Minecraft: Java Edition experimental snapshot lets you test 1.18 'Caves and Cliffs Update' Part Two features

Minecraft Caves and Cliffs Update Image
Minecraft Caves and Cliffs Update Image (Image credit: Mojang Studios)

What you need to know

  • Minecraft: Java Edition often tests upcoming features and updates using early preview snapshots.
  • To test the upcoming 1.18 'Caves and Cliffs Update' Part Two, however, Mojang Studios is changing things up.
  • Interested players can begin testing early 1.18 features in a series of experimental snapshots, with the first available now.
  • Mojang has confirmed these experimental snapshots will be probably be used until sometime in Sept. 2021.

It's been a busy day for Minecraft, and an exciting day for hardcore Minecraft fans that love being on the forefront of new features and changes. 1.17 Caves and Cliffs Update Part One was just released as the first half of the massive Caves and Cliffs Update, but Mojang Studios and Minecraft fans are already looking ahead to 1.18 Part Two, which is slated to release sometime in Winter 2021. Now you can test some of those upcoming features yourself with the release of Minecraft: Java Edition 1.18 Experimental Snapshot 1.

Earlier today, Mojang released Minecraft: Bedrock Edition 1.17.10 to the public, which included new features, lots of bug fixes, and some experimental features from 1.18 Caves and Cliffs Update Part Two hidden under a toggle. Now, Java Edition players can get in on the 1.18 action (albeit in a very different way) with this new unique snapshot.

1.18 Experimental Snapshot 1 does include a handful of big changes in early testing for the upcoming Minecraft update, but you can't go and play this snapshot like other Minecraft: Java Edition snapshots. Instead, you'll have to download the snapshot and manually install it, and it'll only be compatible with worlds created under the snapshot.

Mojang has already confirmed that these snapshots won't use the traditional Minecraft bug tracker, and will likely continue until sometime around Sept. 2021 (when regular snapshots should take over). You can find out exactly what changes are included in this snapshot, as well as everything you need to know about installing it, below. If you're not comfortable getting your hands dirty, you may want to stick with the official Minecraft: Java Edition 1.17.1 update that was just released.

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Here's what you need to know about Minecraft: Java Edition 1.18 Experimental Snapshot 1:


Source: Mojang Studios (Image credit: Source: Mojang Studios)
  • New world height and depth
  • New mountain biomes (lofty peaks, snowcapped peaks, grove, meadow, and snowy slopes)
  • New cave generation (cheese, spaghetti, and noodle caves)
  • Local water levels and lava levels in the underground
  • New cave biomes generate naturally underground and inside mountains (lush caves, dripstone caves)
  • Natural variation in terrain shape and elevation, independently from biomes. For example, forests and deserts could form up on a hill without needing a special biome just for that
  • New ore distribution
  • Large ore veins
  • Integrated mountains, caves, and cave entrances
  • Monsters will only spawn in complete darkness
  • Note: This snapshot is experimental, and everything is subject to change. Some features may be significantly changed or even removed if needed to improve performance. Also keep in mind that this experimental snapshot is missing some important performance improvements that we are currently working on, so things may be slow


Source: Mojang Studios (Image credit: Source: Mojang Studios)
  • Download this .zip file
  • Unpack the folder into your "versions" folder of your local Minecraft application data folder
    • Windows: Press Win + R and type %appdata%\.minecraft and press Ok
    • Mac OS X: In Finder, in the Go menu, select "Go to Folder" and enter ~/Library/Application Support/minecraft
    • Linux: ~/.minecraft or /home/<your username>/.minecraft/
  • Create a new launch configuration in the launcher and select the pending 1.18_experimental-snapshot-1.zip version
  • Start the game and the remaining files will be downloaded
  • Play in a new world! This version is not compatible with other snapshots!
  • Submit feedback on this site
Zachary Boddy
Staff Writer

Zachary Boddy (They / Them) is a Staff Writer for Windows Central, primarily focused on covering the latest news in tech and gaming, the best Xbox and PC games, and the most interesting Windows and Xbox hardware. They have been gaming and writing for most of their life starting with the original Xbox, and started out as a freelancer for Windows Central and its sister sites in 2019. Now a full-fledged Staff Writer, Zachary has expanded from only writing about all things Minecraft to covering practically everything on which Windows Central is an expert, especially when it comes to Microsoft. You can find Zachary on Twitter @BoddyZachary.