Overworld

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The forest and a mountain range as seen in the Overworld.

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

Creation[edit]

The Overworld is the only dimension created when the player creates a new world. The other dimensions—The Nether and The End—aren't created until a player enters the corresponding dimension for the first time.

Seeds[edit]

Main article: Seed

A new world in Minecraft is generated through the use of a seed, which is an integer used as a starting point for the world generation formula. The player can specify a seed or allow the game to generate one randomly. If given a non-integer input (such as the word "Glacier"), the game converts it into a corresponding integer (such as 1772835215).

A given seed generates almost exactly the same world every time, provided the same edition, game version, and world type are used. Although the exact spawn point varies, the coordinates of all-terrain features are the same. Seeds in Bedrock, Education, and New Nintendo 3DS editions also generate identical worlds for the same version and world type, but these are completely different from the worlds generated by those seeds in other editions.

Environment[edit]

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

Biomes[edit]

A river biome running through a badlands biome.
Main article: Biome

The Overworld is divided into biomes of various types. A biome's type determines the basic characteristics of the terrain within it, and almost all of them have several variations that alter these characteristics to create more realistic terrain. The biome type also influences the biome's size, determines which mobs can spawn within it and affects how environmental behaviors such as weather are expressed within it.

Natural structures[edit]

A village, one of many naturally generated structures in the Overworld.
Main article: Generated structures

The Overworld is composed of a large number of terrain patterns, called structures, whose arrangement varies widely from one seed to another. The exact structures are unique to each world, while the types of structures that can be generated at a given place are determined by the biome type. Structures are meant to represent real-world equivalents such as mountains, caves, and lakes. "Impossible" (in the real world) 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.

Daylight cycle[edit]

A view of the day-night cycle.
Main article: Daylight cycle

The Overworld is the only dimension with a daylight cycle and the only one where the environment reflects the passage of time. In contrast to time zones in the real world, Overworld time is universal; it is always the same time for every player in the dimension regardless of how far apart they might be, even in an "infinite" world.

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 falls to a minimum of 4, allowing hostile mobs to spawn. Other than during thunderstorms, nighttime is the only time players may sleep in a bed.

The daylight cycle can effectively be measured using a clock, which allows players to determine the approximate Minecraft time anywhere in the Overworld. Time can also be changed or stopped with the use of the /time command.

The sun rises in the east and sets in the west, just as it does in the real world. Observing its motion is a simple method of telling direction without a compass.

Mobs[edit]

Main article: Mob

The Overworld is home to a wide variety of mobs. Mobs vary greatly in behavior and the level of danger they present to the player. Different mobs spawn at different times and places depending on the light level and the biome, among other factors. On occasion, a mob can move between the Overworld and another dimension, such as The Nether, by using a portal, but this is uncommon. Boss mobs like the ender dragon and the wither cannot enter portals.

Passive mobs[edit]

SheepFace.png CowFace.png PigFace.png ChickenFace.png RabbitFace.png OcelotFace.png FoxFace.png MooshroomFace.png BatFace.png
Sheep Cow Pig Chicken Rabbit Ocelot Fox Mooshroom Bat
SkeletonHorseFace.png SquidFace.png CodBody.png SalmonBody.png TropicalFishBody.png PufferfishFace.png TurtleFace.png VillagerFace.png ZombieHorseFace.png
Skeleton Horse Squid Cod Salmon Tropical Fish Pufferfish Turtle Villager
WanderingTraderFace.png WolfFace.png CatFace.png HorseFace.png DonkeyFace.png MuleFace.png LlamaFace.png ParrotFace.png
Wandering Trader Wolf Cat Horse Donkey Mule Llama Parrot

Neutral mobs[edit]

SpiderFace.png CaveSpiderFace.png EndermanFace.png IronGolemFace.png PolarBearFace.png DolphinFace.png PandaFace.png BeeFace.png WolfFace.png
Spider(If Day) Cave Spider Enderman Iron Golem Polar Bear Dolphin Panda Bee Wolf

Hostile mobs[edit]

ZombieFace.png HuskFace.png DrownedFace.png SkeletonFace.png StrayFace.png CreeperFace.png SlimeFace.png SpiderJockeyFace.png ChickenJockeyFace.png SkeletonHorsemanFace.png
Zombie Husk Drowned Skeleton Stray Creeper Slime Spider Jockey Chicken Jockey Skeleton Horseman
ZombieVillagerFace.png WitchFace.png VindicatorFace.png EvokerFace.png PillagerFace.png RavagerFace.png SilverfishFace.png PhantomFace.png GuardianFace.png ElderGuardianFace.png
Zombie Villager Witch Vindicator Evoker Pillager Ravager Silverfish Phantom Guardian Elder Guardian

Generation[edit]

As with all other dimensions in the game, the Overworld can generate infinitely. However, there are some limitations, as detailed below. Like the other dimensions, it is divided into 16×256×16 block sections called chunks.

The Overworld encompasses a three-dimensional volume that extends vertically from the build limit (y=256) down to the Void (y=0), and horizontally for a virtually infinite distance in each direction. This volume is filled (virtually speaking) with air, terrain, and structures. Technically, the terrain is formed by generating multiple noise maps to produce differing elevations, general land shapes, and complex mountain and cave systems.

Limitations[edit]

Visual cutoff point of an old Minecraft map (Left is normal Minecraft generation, the right is after limitation.)
Main articles: World border and Far Lands

While the world is virtually infinite, the number of blocks a player may physically reach is limited with where the limits are depending on the edition of the game and the world type being played.

