Tag Archives: Aquatic Update

Minecraft and the Search for a Warm Ocean

With the forced update I mentioned in the previous Minecraft post, our world settled down to something akin to normalcy.  Minecraft Realms still seems to be struggling some to handle the load that has come with the Aquatic Update.  It takes some time to log into the server and there are times when chunks are slow to load and responsiveness is lacking.  But for the most part things work.

Technical problems solved… mostly… now to get to the real problem, finding the new stuff!

All I want is the life under the sea that Mojang promised me

But to get the new stuff you have to go find the new stuff.

Some of it will spawn anywhere.  I’ve seen the new fish and dolphins swimming around in every bit of water.

But most of it… kelp and ship wrecks and coral and that stuff… will only show up when a chunk or region is first generated.  So basically any place we had already been on the map wasn’t going to have any of the new sea life features in full.

It was time to go exploring.  And I had a goal in mind.

I wanted to see the coral and tropical fish.  For that I needed a warm ocean.

I had found a cold ocean already, with ice floes and polar bears.

Polar bear as I row by

I had even rowed through a lukewarm ocean, which has some of the fish from a warm ocean, but still just kelp and such on  the seabed.

Warm fish in a lukewarm ocean

But a warm ocean wasn’t so close to hand.  So I packed my bag with some supplies, repaired all my equipment, and set out on a boat to find a warm ocean.

At first I spent a bit of time just finding an ocean, or at least an ocean that hadn’t been explored already.  I even found some things I did not expect.

Somebody built this way out in the wild…

But dragging out the map of the our world gave me some hints, places where I might explore.  I had a couple of false starts, heading towards where I felt there ought to be fresh, uncharted ocean, only to find myself walking for ages or sailing up and down rivers and into more cold oceans.

I was also operating under a bit of a faulty assumption, that biomes followed some sort of logic.  I mean, they do in that they interconnect and transition smoothly.  But I was thinking that you might find warm water near a desert or a savanna biome.  That was asking too much.  At one point I set up camp in a desert temple right on the edge of an ocean… a cold ocean.  I could site there in the sand on the beach and see polar bears.

Biome logic right there I guess.

So I started googling about finding warm oceans and, frankly, the results just confirmed what I already knew.  There was not yet an automatic way to find the new ocean biomes yet.

So I set myself to the task of just finding a lot of ocean.  For that there are a number of biome finders out in the world where you can enter the seed value for your world (ours is 7911042834612981993) and it will give you the approximate layout of biomes.

None of these tools are updated for 1.13, so none of them will point out a warm ocean biome for you, but they will show you where oceans are at least, at least if you can figure out where to look.  Yes, they give you the X,Z coordinates, but I am used to the landmarks we’ve built on our world to help guide me.  Still, there was a spot way up the rail line to the northern forest mansion near one of the bases I setup along the way… a base with a nether portal no less, so I could use the nether transport system to get there more quickly… where if I started heading straight west I would run into a lot of as-yet un-rendered land and, eventually a wide expanse of water.  So I headed up there and started walking.

Using that path to align, I start walking west

I tried to keep to a very straight line, marking my path and burning down the occasional batch of trees that would otherwise make me turn aside.  Once I start meandering in all directions I end up lost pretty quick.  The landscape is pretty but not very distinctive, and when the sun is at its zenith I can end up heading the wrong way pretty quickly.

I had, of course, just eyeballed the distance on the biome finder, and it always takes longer to get anywhere that you think.  I had thought about taking a horse, but keeping it safe during the night is always a bit of a challenge, and the goal was to get to an ocean where I would be rowing all the time, so I kept to just my feet.

I was slowed up a bit because I ran into several villages along the way.  That is because I have this need to “fix” such villages as I pass through.  When a Minecraft village is generated, it is just layered over whatever terrain there is.  If you’re out in the plains, everything is generally fine.  If there are hills however, you can end up with some strange building placement.  So I have to stop and dig out the buried buildings, build up the paths to reach the buildings up in the air, build a supply rest stop with bed, chest, and workbench, and light the place up.  I had to stop and dig for coal a couple of times, since I used up all my torches lighting up yet another village.

Despite this I did eventually make my way to a coast and a wide expanse of water.  It was time to get in my boat and start rowing to see if I could find a warm ocean.

I was a bit worried that maybe somebody had been here before despite the area not having been part of my most recent map render.  When I pressed F3 it said that the biome was simply an “ocean,” neither warm nor cold, and it led into a “deep ocean,” again without a temperature modifier in the name.

I persisted though, and found a lukewarm ocean after not too long, so it seems that an “ocean” is somewhere between warm and cold.  It makes sense I guess.  So I kept rowing.  I found lots of things.  I saw several wrecks and undersea ruins, including a combo wreck and ruin that were on the shore.

A mighty wave must have washed that ship ashore

I also found one of the rare mushroom islands, complete with the mushroom cows that inhabit such places.

Mushroom cows crowding to wave to me as I pass

I was not, however, any close to finding a warm ocean so far as I could tell.

It became clear to me that this large ocean area was made up of many different ocean biomes, so it seemed likely that there was a warm ocean out there.  But spotting such a biome from a distance might be tricky, which would mean zig-zagging all over the water to make sure I hit every biome.

There was a hint.  One of the changes that went in with the aquatic update was the color of water.  Rather than being one uniform color, water now has different colors.  Cold and normal oceans are the deep blue to which we have become accustomed.  Water in swamps now has a sickly greenish tint that is just about perfect.  And warm water has a lighter aquamarine shade, which stands out even at a distance.

