Generated structures

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Every specific group of blocks purposefully formed in Minecraft based on coding is part of a natural structure.

The Overworld[edit | edit source]

The Overworld contains numerous generated structures, at a wide variety of scales.

Terrain[edit | edit source]

Biomes dictate the shape and height of the world. At this stage, the ground is made entirely of stone, with water filling in most empty spaces below layer 63, with exception for structures.

Mountain[edit | edit source]

Mountains are hills with extreme slopes and cliffs. Mountains can sometimes have caves through them. On an amplified, mountains are extremely common in all biomes except ocean and swamp biomes.

Floating "island"[edit | edit source]

Floating "islands" are structures that float in midair that are not connected to the ground, the sea, hills or cliffs. Floating "islands" are normally just random pieces of floating dirt and stone found near cliffs, but on rare occasions they can be large, floating structures that even have springs and trees on them. Floating Islands are most frequently found in the extreme hills, ice plains, ice mountains and mushroom island biomes, but can be found anywhere. Floating Islands are very common in an amplified world.

Hollows[edit | edit source]

Hollows are the opposite of floating islands. They look like caves, but they have nothing to do with cave generation (although they may intersect with them). When there are many overhangs, they close together and create a hollow. They have exactly the same floor as the terrain above, depending on the biome that they are located in, unlike caves. Caves have no specific floor. Grass can generate inside too, and interestingly will survive without light. When they generate under the sea level, they are filled with water. They are extremely rare in the default world, but can be found in the customized world.

Hill[edit | edit source]

Hills are randomly generated pieces of land in the map. Like stairs, hills are always traverse-able to their lowest point by virtue of the algorithm which generates them; there is almost always a place on each level from where the next level can be accessed, meaning that the player can climb a hill one level at a time until they reach the top. Cases where this is not true are rare.

Beach[edit | edit source]

Beaches usually generate next to oceans and cover all nearby shorelines. They come in three varieties: sand beach, gravel beach, and stone beach. Sandstone is located below sand in sand beaches. Gravel beaches had no such border and thus pose dangers like falling into caverns located right underneath them. Stone beaches have cliffs near the ocean.

Surface[edit | edit source]

Surface layer[edit | edit source]

The uppermost layers of the terrain are converted to a biome-dependent material: usually grass blocks and dirt, or sand in deserts and beaches. Podzol is found in mega taiga, and red sand is found in the mesa biome. Sandstone is generated under sand.

Basin[edit | edit source]

Occasionally, instead of being converted to dirt or sand, the top layer is stripped away, leaving a 'basin' of bare stone. They bear some resemblance to a geological 'shield' (an area of tectonically stable rock that has been exposed to prolonged erosion due to its very old age; it is distinct from the geological term "basin"). They seem to be more common in forest or plains, and are occasionally seen filled with water. Commonly, minerals can be found in these, generally coal ore and iron ore. If generated in a Mesa biome in Pocket Edition, gold ore can also be seen.

Water bodies[edit | edit source]

Ocean[edit | edit source]

Oceans/Seas are huge bodies of water with every single water tile being a source block. The ground can rise high enough to produce small, relatively barren islands. Prior to the Adventure Update, oceans were generated as part of the terrain generation algorithm, but since then, they are part of the ocean biome.

Deep oceans have a chance to spawn with an ocean monument.

River[edit | edit source]

Rivers are long "strands" of water that cut through or separate biomes. They do not have a current. Patches of sand and gravel are seen commonly dotting the banks of the rivers, and clay settled at the very bottom. In some cases, rivers will generate higher than normal, producing a dry riverbed, sometimes with occasional small water patches.

Lake[edit | edit source]

Lakes are small bodies of liquid. Water lakes, which are small pools of water springs, can generate above sea level or inside caverns. They can also generate isolated underground, connected to no other structures whatsoever. When in a winter biome, these small lakes are never initially frozen but will turn to ice if exposed. The lakes can also be composed of lava; however, lakes of lava are much rarer. Lava lakes found at the surface are surrounded by stone (which can be replaced by ore veins such as dirt, gravel and coal). Both types of lake generate with a small air pocket above them, which may result in floating sand, floating snow cover or even the top 2/3rds of trees above the lake. Lava lakes may cause trees to burn away.

