Where are are the best node spawn biomes?
There is a lot of false information among Rust players about where nodes spawn and what determines good spots for node farming. Most think snow is it. Some think desert is it for sulfur. None of this is true. The easiest way to describe all of it without giving up a full map making tutorial is to just say nodes spawn randomly where we allow them to spawn.
There are layers in the map file called 'topologies' or 'topo'. We (map makers) paint lots of different topos to make the game do different things. We paint a river topo that tells the game "this is fresh water and a river". We paint a forest topo to tell the game where we want trees to spawn. And there are clutter, deco, and cliffside topologies that dictate where nodes spawn. Simple as that. Some things can "auto apply topologies" when you place them. Like big rocks and rock formations can auto paint the topologies around them that spawn nodes.
When making maps we typically paint the clutter topo around rocky areas and cliffs and mountains. And the decor ones we sort of splatter all over the map to provide a nice and random evenly spread population of nodes.
So basically .... there is no good biome for nodes. They spawn wherever we paint those topos. It's always smart to look around rocky areas since those auto paint the topologies required for nodes so it is guaranteed. Same with exposed rocks almost all map makers paint those areas for that topology
Do more nodes spawn in snow?
The misconception about snow spawning more nodes comes from a few factors ...
Did you know?
We have a specific number of nodes we aim for when creating our custom maps. Using the spawn.report command we can get an accurate count of everything on the map. We currently have that threshold set to 1,000 nodes.
It is very tedious to keep tweaking this. It requires altering topologies, saving the map, rebooting the testing servers, logging into the game to check the spawns, etc. So we never obtain 1k nodes on the dot but we tweak them until they breach 1k. Typical maps of ours end up dialed in to about 1,050 or so. But we never go live with a map below that threshold.
The issue players see is that there are numerous other topologies that can block node spawning despite the node topology being present. Some examples are Building and Cliff topologies. So on maps with a lot of those topologies the nodes get more concentrated in areas without those topologies giving the illusion of "This map has more nodes".
Here is a screen shot of a 4k proc gen map (vanilla map) node count:
Here is a screen shot of our custom maps node count: