Some people consider "f3" to be "cheating". You won't have that in real life (hmm ... need a new term there).
For this, I respond: If I were really there, I'd have a much better ability to see the area around me, and a little accidental mouse-flick would not have me completely confused as to where I was looking. Not all of the stone passage ways would look absolutely identical, and I could have some sort of bearing.
But ... well, I'm known to know my torches when placed, and recognize where I'm looking at just by seeing a few of my torches down. Heck, I have even spotted when the light being shown does NOT match a torch placed earlier (smooth lighting off and a good brightness gradient).
And yes, I do get lost underground. Given the rate at which caves loop, "POSH" does not always help. Signs however ...
I'd like to get a clarification on your cave numbers here.
When you say
Size 6 cave system at -2752, 464; total number of caves: 13
Large cave with a width of 16.13 at -2708 10 498
Size 28 cave system at -2720, 496; total number of caves: 41
Number of cave systems: 2
Initial number of caves: 34
Total number of caves: 54
Additional circular room caves: 20
Number of small caves: 53; average width is 5.99
Number of large caves: 1; average width is 16.13
Number of circular rooms: 12; average width is 11.27
Additional caves per circular room: 1.67
Average caves per chunk: 6.0
I'd like to know if I'm understanding this correctly:
You generated three cave systems. One was one of your custom "large" cave systems, and the other two were normal vanilla cave systems. These started at 6 and 28 nodes, and were expanded (25% of the nodes are large rooms that generate extra nodes) to 13 and 41.
No, that can't be right. OK.
Two cave systems. One was 6 nodes, and after circular rooms and bonus nodes was 13 total nodes; of those, one was your giant node (size 16). You generated 20 additional nodes, with 12 circular rooms; that means the 12 circular rooms gave an average of just under 2 bonus nodes each -- right, you even say that, 1.67 extra nodes per circular.
But nothing in here is talking about how big the actual air spaces generated are. Because of overlap of the nodes, any actual air space might be significantly bigger than 16 blocks across.
Do any of your tools calculate the effective size of a cave area after everything has overlapped?
For a little bit, I was playing around with the giant supplemental caves that COG can generate. Have you ever played with them? My biggest issue was that they were too big to be able to easily lite up, to the point that mobs attacking me was excessive. I'm looking at the size of the caves you work with, and I think these might be just right for you.