For years before and after Mojang was acquired by Microsoft, the main menu screen of the Java version of Minecraft stayed nearly identical. It featured a blurry, slow moving panorama of an ordinary looking Minecraft world. With Minecraft's robust procedural generation, it's very unlikely that anybody else besides the developer who captured that video has randomly stumbled upon that same place. Thanks to the clever work of some Minecraft fans, though, that exact spot can finally be visited in-game.
Over at the Minecraft subreddit, user Tomlacko explains the search process for the unassuming, world-famous vista. Finding the panorama spot first required pinpointing the version of Minecraft used to generate the world in question, plus the coordinates of the particular vantage point. After Tomlacko honed in on those, other players stepped in to contribute more information and create tools coded for the specific purpose of finding the location. Many folks also pitched in to help build a recreation of the area, which was then used as an overlay to check results.
Amazingly, the team not only managed to find the panorama spot, but the search yielded two random seeds that both work. Using the Beta 1.7.3 version of Minecraft, plugging in either 2151901553968352745 or 8091867987493326313 will take players to the world where Minecraft's old main menu video was captured nearly a decade ago.
What's perhaps more astounding is the tremendous amount of processing power it took to find the spot. The search was aided by a distributed computing initiative called "Minecraft@Home," a nod to the famous Folding@Home project. Within 24 hours of starting the search, a host discovered a match for the main menu world, but within that time, about 93 days worth of processing time took place thanks to 137 volunteers, who contributed 181 host instances using 231 GPUs between them all.
While plenty of players have since moved on to the Bedrock edition of Minecraft, the Java Edition and access to older builds still allow for fascinating modding and research projects like this. The panorama world might not be a great example of how varied and striking Minecraft's procedurally generated terrain can be, but that's probably part of why it was selected. That same view greeted millions of players from 2011 through to an update in 2018, making it a prominent part of the Minecraft experience for most of the game's existence.
Now that the main menu spot has been found, maybe players can find a way to transplant or remake it in Minecraft's Bedrock version. If someone does, it'd also be neat to see how the panorama looks with the new ray tracing features enabled—a visual representation of how far Minecraft has come over the past decade.