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Description: About Minecraft world seeds: what they are, how to find yours, and some forum favorites

         Despite the fun of mining, mods, and monsters, the best part of Minecraft is the limitless array of surreal, randomly-generated worlds to play in. Amazingly, all those labyrinthine caverns, hanging cliffs, and floating islands start with short strings of numbers called map seeds.

         Minecraft seeds are the start of a highly complex mathematical formula that creates a world from scratch. All the cliffs, valleys, lakes and caverns you see are the result of an algorithm that extrapolates the seed, leaving no two worlds exactly alike. The world generator draws all-new terrain from the seed as you explore outward from the spawn point; the rest of the Minecraft world doesn’t exist in the map file before you see it for the first time. This is why the file size increases as you explore.

Minecraft world seeds are almost totally random. When you create a new map in Minecraft, you have the option of manually setting a seed and spawn point. This is where players can input a seed they’ve found on the forum or discussion boards; the world generator recognizes either a word or phrase like “Glacier” or a short string of numbers. If the seed generator is left blank, Minecraft uses the computer clock’s date and time as a random seed—another reason why it’s almost impossible to land in a world someone else has played before.

Okay, so the world possibilities are not exactly infinite. But according to the Minecraft Wiki, starting from a random seed will give you access to 18 quintillion possible worlds.

         There are many sites where players can share cool Minecraft world seeds they’ve discovered. The Minecraft Seed Index on the forum is a good place to start. Minecraftseeds.info is another site where users “share the best seeds.” Meanwhile, minecraft-seeds.net allows you to search user seeds by Minecraft version. This is useful because seeds created before version 1.8 will not create the same world after the 1.8 update, as the terrain generator has been changed.

If it’s provided, be sure to input the spawn point from the original user’s map as well. Otherwise you may end up in an entirely different place than they did, and it’s often difficult to locate the cool land formation you wanted to see via coordinates alone—especially before nightfall.

But how can you be sure you’re playing a world where no man has gone before? Don’t worry; even if you use a seed posted by another user, two worlds never generate exactly the same way. Using someone else’s seed or a word or phrase input will generate a world with similar land formations on similar X - Y - Z coordinates, but because of the mathematical extrapolation involved, the world will never be exactly the same. From personal experience, if you play on two maps with the same seed, you’ll get eerily familiar blocks that aren’t quite where you left them and a creepy sense of déjà vu. If you don’t want to play on someone else’s world, never fear. Minecraft world seeds make sure every map is unique.
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