OpenTerrainGenerator: The Death of an 11-Year-Old Minecraft Mod
One of the biggest cult classic Minecraft mods, an entire ecosystem enabling beautiful world generation in Minecraft is currently on its deathbed. Odds are it won’t make it. The Minecraft mod in question is OpenTerrainGenerator, and it’s one of the oldest and most complex Minecraft mods of all time. And I had a VIP seat to its demise.
NOTE: My new fork of OpenTerrainGenerator is now in active development for Minecraft 1.19 and can be downloaded at the website
I had enjoyed TerrainControl, and later OpenTerrainGenerator a lot as a kid. The worldgen defines pretty much everything about how a game is played, and it was my favorite thing to mod. After getting upset from the post-1.13 worldgen options since OTG failed to update, I eventually gave up and created my own, and you can see how to do so at the tutorial here: How to Make a World Generation Algorithm in Bukkit/Spigot. PG85, the lead OpenTerrainGenerator developer, reached out to me from that article and asked if I wanted to help out with getting it updated to 1.16. I accepted, unknowing that I would waste the next 9 months on a project that was doomed to fail from the beginning.
Meet the OTG Team
Once I became part of the team, I quickly realized the “social dynamic” that was going on behind closed doors. PG85 was a reasonable person, but that was his primary issue. He wasn’t stubborn. Everyone else on the team was. On the internet, you simply need to be stubborn to survive, and PG would often find himself getting pushed around by the team’s “project manager”, Wahrheit.
Wahrheit’s day job was as a lawyer. Wahrheit expected “professionality” out of every member of the team. Slight mess-ups could lead to extremely charged, heated words. You couldn’t make a single joke without him badgering you. He never even contributed code for the team, and when brought up about his contribution, he would say “I’m sorry my work is invisible, but that’s the way it has to be.” I only believe a single team member was actually using him for “project management”, and that team member had stopped contributing pretty much entirely by the time I joined.
Then there was MCPitman. MCPitman had somehow made himself the “official” preset developer. He had created a number of qualifications of “preset quality” that the team abided by, but they were simply excuses to create qualifications that only his presets abided by, and others didn’t. When Pit worked on his presets, he was “benefitting the community”. When others did they were “creating something to benefit themselves”. Both MCPitman and Wahrheit realized they could play PG85 like a fool, and they succeeded.
One of my primary contributions to the project was the “illusion of progress”. When nobody else was interested, I would often do a bunch of work to help out the project, so that people reading the git logs would not think the project was dead. Just before the 1.16 release, I authored a lot of code to the project, because the other developers hadn’t figured out that the project was ready for release. Then, I contributed a lot for several months after the developers had all suddenly lost interest.
I would often fuss at the rest of the team for not doing any work developing the project. They claimed they were busy, but towards the end, it became abundantly clear that was a lie. Their last commit except for two others I forced out of people was on December 15th, 2021. The other developers had simply lost interest in the project. I had realized I was taking this alone. Just a couple weeks ago, I fussed at them one final time. I gave them a list of tasks to complete before I came back from lent. I’m still off of lent, but the tasks haven’t even been started yet. (I am giving up Discord and coding for lent).
Admittedly, I was somewhat rough in the way I would talk to them towards the end. However, that was because my favorite mod of all time as a teenager was dying off and I was witnessing it. I had a “maternal” mindset and saw them as negligent babysitters. I would always mask my frustration with their negligence with humor though, so it would not upset them too much. However, this would be their justification for kicking me off the team. Yes, their justification for kicking me off the team was because I was trying to get them to act like a team.
My “Invisible” Contributions to OTG
I too, like Wahrheit, had “invisible” contributions. Unlike Wahrheit, my invisible contributions were real. I took it upon myself to become a “developer of the people”, per se. One of the first things I did was I got NLBlackEagle, the author of Dregora, to release Dregora for 1.16 in expectation of OpenTerrainGenerator’s Minecraft 1.16 release, which happened several days later. Had I not done that, OTG for Minecraft 1.16 would have never been noticed by anyone. Because of Dregora’s early release, swarms of people from all sides of the internet came to take beautiful screenshots and feature OTG presets all over the place.
