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Physics in MINECRAFT

Guest Rellseli66


The fun 3D game that we all love has 3 basic components that rule over it and make up the PHYSICS OF MINECRAFT. We had talked before about the game during class and after my recent Star Wars post I decided to go in and explore not only a classic but one of our old school favorite games and how the game runs. In order to then satisfy Mr. Fullerton I went through the internet and found all the information I needed to tell you about the Physics behind the game. We can see in the game three basic kinds of physics that are implemented in the everyday game play: the movement of objects (land, weapons), the movement of fluids, and the electrical signals of Redstone which can than create circuits and electrical devices.

1. Movement of Land, weapons, people, objects....etc

For this first component you can describe the overall category as the movement of entities. As we search and break down the information we find that entities are labeled to be players, vehicles (boats, minecarts..), dropped items(weapons, food...), projectiles(snowballs, eggs, arrows, fireballs...), and than the classic falling sand and gravel.

This category describes to us how gravity and other forces move about solid objects within the world. Just by playing the game it is obvious to us that gravity has been implemented within the game and we can see from the falling of leaves, players jumping, the arc on arrows, the dropping of items, the falling of sand/gravel, and from all of this we have a sense of gravity but as this is a classic game we can see some obvious flaws that occur. One such phenomenon that occurs is how blocks can float in space without blocks under them. If you build a block on top of two other blocks, than destroy those two other blocks, that top block will not fall but it will stay as you can see as you cut down trees. If you cut away at a tree from the bottom the entire tree will not fall, but instead it will float in space as you continue to chop away at it. Also only sand and gravel are affected by gravity. We can see that while underground mining for goods that if you hit away at coal or at stone nothing but the minerals will fall down and you can collect them, but if you break some rock and there is sand above the sand will drop like water and smash into you.

So the properties held by these solid objects which do apply to physical laws, include that all of these objects have a volume. Whether it be a block of leaves, bark, stone, or an arrow or sheep these solid objects have a volume that no other object can than take a hold of. It is shown that most objects are made by 3D blocks and that two solid objects cannot occupy the same space at one time. Also these solid objects have positions, velocities, and rotations. Positions constitute the same principles as these solids having specific volumes and thus specific locations in the world. The moving objects such as people, arrows, sand and gravel follow gravity in their motion. We can see that there is a gravity effect on all of these objects which pulls them to the ground, that from this force there is an arc on an arrow or how you can't jump up and than fly. Also we see how objects in the game stay in motion until opposed. An arrow won't stop moving till it hits the target or the ground, such as a the sand won't stop falling until it hits the solid ground.

We can see that solid objects can not pass through other solid objects because of the ideas behind volume and position, and also water moves objects around. We can see that any of these solid objects are affected by the flow and current of fluids such as water or lava. In the game when you fall into a river, waterfall, or a flow of lava(on peaceful) you will be pushed along and carried with the stream and current due to the unbalanced force pushing against you. Obviously though we can see some flaws within this though. If you are at the bottom of a waterfall than your character can defy gravity and swim vertically up the waterfall, traveling up steam, against the current, and vertically upward all things which are not only hard but some impossible to do.

2. Movement of Fluids

For the most part fluids follow the basic laws of reality but in some circumstances we can see that fluids in the game go against the natural laws we have in place. Fluid like the solid substances is affected by gravity and will flow downstream and pick up velocity the steeper the slope is. It can be walked through and you can occupy the same space as a box of water or lava occupies, and there is a flow and current in the water based on to where the water flow that affects the character and pushes them into a certain direction.

With water we can also see the flaws. As shown earlier you can swim upstream even when the water is flowing straight down vertically. Also water and lava do not have definite volumes that at some point can max out. Water and lava can continuously grow and expand through empty space to no end. If one block of water is placed than its initial volume can grow continuously, say 19 blocks, that one block of water than has a volume 19x its original and under certain conditions can still grow and expand out word. Unfortunately in the real world this isn't possible at some point water can not grow anymore and its original volume can not just grow and change. Also if there is a waterfall you can use solids to block the water. If you place a rock in a space of water the rock will than take up that volume of space in the game and the water either adapts out word or it just disappears decreasing the volume (which is itself not possible) if you keep doing this process for a waterfall in a cave eventually you can block off all water. If you than though break that last block you placed water will again not flow out but the water has in fact completely disappeared. Instead of condensing the water where the volume would remain constant just stuffed in a smaller space, the volume of that cube of water disappears from the world and when you block all of it off that entire water source is than gone forever.


Redstone is the mineral in the game used to create wires, circuits, and thus power in the world. Through redstone dedicated players (with no lives) can create large complex circuits that can open doors, turn on lights, activate mine carts, even create computers. Through the use of redstone circuits electricity is created in Minecraft and with that the possibilities within the world are expanded. Redstone is a mineral that is unique to the world and it has properties that are thus unique and allows it to create circuits and the flow of electricity which allows you to than do whatever you would like whether it be complex activities or simple lever mechanisms.

Physics can be found in any game and by diving in and exploring the world of Minecraft we can find the physics which control the world, and also how the world disobeys the concepts of reality as well.

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Interesting post... I was talking on Wednesday night with a physics professor and author (Rhett Allain) as well as other physics teachers about the physics of video games. Part of our discussion centered around the accuracy of the physics in these games -- and how close to real life much of video game physics is. Even the old-school Atari game "Asteroids" had pretty good physics (OK, the ship had SOME friction in space, but in general, the game was all about Newton's Laws of Motion). Mario Brothers and Donkey Kong have some weird gravity and jumps, but for the most part, the better-selling games are typically quite accurate.

For more information on this topic, check out Allain's post about the Physics of Angry Birds or his new e-book on introductory physics, Just Enough Physics, available for $3.14 (Pi dollars) on Amazon (see review in previous post here).

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