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Last modified on May 13, 2020 in Server Errors
A Ticking Entity crash is caused by a monster or creature that has become corrupted in the data files for the game. You will most generally see this issue: java.lang.nullpointerexception: ticking entity
Entities are what Minecraft calls all monsters and creatures in the game. While the game is running. the information for the entity can become corrupted. This corruption can be so bad that any attempt by the game to process anything related to it all will cause the game to crash. While this corruption can happen even in “vanilla” Minecraft, the leading cause of most Ticking Entities corruption is usually a mod or a combination of mods that are changing some core part of the game in Minecraft.
A tick refers to Minecraft’s process for updating every creature, block, and global event in the game for every “chunk” of the map.. The game normally does this 20 times per second. Every time you do something in the game, it is only processed on a tick. Place a block, destroy a block, Shoot a monster, etc.
A chunk is a column of terrain 16 blocks X 16 blocks wide, that stretches from the lowest level up to the highest level. Your entire world in Minecraft is made of these 16 x 16 chunks. The data for a chunk has to be loaded into memory so you can see it, move around in it, or build in it.
During each tick, the game has to update every block and every creature in the chunk the player is standing in, and it also has to do the same for every block and creature in every chunk around that chunk, all the way out to the max view distance. Whew, that’s a lot of blocks. And it does this 20 times a second. If any event happens that keeps the tick from finishing properly, it can cause the game to crash.
This can result in the game repeatedly crashing every time you try to enter the game, because your spawn point for your character is in the same chunk as the Ticking Entity. It tries to load the chunk into memory, and as soon as it tries to process the corrupted information for the Ticking Entity, it will crash. Over and over and over every time you spawn into the game.
Players that are in other chunks may be able to join the game, but the same thing happens again if they move into any chunk containing a Ticking Entity, and the game crashes.
These two crashes are related to the “Ticking Entity” Crash. “Ticking Block” is basically the same, except that the issue is a corrupted block or “TileEntity” which is the ticking tile entity. These are often special block types added by a mod. Modded crafting table blocks are a common cause of this crash. They are basically handled in the same way as a Ticking Entity.
“Ticking World” is the most severe version of this kind of crash, The game knows that there is a corrupted block or creature somewhere in the world, but can’t give you the exact location, because it doesn’t know where it is. It could be any block, anywhere. This is the most difficult to fix and sometimes requires some pretty heroic steps to fix it or just plain luck. In some cases, it’s beyond fixing.
You may think that removing mods can fix this issue, but unfortunately, it does not.
Even though the mods may have caused the corruption, the corrupted Ticking Entity is now part of the world data, and your world is basically your save game for Minecraft. Removing the mods will not fix the corruption, and the corrupted entity will still remain in the world.
Also, there’s no way to tell exactly which mod may have caused the corruption. It might even have been a combination of multiple mods that caused it. If you are getting repeated Ticking Entity crashes, then later on you might want to figure out which mods are possibly causing it, and remove them at that time. But removing the mods now won’t fix the Ticking Entity.
The Ticking Entity will have to be removed from the world data. There are several ways to do this, ranging from simple to complicated, to apocalyptic.
If you have a backup made you can just simply restore the world from a backup and this will rollback from before the entity crash occurred. This is probably the easiest and best solution out of all the other solutions as it avoids any potential further damage done to the world. You can find our guide on restoring a backup here. If you do not want to restore a previous save, take a look at the other options below!
Luckily, if the game has crashed because of a Ticking Entity, then it has most likely created a crash report. That crash report will have the following information (and more):
Note: The X, Y, Z coordinates are only accurate as of the split second before the server crashes. Always try to use the newest crash report, as older ones, even if they are only minutes apart, will contain information that might be outdated.
If you have a “Ticking World” crash, the report will give no X, Y, Z coordinates because the game has no clue where the problem is. It could be any block or creature, anywhere in the game.
Once you open the crash report, you will see the crash report header identifies it as a “Ticking Entity” Crash.
If you scroll down into the report, you will see a section labeled — Entity Being Ticked –. In that section, will be the exact name of the monster that is corrupted and causing the crash, and it’s exact coordinates and region. This location can be used with world editors to allow you to delete the Ticking Entity.
If your modpack contains the mod CoFH Core then that mod will have added a special version of the regular Minecraft Kill command called cofh killall. To use this command, the server must be able to startup and run without crashing. Your player does not need to be connected into the game to run the command. You can enter this command from the light grey box at the bottom of the console view on the control panel.
This command has the ability to kill creatures even in unloaded chunks! . which is very handy considering a Ticking Entity will cause the game to crash if tries to start loading a chunk that contains one. CoFH Core is a required mod for any mod that uses RF power, such as Thermal Expansion or Thermal Foundation, and is commonly found in a lot of modpacks. Check the /mods folder for CoFH Core to see if it’s there and if this is an option.
