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writing:symbols

Symbols

(Ongoing editing in progress, will need peer review)

Overview

Symbols are the building blocks of ages. When written in a Descriptive Book, they control everything from the landscape of an age, to the speed of the sun in the sky or the color of the clouds. The player can create new worlds by properly compiling the symbols they know into descriptive books.

The symbols are from the mostly-lost language of Narayan. Each symbol has four sections, which represent individual words in clockwise order from the topmost section. Many, but not all of these words can be found in Killberk's "Symbols of Narayan". Note that at least one additional differing translation of Narayan exists; where this alternate translation makes the poems more sensible, it is used, but the words are marked with a star. The alternate translation renders the words normally translated as “Transform” as “Modifier”, “Static” as “Structure”, “Survival” as “Environment”, “Machine” as “Ore”, and “Flow” as “Sea”. There are still many words for which we simply do not know their meanings.

To completely describe a world, symbols are selected from each of many groups, specifying such things as the terrain generation, the biomes present, weather, heavenly bodies and so on. They must also be used with the correct “grammar”; improperly written books can produce unstable worlds, with various annoyances and threats creeping from between the symbols. Worlds which are written to be implausibly generous (for example, mountains of diamond ore) can also be unstable.

In general, if a book does not completely describe its world (for example, if it says nothing about a sun), then symbols will be added to the book when you create the world. In older versions of Mystcraft, this also produced instability to varying degrees. For more recent versions (0.10.0.4 or so) this will rarely cause problems (though the random selections may be strange). As of version 0.10.0, these internally-added symbols are not visible when reading the book.

From 0.10.0 and on, the writing desk is used to make symbol pages, then a book binder is used to compile these into a descriptive book. Blank pages can be added to allow adding symbols later, but once the world has been visited (the link has been established), the book cannot be changed. From 0.10.4 and on, descriptive books need Link Panels from the ink mixer as well as symbol pages.

Writing a World

The grammar of descriptive books is fairly loose Some pages directly specify features or effects to insert into a world, while others are modifiers. Modifiers always need to appear before the symbol they modify. As modifiers appear, most modifiers of the same type Colors, combine and accumulate until they are “taken” by a feature or effect symbol. Thus at any given time there is at most one “current” color, direction, phase, and gradient. Biomes and materials do not combine, but they still accumulate. This leads to a overall structure of “phrases”, where each feature or effect symbols is preceded by the modifiers intended for it.

Features and Effects

Many of the features and effects fall into groups from which exactly one selection must be made. For example, there can be only one Terrain symbol, and if none appears, one will be randomly selected, but if two or more appear, that will cause instability. Many features are required, whether or not they're limited to exactly one; for example, if no sun is specified, at least one will be added. As described above, feature and effect symbols also make use of “modifier” symbols which appeared before them. If a potential modifier is not present, some features can provide a default, but in other cases the world will get a random choice among all possibilities.

  • Terrain symbols represent the most basic “feature” of all, how the terrain will be shaped: Caves, landscape, isolated islands, or nothing at all. Every age requires one Terrain symbol: If none is given, one will be chosen randomly, but if there is more than one, instability will be added. Most Terrain symbols accept Material and Liquid modifiers to determine what the terrain and seas respectively will be made of; if not supplied these usually default to stone and water, but they can be randomly chosen. There is a special symbol “No Seas”, which can be used in lieu of a liquid block, to avoid producing seas/oceans at all (this is the default for Skylands and Void ages).
  • Biome Controllers determine how the world is divided horizontally into biomes. The various controllers take different numbers of biomes, from zero up to three. If not enough biomes are supplied, biomes will be randomly chosen from all possible biome pages, including those provided by other mods. In older versions of Mystcraft, excess biomes added instability, but in the most recent versions they instead tend to appear as floating islands.
  • Terrain Alterations and Populators alter the world in various ways. If too few of either category are written into the book, some will be supplied. The distinction between them is somewhat technical; essentially, the Terrain Alterations happen early in chunk generation, while the Populators happen later. Some of these symbols take material or liquid blocks as modifiers. A couple warrant special mention:
    • The populator “Dense Ores”, will produce much more of the vanilla ores, with extended range, but will also inflict dire instability upon the world.
    • The terrain alteration Floating Islands accepts a biome modifier. In recent versions, it will be automatically added to make use of “excess” biomes.
  • Celestial Bodies are objects in the sky, such as Suns, Moons, and Stars. Exactly one Stars symbol, at least one sun, and at least one moon, is required. Sun, Moon or Stars can be “Dark”, in which case they take no modifiers and are effectively absent. Otherwise, their “Normal” versions, or an Ender Starfield, will take various modifiers for their color and movement. Multiple suns and moons can be written into an age. Non-Dark celestial bodies can variously accept Colors, Gradients, Directions, Lengths, and/or Phases as modifiers, details are given with each symbol. Directions determine the direction where the given object rises. Lengths determine the length of a full rotation cycle. Phases determine where in the rotation cycle the object begins. Suns can also take a Sunset Color symbol as a modifier.
  • There are several symbols that affect the age's conditions as a whole, and take no modifiers except as noted below.
    • Lighting can be Bright, Normal, or Dark, which affects visual conditions, but not mob spawning. Exactly one of the options is required.
    • Weather can be a fixed condition, or the “usual range” at various speeds. Exactly one of the options is required.
    • Various Effects can add or remove stability. None are required. Lightning, Explosions, Scorched Surface, and Meteors inflict various ongoing disasters, but add stability to the world otherwise. (Lightning does accept a Color modifier.) Any of these may be randomly added to an unstable age. “Accelerated” gives the world extra block ticks, and a lot of extra instability. This symbol will not be added randomly, and must be explicitly written into an age.
  • Visual symbols let you change various points of appearance. The symbols for coloring the world's fog, foliage, grass, and day and night skies all take color/gradient modifiers. In recent versions, there are also “Natural X Color” symbols for each of these, which take no modifiers but ensure the Minecraft-standard coloring. Another couple of symbols, Boundless Sky and Rainbow, take no modifiers but affect the sky's appearance.

