The random terrain generator in Minecraft is probably the game's most amazing feature. Its ability to allow your computer to generate breathtaking vistas is almost unmatched in videogames, and it means that the world you create is yours - not anyone else's.
That's why I was super-excited to hear about a feature added in the newest snapshot - 14w17a, which has just been released. It allows you to customise the world generator - meaning that your world will be even more different to your friends'. You can tweak all manner of arcane sliders, adjusting things like "Biome Scale Weight" or "Depth Noise Exponent" until you have a world you like. Or you can just hit the "randomise" button and hope. Happily, a few presets are included too, like "Isle Land", "Caver's Delight" and "Mountain Madness".
Here's a video of it in action:
The other major feature added is customisable world borders, which have a lovely shimmery effect when you hit the edge of the world. It's a nice way to allow multiplayer server admins the ability to stop their worlds becoming unusually large without having to resort to third party plugins as many already do.
Among the other additions are a re-orderable server list, a few tweaks to endermites, some model format improvements, a bunch of bug fixes and -- notably -- a reversal of the recent changes to minecart physics. Boo. Hopefully the engine will get fixed up to support them properly soon.
Finally, you can now change the speed at which the world "ticks" - influencing plant and crop growth speeds, how fast pigment spawn, how fast farmland updates and more. The command you want is "randomTickSpeed". Oh - and one more small thing for North American residents - Realms is live there too, making it now available in 33 countries and territories.
In the community this week, almost everything has been eclipsed by the work of two employees of Denmark's Geodatastyrelsen, who have released their entire country - at a 1:1 scale - to the world. You can read more about it here (top tip: use Google Translate if you don't speak Danish) but essentially it's an attempt to encourage schools to use the game in their lessons.
A few other nice bits did pop up, though, including this great tutorial on how to recreate an Italian Renaissance design known as biforate windows in Minecraft, and this rather more destructive tutorial on how to make flaming anvil meteors drop from the sky.
Oh, and if you've ever wanted a more efficient way of working with redstone, you'll want to check out the redstone paste mod - which allows you to paste circuits onto the walls and ceiling, making creations much more compact. Give it a try by downloading it right here.
I'll call it a day there. If you've seen anything in the Minecraft community that you think I should be highlighting, tell me about it by dropping me an email. I'll be back with another roundup this time next week.