What is a ‘chunk’?

Ok, so I know roughly that a chunk is like a mass of generated terrain in minecraft.
I hear people say ‘loading chunks’ and I’ve seen questions about ‘chunk errors’ so I assume it is part of terrain generation.

My question is: What is the definition of ‘chunk’ and what is a chunk used for?

Answer

A chunk is 16×16 column of blocks extending from the bottom to the top of the map.

The game generates new land when you explore and the terrain is generated in such chunks. The game also keeps loaded in memory only chunks that are near you. Technically, building the map from chunks is what made possible the “infinite” (for practical purposes) worlds in Minecraft.

There are several different phenomena called ‘chunk error’:

  • Client-only chunk error – if the client does not receive information for some chunks (because of network communication error) they appear as holes in the ground; usually can be fixed by re-joining on the server or forcing the client to reload the area around the player (F3 + A).
  • Server chunk error – usually if some world files are corrupted – acts like a real hole where you may fall in the void; can be fixed using external (3-rd party) tools.
  • Terrain generation boundary – sharp, straight edges in generated terrain or biomes. Although it is often referred to as ‘chunk error’, it is not really an error. Here is how it works:
    1. The terrain is generated randomly using a pseudo-random number generator.
    2. The generator is initialized with a number, called the world seed. This number is stored in the level file. Each world seed can be seen as ‘key code’ for completely different world from the universe of possible worlds.
    3. When the game needs a new chunk, it uses the seed (the ‘key code’) to create (to ‘summon’) the chunk. After the chunk is created, it is saved in the world files.
    4. If the ‘key code’, that is, the seed changes (intentional or not), newly generated chunks are from ‘completely different world’ (see 2. above).
    5. Whenever the terrain generator changes (like in the upcoming 1.7), this replaces the entire universe of possible worlds so the same ‘key code’ now refers to completely different world from the new universe.
    6. Either way the terrain and biome of the newly generated chunks does not match with the terrain/biome of the old saved chunks. See this example from the wiki.

For even more information, see the Minkecraft Wiki page on Chunks

Attribution
Source : Link , Question Author : LTPro , Answer Author : MBraedley

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