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A village is defined through several mechanics: the village gathering sites, village radius, number of job sites, number of houses, population size (number of villagers), population cap (maximum number of villagers that can live in the village based on available housing and beds), cat population, and Iron Golem population. Players can use these mechanics to build artificial villages.
A village needs at least one house and one villager to be considered a "village". A "house" is marked by a bed. A village utilizes villager breeding to try to maintain a 100% population level, so long as there are at least two villagers occupying it.
The village gathering site is a gathering point of a village's occupants, even if it is not located in the middle of the village. It is defined by claimed bells near claimed beds. When a bell is claimed, green particles appear above the bell and the bell is registered as a gathering site. Gathering sites are where villagers spend their mingling time during the day. If a player is in a village, a wandering trader can spawn at the gathering site from a claimed bell. Iron golems spawn near gathering sites when villagers gossip about iron golems while mingling.[Java Edition only]
The bell must be within the village boundary to be considered a centerpoint of the village, therefore it needs to be located nearby to at least 1 villager and 1 bed. If villagers and a bell are present but without beds, the villagers search for unclaimed beds rather than mingle.
Adding a bell at a location near claimed beds establishes a new gathering site, even if the village already has one. Villagers organize themselves into different mingling groups, one for each gathering site. A villager remembers its specific gathering site and pathfinds toward it during mingling time, even if another gathering site is closer.
The village size is always geometrically defined as a rectangle. The borders are 32 blocks from the village center, or 32 blocks from any village points of interest (a point of interest is any bed, bell, or job site block). The village center is typically the northwest corner of the village bell,[Java Edition only] or one of the claimed beds if there is no bell. The smallest rectangular size possible is 64×64 blocks.
A "house" is defined as a claimed bed. If the bed is obstructed by a solid block, villagers cannot pathfind to the bed and therefore cannot claim the bed,[Java Edition only] causing anger particles to emit from the villager's head and also from on top of the bed. If a villager succeeds in sleeping in an obstructed bed, the villager suffocates and likely dies, leaving the bed unclaimed.
Once a villager has claimed a bed, the claimed bed is registered as a house in the village and the villager remembers the position of the claimed bed, even when the villager is underground. In the evening, villagers return to their houses (beds). However, if a villager cannot reach their bed and then loses ownership of it, other villagers can then claim it. In this case the previous bed owner forgets the house location and then searches for another unclaimed bed.
Naturally spawned villagers spawn either as unemployed or as a nitwit. They can then change their profession by seeking and claiming an unclaimed job site block.
Naturally generated villages consist of two main types of buildings: a house (any building with beds) and a job site (a building with job site blocks). No villagers spawn in the job site buildings. Therefore if a naturally generated village consists of only job site buildings, no villagers can spawn and the structures are never registered as a village.
Employed villagers spend their time working at their job site block, starting in the morning. Unemployed villagers, nitwits, and baby villagers have no job site and do not work. Just like claimed beds, once a villager chooses a job site block, the villager remembers its position. They work in the morning and in the afternoon after having mingled at the gathering site.
The player can transport villagers to new locations (for the purpose of starting new villages or baiting mob traps) using a variety of techniques:
- Minecart: The player builds a minecart track from the village to the destination, then pushes a villager into the cart and pushes the cart to the destination.
- Water path: The player creates a tunnel or walled path with no exits along the way, and then with two water buckets, uses water to push villagers down the path a few blocks at a time, using the empty bucket to retrieve the water block furthest back. A soul sand bubble column can be used to move villagers upward.
- Boat: A simple way to transport a single villager over ground is to push one into a boat and then drive the boat, which can be rowed (albeit slowly) over land. A boat can move upward by using a piston in the ground or creating an upward bubble column. The player can also drive the boat up to the step, place a second boat on the step, break the first boat (without hitting the villager) to cause the villager to move to the second boat. In Bedrock Edition, a boat can be pulled up using a lead.
- Bell and beds: To move many villagers at once, the player may remove all beds from a village and place one bed down, ring a bell to cause villagers to seek the nearest bed, place another bed down further along in the desired direction and ring the bell again after breaking the first bed, and repeat until reaching the destination. It helps to have two or more players collaborating.
- Nether portal: If portals have not already been constructed in The Nether, then the player can create a portal at the Overworld destination, travel into the nether and back out again immediately, then build another portal in a village less than 1,024 blocks from the first portal. After pushing villagers into the village portal (manually or by minecart), then pushing them back out again, letting them "cool down" for 30 seconds, and pushing them back in, the villagers should exit from the first portal.[verify]
Breeding and population cap
Villagers can sometimes breed without player intervention, but there must be at least two adult villagers who can reach each other. If a player is starting a village from scratch, or recovering from zombie villagers and there are no villagers left (or only one), then they need to acquire more, using one of these methods:
- Hauling them in from another village, possibly using a method in the above section
- Bringing them up from an igloo basement
- Curing Zombie Villagers
- Using commands or spawn eggs
Villagers go into love mode (indicated by red heart particles above both their heads) if they have enough food to make themselves and their partner willing. They enter love mode based on their amount of food, not the population cap (based on the number of beds), but can produce a baby only if they have their own beds plus an available bed for the baby, and the beds have three empty blocks above them (there needs to be room for the baby to jump on the bed). If the population cap is met, or the beds are obstructed, angry particles appear above their heads (along with the heart particles), preventing them from mating. Much like with farm animals, when two villagers are in love mode and can see each other, they pathfind toward the other and stare for a few seconds, after which a baby villager spawns next to them. Breeding villagers does not drop experience. This new villager wears clothing dependent on the biome the village is in. It acquires a job after it has grown up and there is a valid, unclaimed job site.
