The Overworld

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The Overworld, as seen in an extreme hills biome

The Overworld is the dimension in which all players begin their Minecraft journey.

Creation[edit | edit source]

The Overworld is created by default upon creating a new world. Other dimensions, such as the Nether and the End, will only be created upon accessing the proper portals.

Seeds[edit | edit source]

New worlds in Minecraft are generated through the use of seeds, which are typically a random number that is used as a starting point for the world generation formula. If given a non-integer input (such as the word "Glacier"), the seed input is converted into the corresponding integer (such as 1772835215).

Seeds will generate almost exactly the same world every time, given the same game version and the same world type. Although the exact spawn point varies, the coordinates of all terrain features will remain the same.

Environment[edit | edit source]

A river biome running through a mesa biome.

The Overworld is an incredibly complex environment with a wide variety of features.

Biomes[edit | edit source]

The Overworld is subdivided into biomes. The current biome determines almost all physical aspects of the terrain. Biomes may vary widely based on size, and almost all biomes have several different variations of themselves. Biomes also influence which mobs may spawn, and affects environmental behaviors such as weather.

A village, one of many naturally generated structures in the Overworld.

Natural structures[edit | edit source]

The Overworld is comprised of several unique terrain patterns, known as structures, that vary widely depending on the seed and the biome. While specific structures are unique to each world, they can be categorized by comparing them to a real-world equivalent, such as mountains, caves, and lakes. "Impossible" formations, such as floating islands, can also be found throughout the Overworld.

Along with terrain features, natural structures include naturally-generated buildings, such as villages, dungeons, and mineshafts.

Day-night cycle[edit | edit source]

Day Night.gif

The Overworld is the only dimension with a day-night cycle, and thus, time.

During the daytime, the sun acts as a powerful light source, with a light level of 15, the maximum. Sunlight is strong enough to grow plants and affect the way mobs spawn, among other interesting effects. During the nighttime, the moon is the only natural light source. However, moonlight is comparatively dim; the light level will fall to a minimum of 4, allowing hostile mobs to spawn. It is only during nighttime that players may sleep in a bed.

The day-night cycle can effectively be measured using a clock, which allows players to determine the approximate Minecraft time from any location in the Overworld. Time can also be sped up with the use of the /time command.

As in the real world, the sun rises in the east and sets in the west, which is a simple method of telling direction without needing a compass.

Mobs[edit | edit source]

The Overworld is home to a wide variety of mobs. Mobs may spawn depending on the light level and the biome, among other factors. They vary widely in behavior and the level of danger they present to the player. Mobs from other dimensions, such as the Nether, may use portals to enter the Overworld, and vice versa. However, boss mobs, such as the ender dragon and the wither, cannot enter portals.

Passive mobs[edit | edit source]

SheepFace.png CowFace.png PigFace.png ChickenFace.png Rabbiticon.png Squidface.png BatFace.png Villagerhead.png MooshroomFace.png
Sheep Cow Pig Chicken Rabbit Squid Bat Villager Mooshroom

Tameable mobs[edit | edit source]

WolfFace.png OcelotFace.png HorseHead.png DonkeyHead.png MuleHead.png SkeletonHorseHead.png
Wolf Ocelot Horse Donkey Mule Skeleton Horse

Neutral mobs[edit | edit source]

PolarBearFace.png EndermanFace.png SpiderFace.png CaveSpiderFace.png
Polar Bear Enderman Spider Cave Spider

Hostile mobs[edit | edit source]

ZombieFace.png SkeletonFace.png CreeperFace.png SlimeFace.png Witchface2.png GuardianFace.png SilverfishFace.png EndermiteFace.png
Zombie Skeleton Creeper Slime Witch Guardian Silverfish Endermite
ZombieVillagerHead.png HuskFace.png StrayFace.png Elder GuardianFace.png SpiderJockeyFace.png Chickenjockey.png SkeletonRiderFace.png
Zombie Villager Husk Stray Elder Guardian Spider Jockey Chicken Jockey Skeleton Horseman


Utility Mobs[edit | edit source]

Vg face.png Snowgolemhead.png
Iron Golem Snow Golem


Generation[edit | edit source]

Visualization of a chunk.

As with all other dimensions in the game, the Overworld can generate infinitely. However, there are some limitations, as detailed below.

The Overworld encompasses the height limit (y=256), down to the Void (y=0), and extends for millions of blocks in every direction on the horizontal plane. Technically speaking, the world is generated through a process which creates multiple noise maps to create differing elevations, general chunk shapes, and complex mountain and cave systems.