Large structures[edit | edit source]

Cavern[edit | edit source]

Caverns are caves and tunnels that are automatically generated under the ground in various places. Caverns are composed mainly of stone, and expose large amounts of ores and igneous stones. When caves are generated so their entrances are located in a mesa or desert biome, some of the sand around cave entrances can be found compressed into the biome's respective sandstone.

Ravine[edit | edit source]

Ravines are tall, long cracks of air, usually measuring around 30 to 50 blocks in height, 84 to 112 blocks long and no more than 7 blocks wide. Ravines can have small ledges along the top. They can be found at levels 20 to 68, sometimes appearing on the world surface or underwater, forming canyons. They can go very deep underground, sometimes spawning slimes or exposing diamond ore. If they reach deep enough, they may also be floored by the lava lakes at level 11. In the Amplified world type, ravines can reach from surface level to bedrock. Ravines can also be found in oceans or rivers having a waterfall from the river/ocean falling into them.

Ravines can connect to caves, dungeons, abandoned mineshafts, and any other generated structures. Due to the large surface area of their walls, ravines often have water and/or lava flowing down them (from springs in the walls, underground lakes, or even openings to the sea).

Abandoned mine shaft[edit | edit source]

Abandoned Mineshaft
Minecraft Mineshaft.png


Consists of

Abandoned mine shafts are structures generated underground which consist of branching mining tunnels with wooden supports and broken rails passing through it. Cave spider spawners can be found in mine shafts. Open areas generate with oak wooden bridges instead of leaving floating platforms. They contain minecarts with chests that may have rare items such as diamonds and horse armor. They may also contain iron ingots, coal, pickaxes, and other useful items. They are likely to expose veins of coal, iron, lapis lazuli, gold ore, and rarely, emerald and diamond ore.

Stronghold[edit | edit source]

Strongholds are structures that contain multiple rooms, doors and other aspects (some of these rooms include libraries, fountain rooms, dungeon-like rooms, etc.). There are three per world (As of 1.9[upcoming], there will be 128). Stone brick, mossy stone brick, cracked stone brick, doors, iron bars, monster eggs and stone slabs are the materials that make up the strongholds. They also contain silverfish, which one should be careful of when digging around in strongholds. Portals to The End are found in specific rooms in strongholds. Chests may be found containing items such as books, redstone, ender pearls, apples, bread, compasses, iron tools/armor, and diamonds. Strongholds can be found by right clicking an eye of ender, which will be thrown into the air and point the direction where the End portal is, showing the way to the stronghold.

Small structures[edit | edit source]

The quantity of most of these features (aside from dungeons, mineral veins, and springs) is biome-dependent; not all features can be found in every biome.

Dungeon[edit | edit source]

Minecraft Dungeon.png


Consists of
Can generate


Dungeons are small, mostly underground, one-room spaces bordered by moss stone and cobblestone, and typically contain chests with rare items, and a hostile monster spawner in the center. Dungeons generate with either a zombie (50% chance), skeleton (25% chance), or spider (25% chance) spawner. Occasionally a player may find that the spawner is covered with gravel and will be harder to reach, yet the mobs can still spawn with the gravel around it. The chests may contain rare valuables, such as music discs, enchanted books, saddles, horse armor, and golden apples. Rarely, multiple dungeons can generate next to each other. Dungeons generated in a desert can sometimes be visible from the surface due to the sand falling down.

Mineral vein[edit | edit source]

Mineral vein
Mineral vein.png

Coal, iron, gold, redstone, diamond, lapis lazuli: Any
Emerald: Extreme Hills
Nether quartz: the Nether

A mineral vein is a natural deposit of ores. Players can come across these veins in caverns or anywhere where there is natural stone. Underground deposits of dirt and gravel are generated in this step, followed by the more precious ores: coal, iron, gold, redstone, diamond, emerald (in extreme hill biomes) and lapis lazuli. They can only form in stone, and do not replace each other or any other block. However, there is one exception: other ores can replace andersite, diorite and granite. Note that two or more mineral veins can form next to each other and make it look like a mineral vein made of more than one material.

Tree[edit | edit source]

Minecraft Tree.png

Any (but not deserts or mesas (except for mesa plateau Fs))

Trees are common structures created both during world generation and by players (grown from saplings). They are made of wood and leaves. Tree sizes range from small trees that can be fully harvested from ground level, to large trees that may require several minutes to harvest.

