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I have a sweet ravine balcony, that I've lit up, and partially fenced off. It's not connected to anywhere that mobs could spawn yet, come night zombies are at my door creepers are lounging around and spiders are crawling around! I didn't invite them!

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Is there any reason for these mobs to spawn here when it's well lit?

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You've missed a bit. Go back and check that everywhere is lit, and there's no way for mobs to get in. Mobs will jump down from 3 blocks above, but not higher. –  fredley Apr 11 '12 at 16:10
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A clear screenshot or two would be advisable. –  Myrddin Emrys Apr 11 '12 at 16:14
    
@MyrddinEmrys is on the right track, provide some screenshots and hopefully we can help. –  Zero Stack Apr 11 '12 at 16:17
    
@MyrddinEmrys I'm sure I had some when I was on last night. Let me get some for you.... –  Pureferret Apr 11 '12 at 16:19
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Based on the pictures I would say @MyrddinEmrys' post is spot on. That is not what I would call well lit at all. Just count down 5 pieces of fence then 2 in to the center and you have a large spawn area there. –  James Apr 11 '12 at 16:58

3 Answers 3

up vote 22 down vote accepted

Mobs cannot spawn in a well lit area, but only a single square is enough to allow spawning. The light level must be 8 or higher to prevent spawning, meaning no cube can be more than 7 steps from a torch. You have to count vertical steps too, so a torch two squares off the floor can only be five horizontal steps from any floor square.

In addition, spiders can climb up walls, and thus are harder to keep out than other mobs. But the fact that you have creepers and zombies as well indicates that you have a lighting issue. Creeps can also fall down from heights farther than they would choose to walk; if the cliff above your balcony can spawn mobs, you may wish to light it or fence it to prevent mobs from pushing each other off the edge and falling to your balcony.

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After you posted the screenshots, I made this graphic, illustrating some of the squares that have insufficient light. The green dot means that area is light level 8 or higher (within 7 cubes of a torch). A red dot indicates it is light level 7 or lower, and mobs can spawn there. As you can see, there is a large splotch of darkness on the right side of your balcony, where it is widest. Add a few more torches and everything should be fine. I did miscount a bit when creating the graphic: the leftmost two red dots should be green, as they are 7 cubes from the torch that is just out of sight on the bottom left. This leaves 5 squares visible in the image that are below light level 8.

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You actually need a 1x1x2 (skeleton, creeper, zombie, zombie pigman), 1x1x3 (enderman), 2,2,1 (spider), 1x1x1 (cave spider), 2x2x2 (slime, though that may be 3x3x3) and a 5x5x5 (ghast) for things to spawn... A single square covers only one spawn type, and not any of the creatures mentioned were a cave spider :) –  James Apr 11 '12 at 16:43
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@James I was considering 'ground square' when I worded that, as in the '1x1x?', which covers skellies, creepers, etc. In addition, I'm not sure that air squares need to have a low enough light level; I will need to do some tests to see if a zombie can spawn if the ground level is 7, but the block above it is 8. –  Myrddin Emrys Apr 11 '12 at 16:49
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Only the block directly above the ground surface (i.e. the light level visible on the ground) matters for spawning. –  Kevin Reid Apr 12 '12 at 13:06

If there is a tunnel connecting to the balcony that has some dark areas the mobs you encounter could be spawning there and be walking onto your balcony. If not then creepers could be climbing up the ladders and spiders can climb up walls as you probably know. Or the mobs culd be dropping off an above area to your balcony.

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Just for clarification, mobs don't "climb ladders" per se on their own, but when chasing you they can make use of ladders. –  Wikwocket Sep 10 '12 at 17:46
    
@Wikwocket They do now! I was once very confused about where my cow had gone, until I went up a ladder connecting the paddock to the roof to take care of other business and found the cow had climbed a ladder. –  SevenSidedDie Sep 10 '12 at 17:54

Hi I have heard you have a zombie promlem? Well I also had some problems with this. The thing is is that you might of hit a zombie spawning point in minecraft. Destroy the ladders because creepers can climb them because in 1.7.3 I had a panic room upstairs. I didn't know how to use stairs so I used a ladder. I was shocked to discover when I climbed up the ladder a creeper followed! Also spiders can climb so put either neatherrack and light it with flint and steel (because neatherrack is a never ending burning object) on the top so spiders get burnt when they get to the top, or put a block a block apart so spiders can't climb up and because your balcony is so high the spider will probably fall to their death after a couple of attempts (unfortunately I can't post an image). About the zombie spawning point there is nothing you can really do there. Hope I helped!!!!

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What do you mean by a zombie spawning point? I have a fence all around now and I have cleared the site up so it's well lit and I don't have any problems now. –  Pureferret Apr 14 '12 at 22:57

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