Understanding Snow Melting Mechanics in Minecraft
In Minecraft, snow and ice have specific light level requirements before they will melt into water. Snow layers will melt if the light level is 12 or higher in that block space. This means that light sources like torches, placed nearby, can cause exposed snow to melt away. According to the Minecraft Wiki, torches in particular create a 2 block radius of melt around them when placed in snow.
Ice has a slightly higher light level requirement of 11 before it transitions from solid ice into water. Other light sources like lava or glowstone can also emit enough light to melt snow if they are close enough. Both snow layers and ice will melt instantly if exposed to the required light level rather than gradually over time.
There is one exception to the light level rules. In dry biomes like deserts, exposed snow layers and ice will melt away regardless of the light level. The dry heat essentially overrides the light level requirement in hot biomes. So snow is not permanent in dry areas.
Understanding these basic light level mechanics is the first step to managing and preventing unintended snow melt in Minecraft. With this knowledge, players can better control placement of torches and other lights near snow builds.
Using Light Sources Properly to Avoid Snow Melt
When placing light sources near snow and ice in Minecraft, it's important to do so in a way that minimizes melting. Here are some tips for using lights properly around snow:
First, place lights high above the snow level. Having light sources at least 2-3 blocks above the snow will prevent the light level from getting high enough at ground level to cause melting. You can build tall lamp posts to position torches, glowstone, etc above the snow.
Also, space light sources far apart from each other. Having lights clustered close together compounds the light levels. By separating them more, you can illuminate an area while keeping the light touching snow blocks to a minimum.
Using lower level light sources like redstone lamps can be better than brighter ones like torches. The redstone lamps have a lower light value so they impact snow less. Hiding light under transparent blocks like carpets on top of glowstone can direct light upward while preventing melt.
As one Minecraft player describes on Steam, "keep snow & ice blocks well isolated from any & all natural blocks." This keeps ambient light and heat from impacting the snow as much. With smart placement and spacing of lights, you can have both illumination and intact snow.
Leveraging Plugins and Game Commands to Stop Snow Melt
There are useful plugins and game commands available to help stop snow from melting in Minecraft.
The WorldGuard plugin allows you to define regions where snow will not melt. As described in this Bukkit forum thread, you can use the wand selection tool to mark an area, then use /region define to set it so snow does not melt within that region's boundaries.
Several plugins on Bukkit are specifically designed to prevent snow and ice melt globally on a Minecraft server. The NoMelt plugin stops snow blocks and ice from melting due to light sources like torches or lava across the entire map.
Using the /replace command to switch out water source blocks with packed ice or blue ice is an effective way to stop existing snow and ice from melting in custom structures or biomes. These solid ice variants are immune to melting.
The Minecraft community has proposed a gamerule like doSnowMelt or doIceMelt that could toggle on/off the default melting behaviors for snow and ice blocks. This would provide an easy way to disable melting without installing plugins.
Snow-Safe Building Materials
Certain blocks in Minecraft are resistant to snow melt, which makes them great options for building structures you want to keep snow-covered. According to the Minecraft Wiki, snow blocks themselves are immune to melting and won't be destroyed by water either. This makes snow blocks a perfect material for building an igloo or other snow structure you want to remain intact.
Packed ice and blue ice are also snow-proof blocks that won't melt, as noted on the Minecraft Fandom site. Using these solid, opaque ice blocks can add some variety and texture to a snow build while still being resistant to melting.
An interesting trick mentioned on Reddit is that string placed on the ground can prevent snow layers from forming on blocks below the string. This can help maintain clean edges and prevent the remaining snow from melting into an odd shape.
Using these snow-proof blocks creatively can enable you to build the winter wonderland you want in Minecraft without having to worry about pesky melting and having to frequently replace snow.
Creative Snow Structure Designs
When building in snowy biomes in Minecraft, you can get creative with different snow structure designs to keep your builds looking great. Here are some tips for creative and snow-safe building styles:
Use floating light posts to illuminate your snowy structures safely. Build pillars up from the ground and place torches or other light sources far above the snow layer so they don't cause melting. Spacing the light posts far apart will help prevent too much light overlapping.
Build glass ceilings over key snow buildings, leaving an air gap between the glass and snow layers below. This allows light to come in safely without contacting and melting the snow.
Use underground light sources like redstone lamps under transparent blocks to illuminate the area while keeping the light separated from exterior snow blocks.
Mix in snow blocks, packed ice, and blue ice to add some color variety and texture to your snow structures. Snow blocks won't melt so you can use them for more permanent structures.
For more snowy building inspiration, check out this Minecraft snow cabin tutorial (source). Get creative with snow and ice to build unique structures in your world!