Huge mushroom[edit | edit source]

Huge mushroom
Huge Red Mushroom.pngHuge Brown Mushroom.png

Mushroom Island, Roofed Forest or the Swamp (Pocket Edition Exclusive)

Huge mushrooms are structures that only naturally occur in mushroom island biomes and roofed forest biomes. They are composed of mushroom stalks and either red or brown colored blocks for the cap. They can be grown outside mushroom islands by fertilizing red or brown mushroom with bone meal, or can be generated with mycelium.

Spring[edit | edit source]

Springs are randomly generated blocks of either lava or water that act as a source of their respective material. While both can be found on the vertical side of stone blocks above the surface, lava springs are more often found underground beneath layer 32 in caverns.

Desert well[edit | edit source]

Desert well
Desert Well.png


Consists of

These well-like structures built of sandstone blocks and slabs generate only in the desert biome. They have a 1/1000 chance to be generated in any desert chunk, which makes them a rare sight. It is possible for a well to generate around a cactus. The well structure will still spawn with the "Generate Structures" option disabled.

Moss stone boulder[edit | edit source]

Moss stone boulder
Moss Stone Boulder.png

Mega Taiga

These structures are meant to represent boulders, made entirely of moss stone. The formation of these structures vary possibly infinitely. They can be found dotted around areas of the mega taiga biome. Due to the wide variety in shape they often appear to just be a patch of moss stone on the ground rather than a boulder. Moss stone boulders are quite rare, due to the mega taiga biome's rarity

Ice spike[edit | edit source]

Ice spike
Ice World Spikes.png

Ice Plains Spikes

Ice spikes are tall spires made of packed ice. The spikes can only be found in the ice plains spikes. There are two variants of ice spikes: one is short and thick, and the other is extremely tall and thin.

Buildings[edit | edit source]

Buildings are naturally generating structures that form above ground. They can contain valuable treasure, but traps and puzzles as well.

Village[edit | edit source]


Plains, desert, savanna

Villages are generated in desert, plains and savanna biomes and are a site for villagers, with whom the player can trade. They are composed of a random selection of various buildings and farms. There is always exactly one well, other buildings can be any of several different houses, single or double farms, blacksmith's shop, library, butcher's shop, or church. Villages are built with different materials depending on their biome; villages in plains and savanna biomes are comprised of oak wood, oak planks and cobblestone, and villages in deserts are built with varying types of sandstone. Villages may generate partly submerged in water. This results in some of the path being made of wood (Pocket Edition exclusive). The villagers move about in the area around the village, retreating indoors at night and during storms. Villages have three-block wide paths to join all houses.

Desert temple[edit | edit source]

Desert temple
Desert Temple.png


Desert temples, also known as pyramids, are found in deserts. They mainly consist of sandstone and stained clay. In the middle of the temple is a block of blue stained clay, which if destroyed, reveals a deep, hidden chamber underneath, where players can find 4 chests, which can contain valuable loot, and a stone pressure plate trap connected to a 3×3 grid of TNT. Treasures found in the chests include emeralds, diamonds, iron ingots, gold ingots, rotten flesh, enchanted books, and bones. While rotten flesh, bones and gold ingots are found frequently, other treasures are not as common.

Jungle temple[edit | edit source]

Jungle temple
Jungle Temple.png

Jungle and jungle M

Jungle temples are found in jungles, and mainly consist of cobblestone and mossy cobblestone. There are three floors, the bottom floor containing a chest and a puzzle. The chest is found through a corridor which contains hidden tripwires that triggers a dispenser to shoot arrows at the player. The player must carefully navigate through the corridor while triggering the tripwires. The puzzle is located at the opposite of the corridor and consists of three levers that must be pulled in the correct order to open a secret door which reveals another chest.

Witch hut[edit | edit source]

Witch huts generate in swamp biomes. Among all hostile mobs, only witches spawn in the 7x7x9 area inside and around the hut. There is one empty cauldron, one crafting table and one potted red mushroom inside each hut. However, in 1.8 the flower pot contains no mushrooms.

Ocean monument[edit | edit source]

Ocean monument
Ocean monument.png

Deep Ocean

Ocean monuments are underwater structures that spawn in deep oceans. They spawn in the shape of a pyramid with many randomly-generated rooms. They are composed of all three variants of prismarine and lit by sea lanterns. Eight gold blocks encased in dark prismarine can be found inside as treasures. Also, a random assortment of sponges may generate inside. Guardians and elder guardians spawn here.