Chunks[edit | edit source]

Chunks are the method used by the world generator to divide maps into manageable pieces. Chunks measure 16 blocks wide, 16 blocks long, and 256 blocks high, for a total area of 65,536 blocks. Chunks are generated around players when they first enter the world, and as they wander around the world, new chunks are generated as needed. By adjusting the render distance, the player can adjust the number of chunks that will be loaded into memory, ranging from 25 chunks up to 1089.

Only chunks within the set range may have activity (mobs spawning, trees growing, water flowing, dropped items disappearing etc.), while chunks outside of this range are inactive, and are stored on the disk; this type of management is required so that players' computers do not need to track hundreds or thousands of blocks and entities at once. Note that this does not apply to spawn chunks, which will always experience activity regardless of how far away the player travels.

Visual cutoff point of a Minecraft map (Left is normal Minecraft generation, the right is after limitation.)

Limitations[edit | edit source]

While the world is essentially infinite, the number of blocks the player may physically walk on is limited. The map contains a world border at +/- 29,999,984 X/Z. The world border is an animated wall of blue stripes; as you approach, the edges of the screen will tint red for several seconds. Most entities are unable to pass the border, except through teleporting. Players who breach the border will receive constant damage, unless they are in Creative mode.

In the Pocket Edition, Old worlds are limited to 256 blocks in either direction. The edge of the world is barricaded with invisible bedrock.

In the Xbox 360 Edition, PlayStation 3 Edition, and Wii U Edition, the Overworld is limited to 862×862 blocks. Additionally, in the Xbox One Edition and PlayStation 4 Edition, the player is able to further select the size of their worlds, from Small (1024×1024), Medium (3072×3072), and Large (5120×5120). The edges of these worlds are surrounded by an endless sea of water, preceded by an invisible barrier.

Blocks[edit | edit source]

I Has a different ID as an inventory item.
D Use the item's Damage field to define its durability.
S Requires additional data from the saved game's Data array to fully define the block.
B Requires additional data in the item's Damage field to fully define the inventory item.
E Requires a block entity to store additional data.
Red Cannot be legitimately obtained. Only available using the /give command or via inventory editors.
Light Blue Cannot be obtained no matter what.(Some can be placed using /setblock)
Blue Available in Creative mode by item list.
Purple Available in Creative mode by block picking.
Teal Can be obtained by trading with villagers or in Creative mode.
Green Only available by having Enchanted tools or in Creative mode.
Lime Green Only available by having Enchanted tools or via use of /give or inventory editors, but unobtainable in the Creative mode menu.
Gray Unused data.

Naturally generated[edit | edit source]

"Naturally generated" includes blocks that are created through the world seed.


