Aquatic Update Issues in Minecraft

The Minecraft Aquatic update finally hit the shores of the Minecraft Java Edition late last week, and I was ready to dive in.

Minecraft under the sea

As I noted in my post about the update, I was able to quickly run out and find some kelp and a sea turtle or two.  But what I really wanted was to mount an expedition to a distant shore in order to find fresh waters… because newly spawned waters are the only place where you can find the stuff that came with the update.

I needed to travel to get to a promising location, so I got on board a mine cart and started rolling around the great rail loop.  It was there I started running into problems.  As I rolled on down the line the cart would occasionally stop and the game would freeze and eventually I would get kicked out of the game with a time out error.

Then I wouldn’t be able to log into the game for a while.

When I could log in, I would be close to where I timed out.  So I would start my journey again, only to hit the same problem a little further down the line.

I figured Minecraft Realms was having an issue, overloaded servers or what not… and that might well have been the case… so I went away for a while.  When I got back later I was able to ride the rails without a problem and ended up at the dock I was looking for.

Sailing out I found myself in one of the two new ocean biomes, a cold ocean.

I wanted a warm ocean, where coral grows, but you get what you can find.  And a cold ocean has its charms I suppose, including ice floes and polar bears.

Polar bear as I row by

While I was denied coral I did find a shipwreck.

Shipwreck in shallow water

Shipwrecks have chests in them, including one map chest per wreck.  In turn the map chest contains a buried treasure map.  I was happy to have stumbled upon one of those so quickly.

Looking for buried treasure close by

You can also get them from cartographers, but it was nice to find one while I was out and about.  Of course, I’m not sure I get how they work yet.  I went to the X and dug a 6×6 grid all the way down to bedrock and didn’t find anything.

Happy with my immediate find and having setup a little camp, I decided I needed to go back to the mainland for supplies.  Among other things, my diamond pick needed repair.

Sailing back however turned out to be a problem.  I would sail up to the edge of a chunk and it wouldn’t load.  I would appear to be in danger of sailing off the edge of the world.

Living on the edge

Then, as had happened earlier with my rail journey, the game would kick me with a time out error.  When I could log back in I would be back a ways from my last position.  Attempting to move forward would just result in the same problem, and sailing off the edge didn’t help anything.

I knew this would end badly

But if I went back to my camp I could hang around and do things without issue.  So I started looking around for problems with the 1.13 update and Minecraft Realms.

Over on Reddit I found a FAQ about the update, including a section about server problems.

One of the things the update did was change the file system for worlds.  When old worlds get launched by the 1.13 server they are not fully converted, they are just changed enough so that they will run.  Instead, each chunk is converted to the new file format as it loads for the first time.  This, of course, taxes the server.  And in our old, complicated, over-build in places world, the conversion seemed to be bogging down while trying to update on the fly.

This might indeed have been a Minecraft Realms problem as lots of old worlds were eating up processor cycles converting on the fly.

But there seemed to be an answer.  You can use with Minecraft client to force a world update across all chunks.  You can do that on the server as well with an admin command, but I was afraid that Realms was having problems and this might make everything worse.  So I downloaded a copy of our world, then opened up Single Player and found the save on the list.

Choose the World

From there I selected “Edit,” which gives you a list of options.

Some choices…

The one I wanted was “Optimize World,” which would update the whole world to the new file format.  Selecting that warns you about making a backup.

Choose wisely

I felt I knew what I was doing… after all, I could just download another backup and start over… so I chose “I know what I’m doing!” and off we went.

After that not much happened and then I got an error about the client having run out of memory.  I hadn’t restarted it or anything after numerous crashes, so quit the client and started over again.  This time things moved along.  It started to convert.


Actually, it just sat there for a while at 3 skipped chunks and I thought maybe it was going to die again.  Our world is pretty big and, as noted, complex after a few years of building.

Eventually it kicked off and started its run.  With almost 600K chunks to go, and with things starting off so slowly, I thought this might be an over night operation.  I told Panadar, who had been seeing similar problems, to check in the morning to see if things went okay.

But once it started going it plowed on through the chunks, converting the whole batch in about an hour.

Almost done about an hour later

The time stamp on the screen shots show it started at 9:09pm and finished up at about 10:16pm.  Not the way I planned to spend my Saturday night, but you do what you need to do.

I was a bit worried about the “Skipped chunks” for a while, having had problems with corrupted chunks back in the day, but then I decided that those were probably chunks that had already been converted as Panadar and I moved around the world after the update.

Then came the long bit, uploading the world back to Minecraft Realms.  That was the all night part of the venture, but when I got up in the morning it was complete.

I logged in and slowly rowed back the way I came, watching chunks slowly load before me.  I hit the shore I had been aiming for and moved along it until I found the dock from which I had departed.  Tentatively it looked like the problem had been solved.

Along the mesa biome from which I had started

Back to exploring.  I still need to find a warm ocean.

We shall see if the file new file system improves performance.  Size wise it made our world a little bit bigger, going from 2.83GB to 3.27GB. And, of course, my map mapping utility is probably dead for now with the new format.