Minecraft: Java Edition 1.18 Experimental Snapshot 3 is now available with lots of generation tweaks

Minecraft Caves And Cliffs Update 1.18 Experimental Snapshot 3 Image
Minecraft Caves And Cliffs Update 1.18 Experimental Snapshot 3 Image (Image credit: Mojang Studios | Twitter)

What you need to know

  • Mojang Studios is hard at work on 1.18 'Caves and Cliffs Update' Part Two, which hopefully arrives later this year.
  • Before 1.18 changes can be tested with regular snapshots and betas, Mojang Studios is using Experimental Snapshots.
  • These Experimental Snapshots are rougher around the edges and much more difficult for players to test.
  • 1.18 Experimental Snapshot 3 is now available for Minecraft: Java Edition, and includes a ton of tweaks on top of Experimental Snapshot 2.

Minecraft is continuing on the long road to Part Two of the massive Caves and Cliffs Update, and that means a long list of Minecraft: Java Edition snapshots testing new features, changes, and improvements for 1.18 Caves and Cliffs Update Part Two. Before ordinary snapshots start arriving, however, Mojang Studios is testing major world generation changes through unique "Experimental Snapshots," which require a ton of extra work to install and test. Minecraft: Java Edition 1.18 Experimental Snapshot 3 is now available with lots of tweaks over the previous release.

Minecraft: Java Editions Experimental Snapshots aren't available like other snapshots are, and promise to give players access to the latest in-development features for Minecraft, often at the expense of lots of bugs and known issues. Experimental Snapshot 3 follows Experimental Snapshot 2 with a ton of tweaks and changes, as well as a handful of new known issues. Players who are interested in being on the frontlines of Minecraft community testing and don't mind getting their hands dirty can download and test the snapshot now.

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The full changelog for Minecraft: Java Edition 1.18 Experimental Snapshot 3 includes:


  • Tweaked biome placement to reduce the risk of temperature clashes (such as a snowy biome in the middle of a desert). Temperature clashes still happen, but not as often
  • Tweaked biome placement to allow for more noisiness and diversity again, essentially dialing back some of the changes from last snapshot. This means microbiomes are more likely to happen again, but they will usually be of matching temperatures (for example a small forest inside a plains biome)
  • Red sand is back! Tweaked badlands so they sometimes show up in flat areas next to plateaus, and made the red sand generate higher up (to account for the generally higher terrain)
  • Made peak biomes and meadows less likely to generate in flat low elevation areas
  • Smoothed out the cliffs in shattered terrain a bit, so they don't look like chunk errors
  • Snowy slopes and snowcapped peaks no longer place dirt under the snow. Mountains look less dirty now
  • Added a new mountain biome: Stony peaks. This is just a variant of lofty/snowcapped peaks that uses stone and gravel instead of snow and ice, and is used to avoid temperature clashes such as a snowcapped peak sticking up from a jungle
  • Added structures to some of the new mountain biomes. Pillager outposts generate in all the new mountain biomes. Villages generate in meadows
  • Tweaked beaches a bit, to make them more inclined to show up on flat coastlines rather than hilly areas. Also reduced the amount of stone shores
  • Coastlines and river banks are less likely to get messed up by aquifers. That is, local water levels are mostly used in terrain that doesn't border a river or ocean. Cave openings and ravines that intersect an ocean or river will mostly use sea level
  • Inland low-elevation areas are less likely to have flooded caves all over the place
  • Aquifers can go deeper and are more likely to connect with cave systems further down. That means if you dive into a deep lake on the surface (or in a mountain), you will sometimes encounter air pockets that lead to a cave system
  • Added more high-frequency variation to aquifers, to reduce the risk of massively huge areas with waterfilled caves everywhere. Underground lakes and flooded regions are more likely to be spread out instead of concentrated in one region
  • Fixed goat spawning (they weren't spawning in the new mountain biomes)
  • Swamps are less likely to overlap cold or dry biomes, and they no longer place hanging water. Swamps are even happier now
  • Desert temples spawn on the surface rather than at a fixed y level
  • Eroded badlands no longer create floating pillars on top of the water surface
  • Grass no longer generates under water
  • Reduced the risk of incorrect surface placement such as grass patches in deserts
  • Reduced the risk of river biome generating in dry mountain gorges. We don't have support for actual rivers generating above sea level, so if a mountain gorge is above sea level then it will be dry
  • Mob spawning no longer speeds up in low terrain or slows down in high terrain. The new spawning speed is similar to 1.17 spawning at y=64. This change is intended to make spawning more consistent in the updated overworld
  • Fixed an issue where players in multiplayer can face far more or far fewer enemies than intended, particularly when other players are flying. Each player now gets their fair share of mobs

Known issues

  • Low performance (we are working on performance optimization for the normal snapshots coming later)
  • Nether terrain is messed up
  • End pillars don't generate (however they do generate when you respawn the dragon...)


Source: Mojang Studios (Image credit: Source: Mojang Studios)
  1. Download this zip file
  2. 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/
  3. Create a new launch configuration in the launcher and select the pending 1.18_experimental-snapshot-3.zip version
  4. Start the game and the remaining files will be downloaded
  5. Play in a new world! This version is not compatible with other snapshots!
  6. Submit feedback on this site

Changes from 1.17

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
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.