BiomeEdit: Rescue your old maps!

One of the biggest bugbears with the advancing versions of the save-file format has been that the biomes in older worlds become corrupted. This was particularly distressing for Kristal, because the lush greenery we had at Haven had turned into the parched foliage of the desert, and it pretty much ruined the look of the place we’d spent so many hours working on. When Jeb announced that the change to the Anvil format would result in being able to edit biomes, we were hopeful that, before too long, someone would create such a tool, and enable us to put things right.

On Saturday, that tool – BiomeEdit – made its appearance on the Minecraft Forums… and it works a treat! Nirgalbunny (aka tony311) adapted the source code of 31stCenturyMatt’s Minecraft Retro Biomes to enable people to change the biome of any chunk into the one they want. So, you can do things like create adventure maps which have the exact sort of biomes you require… or do exactly what Kristal and I wanted to do: fix biomes in older maps!

It’s a command-line tool for PC, and can be used in two different ways, depending on how you configure biomes.txt (or whatever text file you want to use – the download comes with an example biomes.txt):

  • The entire world can be changed to a single biome, by specifying a value for “default”;
  • Specific chunks can be altered by providing a list of the chunks which need to be changed, and the biome IDs that they should be given;
  • If you do a combination of both types of instruction, the whole map will take on the default biome value, except for the specified chunks, which take on the biomes mentioned in their lines.

For example:

default=12
x=12 z=26 biome=14
x=36,50 z=108,117 biome=4

would result in chunk 12,26 becoming Mushroom Island, all the chunks between 36,108 and 50,117 becoming forest, and everything else would be turned into swampland. Pretty easy, really!

One of the easiest ways I’ve found to determine the required chunks is to use WorldEdit (either the SMP or SSP version will do), left-click with your wooden axe, and then in the chat, type //chunk – the entire chunk will be selected (which is irrelevant for our purposes), and WorldEdit will tell you the exact chunk the block’s located in 🙂 The readme file which comes with the program also tells you a few other methods, if you don’t have or like WorldEdit.

Once that’s done (and you have to create or edit the biome listing before you run the program, otherwise Mistakes Will Happen), and you’ve backed up the save beforehand, you run the program from the command line with all the options you need, or you can simply double-click the icon and choose your world from there, if you don’t need quite so much control. Click the Run button once everything’s all loaded in, and BiomeEdit will do its magic!

Haven, before and after BiomeEdit did its thing.

OK, so I didn't do a great job of matching the camera angles, but at least you can see the difference in Haven, before and after BiomeEdit made things all nice again.

Note: Although Nirgalbunny’s forum post doesn’t explicitly say it, I’d strongly recommend quitting out of Minecraft first – and if you’re operating a server which uses the map you’re planning to alter, shut down the server, too. Just to be on the safe side, you understand.

OK, so BiomeEdit requires a little thought and a little legwork, but it really does the job – so a bit of effort won’t really hurt you if you want the results badly enough, right? Many thanks to Nirgalbunny for creating this much-needed tool, and thanks also to Ron Smalec, without whose retweet I wouldn’t have known about it!

And yes, Haven looks so much better now that the greenery is now its proper, verdant shade. Kristal was quite overcome when she saw it all fixed again 😀

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