Igloo[upcoming][edit | edit source]

Igloos are structures that spawn in snowy biomes. They have consist of an igloo, and sometimes, a basement. In the basement there are a villager and a zombie villager, both of the same profession. They are locked up, so they aren't wandering around. The basement is accessible by removing one of the carpets to reveal a hidden trapdoor.

The Nether[edit | edit source]

The Nether, though equally vast, contains far fewer types of generated structures than the Overworld.

Lava sea[edit | edit source]

Lava seas are found at and below level 30 in the Nether. They make a large portion of the Nether, and are extremely common. They can stretch for hundreds of meters in any direction, and are usually bordered by netherrack (or more rarely soul sand). Even on far render distance, the player is rarely able to see the other side of the seas due to their vastness.

Nether fortress[edit | edit source]

Nether fortresses are very large complexes made mainly of nether bricks (with added nether brick fences and stairs to be found). Nether fortresses can often tunnel through netherrack, and the inside of the tunnels will be cleared of netherrack by the terrain generator. Blaze spawners and nether wart farms are only found in nether fortresses. Blazes, zombie pigmen and wither skeletons can spawn anywhere in the fortress. Nether fortresses have some chests. The chests with loot are usually generated in corners.

Glowstone cluster[edit | edit source]

Glowstone cluster
Glowstone Cluster.png

Hell (The Nether)

Glowstone clusters are typically veins of glowstone that can be among the hardest natural materials to harvest that don't require digging. They form in coral-like structures on the underside of hanging Netherrack, so they are often found on the ceilings of the Nether, where they provide light along with the ever present lava.

Other things[edit | edit source]

There are areas of soul sand and gravel around layer 64, nether quartz ore veins and "hidden lava", which is a single block of lava in random places not visible without digging.

The End[edit | edit source]

The End is the most barren dimension, with only four types of significant structures.

The Island[edit | edit source]

Most of the End is a large, asteroid-like island composed entirely of end stone, floating in an endless void. As of 1.9[upcoming], the End will generate more islands about 1000 blocks away from the main island. These consist of large islands, about the size of the main island, and small ones, which are usually very thin and small.

Obsidian pillar[edit | edit source]

Obsidian pillar
Obsidian Pillar.png

The End

Consists of
Can generate


Obsidian pillars, or obsidian towers, are tall, tower-like structures that generate in The End. No part of them are in the ground; there is no obsidian below the lowest block of obsidian that the player can see without digging. Ender crystals will spawn on top of each one to heal the Ender Dragon.

On the Console Edition, the pillars are generated in a circle around the fountain. Two of the ender crystals are surrounded by iron bars, which must be destroyed before the crystal can be taken out.

Obsidian platform[edit | edit source]

The obsidian platform is a 5 by 5 square of obsidian that the player spawns once they enter The End. (Note that if the obsidian is destroyed, or if a block is placed on top of it, when the player or any other entity enters the End, the obsidian will be restored and any blocks on top of it will despawn.) Obsidian platforms mostly spawn far away from the island, making it tough to get there.

  • Sometimes the platform spawns inside a case of end stone. It will remove enough end stone so that the player can walk around.
  • Occasionally the platform will spawn in midair.
  • Very rarely, the platform will spawn on an obsidian pillar and have an Ender crystal on it.

End fountain[edit | edit source]

End fountain

The End (Sky)

Consists of
Can generate

Yes, when an Ender Dragon is defeated.

The exit end portal, in the shape of a fountain is found once the Ender Dragon is defeated, giving the player a way back to the overworld. This fountain is also the foundation of the Ender Dragon Egg. After entering the fountain, the Minecraft credits come on the screen, implying that you have "beaten the game" (despite the fact that the game never ends). You can skip these credits by pressing Esc. After the credits have finished (or after you skipped them), the player returns to the last bed they slept in (or their original spawn spot if the bed was obstructed). The fountain is also made of bedrock, making it indestructible.

On the Console Edition, the fountain is generated in between the Pillars, and already exists before the Ender Dragon is killed. The Enderdragon will also fly above the fountain when the player approaches it, and spew Ender Acid. In addition, the ender dragon will defend the fountain from endermen every 3 minutes or so.

