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In my, I have game mode set to 0 (survival), spawn rates set to defaults (1 tick for mobs, 400 ticks for animals) difficulty set to normal and we are harldy seeing any mobs or friendlies.

We even have a mob-grinder which is failing to spawn more than 1 mob per-day.

This is running on craft-bukkit 1.2.5

Our host seems to think that others have reported the same sort of issue. Does anyone have any ideas what the underlying issue may be?

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does it depend where in the map you go? are you basing this on a small area of the map that you have built on? – Jacxel May 18 '12 at 12:36
Have you tried hitting F3 and scanning around looking at the entity count? Could be some hostiles hiding in a random cave somewhere. – Michael May 18 '12 at 15:12
F3 has had that removed for several versions now. – legacy May 18 '12 at 17:59
@legacy This is only partly true. You are right that you no longer can see the mob-entity-numbers using F3, but you can see the entity-count in the upper left corner. More here. – Pit May 18 '12 at 22:07
Yeah, we were getting 3/100 on the entity count no matter where we went. – Neil Trodden May 20 '12 at 0:11

I'm not sure what the answer would be but this problem has been resolved. It could well be some problem with our host as they reported other users with the same problem. The rendered entity count never went over 3 in any direction. Tonight though, we are seeing plentiful supplies of mobs and animals from surrounding areas. We've not really explored that much so we're definitely putting it down to a glitch of some sort.

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I have a friend who has a server that's an AMD Single-Core machine, and he gets very low spawn counts and the nether (since 1.2.3) is very laggy.

My server is an AMD Triple-Core machine and there's always plenty of mobs, and the nether is tolerable (still somewhat laggy if not lit properly.)

Both are Linux boxes. My guess is that the CPU is overloaded on your host and therefore it doesn't have time to do things like refresh the entropy pool for the random number generators, or the thread that spawns mobs (if that's how MC is coded) doesn't run an awful lot.

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Supposedly, a mob is spawned every tick (where possible) and this is a fixed rate. A tick is a game cycle and if that had slowed then we'd have seen slowness in other areas. – Neil Trodden May 23 '12 at 15:59

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