Modifiers

Compared to the features, far more pages are modifier symbols. These symbols usually do nothing on their own, but specify the details or behavior of features found afterwards. As they are encountered, modifiers are accumulated, and in some cases combined, When a feature symbol is encountered, it checks the current pool for any modifiers which it can accept, and uses as many of these as it can. If a needed modifier is not supplied, a random choice is made. However, if any modifiers are left unclaimed at the end of the book, each “dangling” modifier will produce instability.

  • Biomes are considered modifiers, to be used by a later biome controller symbol. They do not combine with each other. In recent versions, “dangling” biomes are automatically used for Floating Islands.
  • Materials symbols specify what a world or feature is to be made of. They do not combine. Features have restrictions on what sorts of block they can use, for example most terrain generators require one liquid block and one solid block, suitable respectively for oceans and ground.
  • Colors, Phases, Lengths, and Directions each combine within their types, by a common rule: There is only one “current value” for each category, which is averaged with each new symbol of that type as it is seen. Thus, “North, West, North”, first combines to Northwest, then to North-Northwest. Similarly, “Blue, Yellow, White”, will first combine to green, then to a pale green.
  • The Gradient symbol is used to build a sequence of colors, which will usually play out over the course of a day, sunset, or other period. Each Gradient symbol takes a Color (default random) and a Length (default 1) modifier, Adding them as one step to the current Gradient. Any symbol that accepts a Gradient can accept a Color instead if there is no current gradient.
    • Since colors merge, Blue, Gradient, Red, Gradient adds both blue and red to the current gradient, but Blue, Red, Gradient would only add purple. Double Length, White, Gradient would add an double-duration stretch of white.
  • The special symbol Clear Modifiers erases all dangling modifiers, preventing them from causing instability.

Symbol Descriptions

Alternate names for symbols represent changes over Mystcraft versions, the current name should be first.

Features and Effect Symbols

These symbols are not modifiers, but many of them accept modifiers, as described in their section or individual notes. Many categories require exactly one symbol to be chosen from the category. If one is not written, the game will choose one randomly (in old versions this will add instability). If more than one is supplied, that will add instability. Modifiers may have defaults, but if not explicitly specified, they may be randomly added, overriding any defaults. (Again, in old versions this added instability.)

Terrain

Terrain symbols determine how the terrain will be shaped. Every age requires exactly one Terrain symbol.

Most terrain symbols accept Material and Liquid modifiers to determine what the terrain and seas respectively will be made of. The “No Seas” symbol counts as a liquid modifier, effectively choosing Air for seas. If you do not specify these, they may be chosen randomly by the game engine. However, if this does not occur, the defaults will be Stone and Water wherever applicable. However, Void worlds don't take (or need) either material symbol, and Island Worlds default to No Seas.

Symbol Name Words Notes
Cave World Terrain*, Form, Constraint, Entropy Creates an age that is cavernous like the Nether. These ages still generate a flat top layer where the player can sometimes spawn, and so may be confused for Flat ages.

“Netherrack Cave World” will not duplicate the nether; soul sand, gravel, and glowstone are missing.

This symbol is referred to as TerrainNether in the configuration file.
Island world / End World Terrain*, Form, Ethereal, Sea* Creates an isolated floating island like the End.

“End stone End world” will not duplicate The End; the obsidian towers for healing the dragon are missing.
Flat World / Flat Terrain*, Form, Inhibit, Motion Creates a flat age.

The height of the age is determined by the average height of all the biomes in the age.

If the height is below sea level the land will be covered in water.
Standard World / Standard Terrain Terrain*, Form, Tradition, Sea* Creates an age like the Overworld, with hills and plains and overhangs.
Void World / Void Terrain*, Form, Infinite, Void Creates nothing but the spawn platform. Void world does NOT take modifiers for ground and sea.

