Lag is a generic term used to describe an unpredictable quality in many games, particularly multiplayer ones. There are several different types of lag, the most common type being FPS lag, which generally affects all players.
Minecraft has several different types of lag. Most cases of lag come from using any multiplayer setting in the game. However, lag can still be present while playing in singleplayer.
There is only one type of lag in singleplayer, this being FPS Lag, which affects a player's FPS (Frames Per Second; the animation in the game which appears on-screen). FPS lag can usually be fixed by reducing the quality of video in the Settings. Music and sound-effects occasionally render slowly when there is a slight lag, producing chunky music and occasional pauses.
The most common cause of FPS lag is produced when the Nether is entered. This is mostly due to the massive amounts of entities (such as fire) found in the world, as well as the fluids (lava) being generated. There is occasionally lag in the Overworld and the End, these being caused by entities being generated and the changing of weather cycles. Lag can also be manually produced by detonating large amounts of TNT at one time, which destroys blocks much faster than a player as well as creating multiple interactions. A player may become damaged and have their position moved while several blocks are violently being destroyed by the entity. Some computers may not be able handle these types of interactions all at once, which in turn causes lag and sometimes rendering issues.
Multiplayer has several frequent lag issues. All of the listed lag types below can be found in SMP, and they are also described in the following section.
Types of Lag
- FPS: A sudden, and sometimes dramatic, decrease in frame-rate. This can cause a player to lose their bearings momentarily, as well as leaving them vulnerable to enemies and hostile mobs.
- Block: Created when a player breaks a block out of sync with other players, either by destroying it too quickly, or the block is being destroyed faster than within the limits of normal Minecraft. Block lag typically just causes an issue with destroyed blocks, making a block that is destroyed to appear to be there.
- Entity: Caused by an immense amount of entities in a world, mostly summoned by a command block.
- Lag can cause chunks to fail to load, making it appear to a player as if they're walking on nothing.
- Lag can also reveal underground structures, such as caves, abandoned mineshafts, or even Strongholds, making them somewhat useful in very few cases.
- The X-Ray trick can lag out the rest of the stone so you could find ores and caves instantly. This can be helpful when going mining, so you can evade lava pools, find hidden structures, and different cavern routes.