Voxel World Limits and Earth Comparison

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  • DevynCJohnson
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    Voxel World Size Limits
    Voxel World Size Limits

    Many voxel games (or any Minecraft-like game) claim to be infinite. However, due to limitations in processing, memory, storage, float-points, and other technical limitations, such a statement is false. So, what are the real limits and how do they compare to real-life?
    NOTE: Assume that in each voxel game, one block is one meter in depth, height, and width (1m cubed).


    The Void - The Void (Region -1) is a virtually infinite dimension under the bedrock. This is a glitch rather than a playable world.
    Overworld - The Overworld (Region 0) is the world that the player starts in as opposed to the Nether. Limits vary between Minecraft editions and versions. On earlier Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 versions, the world is 862 blocks in all three directions (height/depth, latitude, and longitude). The Pocket Edition is 256 blocks in all three directions. However, newer versions are 256 blocks tall (from bedrock up to the sky) and 29,999,984 towards any horizon from the center (0,0). Technically, the Minecraft world could be 60,000,000 horizon to horizon. However, the world is made one chunk smaller to prevent players from falling off the edge. Bedrock marks the bottom border and an animated world border exists in the other directions.
    The Nether - The Nether (Region 1) is the same size as the Overworld.
    The Sky Dimension - The Sky Dimension (Region 2) is a developmental world that has not been officially released at the time this article was written. It is planned to have the same dimensions/measurements as the Overworld.
    The End - The End is a world that is home to Endermen and the Ender Dragon. The End Portal will always teleport players to the co-ordinates 100,50,0 in The End. The End is the same size as the Overworld.
    Each dimension/world of Minecraft is 59999968m long, 59999968m wide, and 256m thick/deep. Therefore, the surface area is 3.59999616*10^15 square meters and the volume is 9.21599017*10^17 cubic meters. In kilometers, these values are 3.59999616*10^9 square kilometers and 9.2159901696*10^8 cubic kilometers.
    NOTE: The Earth's surface area is 5.09*10^8 square kilometers (Earth is not smooth and it is not a perfect sphere) and the volume is 1.08321*10^12 cubic kilometers. The equatorial circumference is 40,075km which is equivalent to 40075000 Minecraft blocks horizon to horizon. A chart near the end of the article will compare all of the values together. When we compare the sizes, keep in mind that Earth is round and the game-worlds are square plains.


    The Minetest world (at the time of writing this article) has only one dimension/world and the world size is limited to the value of short signed integers (-32768 to 32767). Beyond this point in any direction starting at the center (0,0,0), the textures and blocks stop rendering or the game may crash. If the world is 65536 blocks horizon to horizon, then the surface area would be 4294967296 square meters or 4294.967296 square kilometers. The volume of the world is 2.81474976710656*10^5 cubic kilometers or 2.814749767*10^14 cubic meters.


    The BlockStory world is 2,147,483,648 blocks in any direction starting at 0,0,0 (the center). Theoretically, if a player made it near this limit via cheats or hacks, the game engine would have severe issues due to the float-point limits of computers. The surface area is 4.611686018*10^18 square meters or 4.611686018*10^12 square kilometers. The volume is 9.903520314*10^27 cubic meters or 9.903520314*10^18 cubic kilometers. However, in this large world, there is not just one plain (http://www.blockstory.net/node/1121). Rather, at different heights there are other worlds/plains (such as Sky World - http://www.blockstory.net/content/forgotten-sky-world ). So, the surface area is larger than the value given for the first plain. BlockStory also has a layer called Hades which is equivalent to Minecraft's Nether.
    NOTE: I thank Ron Jenkins and Paul Pacheco at BlockStory.net for the limitation info and additional information.


    Eden is 3000 blocks in all three dimensions. This world has a surface area of 9.0*10^6 square meters or 9 square kilometers. The volume is 2.7*10^10 cubic meters or 27 cubic kilometers.
    NOTE: I thank Ari for the measurements of the Eden world.


    Since Freeminer is a fork of Minetest, the world limit will be the same (32767 in any direction starting at the center). However, the Freeminer website states that the limit is 31000 blocks in any direction from the center. This would make the surface area 3.844*10^9 square meters or 3.844*10^3 square kilometers. The volume is 2.38328*10^14 cubic meters or 2.38328*10^5 cubic kilometers.


    The limitations of the Survivalcraft world are estimated. The exact measurements may be smaller than the supposed values. The developer suspects that glitches would occur before a player reaches the limit. The estimated to be 2,147,483,648 blocks in any direction (except height) starting at 0,0 (the center). However, the height/depth is 128 blocks.
    NOTE: I thank Kaalus for the dimension info and glitch theory regarding Survivalcraft.
    NOTE: I thank Paul Pacheco at BlockStory.net for finding an error.
    NOTE: The equation for surface area of a square/rectangle is width*length and the volume of a box is width*length*depth. To convert meters to kilometers, divide by 1000. To convert square meters to square kilometers divide square meters by 1000000. Finally, to convert cubic meters to cubic kilometers, divide cubic meters by 1000000000 or 10^9.

    Comparison Chart

     Length or Circumference (meters)Surface Area (square km)Volume (cubic km)# of Earths by circumference# of Earths by surface area
    Minecraft (Overworld)599999683.5999962*10^99.21599017*10^81.4977.0726

    NOTE: Remember that Earth is an imperfect sphere while these voxel worlds are square plains/sheets.
    It appears that the largest voxel world game is BlockStory and Survivalcraft.

    1. Voxel World Size Limits
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