Calling this blog “Render Distance” would have been more technically correct, it just sounded too formal and this project was more “touchy feely” than technical. Everything described in this blog was done with ‘Show Fog’ set to OFF in the options menu. I am also fairly certain that the render distances aren’t the same at every location on the moon. Render distance may even change depending on the number of mobs on the screen. I’m hoping that Mrob27 will be able to fill me in on the technicalities of rendering.

I got this idea after experimenting with the transparency bug and my new terrain generation experience. I knew that the size of a “superblock” was 128 blocks x 128 blocks. I also knew that transparency boundaries occurred every 16 blocks in both directions (16x16 is the size of a chunk). I have to give credit to Mrob27 for confirming this in his Internal Data Format blog. What I didn’t know for sure was how far away the map stopped generating. Or in other words how far can I see in Mooncraft?

Short answer for me was 64 blocks in each of the cardinal directions (N-S, E-W). So, if I stood in the exact center of a superblock I can see all four edges. However, I cannot see all four corners. (The 1st 2 photos are composites looking towards each edge. The 2nd and 3rd photos are composites looking from the each edge towards the center.)

Render S to N

Render Distance N-S from Center

Render W to E

Render Distance W-E from Center

Render E to W

Render Distance E and W to Center

Render N to S

Render Distance N and S to Center

But, looking towards the corners I can see further. If I drew a straight line along the ground, from where my tower is located at the center, to any of the four corners (NE, SE, SW or NW) I can see the equivalent of approximately 68 blocks in those directions. This imaginary line would only physically cross 48 blocks, but since they touch corner to corner, instead of edge to edge, the distance is further.

Render Ctr to NE

Render Distance Center to NE

It is when I look mid-way between a corner and the center of the edge of the superblock that I can see the furthest (NNE, ENE, ESE, SSE, SSW, WSW, WNW or NNW). For example, north-north-east is the point halfway between north and north-east. Or, in terms of blocks: 32 blocks east of north and 64 blocks north of center. At that point I can see the equivalent of nearly 72 blocks away.

Render NE to Ctr

Render Distance NE to Center

All of my photos were taken standing on towers that were 63 blocks high. Assuming that I am about 2 blocks tall, my line of sight would start about 65 blocks above the ice. In actuality the furthest point described above is almost 97 blocks from my eyes. That’s about 248 meters, using the block size of 2.57 meters that Mrob27 describes near the end of the “A Large-Scale View” section of his Internal Data Format blog.

Render Tower 2

Render Distance Base of Tower

Render Tower 1

Render Distance Top of Tower

So if anyone ever asks you, “How far can you see in Mooncraft?” a good answer would be, “In which direction and from where?”

Some notes about this project:

  • I have a really hard time counting blocks on the surface of the terrain. What helped me in laying out my grid was that I knew that I should run into a transparency boundary every 16 blocks. I would dig a 1 block deep trench along the transparent face of the blocks and place a Mini Light every 8 blocks. I knew that I could Drill out 9 blocks in front of me, so I would stand 1 block back from the mini light I placed last and just drill.
  • Individual mini lights are not visible from the top of the towers I was using. Their light effects can be seen from the top, but I stopped seeing them as individual entities about 36 blocks up. Originally I had all my direction letters written with mini lights, but the letters were kind of blurry so I changed them to Light blocks.
  • The longer I worked in the area the fewer Mobs I saw. This would seem to confirm that there may be a limit on the number of NPCs created, as Mrob27 noted at the end of his Geology excavation project blog.
  • Since I did this little experiment I’ve thought of some other test to do with render distances, but haven’t felt compelled to look into things any further. Things like: How far away are objects like Biogel or Disks visible? Can you see the bottom of the moon from the top? Do render distances work the same underground using the transparency bug? If anyone else feels like checking this stuff out you can fill the rest of us in by leaving a comment here or by creating your own blog post if you like.