In the first public mention of them, this early video of Minecraft (Classic 0.24) by Notch, they were referred to as "resources".
Items have two possible appearances, generally corresponding to whether the item appears as a 3D or 2D shape in a player's inventory screens. 3D items (typically blocks) appear as their 3D shape, miniaturized to about 1⁄4 scale, slowly rotating and bobbing up and down. 2D items (typically non-blocks) appear as 1⁄2 scale billboards which bob up and rotate (only in fancy graphics); they face the player but only in yaw and not pitch, so when viewed from directly above or below are invisible.
When a single item entity represents a stack of more than one (which happens when the player discards a stack from an inventory window, or when another like item comes to occupy the same place), it appears as several of the item stuck together. Stacks of 2–5 appear as two, 6–20 as three, and 21–64 as four.
All items appear as 3D items in fancy graphics after snapshot 12w50a.
Item entities come from many sources. Some common ones are:
- The death of a mob.
- A block which is mined by a player, destroyed by an explosion (70% loss rate), or washed away by water.
- A block which finds itself in an inappropriate location:
- A falling block (sand, gravel, or dragon egg) which lands in an already-occupied space.
- An inventory item tossed by pressing the toss key (default Q), dragging a stack outside of an inventory window, or leaving a GUI which does not hold items permanently (such as a crafting table or enchantment table).
- A container (other than an Ender chest) with items inside that is destroyed.
Items cannot be attacked (by players or mobs); attempting to do so simply hits what is behind them. However, they may take damage and disappear from environmental or block-based effects such as explosions, fire, lava, and contact with cactus. Items have essentially no health, so they are destroyed by the slightest damage. The one exception is fire damage from lava; they may burn briefly before disappearing in that case.
If an item is within an opaque block, then: If it is surrounded on all sides by opaque blocks, it will fly out of the top of the block. Otherwise it will fly out one of the unobstructed sides. Note that it will do this even if the space below is unoccupied; therefore, it is possible to recover an item dropped by breaking a hole in a floor by quickly placing another block there. Items are not pushed out by non-opaque blocks such as glass and slabs.
When an item comes within a short distance of a player whose inventory is not full, it flies quickly toward them — regardless of any intervening blocks — and when it reaches them it is added to their inventory, with a “pop” sound. If the item appears in their hotbar, then the hotbar item is briefly animated with a distortion effect. Unlike Experience Orbs, arbitrary numbers of items can be picked up instantaneously. If the player was already within pickup distance when the item was dropped (commonly because that player just dropped it), it may not fly until the player moves slightly.
Items despawn after 6000 game ticks (5 minutes) of being in a loaded chunk, unless another item of the same kind was dropped next to them and added to its stack. Merging dropped item stacks resets the counter to 6000 ticks.
|0.24||Items were added to the game. Initially, they only took the form of destroyed blocks, and they pulsed white (similar to the selection cursor at the time).|
|?||Items no longer pulse white. Items no longer prevent placement of blocks, but instead are pushed out of placed blocks.[more information needed]|
|0.31||In a test stage of 0.31, items would not spin and float such as now, but only stands on the block beneath it.[more information needed]|
|Non-block items added (as sprites); they rotate to face the player.|
|1.8||cactus items to be displayed at the 1⁄2 scale rather than 1⁄4 was fixed.|
|1.3||Items which are moved into the same location will combine into stacks instead of remaining independent entities.|
|1.4.3||Items are now pushed out of transparent solid blocks as well as opaque ones. Items can push into solid blocks while trying to escape a solid block instead of stopping (this has been used to create vertical transport of items). New bug: items will be pushed out of the inside corner of stair blocks, causing “bouncing” effects.|
|1.4.6||12w50a||When dropped, items now render in the fancy graphics setting as 3D spinning animations (non-block items no longer display as sprites).|
- When about 16 blocks from a item, the item visually disappears.
- It is possible to collect dropped items through thin blocks such as fences, nether brick fences, iron bars, doors or glass panes.
- It is possible to stop a minecart in motion just by dropping an item in front of it.
 See also
- Drops — items dropped by mobs when killed.
- Chunk format for more information about the attributes of items.