How To Unload Chunks In Minecraft Java Edition, Unloading Chunks

Visualization of the ground portion of a single chunk. The entire chunk extends up to a height of 256.

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A chunk is a 256-block (384-block‌) tall 16×16 segment of a wtbblue.com world. Chunks are the method used by the world generator to divide maps into manageable pieces.

Generation

Chunks are 16 blocks wide, 16 blocks long, 256 blocks high, and 65,536 blocks total. Chunks generate around players when they first enter the world. As they wander around the world, new chunks generate as needed.

Chunks generate with the help of the map seed, which means that the chunks are always the same if you would use the same seed again, as long as the map generator and version number remain the same.

Spawn chunks, a 16×16 set of chunks around the world spawn are always loaded, so you can use that to your advantage when making automatic farms.

Chunk loading

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Unloaded chunks

Since wtbblue.com worlds are 30 million blocks in each cardinal direction and contain an extreme amount of chunks, the game loads only certain chunks in order to make the game playable.

Unloaded chunks are unprocessed by the game and do not process any of the game aspects.

Java Edition

Tickets

Loading starts when a chunk receives ticket. All loaded chunks originate from the ticket.

Each load ticket has three properties: Level, Ticket type and (optionally) Time to Live.

Level and load type

Levels are numbers that determine what load type the chunk is.

Load levels range from 22 to 44 in regular gameplay, while only 22 to 33 are relevant. Load levels less than 22 are valid but only possible with a modded game. Load levels above 44 are not possible.

For a given chunk, only its lowest level matters. (Lower levels = higher load type.)

There are four chunk load types; each load type has different properties. This excludes unloaded chunks.

Load TypeLevelProperties
Entity Ticking 31 and below All game aspects are active.
Ticking 32 All game aspects are active except that entities are not processed (do not move) and chunk ticks aren”t either.
Border 33 Only some game aspects are active (Redstone and command blocks do not work).
Inaccessible 34 and above No game aspects are active, but world generation still occurs.

Level propagation

Load levels “propagate” or flow from source chunk with a ticket to neighboring chunks, but each time it increases its Level by 1 until the maximum of 44.

The chunks that get load level from level expansion activate the assigned load type.

Level propagation with a level of 31. Note that levels 35 and more are ignored because they are identical to 34.

34 34 34 34 34 34 34
34 33 33 33 33 33 34
34 33 32 32 32 33 34
34 33 32 31 32 33 34
34 33 32 32 32 33 34
34 33 33 33 33 33 34
34 34 34 34 34 34 34
Same level propagation but with load type instead of Level with abbreviations of the load types.

IN IN IN IN IN IN IN
IN BO BO BO BO BO IN
IN BO TI TI TI BO IN
IN BO TI ET TI BO IN
IN BO TI TI TI BO IN
IN BO BO BO BO BO IN
IN IN IN IN IN IN IN

Ticket types

There are different ticket types, which come from various sources and activate chunks with different load types.

Player ticket

This ticket is caused by the player and is assigned level 31. A player ticket is given to each chunk within an area surrounding the player as defined by the formulas described below and propagates as described in the table above.

In single-player, the chunk loading distance is one less than the render distance, as configured in Options. It follows the formula (2r – 3)2 = AoC where r is the selected render distance, and AoC is the area of chunks that are assigned an original player ticket (level 31 – entity ticking). The minimum AoC is 9, which means that there is no difference between having the render distance set to 2 or 3.

For example, in a single-player game with a render distance of 5 chunks, an area of 7 × 7 chunks centered around the player has a load type of entity ticking (level 31) the immediately enclosing chunks —. The strip of chunks at the outer edge of a 9 × 9 perimeter surrounding the player — have ticking (level 32), and the next enclosing chunks (11 × 11 perimeter) are border chunks (level 33).

In multiplayer, the chunk loading distance is equal to the view-distance, as configured in server.properties. It follows the formula (2v + 1)2 = AoC where v is the configured view-distance, and AoC is the area of chunks that are assigned an original player ticket (level 31 – entity ticking).

For example, in a multiplayer server with a configured view-distance of 5 chunks, an area of 11 × 11 chunks centered around the player has a load type of entity ticking (level 31), while the immediately enclosing chunks —. The strip of chunks at the outer edge of a 13 × 13 perimeter surrounding the player — have ticking (level 32), and the next enclosing chunks (15 × 15 perimeter) are border chunks (level 33).

Forced ticket

A ticket can also be created by using the forceload command. It has a Level of 31, so its propagation can be seen in the table above.

Chunks remain force-loaded even after closing and opening the game.

Start ticket

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Ticket created by the world spawn for the chunk it is located at (“spawn chunks”). Its position can be changed by a /setworldspawn command. It has a level of 22, the lowest in the game. They are active whenever the player is in the overworld and are otherwise permanently active.

