Custom Lua Mapgen
The Minetest engine provides several built-in mapgens implemented in C++, where biomes and decorations can be registered by mods. In addition to this you can also write your own mapgen in Lua. Usually this is done by hooking into the
singlenode mapgen (by default consisting only of void) and generating your own terrain in the
on_generated callback using VoxelManip.
While it is possible to write very performant Lua mapgens, it will always generally be slower compared to C++ mapgens that run in their own thread and don't block the Lua thread. (This will be fixed once #13092 is merged)
For a list of optimisation techniques you can use to write performant mapgens, see Mapgen Optimisations.
A good initial example of how to write a custom Lua mapgen is lvm_example. It incorporates most optimisations techniques to create a performant mapgen and uses Perlin noise to generate random looking terrain.
For more examples of custom Lua mapgens, see the Custom mapgen tag on ContentDB.