Each type of block and item is given a unique identification number. This is used by the game to remember which blocks you placed where, as well as to select the appropriate texture, icon and behaviour of a block or item.
These ids are also known as 'data values' in the Minecraft community.
Spawning an item generally means obtaining it without performing the actions the game normally requires. For example, instead of waiting for crops to grow and then harvesting them, you could spawn the wheat item instantly. Many players consider this to be cheating and it is sometimes frowned upon.
In multi-player mode you can spawn items using the
command. The syntax of this command is:
/give [username] [id] [amount]
You should replace
[username] with the name of the player who
should receive the item,
[id] with the id of the block or item and
[amount] with the quantity of the item you wish to spawn. An
interactive list of item and block ids may be found on this
For example, if you wished to give the player Ancient three glowstones, you would type this:
/give Ancient 89 3
On most servers only the administrators of the server can use the
Certain items have additional attributes that cannot be described by the id alone. For example, the damage on a sword, the age of some crops or the colour of some wool. These are stored in an additional field called 'meta data'. Some people also refer to it as the 'damage value' as originally it was only used for damage.
The vanilla Minecraft server's
/give command does not
support setting the meta data of an item. However,
Bukkit's collection of miscellaneous
has support for it in its
/give [id]:[meta data] [amount] [player]
This works in a similar way to the vanilla Minecraft server's command,
however, it also has the additional field
[meta data] which
should be replaced with the meta data of the item you want to spawn.
For example, to give the player Notch 18 coco beans, you would type the following command:
/give 351:3 18 Notch
Note that the player's name is specified at the end in Bukkit, which is different to the vanilla server.
Several inventory editors, including INVedit, also have support for changing the meta data of most items.