Icon Dec Hex Name Block
0 0 minecraft:air Air
Stone.png 1 1 minecraft:stone Stone S B
Grass.png 2 2 minecraft:grass Grass Block
Dirt.png 3 3 minecraft:dirt Dirt S B
Bedrock.png 7 7 minecraft:bedrock Bedrock
Water.png 8 8 minecraft:flowing_water Water S
Lava.png 10 A minecraft:flowing_lava Lava S
Sand.png 12 C minecraft:sand Sand S B
Gravel.png 13 D minecraft:gravel Gravel
Gold Ore.png 14 E minecraft:gold_ore Gold Ore
Iron Ore.png 15 F minecraft:iron_ore Iron Ore
Coal Ore.png 16 10 minecraft:coal_ore Coal Ore
Wood.png 17 11 minecraft:log Wood S B
Leaves.png 18 12 minecraft:leaves Leaves S B
Lapis Lazuli Ore.png 21 15 minecraft:lapis_ore Lapis Lazuli Ore
Sandstone.png 24 18 minecraft:sandstone Sandstone S B
Tall Grass.png 31 1F minecraft:tallgrass Grass S B
Dead Bush.png 32 20 minecraft:deadbush Dead Bush
Dandelion.png 37 25 minecraft:yellow_flower Dandelion
Poppy.png 38 26 minecraft:red_flower Flower S B
Brown Mushroom.png 39 27 minecraft:brown_mushroom Brown Mushroom
Red Mushroom.png 40 28 minecraft:red_mushroom Red Mushroom
Diamond Ore.png 56 38 minecraft:diamond_ore Diamond Ore
Icon Dec Hex Name Block
Redstone Ore.png 73 49 minecraft:redstone_ore Redstone Ore
Snow.png 78 4E minecraft:snow_layer Snow S B
Ice.png 79 4F minecraft:ice Ice
Snow (Block).png 80 50 minecraft:snow Snow
Cactus.png 81 51 minecraft:cactus Cactus S
Clay Block.png 82 52 minecraft:clay Clay
Sugar Canes.png 83 53 minecraft:reeds Sugar Cane I S
Pumpkin.png 86 56 minecraft:pumpkin Pumpkin S
BrownMushroomCap.png 99 63 minecraft:brown_mushroom_block Brown Mushroom (block) S
RedMushroomCap.png 100 64 minecraft:red_mushroom_block Red Mushroom (block) S
Melon (Block).png 103 67 minecraft:melon_block Melon
Vines.png 106 6A minecraft:vine Vines S
Mycelium.png 110 6E minecraft:mycelium Mycelium
Lily Pad.png 111 6F minecraft:waterlily Lily Pad
Cocoa Plant.png 127 7F minecraft:cocoa Cocoa I S
Emerald Ore.png 129 81 minecraft:emerald_ore Emerald Ore
White Stained Clay.png 159 9F minecraft:stained_hardened_clay Stained Clay S B
Leaves.png 161 A1 minecraft:leaves2 Leaves (Acacia/Dark Oak) S B
Acacia Wood.png 162 A2 minecraft:log2 Wood (Acacia/Dark Oak) S B
Hardened Clay.png 172 AC minecraft:hardened_clay Hardened Clay
Packed Ice.png 174 AE minecraft:packed_ice Packed Ice
Sunflower.png 175 AF minecraft:double_plant Large Flowers S B

Naturally created[edit | edit source]

Naturally created means a combination of events that cause a new block to be placed by natural causes, not the player. Some of these blocks may also be created as part of world generation.


Icon Dec Hex Name Block
0 0 minecraft:air Air
Stone.png 1 1 minecraft:stone Stone S B
Grass.png 2 2 minecraft:grass Grass Block
Dirt.png 3 3 minecraft:dirt Dirt S B
Cobblestone.png 4 4 minecraft:cobblestone Cobblestone
Water.png 8 8 minecraft:flowing_water Water S
Brown Mushroom.png 39 27 minecraft:brown_mushroom Brown Mushroom
Red Mushroom.png 40 28 minecraft:red_mushroom Red Mushroom
Obsidian.png 49 31 minecraft:obsidian Obsidian
Fire.png 51 33 minecraft:fire Fire S
Snow.png 78 4E minecraft:snow_layer Snow S B
Ice.png 79 4F minecraft:ice Ice
Cactus.png 81 51 minecraft:cactus Cactus S
Sugar Canes.png 83 53 minecraft:reeds Sugar Cane I S
Vines.png 106 6A minecraft:vine Vines S
Mycelium.png 110 6E minecraft:mycelium Mycelium

Structures[edit | edit source]

Same as naturally generated, but these blocks are only created with the "Generate Structures" option enabled.