Void ages can still contain features such as Mineshafts, Strongholds, and Villages, if the features do not require terrain underneath them to spawn; however, some will look very strange.

Void ages are extremely dangerous without some sort of flight ability (from another mod). However, they represent the ultimate “blank slate” for a new base or construction.

Biome Controllers

Biome controllers dictate the layout of biomes in an age. Every age requires exactly one Biome Controller. They take varying numbers of biomes as modifiers. In recent versions, excess biomes are usually supplied with Floating Islands symbols, without penalty. If not enough biomes are provided, some will be selected randomly.

Symbol Name Words Required Number
of Biomes
Notes
Huge Biomes Constraint, Nature, Weave, Huge* 3+ Creates huge patches of the biomes specified, similar to the Overworld layout.
Large Biomes Constraint, Nature, Weave, Large* 3+ Creates large patches of the biomes specified, similar to the Overworld layout.
Medium Biomes Constraint, Nature, Weave, Medium* 3+ Creates medium sized patches of the biomes specified, similar to the Overworld layout.
Native Biome Controller Constraint, Nature, Tradition, Sustain* 0 The only Biome Controller to not accept any biomes at all.

Acts exactly like the Overworld.
Single Biome Constraint, Nature, Infinite, Static 1 The entire age will be comprised of a single biome.
Small Biomes Constraint, Nature, Weave, Small* 3+ Creates small patches of the biomes specified, similar to the Overworld layout.
Tiled Biomes Constraint, Nature, Chain*, Mutual 2 (up to 0.10.12.1)

2+ (0.10.13 and later)
Creates a checkerboard pattern, with 16 meter square tiles of each biome.
Tiny Biomes Constraint, Nature, Weave, Tiny* 3+ Creates tiny patches of the biomes specified, similar to the Overworld layout.

Terrain Alterations and Populators

These symbols change the landscape in various ways, adding things such as caverns or villages to an age. Without a symbol for one of these features, an age will not contain any traces of that feature.

Since the grammar system treats the two categories as separate, and wants to find both types, a well-described world will contain both types, and if not enough of either category is present, some may be added. All of these can be specified multiple times. Most of these symbols do not cause instability, but there are important exceptions: Using an ore block for a material modifier can add a fair bit of instability, and Dense Ores adds a lot of instability.

The difference between “terrain alterations” and “populators” is based ultimately on how they work in the code. In general, “populators” run late in chunk generation and add things, while “terrain alterations” run early in chunk generation (approximately right after biome top replacement) and generally remove stone. Ore placement, for example, runs in the populator stage. In code, the distinction is that a “terrain alteration” must be deterministic for a seed and chunk, and must be able to generate a large feature (such as a cave system) section by section without having to “draw” what it is doing into other chunks (such as how a village plops down buildings across multiple chunks).

Terrain Alterations

As of 0.10.6 (?), all of these can be specified multiple times. Note that there may be “chunk boundary” issues as a result where old chunks meet new chunks with new features.

Symbol Name Words Notes
Caves Terrain*, Transform, Void, Flow Carves terrain away to create vast networks of caverns, as found in the Overworld.
Floating Islands ??? ??? ??? ??? Takes a biome, and in recent versions, this symbol will be automatically added to handle “extra” biomes.
Ravines Terrain*, Transform, Void, Weave Carves terrain away to create ravines.
Skylands Terrain*, Transform, Void, Elevate Carves terrain away to produce separate, floating islands with jagged bottoms.
Spheres ??? ??? ??? ???
Tendrils Terrain*, Transform, Growth, Flow Takes a block modifier, defaulting to Oak Wood. Creates tendrils of the given material, using a pattern similar to how Caves are carved out of Stone (but smaller).

Populators

Symbol Name Words Notes
Crystal Formations Nature, Encourage, Growth, Structure* Adds crystalline formations of Crystal blocks.

Symbol's graphics have changed; 4th word is Static/Structure, not Machine/Ore
Deep lakes Nature, Flow, Static, UNKNOWN Adds lakes mostly below ground, with some above ground, similar to the overworld lava pools.

Accepts liquid material modifiers.
Dense Ores Environment*, Stimulate, Ore*, Chaos Adds significantly more ore to the world than normal, with less height restrictions. Also adds a great deal of instability in an age.

The amount of added ores varies among ores. Dense Ores now requires mods to listen for a Dense Ores event to trigger extra generation, rather than the Dense Ores itself searching the Forge Ore Dictionary.

As of 0.10.7 (?), this symbol will never be added randomly, but must be written in.
Dungeons Civilization, Constraint, Chain*, Resurrect Adds Dungeons to an age, containing a hostile mob spawner and one or more chests full of loot.

