Does a larger lava pillar produce a lot more light?



  • I'm planning on making a beacon, using lava source blocks at the top, encase in glass.

    Topdown view . . .

    G G G
    G L G
    G G G

    . . . where G = glass, and L = lava.

    Then I thought to myself, would having a beacon like this . . .

    G G G G
    G L L G
    G L L G
    G G G G

    . . . be visible from a lot farther away? Would it be worth the effort of producing more glass for the 4x4 pillar?



  • It would make light travel a whopping one block further in the three directions you add the lava to.

    Given the lava physics in Minecraft, light intensity and radius are the same. A candle gives 14 luminance and 14 radius. Lava and sunlight have 15 luminance instead.

    Here's how light would spread if lava had 5 luminance:

         1
        121
       12321
      12GGG21
     123GLG321
      12GGG21
       12321
        121
         1
    

    Here's the same with a 2×2 source:

         11
        1221
       123321
      12GGGG21
     123GLLG321
     123GLLG321
      12GGGG21
       123321
        1221
         11
    

    ...but that's a waste. Here's what the same amount of resources (4 lava sources, 12 glass columns) can get you:

         1     1   
        121   121  
       12321 12321 
      123G32123G321
     123GLG323GLG321
      123G32123G321
       12321212321   + 1 lava source
        121232121  
         123G321    (This is just an
        123GLG321    example, you can
         123G321     probably do
          12321      better than this.)
           121
            1   
    

    Also be aware that light also spreads out vertically: a light source one square above ground level is what will give maximum luminance at ground level. Light any higher or any lower will give you less luminance, as light has to travel through more air to reach the ground.

    enter image description here

    Thus, the height of the pillar doesn't matter if all you care about is mobs not spawning.

    Remember each level of the 16 levels of luminance (0-15) appears to 20% darker than the other.



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