mash of your cave generation.
He's right. I noticed the change when I was using my seed to get a village in the default world type. In 1.3.2 there would be one church, 2 wheat farms, and a few houses (with 3 being blocked off by a small hill covering the doors). But when I used the same seed in 1.4.2 it gave me 6 farm plots, the same church, the hill being removed so the houses wouldn't be blocked off, and more houses closer to the beach. I like the new change, it's pretty awesome.