Follows the same placement rules as the Overworld, so even when this symbol is written some ages cannot possibly house Dungeons.
  Huge Trees Nature, Stimulate, Spur, Elevate Adds massive trees reminiscent of the trees on Channelwood
  Mineshafts Civilization, Machine, Motion, Tradition Adds abandoned mineshafts with support arches, rail systems, and chests full of loot.
  Nether Fortress Civilization, Machine, Power, Entropy Adds Nether Fortresses with blaze spawners and netherwart farms, among other things.
  Obelisks Civilization, Resilience, Structure*, Form Creates Obsidian structures similar to the ones in the End.
  Star Fissure Nature, Harmony, Mutual, Void Carves terrain away to reveal a Star Fissure at the bottom of the world that will teleport entities that fall into it to the Overworld spawn.
  Strongholds Civilization, Wisdom, Future, Honor Will create Strongholds in the age similar to the Strongholds in the Overworld.

End portals do not work in ages.
Surface lakes Nature, Flow, Static, UNKNOWN Adds lakes mostly above ground, with some below ground, like the overworld's water pools. Accepts Accepts liquid material modifiers.
  Villages Civilization, Society, Harmony, Nurture Creates villages similar to those that appear in the Overworld.

Obsolete Populators

These symbols were removed as of version 10.5.

Glowstone Crystals Nature, Encourage, Growth, Energy Adds crystalline formations of Glowstone. In current versions, use Crystalline Formations with Glowstone as material.
Lakes Nature, Flow, Static, Nurture Adds lakes of water above and below ground. In current versions, use Surface Lakes and/or Deep Lakes with Water material.
Lava Lakes Nature, Flow, Static, Energy Adds pools of lava, mostly below ground. In current versions, use Deep Lakes with Lava material.

Celestial Bodies

Celestial Bodies are objects in the sky, such as Suns, Moons, and Stars. Every age requires at least one Sun symbol, at least one Moon symbol, and exactly one Stars symbol. Any of these can be Normal or Dark, but Stars have a third alternative, the Ender Starfield. If none of a body are specified, one or more will probably be added; if you really want “no X”, you need to write “Dark X”. Modifiers vary among the symbols:

  • “Dark” bodies do not accept any modifiers, and do not display anything in the sky. (If you do see a dark body, please report it as a bug.) A Dark Sun also does not provide “daylight” to prevent monster spawning, burn undead, etc.
  • “Normal” Suns and Moons each accept a Direction, a Length, and a Phase. They cannot be recolored.
  • Normal Suns also accept a Sunset Color. If a sun has no Sunset Color of its own, it can still be affected by a “global” Sunset Color modifier for the world.
  • Normal Stars accept Color/Gradient, Direction, and Length, but not Phase. Ender Stars accept only a Color/Gradient.
  • Directions determine the direction from which the given object will rise. Lengths determine the duration of a full cycle (and thus, speed of motion). Phases determine where in the rotation cycle the object begins.
Symbol Name Words Notes
Dark Moon Celestial*, Void, Inhibit, Wisdom Effectively, “No Moon”.
Dark Stars Celestial*, Void, Inhibit, Energy Effectively, “No Stars”.
Dark Sun Celestial*, Void, Inhibit, Energy Effectively, “No Sun”.

There will be no “daylight” to improve visibility, burn undead or inhibit spawning.
Ender Starfield Celestial*, Image*, Chaos, Weave This is the same static field as seen in The End.

Accepts a Color/Gradient modifier (only).
Normal Moon Celestial*, Image*, Cycle, Wisdom This is the same moon as seen in the Overworld.

Accepts Direction, Length, and Phase.
Normal Stars Celestial*, Harmony, Ethereal, Energy This is the same starfield as seen in the Overworld.

Accepts Color/Gradient, Direction, and Length modifiers.
Normal Sun Celestial*, Image*, Stimulate, Energy This is the same sun as seen in the Overworld.

Accepts Direction, Length, Phase, and Sunset Color.

Lighting

Lighting changes the perceived light level of an age. Lighting symbols do not accept modifiers. Exactly one of the options is required. These symbols do not affect mob spawning; Bright ages still need to be lit up to prevent mob spawns. Similarly, Dark ages do not need more lighting than the Overworld to prevent mob spawns, however, their sunlight is not strong enough to burn undead or make spiders neutral.

Symbol Name Words Notes
Bright Lighting Ethereal, Power, Infinite, Spur Enables players to see nearly as well as a Potion of Night Vision allows.

The light coloring used is distinct from torch light, sun light, and moon light; it is possible with practice to tell these apart by sight.

This symbol does not affect mob spawning.
Dark Lighting Ethereal, Void, Constraint, Inhibit Causes the age to appear far darker than it would be under normal lighting conditions.

This symbol does not affect mob spawning.

Full daylight will not be bright enough to kill off undead mobs or turn spiders passive.
Normal Lighting Ethereal, Dynamic, Cycle, Balance Normal Lighting conditions similar to the Overworld.

This symbol does not affect mob spawning.

Weather

Weather symbols determine how the weather in an age will occur. They do not accept modifiers. Exactly one of the options is required.

