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I have made a skeleton grinder and, for an unknown reason, they don't seem to spawn.

My grinder is of the type that the skeleton spawns at a high distance and drops to his death.

Are there some conditions required for skeletons to spawn? And yes, it is dark enough.

Are there any conditions like range, or limit, or anything else I should be knowing about?

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Do any mobs spawn at all? What difficulty are you on? –  tombull89 Feb 17 '13 at 12:56
    
@tombull89 I'm on normal, and yes they do spawn. –  Meraj99 Feb 17 '13 at 13:22
    
Are you using a spawner to spawn them, or just a dark room? –  Unionhawk Feb 19 '13 at 14:22
    
@Unionhawk I'm using a spawner....... –  Meraj99 Feb 21 '13 at 13:36
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2 Answers

up vote 3 down vote accepted

ChrisF's answer is good for natural spawns, but I'm guessing you're using a skeleton spawner, since you mention skeletons in particular. If this answer does not help, please provide pictures of your build so that we can understand your problem better.

Monster spawners can spawn mobs in midair, so if you have a spawner over a high pit, that's fine. However, spawners are only active when you are within a 16-block sphere around them, so if you are standing at the bottom of a 24-block deadly pit, you will definitely be out of range; you can only use such a direct-drop system when standing at the top of the pit. You can tell when a spawner is inactive because it stops emitting flames and the mob icon inside stops spinning (due to a current bug, it may vibrate a little bit).

My favored solution to this problem is to use a water elevator to bring the mobs up an equal distance, move them over a bit, then drop down to die (or almost die and be one-punch kills) next to where I stand near the spawner. Here's a picture of the spawner end of such a system I recently built (for zombies, but skeletons work fine in the same design):

The zombie spawner is in the center of the glass box, and all of the space around it which a spawning zombie could occupy (4 to each side, 1 below, 2 above) is empty air. The water currents bring the zombie to the front left, where they swim up the alternating water blocks and eventually reach a horizontal current which moves them over to a drop (for reliable fall damage, leave a block of dry ground which they get bumped off by the next zombie). The redstone lamps allow me to toggle spawning on and off.

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I might have to check that 16-block sphere theory. –  Meraj99 Feb 17 '13 at 15:20
    
@Meraj99 Just added how you can tell whether a spawner is active. –  Kevin Reid Feb 17 '13 at 15:20
    
@Meraj99 I see you've accepted my answer already. No need to do that if you haven't confirmed that it works for you yet! –  Kevin Reid Feb 17 '13 at 15:22
    
Looking at the deobfuscated code, spawners use a range constant of 16 from the exact centre of the spawner block in a call to find the nearest player, as a condition of spawning. –  SevenSidedDie Feb 17 '13 at 18:27
    
@KevinReid Sure, I'll check it and accept. –  Meraj99 Feb 18 '13 at 13:07
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Skeletons spawn when the light level is 7 or less.

They don't spawn on half blocks or transparent blocks.

Source

They also have to be in a 15x15 chunk (240x240 block) area of the player so

mob spawning area is effectively limited to spheres with a radius of 128 blocks, centered at each player.

So if your tower is taller than 128 blocks or you are further than 128 blocks away from the top of the tower then nothing will spawn at it's top.

There is also a limit on the number of skeletons that can spawn in a given area. Which is dependent on the number of chunks available for spawning. This means that if the area is too small you could still get no skeletons spawning.

Source

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They don't spawn on half blocks or transparent blocks. -> That seems to be fixed quite a while already. –  Alvin Wong Feb 18 '13 at 9:59
    
@AlvinWong - Then the MinecraftWiki needs updating too. –  ChrisF Feb 18 '13 at 10:02
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