Here is a quick example of a simple, fully automatic design for a villager breeding system:
Villagers must be "willing" in order to breed.
Villagers can become willing if the player trades with them. Willingness is granted the first time a new offer is traded, or at a one-in-five chance on subsequent trades. This does not cause them to immediately seek out a mate, however.
Villagers can also become willing by having 12 "food" in their inventory. Bread counts as 4 food, while carrots, potatoes, and beetroots count as only 1. Farmer villagers occasionally throw harvested crops at villagers, allowing them to pick them up to obtain enough food to become willing.
Breeding consumes 12 "food".
Curing zombie villagers
Players can cure Zombie Villagers by using a golden apple on them while they are affected by weakness. Players can usually apply weakness by brewing potions. In Nether-disabled servers, a witch and a zombie villager are needed. Witches sometimes throw a splash potion of weakness (if a player is within 3 meters), which they can use to their advantage.
After the player uses the splash potion of weakness and the golden apple, the zombie makes a loud sizzling sound, emits orange swirly particles, and shakes. During the conversion time (up to 5 minutes), they still behave as zombies, so they should be protected from sunlight and kept away from nearby villagers. After a few minutes, they turn into regular villagers.
5% of zombies are zombie villagers, so it shouldn't take the player too long to find two that are curable. Additionally, when a villager is attacked by a zombie (any zombie) they have a chance (50% on normal difficulty, and 100% on hard) of turning into a zombie villager instead of just being killed. Zombie villagers are a great way to start an artificial village, because unlike villagers, zombie villagers follow the player long distances. Then when they arrive at the desired location, they can be cured.
A player's popularity starts at zero and ranges between −30 and 30. The following can alter a player's popularity:
A player's popularity does not reset on death, and players cannot alter other players' popularity. Popularity is stored per village; a player's popularity may be high in one village and low in another. When a player acts directly on a villager, particles around that villager indicate the change in popularity. Conversely, because popularity is stored per village, if the entire village is destroyed, any accumulated popularity, positive or negative, is also eliminated.
If a player has -15 popularity or less, the village's naturally-spawned iron golems act hostile to that player until the player's popularity is increased by trading. Golems constructed by the player, however, are always passive toward the player. Summoning golems , trading and healing increasing popularity.
The number of cats spawned in a village is based on the number of beds in that village. Cats require only one villager, and one cat can spawn for every four beds. The beds don't need to be claimed. Up to 40 beds can be present for a max of 10 cats, and cats respawn based on the number of beds.
If there are two villages, each already with 10 cats, merging the villages into single village does not cause any cats to despawn. However, the number of cats is still capped at 10, so no new cats spawn until the number of cats is below 10.
Cats can be made by the player to run out of the village, thus allowing for more cats to spawn.
Iron golems are spawned when Villagers are talking. Their spawning requirements are:
- The villager must be gossiping with another villager
- The villager has not seen an iron golem recently
- 5 villagers within 10 blocks meet those requirements (other than #1)
- The random location chosen for the Iron Golem isn't air or liquid that blocks light.
Random location choosing is attempted 10 times within 16 blocks of the villager, and is attempted once from 6 blocks above the chosen x and z, to 6 blocks below it.
At midnight, there is a 10% chance that a zombie siege might occur. This is when a large number of zombies spawn in or near a village, attacking what villagers they can reach, crowding around and pounding on the doors of those they can't. On hard or hardcore mode, they can actually break down the wooden doors (this is true of all zombies, not just during sieges). They'll attempt to beat them down on other difficulties, but not succeed. A zombie siege requires a village of at least 20 villagers and at least 10 beds.
Zombies in sieges ignore the 24-block minimum distance from the player, but other than that, behave absolutely normally (i.e., they do not spawn on glowstone or any other transparent or half block, need a 2×1×1 minimum space, etc.). They can also spawn INSIDE doors, making iron golem farms difficult to build on hard, as zombies break down doors. However, zombies do not spawn 128 blocks away from them, even though the siege is technically happening in the game code, so the player is safe if they build a village high up. Houses can be virtually zombie-proof simply by taking out one ground block from directly in front of the door, and, if necessary, rehanging the door such that the outside is "smooth," i.e. the door's position on its ground block runs consistent with the outside wall. This is because zombies can break only the top half of a door, and if they have to jump, they cannot get through. In addition, players can fill the hole with two layers of carpet to achieve the same effect as zombies cannot pathfind into the door.
When a player with the 'Bad Omen' debuff enters a village, the Bad Omen effect disappears and a raid occurs. Raids are groups of illagers (pillagers, vindicators, evokers, ravagers, and witches) attacking the village with the intent of killing villagers. They can remove the 'Bad Omen' debuff by drinking milk before entering a village to prevent raids; however, they can also defend a village from a raid, at which point they gain the 'Hero of the Village' buff. This causes villagers to give them steep discounts during trading, as well as bestow various gifts upon them.[Java Edition only]