Symbol Name Words Notes
Eternal Rain Sustain, Static, Rebirth, Growth This symbol causes the age to be constantly raining, even in biomes that might not otherwise receive rainfall.

This may alter what some mods see as the biome in the age.

ERROR – displayed symbol does not match the poem words; this symbol needs to be rechecked.
Eternal Snow Sustain, Static, Inhibit, Energy This symbol causes the age to be constantly snowing, even in biomes that might not otherwise receive snowfall.

This may alter what some mods see as the biome in the age.
Eternal Storm Sustain, Static, Nature, Power This symbol causes the age to be constantly storming, even in biomes that might not otherwise receive rainfall.

This may alter what some mods see as the biome in the age.
Eternal Weather Sustain, Static, Tradition, Stimulate This symbol causes the age to always have biome-appropriate weather.
Fast Weather Sustain, Dynamic, Tradition, Constraint This symbol causes rapid shifts in the weather, but can only cause biome-appropriate weather.
No Weather Sustain, Static, Stimulate, Energy This symbol prevents weather, no rain, storms, snow, or overcast skies.
Normal Weather Sustain, Dynamic, Tradition, Spur This symbol causes a similar weather pattern to the Overworld.
Overcast Sustain, Static, Believe, Motion This symbol causes the age to always be Overcast, even in biomes that would normally rain or snow instead.

This may alter what some mods see as the biome in the age.
Slow Weather Sustain, Dynamic, Tradition, Inhibit This symbol causes very slow changes in the weather, but can only cause biome-appropriate weather.

Effects

These symbols affect the world as a whole, and do not fit in the other categories. They accept no modifiers, except as noted below.

Symbol Name Words Notes
Accelerated Environment*, Dynamic, Change, Spur Adds extra random ticks to the world, causing things that occur on random ticks to occur more rapidly.

Creates instability in an age.
Lightning / Charged Environment*, Sacrifice, Power, Force Adds lightning even from clear skies.

Accepts Color or Gradient modifiers, which will control the color of the lightning.

Adds stability to an age.
Meteors Environment*, Sacrifice, Power, Momentum Adds meteors falling from the sky regularly, causing massive devastation. Besides being dangerous to players, this will eventually destroy almost everything in the age, though sturdy (obsidian) buildings may protext some areas.

Adds stability to an age.
Scorched Surface Environment*, Sacrifice, Power, Chaos Causes all living entities exposed to the sky to catch aflame.

Roofs will ensure player safety.

Adds stability to an age.
Spontaneous Explosions Environment*, Sacrifice, Power, Force Creates random explosions across the age. Besides being dangerous to players, this will eventually destroy almost everything in the age. The blasts can appear anywhere, including inside buildings with blast-proof walls. In particular, linkbooks cannot be protected, even if they are in stands or lecterns.

Adds stability to an age.

Visual

Visual symbols change nothing related to gameplay, instead tweaking the visuals of an age such as Sky Color.

Many visual symbols accept modifiers, as noted on a per symbol basis.

Symbol Name Words Notes
Boundless Sky Celestial*, Inhibit, Image*, Void Removes the fog obscuring stars and such below the horizon level.

Mainly useful in Void and Skylands ages.
Cloud Color Image*, Entropy, Weave, Believe Allows players to change the color of the clouds in the sky.

Accepts Color and Gradient modifiers.
Fog Color Image*, Entropy, Weave, Explore* Allows players to change the color of all fog in the age.

Accepts Color and Gradient modifiers.
Night Sky Color Image*, Celestial*, Weave, Contradict Allows players to change the color of the age's sky when there is no sun visible.

Accepts Color and Gradient modifiers.
Rainbow Celestial*, Image*, Harmony, Balance Creates a rainbow in the sky.
Sky Color Image*, Celestial*, Weave, Harmony Allows players to change the color of the age's sky when there is a sun visible in the sky.

Accepts Color and Gradient modifiers.
Sunset Color Modifier*, Image*, Celestial*, Change Allows players to change the color of the sunsets in an age.

Accepts Color and Gradient modifiers. If there is already a sunset modifier currently dangling this will append a gradient to the end of that.

NB: This symbol is primarily a modifier for a Sun to change the sunset color of that specific sun. Since this is a modifier, it is cleared by “Clear Modifiers”.

If left dangling at the end of the book, this will set the age's default sunset for all suns without a defined sunset color rather than add instability.
Foliage Color Image*, Growth, Elevate, Nature Allows changing the color of leaves on trees in most biomes
Accepts Color modifiers, but not gradients.
Grass Color Image*, Growth, Resilience, Nature Allows changing the color of grass in most biomes
Accepts Color modifiers, but not gradients.
Water Color Image*, Sea*, Constraint, Nature Allows changing the color of water in most biomes
Accepts Color modifiers, but not gradients.

Modifier Symbols

The previous section covered symbols that add various things to the world, but many of those symbols don't completely describe their feature. Modifiers are symbols that can modify the behavior of symbols that come afterward, providing another level of variability to the ages. (For programmers, these are “parameters” to the feature symbol.)

