The other day, I was generating seeds to try and get a very specific set of conditions. I got bored with re-rolling, and tried entering some “meaningful” numbers that the random generator was staying well away from; things like my birthday and so on.
Eventually, I got around to entering the numbers 1 through to 0… and the seeds were very very similar! Well, at least until I got to 0 – that seed looked a lot closer to the seed “1” than it did to the seed “9”.
So, I experminted. “10” yielded something very close to “9”, but more… IDK, developed? Hilly? There was more variation to it compared to the single-digit seeds.
Then, I rolled a random seed, and got the large number from it. I changed the end digits up and down by a few places, and kept similar results. When I changed the middle digits or the initial digits, the results varied wildly.
This implies that seeds have a value order – the first few numbers set one variable, the next group of numbers affect a different variable, and so on. It may alternatively mean that, among the number of seeds the game can generate, different outcomes are stored in numerical order… however, that would imply that the game has pre-generated every seed and stored them in some kind of list, which I think must be very unlikely for that list would have to be massive. That’s why I believe it’s the former option, rather than the latter.
And so, that’s how I found one useful bit of info for generating new seeds: similar seeds yield similar results; with larger numbers giving more varied terrain. It’s not as simple as “larger = rougher”, actually the larger numbers seem smoother, but they have more terrain features. By contrast, lower numbers tend to give flatter terrain with sharper cliffs and corners, and more water.
So, if you roll a seed that you kind-of like but aren’t quite happy with, select the seed text and change the last couple digits to slightly change the way that lakes, elevations, clay pits and forests are distributed. I presume this affects all map features including trees, statues and rocks; however there’s no way to see those from the map generator screen and loading up each map to check would take more patience than I have, lol.
Also, all of my tests are conducted with the Darkmoor Forest biome, I don’t know what happens with other biomes. I don’t expect dramatic changes, but it may be that different biomes use the seeds differently?
I’d be very keen to see how this info fits into a larger picture of world generation… given the popularity of seeds and trying to reverse-engineer them in Minecraft and other such games, I’m hoping that someone with previous experience can contribute their knowledge here. If we can figure out (or get a Dev explanation of) how the seed inputs are turned into a map, that might lead to a lot of cool new options; particularly for builders who want specific terrain features to work with…