If you don’t have CoFH Core in the modpack, you might consider downloading and adding the mod just so you can use this command. It’s a core mod, and should be compatible with just about any modpack, as long as the mod will work with that version of Minecraft. You can get the CoFH Core mod from here. Just add it to the /mods folder and start the server.
Use the following commands in the console. You can also add an argument at the end to target only the specific creature type mentioned in the crash report.
Note: Creatures “killed” with cofh killall do not drop loot, as they are not actually being killed, they are simply being deleted from the game
You can try using the regular Kill command, but unlike the modded version from CoFH Core it has some huge drawbacks:
Note: If you still want to try using the vanilla “Kill” command, make sure to use the following command (as just typing kill by itself will actually only have the effect of instantly killing your player character)
Example: kill @e[type=zombie]
This is the “low tech” way to fix it, but unfortunately the least likely to succeed sometimes. Use the X, Y, Z coordinates from the crash report to teleport to the creature’s location, and in the 1/4 second before the game crashes, kill the creature. Does it work all the time? No. But it is a very satisfying way to fix the issue when it does work.
This will only work if the game is not instantly crashing on startup. If your character is spawning in the same chunk that contains the Ticking Entity, the game will crash before you can do anything. Over and over and over.
Your character will need to have the correct OP level or Permission node that allows them to use the Teleport command. You will also need a weapon that can kill the Ticking Entity in a single hit (you won’t have time for a second hit). It’s also recommended that you switch the game to creative mode by using /gamemode creative in the console.
You can use a standalone Minecraft world editor to load a copy of your world, make changes to it, and then upload it back to the server. This takes longer to do but has pretty much a 100% chance of working.
Before attempting to use any world editor, it is recommended to make a backup of your entire server or the world folder. Just in case you need to undo the edits. After the backup is finished, find your world folder in the file manager, select it, and then make a zip file of it. Then download the zip file to a computer that you can use to run the standalone editors on. This cannot be done on the server itself. When you are finished with the edits, you will need to re-upload the world save back to your server.
MCEdit will generate a colored “wire-frame” view of your Minecraft world, and allow you to fly through it. You can also teleport to the exact X, Y, Z coordinates of the Ticking Entity, and then use commands in MCEdit to select and delete blocks (like the Ticking Entity). When you’re finished, you save the changes, and then upload the fixed world save back to your server.
NBT Explorer is a very powerful editor, but not exactly user-friendly. No gui, or wireframe view like MCEdit. It displays the raw data that makes up the saves, and you can make direct edits to that data. You will have to understand what you are looking at, what it means, and affects in the game, and what it can be changed to.
Another possible way to “fix” the ticking entity issue is to enable certain features of the Forge Modloader. Forge contains two settings that will order Minecraft to delete any creatures or blocks that would cause a crash, in order to prevent it from crashing. This method is completely uncontrollable. Forge is given permission to delete anything and everything that ever looked at it funny, and if you’ve ever looked at Forge messages in the console, Forge has a lot of issues with just about everything.
Below is the official warning message the creators of Forge put in the file about this feature.
They are not kidding about the potential damage. Anything Forge deletes this way is just gone forever.
This is a very last resort option when everything else hasn’t worked. Every once in a while, turning these features on will only delete the Ticking Entity, the rest of your world is fine, and you can go back to playing. This process still works enough times for us to still recommend it, just preferably as a last resort. Trust us, try the other methods first.
WARNING: If you attempt to use this method, make a backup of your server. We cannot stress how much damage this can do to your world, and the damage cannot be fixed. The only way to undo these changes is to restore a backup made before you turned on these settings in Forge, or by restoring a saved copy of your world. Customer Support can not restore any parts of a world deleted by Forge because of these settings, unless you made a backup beforehand.
To turn on these settings, you must find the file forge.cfg, which is normally located in the config folder in the main directory. Select forge.cfg, and then click the edit button to the right of the file.
Find the word false and change it to true. It’s recommended to only turn on the setting appropriate to what you are trying to fix: If trying to correct a Ticking Entity change the one for removeErrorEntities to true, but leave the removeErroringTileEntities set to false. This will hopefully minimize the side effects.
Start the server up, let it finish running. Then immediately shut the server down, open up forge.cfg and change those settings back to false. Leaving them permanently set to true can have continuous side effects. Place a block, and it instantly disappears, because forge didn’t like it and zapped it out of existence.
Try connecting into your game, and check to make sure everything is okay. If you see entire structures and buildings gone, well, that’s the damage we were talking about. If this happened, restore the backup made before turning on the Forge settings, and try one of the other alternative methods of removing the Ticking Entity.