As the symbols of a book are read to create an age, the modifiers are accumulated in a common pool. As they are added, most types of modifiers (not materials or biomes) will combine with any previous modifier of the same type, so that there is always only one “current” modifier of each type (which need not correspond to a symbol).

When a feature symbol is read which can use modifiers, it will “accept” all modifiers which it can use, removing them from the pool. For non-combining modifiers, the earliest ones will be taken first. If there is no modifier present of a needed type, a default value may be used, or the game may supply a random choice. (In older versions, missing modifiers could add instability, but this is no longer a problem.)

Modifiers left unused will add instability. The “Clear Modifiers” symbol can be used to close books while ensuring that this does not occur, it will use all available modifiers, at a much smaller cost in instability. There are a few exceptions for dangling modifiers: First, a single “Sunset Color” symbol will not add instability, but will set the default sunset colors for any sun without its own setting. Secondly, in recent versions dangling biomes will be used for Floating Islands, without penalty.

Biomes

Biomes are symbols that determine the ecosystem of an age. In the Overworld players can find biomes such as deserts, forests, mountains, plains, oceans and the like, all scattered across the world. The biome symbols allow players to pick and choose those ecosystems when creating their own ages. The vanilla biomes are listed below; biome pages can also appear for biomes provided by other mods and registered with Forge.

Biomes are modifiers, and must come before the biome controller, or another symbol that uses biomes. There is one other symbol which does so, Floating Islands. Floating Islands symbols will automatically be added for any “dangling” biomes (that is, not used by the biome controller). If a biome is needed but not supplied, a random choice will be made. (This is as of version 0.10.6, the handling of biomes changed substantially in the early 0.10.x versions.)

For all biomes, the “biome top” replacement (usually dirt and grass, biome specific) only happens if the world's base material is “stone”; see “Terrain” symbols above. Note that if this does not happen, trees and other vegetation will not appear regardless of biome.

Symbol Name Words Notes
Beach Biome Nature, Nurture, Encourage, UNKNOWN This biome generates with a top layer of Sandstone and Sand rather than Dirt and Grass.

Due to a bug in Vanilla minecraft, caves and ravines will not break the surface sand.
Desert Biome Nature, Nurture, Encourage, UNKNOWN This biome generates with a top layer of Sandstone and Sand rather than Dirt and Grass.

Due to a bug in Vanilla minecraft, caves and ravines will not break the surface sand.
Desert Hills Biome Nature, Nurture, Encourage, UNKNOWN This biome generates with a top layer of Sandstone and Sand rather than Dirt and Grass.

Due to a bug in Vanilla minecraft, caves and ravines will not break the surface sand.
Extreme Hills Biome Nature, Nurture, Encourage, UNKNOWN
Extreme Hills Edge Biome Nature, Nurture, Encourage, UNKNOWN
Forest Biome Nature, Nurture, Encourage, UNKNOWN
Forest Hills Biome Nature, Nurture, Encourage, UNKNOWN
Frozen Ocean Biome Nature, Nurture, Encourage, UNKNOWN
Frozen River Biome Nature, Nurture, Encourage, UNKNOWN
Hell Biome Nature, Nurture, Encourage, UNKNOWN Because of discrepancies in the way Minecraft handles biome and dimension based materials, this biome will generate with a base material of Stone by default. The biome does not confer the Nether's prohibition of water or beds, which is based on the Nether's dimension ID.
Ice Mountains Biome Nature, Nurture, Encourage, UNKNOWN
Ice Plains Biome Nature, Nurture, Encourage, UNKNOWN
Jungle Biome Nature, Nurture, Encourage, UNKNOWN
Jungle Hills Biome Nature, Nurture, Encourage, UNKNOWN
Mushroom Island Biome Nature, Nurture, Encourage, UNKNOWN This biome generates with a top layer of Mycelium rather than Grass.

Minecraft's hostile mobs cannot spawn in Mushroom Island biomes.

Due to a bug in Vanilla minecraft, caves and ravines will not break the surface mycelium.
Mushroom Island Shore Biome Nature, Nurture, Encourage, UNKNOWN This biome generates with a top layer of Mycelium rather than Grass.

Minecraft's hostile mobs cannot spawn in Mushroom Island shore biomes.

Water generates in this biome because it is generally low. If there is a section of this biome above Y 63, it will be mycelium as per any other mushroom biome.
Ocean Biome Nature, Nurture, Encourage, UNKNOWN Water generates in this biome because it is generally low. If there is a section of this biome above Y 63, it will be grass as per any other normal biome.
Plains Biome Nature, Nurture, Encourage, UNKNOWN
River Biome Nature, Nurture, Encourage, UNKNOWN Water generates in this biome because it is generally low. If there is a section of this biome above Y 63, it will be grass as per any other normal biome.
Sky Biome Nature, Nurture, Encourage, UNKNOWN Because of discrepancies in the way Minecraft handles biome and dimension based materials, this biome will generate with a base material of Stone by default.