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Portal ticket

Ticket created when an entity is teleported through nether portal, given to chunk at the other side of the portal. It has a level of 30, so it is stronger than the player/force loaded ticket.

It expires after 300 game ticks (without lag equivalent to 15 seconds). Because they are created each time an entity passes through the portal, it is possible to create a “chunk loader”. Perpetually keeping chunks loaded without the player being near, which can be used for various in-game mechanics such as farms, but can create lag.

Dragon ticket

Ticket created at the start of the battle with ender dragon and is given to the 0,0 chunk (the one with exit portal). It has a Level of 24.

It expires after no more players participate in the battle, or the dragon dies.

Post-teleport ticket

Ticket created when entity is teleported either by going through the end portal or using teleport or spreadplayers commands. The teleport command has a Level of 32, whereas, for the spreadplayers and end portal, it has a Level of 33.

It expires after 5 game ticks.

Temporary ticket

Ticket created when an arbitrary piece of game code calls “getChunk”. If the game code says the chunk should be loaded, it places this ticket on that chunk (after possibly creating it).

The load level depends on what kind of chunk the game attempts to load (a fully world-generated chunk or not). It is always level 33 (border) or greater. In many cases, it involves world generation in some way.

For example, when a generic mob wandering AI is executing, it asks if a certain block has a solid top surface. As part of that check, that chunk has an “unknown” ticket with level 33 placed on it.

It expires after 1 game tick.

Light ticket

Unknown, possibly world-generation related.

LimitationsIdle timeoutEach dimension has its own idle timeout. If there are players or forceloaded chunks in the dimension, the timeout is disabled. When entity leaves or enters this dimension, the timeout is reset.If the timeout reaches 300 game ticks, the dimension stops processing certain actions. These include entity and block entity ticking, ender dragon fight, and global entities (lightning).Some game aspects don”t always get processed in loading chunks because there may be other conditions for their progress, which includes the following:Chunk tickEntitiesHostile mobs instantly despawn if they spawn more than 128 blocks from any player.Passive mobs do not spawn naturally outside a 240 block X 240 block area around a player.The passive mob spawn cap is limited by the number of friendly mobs loaded into memory, which means that any passive mobs present in the spawn chunks count toward the mob cap and usually prevents friendly mobs from naturally spawning anywhere else in the world. The only exception is when passive mobs spawn as part of a newly generated chunk.Exceptions

Events in a chunk may affect blocks in outside chunks. If the outside chunk is inactive, the effects are suspended in most cases. Specifically,

Block changing on the edge of a ticking chunk can spread updates to blocks outside the ticking chunk and make them respond appropriately. The update may be propagated block by block until outside the border chunks, at which time it creates a temporary ticket to continue propagation.Block in a chunk with a 33 level can request a scheduled tick, but it does not get processed until the chunk gets a load level of 32 or below.Flowing water or lava can spread to the first adjacent block outside a ticking chunk, but the flow becomes suspended there until the border chunk has a greater load level.Fire can spread to the first adjacent flammable block outside the ticking chunk. Like water and lava, it becomes suspended there. It cannot spread further until the outside chunk gets a level of 30 or below.Grass and mycelium can spread to the first adjacent block outsider an entity ticking chunk.Pumpkin and melon stem growing on the edge of an entity ticking chunk can place their fruits on an adjacent block outside an entity ticking chunk.An entity (mob, minecart, arrow, etc.) that attempts to move into a ticking chunk from an entity ticking chunk becomes suspended as soon as it leaves the entity ticking chunk. When the ticking chunk gets a greater level, the entity resumes moving.Exploding TNT in entity ticking chunks can damage or destroy blocks in a non-entity-ticking chunk.

Bedrock Edition

All game aspects are active in loading chunks, including chunks within a player”s simulation distance and chunks loaded by Commands/tickingarea. Unloaded chunks are unprocessed by the game and do not process any of the game aspects.

TypePlayerA round-like shape.Chunks within the simulation distance of a player are loading.CommandCreate with the /tickingarea command.Limit
EntitiesMob spawning is evaluated for every chunk within a 6 chunk cylindrical radius of the player that is loaded.Exception

Events in a ticking area may affect blocks in outside chunks. If the outside chunk is inactive, the effects are suspended in most cases. Specifically,

