Slime chunks are one of the older and more interesting hidden features of Minecraft, but currently aren't useful for much. They were originally unique as the only place where slimes could spawn naturally, only to be overshadowed by slimes spawning in swamplands, and now slime chunks serve no real purpose other than to be converted into slime farms.
I believe they could benefit greatly from having a unique feature to make them easier to find, as well as to make the discovery exciting even for players who have no interest in slime farming. To this end, I would like to propose a new structure called...
...the slime den.
Slime dens would be a rare, dungeon-like structure able to spawn very rarely in slime chunks (e.g. in no more than 0.5% of all slime chunks, or 0.05% of all chunks) between y=10 and y=35. They would resemble naturally-generated caves, but would stand out due to being made up entirely of slime. Most would also contain pools of goop, a new liquid to go alongside water and lava (detailed later).
Here's an example of how a slime den could look in-game, with lanterns added to offer illumination. Note that chunk borders are visible in this screenshot - the slime den would only generate inside a slime chunk, with any portions outside of the chunk just generating as ordinary stone:
...and here is how the same slime den would look from the outside, in this case intersecting a ravine:
The idea here is that these dens are places the slimes have made into nests of sorts - they haven't been constructed, they're just pre-existing caves that have been covered in slime on account of their occupants. As such, these structures would have no apparent architecture, and would likely not contain any loot chests in the way other underground structures do.
Now, two big issues stem from the idea of a cave made up of slime blocks:
- A slime block crafts into 9 slime balls, and these structures would have hundreds, resulting in one den providing a massive oversupply of an otherwise somewhat rare material; and
- Slime blocks are partially transparent, meaning they don't look very good as the main building block in a structure meant to be solid.
Both of these issues would be solved by the second new block I would like to propose to go with this structure: slime stone. Slime stone would be a craftable variant of stone with a green tint to it, and would visually appear more solid than the existing slime blocks. Below, I've reproduced the earlier screenshots with a demonstration slime stone texture replacing the slime blocks. Note that a few ordinary slime blocks are still present, serving as stalactites (picture half-solidified blobs of slime hanging from the ceiling, stuck together too well to fall to the cave floor):
At this point, I've proposed a couple of new materials with this suggestion, and they warrant explanation. Below are the proposed details of both slime stone and goop, keeping in mind that the goal is to be both interesting to acquire and useful for players of all types.
- Can be mined using a pickaxe of iron level or higher, though effects such as Haste or Efficiency have no effect on the mining speed.
- Crafted by combining 4 smooth stone with 1 slime ball (creates 4 slime stone blocks).
- Has a blast resistance of 35.
- Walking on top of slime stone causes a player's movement speed to be reduced by the same amount as walking atop soul sand.
- Can be gathered with Silk Touch; normal mining only drops 1 cobblestone, with a moderate chance to drop a slime ball instead.
- Only generates naturally in and around slime den structures.
- Can be scooped up with a bucket, just like lava and water.
- Goop buckets crafted by combining 1 water bucket with 1 slime block (creates 1 goop bucket).
- Has a blast resistance of 500, equal to other liquids.
- Standing in goop gives the Goopy effect, which functions similarly to the Potion of the Turtle Master by reducing movement speed in exchange for moderate protection. Effect lingers for 15 seconds after leaving the goop.
- Being submerged in goop slows movement speed to a crawl (think the same speed as falling through a spiderweb) and pulls the player downward until they reach the pool floor. Submerged players will drown at an accelerated rate compared to water. This can be avoided if a player has the Depth Strider enchantment active, as this will negate the movement reduction and allow the player to swim freely through the goop.
- Has a maximum depth value of 2; goop can flow infinitely downward provided the block below it is air, just like water and lava, but will only spread out two blocks adjacent before stopping.
- Flows at about the same speed as lava if placed in the Overworld or the End, and flows significantly slower if placed in the Nether.
- If a goop source block is touched by flowing water, it will turn into a slime block; if a goop source block is touched by flowing lava, it will evaporate and disappear. Alternatively, flowing goop will turn water into slime stone and lava into obsidian.
- Only generates naturally in slime den structures, and whether it will generate in any given one is random.
This may seem like a relatively small idea to justify adding two new materials to the game just for it, but the materials could easily be given other uses; for instance, slime stone could have stone brick/slab/etc. variants the same way regular stone does, allowing it to see regular use as a material for building, and goop could interact in unique ways with TNT or other entities, allowing it to serve for more technical builds (as opposed to just being used decoratively as a stand-in for radioactive waste). Moreover, the structure itself could manifest in more forms than just a small cave - slime dens could be made from a stretch of a mineshaft, a portion of a stronghold, a ravine floor, and so on.
Overall, I believe this structure would serve well both as a way to indicate where slime chunks are and as a way to encourage players to actively seek out said chunks. I also believe it would help make underground exploration that much more enjoyable, especially with the potential for dens to show up as a part of other existing underground structures. Perhaps this structure could be used as part of an update centered around adding more structures and generation features to the underground as a whole?
(P.S. Apologies for the stone and ore textures looking different from vanilla in those screenshots. I've been working on making a texture pack, and didn't realize until I was writing this post that I forgot to turn said pack off when taking pictures.)
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