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I was under the impression that the Fancy/Fast graphics settings would be a purely visual thing, with lighting/textures/what have you turned down, essentially. But reading this question, it appears there are some functional differences between the two as well (the example given is that you can place torches on leaf blocks in Fast mode, but not in Fancy mode).

Is this just the result of a glitch, or is it intentional? Are there other differences in gameplay between the two, whether they're glitches or designed?

3 Answers 3

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This is a complete list of everything noted on the Minecraft Wiki:

  • Leaves On Fancy, tree leaves are transparent. On Fast they are opaque
  • Clouds On Fancy, clouds are 3D, on Fast they are 2D.
  • Grass On Fancy, the sides of grass blocks have the same hue as the top, on Fast they do not (they have the default hue).
  • Item drops and frames render in 3D in fancy, and flat in Fast.
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    since this has an official source I'll mark it accepted (a link would have been nice though)
    – Alex
    May 15, 2011 at 13:09
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    @Alex there's no single source for all this data, it's an aggregation of the information on the wiki.
    – fredley
    May 15, 2011 at 13:11
  • @fredley: On SMP the first is possible regardless the setting. May 15, 2011 at 14:35
  • @fredley — The graphics change for rain is that the little "splash" particles don't get generated on Fast. The lack of noise is just a side-effect of this. There is a mod which restores the noise; performance doesn't seem to be affected, so this may be a glitch. Being able to put torches &c on leaves in Fast is absolutely a glitch. :-)
    – Ben Blank
    May 15, 2011 at 16:47
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    Both glitches will be fixed in 1.6. May 24, 2011 at 15:18
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Ones I know of:

  • Leaves are solid and opaque on Fast; non-solid on Fancy
  • Rain will not hit the ground on Fast; it will hit and make noise on Fancy
  • Clouds are flat on Fast; 3D on Fancy.
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With regards to ladders & torches on leaves, I'm quite sure I've added both to some trees I had planted myself while running in Fancy mode.

This is a little while ago, but it was in survival multiplayer version 1.3x-1.5x.

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    Leaf blocks count as opaque in SMP regardless of graphics settings. May 16, 2011 at 15:31

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