The concept known as the "Sky Dimension" or "Sky" was originally conceived as a planned dimension within the popular game Minecraft. It was envisioned as a contrasting counterpart to the Nether dimension. While the official implementation of the Sky Dimension never materialized in the game, resourceful players have found ways to recreate certain aspects of its original concept using data packs. By utilizing these data packs, players are able to generate a limited version of the Sky Dimension, capturing elements that were originally intended for inclusion in the game.
During the early development stages of Minecraft, specifically in the Indev phase, there existed a map type called "Floating." This map type generated floating islands with diverse terrain, influenced by the chosen World Theme.
The idea of the Sky Dimension was first introduced by Markus Persson, commonly known as Notch, the creator of Minecraft. Notch tweeted an image depicting the concept of this dimension, which was likely intended to represent a heavenly realm as a contrasting counterpart to the Nether, which was designed to resemble a hellish dimension. However, the Sky Dimension was not officially confirmed until Notch released an update on Twitter, acknowledging the significance given to it by PC Gamer and stating his intention to complete its development.
In a live webcast on the Swedish gaming site feber.se, Notch revealed that the Sky Dimension would likely be a dream-like world. He mentioned the possibility of players being transported to the Sky Dimension when they go to bed, turning it into a purposeful gameplay element. Initially, the Sky Dimension was planned to be included in the Adventure Update, but Notch decided to postpone its development until the Nether dimension was more engaging and enjoyable for players.
Jens Bergensten, also known as Jeb, a key developer of Minecraft, explained that the original implementation of the Sky Dimension faced technical challenges related to how light was calculated. The Sky Dimension had a top-down lighting system similar to the Overworld, creating shadows in caves and other areas. However, this design severely impacted performance, resulting in sluggish gameplay. As a result, the decision was made to remove the sun and apply even lighting throughout the environment, unless illuminated by torches.
Consequently, the initial concept of the Sky Dimension underwent significant changes and was eventually transformed into "The End." This new dimension represented a dark and foreboding realm, appropriately considered the "end of the game," housing powerful creatures such as endermen and the ender dragon. It deviated from the original idea of the Sky Dimension and became a distinct conversion of the concept. Notch later mentioned on Twitter that a different dimension called "Skylands" was possibly in development, separate from The End and intended to replace the original Sky Dimension. However, Jeb subsequently clarified that there were no plans to reintroduce the Sky Dimension and the chances of it being implemented were slim.
From Minecraft Java Edition versions 1.13 to 1.17.1, it was possible to partially recreate aspects of the Sky Dimension using the Buffet world type. By selecting the "Floating Islands" world generation option (available after version 1.16) and choosing any Overworld biome (such as Forest, Plains, Swamp, or Jungle) as the World Terrain option, players could generate a partially reminiscent representation of what the Sky Dimension might have looked like. However, it's important to note that the "Floating Islands" world type was subsequently removed in version 1.18.
A prototype of the Sky Dimension can be accessed in Java Edition Beta 1.6, Java Edition Beta 1.7, and Java Edition Beta 1.8 through modding. The necessary modifications involve altering specific Java class files: wr.class in beta 1.6.6, xa.class in beta 1.7.3, and acz.class in beta 1.8.1.
In this mod-enabled version of the Sky Dimension, the world generation closely resembles that of the Overworld. However, there are distinct differences. The Sky Dimension is perpetually set to midday, and weather conditions such as rain and snow are absent, although cloud cover gives the appearance of rainfall. Comparable to the Overworld, the Sky Dimension features oak trees, flowers, springs, lakes, and caves. Additionally, players can discover pumpkins, mushrooms, dungeons, iron, coal, and gold. While relatively rare, it is also possible to encounter sugar cane, redstone, lapis lazuli, and, on even rarer occasions, diamonds. The only naturally spawning creatures in the Sky Dimension are chickens; no other mobs, including hostile creatures and squid, appear unless they are spawned by spawners found in dungeons. Snow accumulates on elevated surfaces, similar to mountain biomes, but due to the absence of weather in the Sky Dimension, this snow is not renewable. Beneath the floating islands of the Sky Dimension lies nothingness known as the Void, accompanied by a layer of clouds.
One notable bug related to the Sky Dimension is the "SkylandsError," which refers to a world corruption issue that occurs in single player. Originally, the Sky Dimension was integrated within the code for region 0 (representing the Overworld). However, starting from Beta 1.9 Pre-release 3, it was allocated its own region: Region 2, with Region 1 designated for the Nether. Unfortunately, a problem arose where Sky Dimension chunks ceased to generate within their assigned region and instead manifested in the Overworld on multiplayer servers. This issue likely stemmed from map generation and saving complications, causing Sky Dimension chunks to overwrite Overworld chunks instead of being saved in separate map files, akin to how the Nether operates. Consequently, when a world with Sky Dimension chunks is transferred from multiplayer to single-player, the affected chunk area will always appear as the Plains biome, even if natural snow formation was present on the ground.
The Sky Dimension serves as an opposite or inversion of the Nether. While the Nether is characterized by a vast cave system teeming with monsters and an expansive open space, the Sky Dimension features peaceful floating islands surrounded by emptiness. Conceptually, the Nether can be likened to a hellish realm, whereas the Sky Dimension represents a heavenly counterpart. Despite the similar hazards present in both dimensions, falling from the Sky Dimension is just as fatal as plummeting into the lava ocean from a cliff in the Nether.
Interestingly, similar to the Nether, the Sky Dimension lacks weather effects. This can be attributed to its placement above the cloud layer, thus explaining the absence of rain or other weather phenomena.
It is worth noting that the Far Lands, peculiar terrain generation anomalies, can also manifest in the Sky Dimension. However, their appearance in this dimension differs significantly from how they manifest in the Overworld.
Additionally, it's worth mentioning that a sky dimension is also present in Minicraft, a 2D game inspired by Minecraft and also created by Markus Persson (Notch).