The Meaning of Life, the Universe, and Everything.
To put the matter simply, would it be effective to give passive mobs some autonomy in reproduction or would this not effectively fit into the world of minecraft? In effect, it would prevent local extinction of wild mobs and allow more dynamic populations.
I did not know if this should go in suggestion or discussion I only want to initiate a discussion on the subject, so I placed it here.
It would be disastrous unless some sort of predator were added, which would have to breed and have a hunger meter so that said predator can starve to death in order to prevent it from driving passive mobs into extinction while still keeping their numbers under control.
Or... Y'know, stop them from breeding if there are too many passives nearby...?
The game already implements this in a way - passive mobs respawn - but only if the mob cap hasn't been reached, which happens to be only 10 passive mobs in loaded chunks, far less than you usually see in a newly generated world (one in 10 chunks will have a pack of 4 mobs, which is a lot), and very slowly (400 times slower than hostile mobs). Essentially, this was done to encourage breeding, not mindlessly slaughtering every animal in sight, and for practical purposes this respawning is only really relevant in worlds that otherwise do not have passive mobs; e.g. there is no world generation spawning in Superflat worlds, or custom maps like Skyblock; and since spawn chunks also count towards the cap they effectively never respawn in most default worlds, thus I'm not surprised that it is often thought that animals never respawn.
That would be a bit problematic because passive mobs can often wander away from thir initial places if given time, and adding predators would add to the atmosphere.
Why is that a problem? See my previous post - the game actually already respawns more passive mobs if there are less than than a certain number within a certain area, and the fact that they wander is irrelevant - sure, the game may spawn more if they all wander out of a given area but conversely it will not spawn more if they all group together, and while they might tend to cluster in an area, with mobs wandering in from areas where they are sparse enough to respawn, this has not caused any issues in the years since mob spawning as it currently is was implemented (since Beta 1.8), at least not that I've noticed. Also, since mobs only move when within 32 blocks of a player (most hostile mobs, and probably passive mobs as well) this will tend to inhibit how far they wander (for example, one time I didn't bother fencing in cows when breeding them for leather, and they never got very far over multiple in-game days).
They have also implemented predators for some mobs - wolves attack sheep and rabbits (although in practice this is not much of a factor since wolves despawn after 2 minutes unless tamed and tamed wolves don't attack mobs unless you hit them or they hurt you) and ocelots attack chickens (ocelots also despawn but also respawn under the hostile mob cap so they can depopulate jungles of chickens over time).
The game already implements this in a way - passive mobs respawn - but only if the mob cap hasn't been reached, which happens to be only 10 passive mobs in loaded chunks, far less than you usually see in a newly generated world (one in 10 chunks will have a pack of 4 mobs, which is a lot), and very slowly (400 times slower than hostile mobs).
I was unaware of this feature, as mobs on servers often become heavily depleted at spawn, and as far as I have found, are never replenished. In single-player worlds on the otherhand, I never hunt, so the populations never get low enough for the respawning to occur. Interesting how this occurs, however, as it means the player cannot cause extinction of large animal life entirely.