Minecraft Mod Examination: Climate Control
To a large degree, Minecraft is a game about creating one's ideal world. Yet while players can build many amazing things on, over, or under the game's landscape, without mods they cannot change much about how the terrain itself actually generates. While there are several mods that alter world generation by constructing more realistic landmasses, most of these remove certain areas, do not work with any or all biome-adding mods, are difficult to impossible to adjust, or change the basic terrain generation in such a way as to worsen the game's already existing structure generation problems. But while there is no current solution for players who desire all areas from all mods to be created on believable terrain, those who approve of the original game's occasionally insane hills and mountains, and just want to chose where biomes are placed and how often they occur might want to consider using Climate Control to craft their perfect world.
Unlike many biome and terrain altering mods, Climate Control does not change the shapes in which land generates in Minecraft in any way. Instead the mod allows players to modify when and under what circumstances areas are created. Climates are split into six types, Hot, Warm, Normal, Cool, Snowy, and Default, each corresponding to a certain temperature with the exception of default, which is used to keep a biome's original temperature. These climates, as well as the biomes that exist within them, can be tweaked in any way that the player might wish. If one wanted to make a hotter world they could increase the chance of warm and hot climates, possibly even removing any chance of encountering snow and ice. Players can also move biomes from one climate to another, and so make savannas only appear around frozen forests or force glaciers to appear alongside deserts. They can also make certain biomes more common, and have a world predominately made up of swamps, birch forests, or even mushroom islands. These features also work with many other mods such as Biomes O' Plenty, Thaumcraft, and Highlands, allowing players to make landscapes where ominous woods or tainted lands almost completely cover the world.
But the biggest change is the way that Climate Control handles oceans. While Minecraft version 1.7.2 added in a lot of new biomes, they also drastically shrank the size of the game's oceans. Previously there had been "real" oceans in Minecraft, and that one biome type was generated over roughly half of the average world. But with the update, most of the game became part of a single large continent, and oceans larger than real-life lakes practically vanished. This decision nearly removed multi-biome islands from the game, practically preventing large, water-locked creations from being built without extensive terraforming, and rendered boat-construction mods such as Archimedes' Ships almost pointless.
But with Climate Control installed players can adjust the size of the landmasses in their world, as well as how much of it is covered by the seas. This, as well as every other setting in Climate Control, requires altering the mod's configuration file, but the various options are mostly labeled in such a way as to leave no doubt as to their use, and most settings can be toggled on or off by simply typing in true or false. In this case, players need to find the section labeled "Ocean Control Parameters". There they will find six settings, one a true/false toggle enables or disables the ability for landmasses to merge together into larger continents, and five with adjustable numbers that increase the frequency in which certain island and continent sizes appear, as well as a short explanation of how the overall frequency settings interact. By simply adjusting those numbers and allowing landmasses to merge, players can make one sea cover almost the entire world with just a few tiny islands providing refuge, break the land into multiple large continents separated by water, or practically banish the oceans from their universe.
For the most part, the other options are just as easy to understand, and give the player a lot of control over their world. For instance, one can easily chose whether they want villages to appear in any specific biome, whether mod-added or from the original game. Players can also make areas certain areas that are normally sub-biomes or are forced into small locations, such as Thaumcraft's eerie, into full-sized zones, and increase the chance of areas appearing in their world. Rivers can be made to occur less often or removed from the game, as well as set to no longer cut through mountains or generate above a certain height. There are also options to quickly toggle on and off all of the old Minecraft biomes, make small islands more likely to appear near larger ones, adjust the overall size of climate zones, and a ton of features related to Climate Control's compatibility with other mods.
Unfortunately, while Climate Control is a great mod, it does have a handful of problems. World generation can be slowed down significantly, which can be a major issue for those travelling by boat or horse, but it is unlikely to cause any problems for those wandering their new landscapes on foot, and not all players seem to encounter this issue. While most of the mod's options are easy to understand, some features, such as the ability to make certain biomes appear in place of oceans, could use some clarification in the configuration files. For better or worse, the shape of the land itself is not significantly changed, and so players will still encounter Minecraft's impossible mountains and flying chunks of land. And while the mod allows players to adjust the settings across most mods, it does not seem to be an automatic process, so more recently created mod-added biomes, such as Biomes O Plenty's land of lakes, might not be possible to generate in a world with Climate Control installed.
But those are practically the only limits that a Climate Control user will face. They can turn their landscape into an endless desert, cover it in forests, or drown it under the oceans. Or if they wish, turn those oceans into swamps or mesas that cover their entire world. Players can create arctic wonderlands, remove all rivers and oceans, make the jungle envelop the land, or any mix of features they can imagine. The world truly becomes one's plaything once they have mastered Climate Control.