In addition, incognetis, the developer of Far From Home, and LanToaster, the developer of the popular tool bo3_bulkedit, had been banned several years ago because they dared to become competition for MCPitman. I ensured that the news of whatever changes had been made that they could use had been delivered to them timely so they could take advantage of it. Without me, their presets would be outdated and they would not know all the new features that were being added or the things that they needed to update.
MCPitman even fussed at one of the screenshotters that were building the community back up for featuring presets other than his more often than his own. (That wasn’t the reason he gave, but it was pretty obvious). I then became the middle-man for posting these people’s screenshots and crediting them, because they were afraid of posting anything.
The reason people like Wahrheit and MCPitman didn’t like me was simple: I was doing everything I could to ensure that they couldn’t continue to be the puppet masters of the community. I told the truth. We all know what happens to those who tell the truth.
Conclusion of OpenTerrainGenerator
1.18.1 will be the last update the OpenTerrainGenerator lives for. I attempted to start the development of 1.18.2, but Mojang yet again changed basically everything in a 1.13-level change. They haven’t quite recovered from 1.13 yet, they still haven’t fully recovered from 1.17 and 1.18. The project is as good as dead. Not a single person has authored a commit since my last commit before I was kicked off.
NOTE: They have released OTG for Minecraft 1.18.2 in a messed up form that regularly crashes, however, my fork, available at the otg website maintains a 1.18.2 release that is not broken.
When they kicked me off the team, they entered a competition of who had the high ground. While they may have had the authoritative high ground, I was the one who had the moral high ground. Ultimately, that authority they had was built on top of a pillar of sand. That sand is in the progress of collapsing as we speak as all of them neglect the project since they do not seem to care. When 1.22 rolls around, years from now, all that will have mattered was the moral high ground. OpenTerrainGenerator will be long dead.
When I informed them that they were going to kill the project one last time, Wahrheit said “This project has been around long before you and will outlive you.” However, everything must die at one time. Nothing is immortal. Projects that have survived for much longer have died of neglect by their authors, and they have been far too complex for anyone to take up for themselves. The only people alive who can understand the OpenTerrainGenerator code are the OTG dev team, and none of them are interested.
There’s been talk of a “ReformedTerrainEngine”, where I fork the project and take it under my wing. I did want to do that, however, after the horrible mess that I witnessed when I attempted to port it to 1.18.2, that simply isn’t going to happen. Some things are better as memories than constantly being kept in a more and more broken state. Sometimes you just have to let go. OTG truly died in 1.12. Everything after that had been constant work simply to continue presets that were dated anyways.
A Few Words to my Friends in the Community
Our journey doesn’t end here. The friendships that I have made with you guys don’t have to rely on OTG. NLBlackEagle, I hope to continue to be your “only good American”. JDaddy, I’m sure you can find plenty else to render in your free time, and I might write a tutorial soon on getting Chunky to work so you can make better renders, even if they can’t be done with OTG. LanToaster, I suppose this means you can finally be free from developing bulkedit. And, if you’re interested in talking to me in other places, feel free to join the Info Toast Discord server here if I haven’t invited you already: https://discord.gg/infotoast.
To anyone else who is sad to see OTG go, I wish I could truly recommend you to other good WorldGen mods. However, my initial recommendation, Terra, appears to be swamped with 1.18 just as much as we were. From looking at their GitHub, it doesn’t look like they’ve even started yet! If you’re on Paper, I would suggest TerraformGenerator to you. Hex and his code are what taught me how to code worldgen in the first place, and it’s a beautiful mod. However, if you want my real recommendation, and this might sound rude but it’s true: https://www.tripadvisor.com. Go see some irl worldgen. It’s 1000 times cooler.
I hope to talk to all of you guys again when I return from lent. Stay based.
It’s very sad to read this article. In my opinion this is the best terrain mod because of its wide customisation… I’ve had hope that OTG finally came out 🙁 but after reading this chances are decreasing. Anyway hope dies last and maybe somehow the OTG team come to their senses and pull oneself together…
After writing the article we actually started developing our own fork of the mod, but because of issues with Mojang basically trying to kill the mod we have indefinitely suspended development, even though it works all the way to 1.19.2