Block changing on the edge of a ticking area can spread updates to blocks outside the ticking area and respond appropriately.Flowing water or lava can spread to the first adjacent block in an outside chunk, but the flow becomes suspended there until the outside chunk becomes active.Fire can spread to the first adjacent flammable block outside the ticking area. Like water and lava, it becomes suspended there; although visible, its animation does not run, and it cannot spread further until the outside chunk becomes active.Grass and mycelium can spread to the first adjacent block in an outside chunk, but the affected block does not actually change its appearance until its chunk becomes active; it then changes instantly. Grass and mycelium cannot spread beyond the first such block, nor from such a block into the ticking area until the outside chunk becomes active.Pumpkin and melon stem growing on the edge of a ticking area can place their fruits on an adjacent block in an outside chunk.An entity (mob, minecart, arrow, etc.) that attempts to move into an outside chunk becomes suspended as soon as it leaves the ticking area. It remains visible but motionless. When the outside block becomes active, the entity resumes moving.Exploding TNT can damage or destroy blocks in an inactive chunk, and unlike other events, its effects are not limited to adjacent blocks. However, secondary effects in the outside chunk are suspended until the chunk becomes active. For instance, if an explosion destroys a block that supported sand or gravel, the sand or gravel does not fall immediately. The same thing happens with items that were attached to destroyed blocks, such as item frames and Redstone torches; they do not drop until the chunk is activated.Primed TNT launched into an inactive chunk is suspended in mid-air within the first outside block it enters. It disappears until the outer chunk becomes active, at which time it resumes its flight and countdown.

Finding chunk edges

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X and Z coordinates that are divisible by 16 represent the boundaries between chunks. EG: (96, -32) is a corner where four chunks meet. One of those chunks is between X coordinates 80 to 96 and Z coordinates -48 to -32. Another one is between X coordinates 96 to 112 and Z coordinates -32 to -16, and so on. When either X or Z crosses a multiple of 16, the player is moving across chunks.

Essentially, the player is in the top-left corner (north-western) of a chunk when both X and Z coordinates are divisible by 16.

Additionally, the player can know the chunk they are on by this formula:The X of a chunk is floor(X coordinate / 16)The Z of a chunk is floor(Z coordinate / 16)Where floor is the largest previous integer. E.g. Floor( 27.9561 ) is 27 In other words, if X was 27, Z was −15 the chunk is chunk (Floor(27/16), Floor(−15/16)), meaning that the player is on chunk (1, −1).Also, the coordinates of a block within a chunk can be found by taking the coordinate mod 16.

In Java Edition, the key F3 + G can be used to display chunk boundaries. Alternately, pressing the “F3” button opens the Debug screen that shows the player”s X, Y, and Z coordinates, in addition to the “chunk” variable. These coordinates change as the player moves around. The player can know the chunk they are in by the variable “chunk”.

In Bedrock Edition, when toggling fancy graphics, the world renders again, loading only the chunk the player is in for a split second, briefly showing the chunk boundaries. When the player changes the render distance rapidly, chunk barriers appear as a blue line.Also, if in mid-air and bridging with full blocks, when a chunk border is intersected the next block placed will fade into view, showing the chunk border. This is sometimes unreliable, but useful as it only happens on chunk borders. This does not happen underground or when the block placed is close to more than one block.

Slime chunks

Slime chunks are specific chunks capable of spawning slimes below Y=40 regardless of Light. These chunks are otherwise same as all other chunks.

Java Edition

Slime chunks generate throughout the world (except in mushroom islands). 1 in 10 of all chunks is slime chunk. These slime chunks are determined pseudo-randomly by combining their chunk coordinates with the seed of the world:

Random rnd = new Random( seed + (int) (xPosition * xPosition * 0x4c1906) + (int) (xPosition * 0x5ac0db) + (int) (zPosition * zPosition) * 0x4307a7L + (int) (zPosition * 0x5f24f) ^ 0x3ad8025f);return rnd.nextInt(10) == 0;That is, using the chunk coordinates to help generate a seed, a random number between 0 and 9 inclusive is generated, and if that number is 0, the chunk can spawn slimes. To convert world coordinates to chunk coordinates, divide by 16 and round down. Note that xPosition and zPosition are 32-bit integers (ints).

Bedrock Edition

The slime chunk algorithm in Bedrock Edition is different from in Java Edition. The algorithm doesn”t depend on the world seed, thus the chunks that slimes can naturally spawn in are the same for every world.<1>

History

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Java Edition pre-Classicrd-131655

Java Edition Infdevwtbblue.com Infdev20100227-1

Java Edition1.2.112w07a

1.1016w20a

1.14?

Upcoming Java Edition1.1720w49a

21w06a

The precursors to chunks are showcased.
Map height is not custom anymore. The chunk height has been changed to 128.
The chunk height has been increased to 256, as part of the transition from Region to Anvil file format.
F3 + G now toggles the visible chunk borders around the player.
The method of chunk loading has changed.
Map height is now custom again.

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Maximum chunk height has been increased to 320 and minimum height has been dropped to -64, making chunks 384 blocks high in total.

Trivia

See also

References

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