Minecraft Nether Portal

Nether portals are one of the few entities that players must create outside of their inventory and crafting grid. The only way to make a portal is to place obsidian blocks in a hollow 4×5 upright rectangle, so that there is a 2 block wide and 3 block high area of empty space between the obsidian. Once the frame is complete, the inside of the portal must be ignited with fire from any source. Right-clicking flint and steel on the portal is the safest and simplest option.

Behavior

Once the portal is successfully ignited, 6 purple haze texture blocks appear inside the obsidian frame. You can teleport to The Nether by standing in the purple portal texture for 4 seconds. You can cancel the process by simply leaving the obsidian frame before the teleportation happens. If you stand in the portal for 4 seconds, you will appear at a location with corresponding coordinates in The Nether. A portal is created in either The Nether or the Overworld when a new one is activated in either dimension.

Minecraft Nether Portal

The purple portal blocks also serve as a weak light source. Their illumination is equivalent to light level 11, which is lower than that of a standard torch. Portal blocks cannot be harvested or struck with any tool, but explosion can change the state of the portal. An active portal will be turned off if it is hit by a ghast’s projectile in The Nether. The portal can also be closed by placing blocks on any square occupied by the portal graphic. Doing this closes the gate immediately and it must be reactivated once the 2×3 area in the frame is free of obstruction.

Portals constantly produce an unusual sound effect reminiscent of pulsing energy. All players within a short distance of the portal can hear it, so it is important to construct them far away from commonly traveled areas if you want to keep it hidden. When a player stands in the portal, their screen will begin to quiver and shake until they transfer to The Nether or cancel the teleportation.

Zombie Pigman in Overworld

Zombie pigmen can spawn near portals in the Overworld

Linkage between Overworld and The Nether

Every location in The Nether corresponds to an exact location, designated by X, Y and Z coordinates, in the Overworld. Every block space traveled in The Nether is the equal to 8 block spaces in the Overworld, making portal travel across the Overworld through The Nether a viable fast travel option. The 8 block ratio only applies to the X-axis, the Y-axis coordinates of the Overworld and Nether are compared at a 1:1 ratio.

  1. You can determine the coordinates of your portal’s destination by dividing or multiplying the current X and Z coordinates by 8. Y coordinates, which represent vertical distance, are not modified by 8. However, when a portal is generated in response to the activation of a portal in the other dimension, it may be placed on a different Y coordinate than the original.
  2. When a player activates or uses a portal, it will attempt to connect to an existing portal before it creates a new one. If there is another active portal within 128 blocks of the normal destination, the player will emerge at the existing portal instead of at a new one.
  3. When a mirror portal is created following the activation of a portal in the other dimension, it will appear in the closest viable area within 16 blocks of the normal destination coordinates. The game tries to place portals in open spaces on solid ground, but is not always successful. You may occasionally find yourself over a pool of lava or in enclosed in netherrack upon your first arrival to The Nether.
  4. If there is no open area large enough to hold a portal within 16 blocks of the normal destination, then it will create a small space by replacing the natural blocks with air. These portals can also appear over lava, so they are generated with a few extra obsidian as a platform to prevent players from falling as soon as they teleport.

Implications

Linked Overworld Portals: Linking portals together can be a difficult process in both single player and multiplayer games. If players construct their bases and portals too close together, they will have to share a portal or move the obsidian frames farther away from each other. Portals have to be at least 1024 blocks apart in the Overworld or they risk overlapping.

Pairing Portals: You can control how portals link to each other by creating both portals manually in The Nether and the Overworld before activating either one. You can only accomplish this by making another set of portals first, to get into The Nether to place the portal, then calculating the coordinates of each of the two portals. This process does not always work, and make take several tries to get it right.

Zones of Exclusion: The term “zone of exclusion” describes the 33×33 cylindrical volume of blocks where another independent portal can’t be created. Players may place and activate an obsidian frame in to make portals in this zone, but they will be linked to the first portal pair. If the first pair of portals are located at different coordinates, due to a lack of viable landing areas or other reasons, then the zone of exclusion will be larger in both dimensions.

One-way Distance Teleportation: By placing two portals at certain distances from each other in The Nether and Overworld, you can travel a large distance in the Overworld in a very a short time. If the Nether portal is placed correctly, you can reliably travel to The Nether portal from its corresponding portal in the Overworld, but when you try to teleport back a new portal is created at a closer location in the Overworld. Successfully making portals in this manner requires the calculation of coordinates in both dimensions.

Two-in-One Nether Portals: If there are two Overworld portals that are the same distance from ideal landing coordinates of a portal in The Nether, then you can travel to either portal reliably depending on which side of the 2×3 portal haze you stand in as you teleport. The Overworld portals must be equidistant from the center of the nether portal’s landing zone.

Spawning portals in the air: If the server can’t find solid ground when a new portal is activated, then the game will generate an obsidian platform around the base of the destination portal and simply place it in midair at the normal landing coordinates.

History

Prior to the release of the 1.0.0 version of the game, activated portals could be turned off by flowing water or lava. Recent updates and future patches include the chance for zombie pigmen to spawn near Overworld portals and the ability for creative mode players to remove portal haze blocks without destroying the portal.

Interesting Facts

  • During Alpha, the game’s developers mentioned the potential addition of ghasts spawning in the
  • Overworld near active nether portals, but the idea was never implemented.

  • When teleporting between either of the dimensions, the compass direction you are facing does not change.
  • The corners of a portal are not necessary for it to function, so players can make a complete portal with 10 blocks instead of the standard 14 if they don’t want to waste obsidian.
  • Ghast projectiles can turn portals on and off, so it is a good idea to bring flint and steel into The Nether just to be safe.
  • When a player begins the 4 second teleportation process, they break blocks at the same speed as if they were in water.

See Also

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