Cannot be found in normal gameplay before 0.10.6.

If the biome of the x,z coordinates 0,0 is Sky, the Enderdragon may spawn.
Swampland Biome Nature, Nurture, Encourage, UNKNOWN
Taiga Biome Nature, Nurture, Encourage, UNKNOWN
Taiga Hills Biome Nature, Nurture, Encourage, UNKNOWN

Colors

Colors can be used to change the appearance of many aspects of an age.

Colors will blend with an existing color rather than replace the current color. This occurs two colors at a time. Red and Blue will become purple. Red, Blue and White will first become Purple when Red and Blue mix, and then become a lighter shade of Purple when Purple and White mix.

Symbol Name Words Notes
Black Modifier*, Image*, Weave, black Black is used by Minecraft for some transparency effects, therefore some objects will vanish when given only Black as a color.
Blue Modifier*, Image*, Weave, blue
Cyan Modifier*, Image*, Weave, cyan
Green Modifier*, Image*, Weave, green
Magenta Modifier*, Image*, Weave, magenta
Red Modifier*, Image*, Weave, red
White Modifier*, Image*, Weave, white
Yellow Modifier*, Image*, Weave, yellow

Directions

Directions are the cardinal directions. These are used by some symbols to determine placement, such as celestial bodies. When used with celestial bodies the direction appears to be where the body would rise from, so a West + Setting + Normal Moon would set in the East.

Directions will blend with the existing direction rather than replace the current direction. This occurs two directions at a time. West and North will become Northwest. West and North and North will first become Northwest when West and North mix, and then become North-Northwest when Northwest and North mix.

Symbol Name Words
East Modifier*, Flow, Motion, Tradition
North Modifier*, Flow, Motion, Control
South Modifier*, Flow, Motion, Chaos
West Modifier*, Flow, Motion, Change

Gradient

Gradient is a special modifier that provides changing colors, each given color lasting for a certain length of time before fading into the next color.

Each Gradient symbol accepts a Color and Length modifier for one step of the gradient, and appends it to the current gradient, The Length, which can default to 1.0, is used to determine the amount of time before the gradient changes to the next color.

Any symbol which takes a Gradient can take a Color instead. More formally, if a symbol which can accept a Gradient finds none, but there is a current Color, a Gradient symbol will be inserted to yield a one-step gradient.

Symbol Name Words
Gradient Modifier*, Image*, Merge, Weave

Lengths

Lengths determine the length of the cycle they modify. They can be used to extend the day or shorten the night.

Lengths will blend with the existing length rather than replace the current length. This occurs two lengths at a time. Normal Length and Half Length will become 3/4 Length. Normal Length, Half Length, and Half Length will become 3/4 Length when Normal Length and Half Length mix, and then become 5/8 Length when 3/4 and Half Length mix.

Zero Length can mix as though its value is 0, but when on its own, will instead represent a lack of cycle. A sun set to Zero Length will not move.

Symbol Name Words Notes
Double Length Modifier*, Time, System, UNKNOWN Set value of 2.0.

Does not actually double the current Length.
Full Length Modifier*, Time, System, UNKNOWN Set value of 1.0.
Half Length Modifier*, Time, System, UNKNOWN Set value of 0.5.
Zero Length Modifier*, Time, System, UNKNOWN Set value of 0.0.

When not mixed with another Length, Zero Length instead will cause a modified cycle to not move at all.

Phases

Phases determine starting positions. For example, if four suns are written into an age, each with the same Direction and Length modifiers, but each with a different Phase modifier, there will be four suns in the given age, each at approximately ninety degree angles from each other as they chase each other through the sky.

Phases are most commonly used in conjunction with Directions and the Zero Length modifier to place Celestial Bodies at specific points in the sky.

Phases will blend with the existing phase rather than replace the current phase. This occurs two phases at a time. “Setting” and “Zenith” will end up halfway between “Setting” and “Zenith” (like 3:00 pm). “Setting”, “Zenith”, and “Zenith” will first be halfway between Setting and Noon (3:00 pm) when they mix, but will end up being pushed to a quarter of the way to Noon from Setting (1:30 pm) when the second Zenith is mixed.

Symbol Name Words Notes
Nadir / End Modifier*, Cycle, System, Rebirth This is straight down, the polar opposite of Zenith.
Zenith / Noon Modifier*, Cycle, System, Harmony This is straight up, the polar opposite of Nadir.
Rising Modifier*, Cycle, System, Growth This is on the horizon just before moving upward. The polar opposite of Setting.

This is where the Overworld sun begins the day.
Setting Modifier*, Cycle, System, Future This is on the horizon just before vanishing on its path downward. The polar opposite of Rising.

This is where the Overworld moon begins the day.

