If you've ever played Minecraft Java Edition you'll be familiar with its title screen - and the blurred, slowly rotating world in the background.
This has been around for nearly a decade, first appearing in 2011 and running from beta 1.8 to version 1.13 - but no-one knew the seed for it. That is to say, no-one knew the string of characters used to generate this title screen world in the game itself. For years players have wondered, what seed do I need to put in to find that exact place so many people have seen before, but no-one has presumably ever visited?
On 18th July 2020, a group of players found the seed for Minecraft's opening panorama. It turns out there are two seeds for the world. Here are the details:
- Version: Beta 1.7.3
- Coordinates: X=61.48~, Y=75, Z=-68.73~
- Seed: 2151901553968352745 OR 8091867987493326313 (both work)
Punch either seed in, and you get this:
Redditor Tomlacko explained how the team worked out the background world seed in a post on the Minecraft sub. Tomlacko started by working out the world axis and the exact Z coordinate using the clouds seen in the panorama, then combined this research with another project devoted to finding the seed of Minecraft's famous pack.png image (the grassy hill with trees and a beach waterfront icon seen in the resource pack selection screen and the server selection screen).
But it was only when Minecraft@Home, a distributed computing project that lets users donate their idle computers to Minecraft-related research, got involved that this panorama project truly kicked off. Minecraft@Home checked every possible world for features that exactly matched what's visible in the title screen. The project started on 14th June then went live around two days ago - and less than 24 hours later someone running the Minecraft@Home program was able to find the seed that generates that world - and the coordinates of that particular area.
"In less than 24 hours after launching the panorama application; a volunteer host on Minecraft@Home found this seed," Tomlacko explained.
"This was approximately 93 days of processing time at a total of 54.5 exaFLOPs compressed into 24 hours."
One of the people who discovered the seed, a user called Earthcomputer uploaded a video, below that reveals the remarkable find:
Despite this world being seen by millions of people over the course of nearly a decade, it's only now Minecraft players can explore it at will. The way Minecraft's world generation works is such that if you and your friend both use the same seed, then you'll both get the same world to explore - so if you find a really cool world with seed "Eurogamer", for example, then you could let other people experience the same landscape without them needing to connect via multiplayer. They just have to type in the seed "Eurogamer" when starting up their own new game. Now, all Minecraft players can explore its iconic title screen world.
It's a fantastic find, but the group who discovered the seed are not resting on their laurels. They're currently using the Minecraft@Home project to search for the tallest cactus. Currently, they've found a 22 block high one.