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I have heard that monsters only spawn within a fixed radius of the player in single-player mode. Is it different in SMP, or is it that because there are no players that no monsters can spawn?

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If a tree falls in the forest, and no ones around to hear it, does it make a sound? –  Wipqozn Jul 18 '11 at 10:47

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As far as I know it works the same in SMP. You can find the algorithm at Minecraft Wiki. Basically they don't spawn closer than 24 blocks, or farther away than an 272 x 272 area from a player. So no player = no spawns.

You can test this yourself by joining a server that has been empty for a while (I'm not sure how long it takes for mobs to despawn) and you'll notice that it always takes a few moments before any kind of mob shows up.

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Okay, thanks. I had left my server without players for a couple of days, and was slightly surprised as to why no monsters had spawned. –  awesomeguy Jul 17 '11 at 17:31

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