Materials

Material symbols choose blocks for other symbols to build with, but each of those symbols can only accept particular blocks. In particular, Terrain symbols can accept only a subset of solid and liquid blocks for “land” and “sea”. The Crystal Formations can accept several crystalline blocks. Other “structures” – tendrils, spheres, spikes, etc. – can accept almost any solid block. Mods can increase the options, and mod materials will often appear as symbols.

Each Material has an innate instability score, but it is up to the symbol using the Material to determine how to apply that instability score. (In 0.10.4, things are more complicated “under the hood”, but the result is close enough; the symbol tells the material how it is being used, and the material provides the appropriate instability value). Note that the instability score may be zero, or even “stability” instead of instability. In practice, only the ores, and some mod blocks, offer significant instability.

Liquids/Fluids

Most of these can be used with lakes and seas. “No Seas” is the exception, it can only be used with Terrain symbols.
See also “Ice”, below, which also counts as a liquid.

Symbol Name Words Notes
Lava Modifier*, Constraint, Sea*, UNKNOWN Does not cause instability
Water Modifier*, Constraint, Sea*, UNKNOWN Default for most terrain generators. Note that this does not prohibit random alteration.
No Seas Modifier*, Constraint, Sea*, Inhibit Ensures that the age will not form any seas at all.

Default for End world / Island world terrain generator.

Not technically a material; only usable as a sea for terrain generators as of 0.10.5.
Oil ??? ??? ??? ??? Available when a mod provides oil in the Forge dictionary

Causes instability.

Solids

These blocks are solid blocks. A few are valid for terrain, that is you can make a world out of them. All of them are valid blocks for structures (tendrils, spikes, spheres, etc.) Some are also valid as “crystals” for Crystal Formations.

Terrains

If a world's terrain is not stone, there will be no biome top replacement (dirt/grass/sand/gravel) and therefore no trees or other plants.

Symbol Name Words Notes
Dirt Modifier*, Constraint, Terrain*, UNKNOW
End Stone Modifier*, Constraint, Terrain*, UNKNOWN
Netherrack Modifier*, Constraint, Terrain*, UNKNOWN Nether Quartz Ore will be randomly placed in netherrack.
Packed Ice ??? ??? ??? ???
Stone Modifier*, Constraint, Terrain*, UNKNOWN This is the default material for all Terrain symbols. Using Stone with a Terrain symbol will not prevent grass, sand, or mycelium from appearing.

Using Stone with a Tendril symbol will permit ores to generate normally in the tendrils.
Crystals

That the “Crystal” in several blocks' third world is an alternate translation for the “Chain” glyph. Note that Glass and Ice use a different word there.

Symbol Name Words Notes
Crystal block Modifier*, Constraint, Crystal*, UNKNOWN The blocks to create portals
Glass Modifier*, Constraint, Structure*, UNKNOWN
Glowstone Modifier*, Constraint, Crystal*, UNKNOWN
Ice Modifier*, Constraint, Structure*, UNKNOWN Ice is also valid for liquids (as in a sea of ice)
Nether quartz ore Modifier*, Constraint, Crystal*, UNKNOWN
Snow Modifier*, Constraint, Crystal*, UNKNOWN
Ores

Players or server admins who find some or all of the ore symbols (or any symbol for that matter) to be overpowered, can disable them in the config file.

Symbol Name Words Notes
Coal Ore Modifier*, Constraint, Ore*, UNKNOWN
Diamond Ore Modifier*, Constraint, Ore*, UNKNOWN
Gold Ore Modifier*, Constraint, Ore*, UNKNOWN
Iron Ore Modifier*, Constraint, Ore*, UNKNOWN
Other Materials
Symbol Name Words Notes
Acacia Wood Modifier*, Constraint, Structure*, UNKNOWN
Birch Wood Modifier*, Constraint, Structure*, UNKNOWN
Dark Oak Wood Modifier*, Constraint, Structure*, UNKNOWN
Jungle Wood Modifier*, Constraint, Structure*, UNKNOWN
Nether Brick Modifier*, Constraint, Structure*, UNKNOWN
Oak Wood Modifier*, Constraint, Structure*, UNKNOWN
Obsidian Modifier*, Constraint, Structure*, UNKNOWN
Spruce Wood Modifier*, Constraint, Structure*, UNKNOWN

Specials

These symbols have special behavior.

Symbol Name Words Notes
Sunset Color Modifier*, Image*, Celestial*, Change Allows players to change the color of the sunsets in an age. The primary function is to modify the color of a specific sun; a secondary function is to modify all unspecified sunset colors. See the full description under Visuals.
Clear Modifiers Contradict, Modifier*, Change, Void Uses all unused modifiers.

Ending a book with Clear Modifiers will prevent instability from dangling modifiers.

Can be used in particularly complex passages of a book to ensure that no modifiers bleed through the symbols they were intended for should they happen to not work with the intended symbol.

Minor increase in instability for any symbol canceled out.

Summary

writing/symbols.txt · Last modified: 2014/08/21 12:28 by Mental Mouse