In Java Edition, the map contains a hard coded world border located by default at X/Z coordinates ±29,999,984. The world border is an animated wall of blue stripes. Standing near the border results in a red vignette appearing around the screen. Most entities are unable to pass the border, except by teleporting. Players who breach the border receive constant damage unless they are in creative or spectator mode. The player can teleport past the world border and continue as far as X/Z ±29,999,999, where there is an invisible wall. However, the player can travel a few chunks further by riding horses, pigs, and minecarts through it.[verify] Once the player passes X/Z ±30,000,000, "fake chunks" generate in which the blocks have no collision boxes. If the hard coded limit is removed, Minecraft is able to generate solid terrain up to the 32 bit signed integer limit.

In Bedrock Edition, Old-type worlds are limited to 256 blocks each in the X and Z directions. The edge of the world is barricaded with an invisible barrier. Infinite-type worlds have no fixed horizontal limits, but either generation stops or normal game behavior begins to break down at extreme distances; the exact details depend on the platform. However, experiments suggest that players can generally reach at least X/Z ±30,000,000 before such problems occur.

In the Xbox 360 Edition, PlayStation 3 Edition, PlayStation Vita Edition, and Wii U Edition, the Overworld is limited to 864×864 blocks. Additionally, in the Xbox One Edition, PlayStation 4 Edition and Nintendo Switch Edition, the player is able to further select the size of their worlds, from Small (1024×1024), Medium (3072×3072), and Large (5120×5120, except Nintendo Switch Edition). The edges of these worlds are surrounded by an invisible barrier with an endless sea of water beyond it.

Terrain features[edit]

A picture of a mountains biome.
Main article: Terrain features

The Overworld contains numerous terrain features, at a wide variety of scales.

Blocks[edit]

Naturally generated[edit]

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

Naturally created[edit]

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.

Structures[edit]

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

Technical information[edit]

ID[edit]

NameNamespaced ID (JE)Numeric ID
Overworldoverworld 0

Folder[edit]

In Java Edition, information on the Overworld is stored in the region folder of the .minecraft/saves/worldname directory, with "worldname" being the name of your world.

Deleting the region folder resets the Overworld so that all player-made changes and buildings in that dimension are undone.

History[edit]

The classic finite generator used in late 2009
The version of the terrain generator used prior to Alpha v1.2.0
The world generator used from Alpha v1.2.0 to Beta 1.7.3.
The world generator used in release 1.7 onward
Java Edition pre-Classic
Cave game tech testThe map is originally finite, with randomly-generated terrain.
rd-132211The map terrain is changed to be completely flat.
rd-160052The terrain is now composed of hills and valleys.
Java Edition Classic
0.0.12aTerrain changed to shallow hills.
The Minecraft world is now surrounded by an ocean with a floor of bedrock.
Pressing N generates a new level.
August 25, 2009New generator showed off with terrain given more cliffs, longer and narrower caves.
Java Edition Indev
February 12, 2010, 1Added the daylight cycle.
Java Edition Infdev
February 27, 2010First test of infinite world generation, using the same terrain generator as in Indev.
March 27, 2010New terrain generator, removing flowers and caves temporarily.
Height limit increased to 128.[is this the correct version?] Previously the build limit was 64 (32 blocks above sea level and 32 below).
June 11, 2010Changed terrain generator.
Java Edition Alpha
v1.2.0previewAdded proper biomes.
v1.2.3The F3 key toggles a debug console that shows the player's exact coordinates.
Java Edition Beta
1.3Player's can now specify a world's name and seed.
1.5Added weather.
1.7An 'f' value was added to the debug console, indicating the direction the player is facing.
1.8Pre-releaseNew terrain generator.
Some biomes were changed, added, or removed.
Players can find the current map seed by pressing F3.
Animals spawn on world generation, and don't spawn randomly as much.
The Far Lands were removed and were replaced with void.
Java Edition
1.2.112w07aNew maps have a height of 256 thanks to the new Anvil level format.
1.6.113w17aDesert biomes do not generate large pools of water anymore
1.7.213w36aCave Generation was tweaked, making caves less dense and interconnected.[1]
New biomes were added and some old biomes were changed.
13w37aAn invisible barrier at 30,000,000 blocks was added. This removed the last remnants of the Far Lands.
1.814w17aAdded a world border, which appears one chunk before the world boundary, and can be penetrated.

Issues[edit]

Issues relating to "Overworld" are maintained on the bug tracker. Report issues there.

Gallery[edit]

Trivia[edit]

  • The maximum number of blocks that can be generated in the Overworld is approximately 921.6 quadrillion (9.216×1017) 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 surface area of the planet Neptune.
    • This means that storing a filled world, with no entities or block entities, would require 3.6864 quintillion (3.6864×1018) bits (409 petabytes) for the block data alone, based on the fact that each standard block is assigned 4 bits of information.
    • By manually modifying the game, it is possible to generate the world up to 2,147,483,647 blocks (the 32-bit integer limit) in either direction.
  • A 1:1 (1 block = 1 meter) scale map of the Earth, built-in Minecraft, would be 510.9 trillion (5.109×1014) blocks in size.
    • Assuming the map is one block deep and uses 1 byte per block, its size would be approximately 475,800 GB (464.7 TB).
    • A Moon-sized map would be made of 37.95 trillion (3.795×1013) blocks. Its data size would be 35,340 GB (34.52 TB).

See also[edit]

References[edit]