Unfortunately, that shade applies to both warm and lukewarm water, so I spent time chasing lighter shades of blue only to be disappointed.

Still, I kept going.  There was a lot of ocean to row around so I kept going, day or night.

Exploring at night seemed a bit wrong, since you cannot differentiate the water color in the dark.  But I would just hit F3 every so often to get a reading on which biome I was in to cover that.

Of course, it turned out that exploring at night was just the ticket.

As I rowed along during one night cycle I saw some light under the water.  This wasn’t a big deal at first.  Underwater ruins have sea lanterns in them, so you can spot them from quite a ways away at night.  But as I got closer this seemed like a lot more light than just one ruin, so I steered towards it and soon found I had reached my goal.

The glow of a warm ocean at night

It is hard to see in that screen shot, especially against the white background of the blog, but that is a bed of the new coral, all aglow under the water.  I had reached my warm ocean at last.

As it turns out, sea pickles… which I guess is what you get if you put a sea cucumber in brine… give off light.  They also only appear in warm oceans, so a decent way to find a warm ocean is to row about at night looking for light under the water.

This turned out to be just the corner in what was a long stretch of warm ocean.  I sailed along, looking for some land nearby where I could setup a base.  I did find a stretch of likely soil after a bit, and when the sun came up I went ashore and built a little house with the usual amenities .  From the shore there I could look out and see the beds of colorful coral.

Looking out on a warm ocean

So I found my warm ocean, which led me to the usual question, “Now what?”  I didn’t have a plan for the warm ocean really, aside from finding it.  Meanwhile I was also now at least a good 5km from the nearest settled area, though I had wandered about so much I wasn’t really sure.  I was also low on some supplies and, more importantly, my tools and weapons were fast wearing out after fighting many zombies and fixing one village after another.

I felt that, having now located a warm ocean I needed to head back to one of my established supply bases to repair and re-pack.  Fortunately I knew that I didn’t need to trace my exact steps home. (I couldn’t manage that if I had wanted.)  I knew I was still south of the northern forest mansion, so all I had to do is travel straight east and I would eventually cross the long overland rail line that connects the mansion to the rest of our settlements.

So the next step was to sail eastward, but that is a topic for another post.

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.

Minecraft and the Update Aquatic

The Minecaft Aquatic Update finally went live this week for Java.  The update had been released for what is now the main Minecraft code base, which includes Windows 10 and all the console versions, the week before, but now everybody has it.

Minecraft under the sea

As the name of the update suggests, it was focused primarily on the under water aspects of Minecraft.  The ocean has been something of a dull place in the world of Minecraft up until now.

Yes, you could fish, farm squids, and delve into an ocean monument.  But for the most part water has been something to sail over in a boat, fill up your tunnels by surprise, and occasionally something to jump into when you’re on fire.

Now, after the update, the oceans are alive with things, fish and dolphins and sea turtles and kelp and coral and, of course, under water zombies, which are called the drowned.

Naturally I wanted to jump right into our world to see some of these new things.

The new splash screen… with water… splash… get it… yeah

Unfortunately for this desire, one of the aspects of Minecraft is that a lot of things in a chunk are only created when it is initially generated.  All of the ocean areas I had visited already would lack most of the new features from the update. I could have, of course, just started a fresh world.  But I hate to throw away all of the work on our current world.  And Minecraft worlds are effectively infinite.  I had to go find some fresh ocean area in our current world. to check out, so I consulted the map.

The main land mass of our world

There I found a bit of as yet generated ocean not too far from rail stop 17 on the rail loop, which I have circled in red.  I chose that spot in part because I was not too far down the rail line from there.  So I rushed there, ran over to the dock I had built, supplied with a chest full of boats, and could see changes in the water already.  Some fish were swimming about.

Fish near the surface

Encouraged I hopped into a boat and rowed westward, looking for fresh ocean.

One of the limitations of Minecraft Realms is that they set your view distance a bit closer than I would prefer.  On the other hand, when things are loading closer to you in the ocean you can spot things under water via their silhouette, which is how I saw the kelp.

A bit of undersea flora seen

I steered for that and found an island nearby to stop on so I could explore a bit.  There I found more plant life growing under the waves.

Near the shore

Deeper down I could see beds of kelp.

Down in the deep blue

Of course, I rowed out there without much in the way of a plan.  I certainly didn’t pack in any supplies for a long expedition.  So when darkness came, as it always does, I didn’t have shelter or a bed or anything available.  I did have a bit of stone, torches, and jack-o-lanterns, so I lit up the little island a bit in order to keep the nightly spawns away.

But there are now under water zombie spawns, the drowned which I mentioned earlier.  They started appearing around my little island, so I had to spend some time fending them off… while trying to take screen shots of them as well.

A Drowned coming over my little dock, a nautilus in hand

I was able to survive the night, and not all of my visitors were hostile.

A sea turtle comes up to the shore

When the dawn came I got back in my boat and rowed around the area a bit more.  The morning saw some more sea turtles and fish near the surface.

Sea turtles in the light

Then I turned around and rowed back for the mainland… and managed to get off course.  But given the long stretched of north-south rail I have laid over the last couple of years, I knew I just had to row east until I hit land, then walk east until I hit a rail line.

This was, of course, just a scouting mission.  I need to setup transportation to some as yet ungenerated sea location in order to explore this more fully.  There are, as I noted, coral and other new sea life to find as well as underwater ruins and buried treasure on the sea shores.

Buried treasure is important because those chests contain the heart of the sea, on of the items required for the new conduit blocks that let you stay under water.  Lots more to explore under the sea.