I did a quick search for this same idea, but nothing extensive. Anyhow, I just had an idea about deserts. I love the desert scenery, though I hate surviving in them or starting there. That's not my point, though.
I was just wondering if the community thought it was a good idea to include more desert variety? What I mean by this is...the deserts we have now are just sand and cacti. It's sort of a mix of the two big deserts: sand deserts (like the Kalahari or Sahara) and dirt desert (like the deserts found in the southwestern united states or Australia). I say this because it has the sand, but also the cacti.
My suggestion is to simply include desert variety. Obviously, the desert we have now would be kept. However, in addition, there would be deserts that consist mainly of dirt with a little sand and gravel with larger amounts of cacti, and then there would be a sand desert which is almost entirely sand (maybe with a little dirt) and very little to no cacti and the terrain is more like sand dunes than normal hills with sand instead of grass.
NOTE: The dirt deserts would need a way of making sure the dirt doesn't grow grass. Maybe a new type of dirt could be added that was reddish-brown in color and could have some other purposes. Perhaps it could be a way to make a brick-type block? Or maybe it could yield something when hoed or dug with a certain shovel?
And while I'm on this subject of deserts, why not add a new block type called "Tumbleweed." As far as it actually tumbling across the map, I'm not sure if that is possible or ideal, but it'd be a neat decorative block. Perhaps it could have some similar properties as water. What I mean is, you can walk through the block but it slows you down. (As if you were walking through thick weeds or underbrush.)
Here, let me simplify it for some people who don't want to read a lot. New Blocks: Red Dirt: A reddish-brown version of the current dirt that doesn't grow grass. Perhaps it could drop something if hoed or dug with a certain shovel. Maybe it could also be used to make mud which could be baked into reddish-brown bricks. (The bricks would be more brown colored than the current bricks, but would be easier to destroy.)
Tumbleweed A block that can be walked through, but slows movement (like water). It can be used as a fuel but is consumed as fast or faster than sticks. Maybe, if possible and ideal, the tumbleweed could blow across deserts. (I would like input on this.)
Desert Types: Normal Desert:
Sand, little amounts of dirt, cacti, mountains, rare tumbleweed
Reddish-brown dirt, little amounts of sand and gravel, many cacti, mesas instead of mountains, tumbleweed
Almost entirely sand, tiny amounts of dirt, tiny amounts of cacti, dune-like terrain, no mountains