End gateway portal [upcoming][edit | edit source]

End Gateway Portal

The End

Consists of
Can generate

Yes, when an ender dragon is killed.

The end gateway portal is a portal to the outer islands of the End. It is a fast way to get there without bridging over or flying. It is generated after you kill the Ender Dragon. It will emit a purple beacon beam for a few seconds upon generation. You can get a new one each time you kill the ender dragon, with up to 20 created. It consists of the end gateway and two bulbs of bedrock. It is only accessible through ender pearls. When an entity enters, it will momentarily emit a yellow beam.

End city [upcoming][edit | edit source]

End cities are structures that are naturally generated in the outer islands of the End. They are tall castle or tree-like structures constructed primarily of end stone bricks and purpur blocks and their variants. They are lit up by End rods. They are also the only places where shulkers can be found.

Chorus tree [upcoming][edit | edit source]

Chorus Tree
Chorus Tree.png

The End

Consists of
Can generate

Yes, when a chorus flower is planted on end stone and left to grow.

Chorus trees generate on the outer islands of the end. They are shaped like tall and skinny trees. They consist of chorus plants and chorus flowers. A chorus flower will spawn at the top of each branch. They are the only source of chorus fruit and chorus flowers. You can grow a chorus tree by planting a flower on a block of endstone.

Technical details[edit | edit source]

Structures are generated for a given chunk after the terrain has been formed. The chunk format includes a tag called TerrainPopulated that indicates whether structures whose point of origin is in that chunk have been generated. If it is false or missing, they will be generated again. Structure generation is based on what is already in the chunk, so (for example) flagging a chunk that has already been populated for repopulation will approximately double the amount of ore in it.

When structures are generated, they can spill over into neighbouring chunks that have been previously generated. Thus, a tree at the edge of the generated world (and probably only visible using external tools) may be overwritten by a lake before you reach it. It is also theoretically possible for two worlds generated with the same seed, from the same version of Minecraft, to differ slightly depending on the players' travel routes, because the order in which chunks are generated may determine which of two conflicting structures will overwrite or suppress the other.


History[edit | edit source]

1.8 1.8-pre1 Added abandoned mine shafts.
Sand and gravel beaches removed due to the changes in the terrain generation algorithm.
Official release
1.0.0 Added the End and End-related generated structures, including the End island, the obsidian platform, the obsidian towers and the end fountain.
1.1 12w01a Sand beaches have made a return, but the way they look and generate are not the same as before.
1.2.1 12w04a Desert wells were added.
12w07a The generation of beaches has been greatly improved.
1.3.1 12w21a Added desert temples.
12w22a Added jungle temples.
1.4.2 12w40a Added witch huts.
1.6.1 13w17a Water oases no longer generate in deserts.
1.7.2 13w36a Gravel beaches have been returned to the terrain.
Mountains now generate as part of the "M" biome variants.
The desert oases appear in the desert M biome.
Moss stone boulders were added.
1.8 14w25a Added ocean monuments.
1.8.1 1.8.1-pre1 New witch huts can spawn witches Y 64 to 71. This allows for three spawning floors for witches.
1.9 15w31a Added the outer islands of the End.
Added the end city dungeon.
Added chorus trees.
Added the end gateway portal.
15w43a Added igloos with a 50% chance of having a basement.
Pocket Edition Alpha
0.9.0 build 1 Added villages, caves, lava pools, rivers, abandoned mine shafts, huge mushrooms, moss stone boulders, strongholds, ice patches, ice spikes, dungeons and desert wells.
0.10.0 build 1 Abandoned mine shafts generate above ground in mesa biomes.
0.11.0 build 1 Desert wells now generate.
0.12.1 build 1 Added the Nether along with lava oceans, glowstone clusters, Nether Fortresses, soul sand beaches, hidden lava, gravel beaches, and Nether quartz veins.
0.13.0 build 1 Added desert temples.
Console Edition
TU5 Added villages, abandoned mine shafts, strongholds and ravines.
TU9 Added the End along with End related structures such as the End island, the obsidian platform, the obsidian towers and the end fountain.
TU12 Desert wells were added.
TU14 Added jungle and desert temples.
TU19 Added Witch Huts.

Trivia[edit | edit source]

  • In previous versions, when snow cover wasn't solid, a Lava Lake leaving floating snow cover above it could be a deadly trap before the snow melted.

See also[edit | edit source]