Player's guide to using mods » introWelcome to Stardew Valley modding! This guide will help you install mods and fix any problems that come up.
What are mods?
A mod is just a package of files which changes Stardew Valley in some way. Mods can add features (like showing NPCs on the map), change game mechanics (like making fences decay more slowly), make cosmetic changes (like making your house look like a hobbit home), and more.
There are generally two types of mods:
- SMAPI mods use SMAPI (a modding API) to run code within the game. These mods are powerful and convenient. After installing SMAPI, you can install mods by dropping them into a folder and uninstall them by deleting their folder. You can use multiple SMAPI mods, and they’ll rarely conflict. Ideally you would only use SMAPI mods, but there are a few things they can’t do yet.
- XNB mods replace the game’s data files (which have an
.xnbextension, thus the name). These are harder to manage (you’ll need to keep track of which files you overwrote and keep backups), and you can’t use two mods that change the same files. These are often used to change images in the game, which is currently harder with SMAPI.
If you’re just starting out, you should avoid XNB mods. It’s easier for something to go wrong with those, and harder to fix when it does. However, you can use XNB and SMAPI mods together.
What is SMAPI?
SMAPI is a modding API — it launches the game with mod support and lets mods interact directly with the game code. It’s safely installed alongside your normal game, and you can uninstall it anytime.
Can I use mods on Linux/Mac/Windows?
Yep. SMAPI is officially compatible with Linux, Mac, and Windows. You can use almost all mods on any platform, since SMAPI rewrites them for compatibility.
Are mods safe?
Mods are usually perfectly safe. SMAPI is installed alongside your game and doesn’t change any of the game files, so you can stop using it anytime. Most mods don’t affect your save file, so you can add or remove them at will. It’s a good idea to back up your save files even if you don’t use mods (save problems are almost always caused by the game itself).