Been playing for almost a year now and only recently saw my first slimes. None ever popped up in my mines on SSP, but the main floor of my mine in my SMP server must be in a slime chunk, because they've spawned four or five times so far. It was cool enough to see a tiny slime the first time, but the other night a big one spawned.
For so long they were these mystical things I never thought I'd see that now I get super excited whenever I find one.
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I lurk. I'm probably lurking right now, watching you. Please don't take off your clothes.
I have seen quite a few spawn before the slimeballs had a use, and now that slimeballs FINALLY have a use I barley see them anymore... but one large slime will supply you with more than enough slimeballs (make sure to punch em :tongue.gif:), and if you need more than that, then what ever you are making probably wont be legit...
I think what happens is very few people make large hollowed out spaces over a widespread area at the levels at which they spawn, and finding them in caves is rare because at those depths there is a lot of lava that kills them. The most common way of mining, systematically making 2x1 tunnels in a pattern, doesn't give them enough room to spawn.
My first encounter was when building a deep-level subway line, that had large enough diameter tunnels and went far enough that I eventually did hit a spawning area.
Personally, I'd appreciate some kind of indication of their presence. Perhaps slime-stained or something.