Icon Dec Hex Name Block
0 0 minecraft:air Air
Polished Andesite.png 1 1 minecraft:stone Polished Andesite S B
Cobblestone.png 4 4 minecraft:cobblestone Cobblestone
Oak Wood Planks.png 5 5 minecraft:planks Oak Wood Planks S B
Spruce Wood Planks.png 5 5 minecraft:planks Spruce Wood Planks S B
Acacia Wood Planks.png 5 5 minecraft:planks Acacia Wood Planks S B
Dark Oak Wood Planks.png 5 5 minecraft:planks Dark Oak Wood Planks S B
Water.png 8 8 minecraft:flowing_water Water S
Lava.png 10 A minecraft:flowing_lava Lava S
Gravel.png 13 D minecraft:gravel Gravel
Coal Ore.png 16 10 minecraft:coal_ore Coal Ore
Wood.png 17 11 minecraft:log Oak Wood S B
Spruce Wood.png 17 11 minecraft:log Spruce Wood S B
Sponge.png 19 13 minecraft:sponge Sponge S B
Dispenser.png 23 17 minecraft:dispenser Dispenser S E
Sandstone.png 24 18 minecraft:sandstone Sandstone S B
Bed.png 26 1A minecraft:bed Bed I S
Sticky Piston.png 29 1D minecraft:sticky_piston Sticky Piston S
WebBlock.png 30 1E minecraft:web Cobweb
White Wool.png 35 23 minecraft:wool Wool S B
Block of Gold.png 41 29 minecraft:gold_block Block of Gold
Stone Slab.png 43 2B minecraft:stone_slab Stone Slab S B
TNT.png 46 2E minecraft:tnt TNT
Bookshelf.png 47 2F minecraft:bookshelf Bookshelf
Moss Stone.png 48 30 minecraft:mossy_cobblestone Moss Stone
Torch.png 50 32 minecraft:torch Torch S
Monster Spawner.png 52 34 minecraft:mob_spawner Monster Spawner E
Oak Wood Stairs.png 53 35 minecraft:oak_stairs Oak Wood Stairs S
Chest.png 54 36 minecraft:chest Chest S E
Redstone (Wire,Inventory).png 55 37 minecraft:redstone_wire Redstone Wire I S
Crafting Table.png 58 3A minecraft:crafting_table Crafting Table
Crops.png 59 3B minecraft:wheat Wheat S
Farmland.png 60 3C minecraft:farmland Farmland S
Furnace.png 61 3D minecraft:furnace Furnace S E
Wooden Door.png 64 40 minecraft:wooden_door Oak Door I S
Ladder.png 65 41 minecraft:ladder Ladder S
Rail.png 66 42 minecraft:rail Rail S
Cobblestone Stairs.png 67 43 minecraft:stone_stairs Cobblestone Stairs S
Wall Sign.png 68 44 minecraft:sign Wall Sign I S E
Lever.png 69 45 minecraft:lever Lever S
Stone Pressure Plate.png 70 46 minecraft:stone_pressure_plate Stone Pressure Plate S
Iron Door.png 71 47 minecraft:iron_door Iron Door I S
Wooden Pressure Plate.png 72 48 minecraft:wooden_pressure_plate Wooden Pressure Plate S
Redstone (Torch, Active).png 76 4C minecraft:redstone_torch Redstone Torch S
Icon Dec Hex Name Block
Stone Button.png 77 4D minecraft:stone_button Stone Button S
Ice.png 79 4F minecraft:ice Ice
Snow (Block).png 80 50 minecraft:snow Snow
Fence.png 85 55 minecraft:fence Oak Fence
Redstone (Repeater, Inactive).png 93 5D minecraft:unpowered_repeater Redstone Repeater (inactive) I S
Trapdoor.png 96 60 minecraft:trapdoor Trapdoor S
Stone.png 97 61 minecraft:monster_egg Stone Monster Egg S B
Stone Brick.png 97 61 minecraft:monster_egg Stone Brick Monster Egg S B
Cracked Stone Brick.png 97 61 minecraft:monster_egg Cracked Stone Brick Monster Egg S B
Mossy Stone Brick.png 97 61 minecraft:monster_egg Mossy Stone Brick Monster Egg S B
Chiseled Stone Brick.png 97 61 minecraft:monster_egg Chiseled Stone Brick Monster Egg S B
Stone Brick.png 98 62 minecraft:stonebrick Stone Bricks S B
Stone Brick.png 98 62 minecraft:stonebrick Cracked Stone Bricks S B
Stone Brick.png 98 62 minecraft:stonebrick Mossy Stone Bricks S B
Stone Brick.png 98 62 minecraft:stonebrick Chiseled Stone Bricks S B
Iron Bars.png 101 65 minecraft:iron_bars Iron Bars
Glass Pane.png 102 66 minecraft:glass_pane Glass Pane
Brewing Stand.png 117 75 minecraft:brewing_stand Brewing Stand I S E
Cauldron.png 118 76 minecraft:cauldron Cauldron I S
End Portal Frame.png 120 78 minecraft:end_portal_frame End Portal Frame S
Oak-Wood Slab.png 126 7E minecraft:wooden_slab Oak Wood Slab S B
Spruce Wood Slab.png 126 7E minecraft:wooden_slab Spruce Wood Slab S B
Sandstone Stairs.png 128 80 minecraft:sandstone_stairs Sandstone Stairs S
Tripwire Hook.png 131 83 minecraft:tripwire_hook Tripwire Hook S
Tripwire.png 132 84 minecraft:tripwire Tripwire I S
Spruce Wood Stairs.png 134 86 minecraft:spruce_stairs Spruce Wood Stairs S
Flower Pot.png 140 8C minecraft:flower_pot Flower Pot I S E
Carrot (Block).png 141 8D minecraft:carrots Carrot I S
Potatoes (Block).png 142 8E minecraft:potatoes Potato I S
Acacia Wood.png 162 A2 minecraft:log2 Acacia Wood S B
Acacia Wood Stairs.png 163 A3 minecraft:acacia_stairs Acacia Wood Stairs S
Prismarine.png 168 A8 minecraft:prismarine Prismarine S B
Sea Lantern.png 169 A9 minecraft:sea_lantern Sea Lantern
White Carpet.png 171 AB minecraft:white_carpet White Carpet S B
Gray Carpet.png 171 AB minecraft:gray_carpet Gray Carpet S B
Red Carpet.png 171 AB minecraft:red_carpet Red Carpet S B
Spruce Fence.png 188 BC minecraft:spruce_fence Spruce Fence
Dark Oak Fence.png 191 BF minecraft:dark_oak_fence Dark Oak Fence
Acacia Fence.png 192 C0 minecraft:acacia_fence Acacia Fence
Spruce Door.png 193 C1 minecraft:spruce_door Spruce Door I S
Acacia Door.png 196 C4 minecraft:acacia_door Acacia Door I S
Beetroot (Block).png 207 CF minecraft:beetroots Beetroot Seeds
Grass Path.png 208 D0 minecraft:grass_path Grass Path
Bone Block.png 216 D8 minecraft:bone_block Bone Block

