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I AFK a lot.

My primary AFK location has a nether portal close by (roughly 20 meters).

Zombie pigmen spawn occasionally in it, then disappear back to the nether.

This morning, I went into the nether, and was greeted by about 50 zombie pigmen. All probably in the same chunk as the portal.

Are these pigmen counting against the mob cap in the overworld?

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In singleplayer, the nether is not loaded by default, so any pigmen (or other mobs) that spawn in the overworld and wander through the portal don't move or count towards the mob count anymore, until you enter the nether. This is one way to get around the cap for naturally spawned mobs, storing the mobs in the nether until it is time to kill them.

This can lead to dangerous (for your computer/framerate) amounts of mobs in the area around the portal once you do enter the nether though, so if it is not part of your design, turn off your portal before afking. Doing so will also keep the pigmen from spawning in the overworld.

  • it is my understanding that when a chunk is unloaded the hostile (unnamed) mobs get deleted. So, the chunks in the nether adjacent to my portal appear to be loaded at all times. Do you have any evidence to your claim that once they're through the portal the don't count towards the mob cap? – John Dec 18 '13 at 17:04
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    Testing complete! Just inside the portal, dropped items don't despawn while in the other dimension, timers don't run, also the entities count in F3 doesn't count any of the mobs I pushed through the portal. Hostile mobs can't despawn in unloaded chunks, because NOTHING happens in unloaded chunks. Hostile mobs despawn when you are a 128 blocks away, but only in loaded chunks. – Fungo Dec 19 '13 at 14:23
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when afking, the BUD timer does not activate, making it impossible for entities or mobs to update and for chunks to update, so when going the nether, the BUD timer is reactivated, allowing no more pigmen to spawn until some are killed (or moved to another location)

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They will not because it is a different demantion and therefor has a different ".dat" file in your minecraft folder. this means it has his own mobcap

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