Technical information[edit | edit source]

Information on the Overworld is stored in the region file of the .minecraft/saves/worldname directory, with "worldname" being the name of your world.

Deleting the region file will reset the Overworld, so that all player-made changes and buildings in that dimension will be undone.

History[edit | edit source]

Pre-classic
Pre 0.0.0 The map is originally finite, with randomly-generated terrain.
rd-132211 The map terrain is changed to be completely flat.
rd-160052 The terrain is now composed of hills and valleys.
Classic
0.0.12a Terrain changed to shallow hills.
0.24_06 Terrain given more cliffs, longer and narrower caves.
Indev
February 12, 2010 Added the day-night cycle.
Infdev
February 27, 2010 First test of infinite world generation, using the same terrain generator as in Indev.
March 27, 2010 New terrain generator, removing flowers and caves temporarily.
June 11, 2010 Changed terrain generator.
Alpha
1.0.0 Height limit increased to 128. Previously the build limit was 64 (32 blocks above sea level and 32 below).
1.2.0 Added biomes.
1.2.3 The F3 key toggles a debug console which shows the player their exact coordinates.
Beta
1.3 Player's can now specify a world's name and seed.
1.5 Added weather.
1.7 An 'f' value was added to the debug console, indicating the direction the player is facing.
1.8 Players can find the current map seed by pressing F3.
Some biomes were changed, added, or removed.
Animals spawn on world generation, and don't spawn randomly as much.
The Far Lands were removed and were replaced with void.
Official release
1.2.1 12w07a New maps have a height of 256 thanks to the new Anvil level format.
1.6.1 13w17a Desert biomes do not generate large pools of water anymore
1.7.2 13w36a Cave Generation was tweaked, making caves less dense and interconnected.[1]
New biomes were added and some old biomes were changed.
13w37a An invisible barrier at 30,000,000 blocks was added. This removed the last remnants of the Far Lands.

Issues[edit | edit source]

Issues relating to “The Overworld” are maintained on the issue tracker. Report issues there.

Trivia[edit | edit source]

  • The maximum number of blocks that can be generated in the Overworld is approximately 921.6 quadrillion (9.216x1017) blocks, assuming a distance of 30,000,000 blocks in either direction.
    • The total area is about 8 times the surface of the Earth, or approximately the size of Neptune.
    • This means that a filled world, with no entities or block entities, would be 3.6864 quintillion (3.6864x1018) bits (409.27261579781770706 petabytes) in block data alone, due to the fact that each standard block is assigned 4 bits of information.
  • If someone made a 1:1 (1 block = 1 meter) scale version of the Earth, its area would be 510.9 trillion (5.109x1014) blocks.
    • Assuming the map is only one block deep and uses 1 byte per block, its size would be approximately 475,800 GB, or 464.7 TB.
    • A Moon-sized map would be made of 37.95 trillion (3.795x1013) blocks.
      • Its data size would be 35,340 GB, or 34.52 TB.

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. http://www.minecraftforum.net/topic/1981051-it-seems-that-the-underground-is-no-longer-swiss-cheese-anymore/page__hl__cave%20generation%20swiss%20cheese