Best RimWorld Mods

How does that old saying go – by failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail? Or, in RimWorld’s [official site] case, by failing to prepare, you’re preparing to fail; and even if you prepare really, really well, you’re probably best preparing for failure all the same.

You see, even with the most meticulous preparation and planning, success is far from guaranteed in Ludeon Studios’ survival management sim. RimWorld is a game that sees even the most seasoned colonists come a cropper at the drop of a hat – not to mention established popstars who’ve otherwise enjoyed privileged upbringings – which is why it’s good to know intuitive user-made mods are there to help us through its often harsh expectations.

Edb Prepare Carefully

By edbmod

Edb Prepare Carefully is a nifty mod to kick things off. Instead of having you simply pick a starting location and go for it from the game’s outset, this handy leg-up lets you customise your prospective colonists – choosing their gear, backstory, stats, traits, appearance, and essentially everything else that’s worth tweaking at will. An optional points limiter affords the more adventurous players a more balanced start, however this mod caters to those who’re after limitations and strict boundaries.

Now, you and I both know there’s scant guarantee on how your mob will behave once out in the wild, but Edb Prepare Carefully lets you play God and build your starting group within rigid parameters so you’re afforded the best chance of surviving out in the wilderness. For a while, at least. Fail to prepare and all that…

Colony Manager, Relations Tab, Medical Tab, and Work Tab

By Fluffy

Through all of that preparing to fail, Fluffy is a modder who understands your pain. He’s crafted over a dozen modifications which should help in varying degrees, but there’re some in particular which should aid your quest toward becoming queen/king coloniser.

Colony Manager is perhaps the most helpful of the lot. It ostensibly removes the majority of tedious micromanagement from your duties, and prompts your workers to get their proverbial fingers out. You’ll manually set up production lines that’ll transform raw materials to finished products autonomously, and you’ll set bills via a new ‘Manager’ tab which will assign manager skill-boasting colonists to in turn assign jobs to the rest. “In theory there is no real limit to the number of global bills that can be set,” reads the mod’s description while asserting that “you’re still the overlord.”

Furthering this idea of streamlining otherwise overly-complicated menus (something RimWorld is often guilty of), Fluffy’s Medical Tab, Relations Tab and Work Tab mods all simplify their respective criteria by way of handy graphs, indicators, and complete tab overhauls.

NB – Fluffy’s Steam Workshop page is probably worth checking out in its entirety.

Glitter Tech and Efficient Light

By Sam and Rimfire respectively

Between all the tinkering and tweaking, managing and milling, you really should take some time to treat yourself. Building upon the preexisting in-game mentions of futuristic “glitter worlds”, Glitter Tech is more superficial-leaning than most other RimWorld mods but grants you access to an arsenal of advanced power generators, bionic limbs and organs, high tech energy weapons and armour, powerful turrets and automatic mortars, and wall lights and blast doors.

Be warned, though, crafting such exceptional wares is likely to attract the attention of unscrupulous corporations, says mod creator Sam. These groups of shady characters aren’t likely to turn up until the late game, but will nevertheless come packing quite the punch when they do. Sam recommends you start a new world with this ‘un in order to experience the “full Glitter Tech experience.”

With all of that surplus power, you might also want to consider a more energy efficient lifestyle while lost in the cosmos. Rimfire’s Efficient Light is a bright idea, ahem, that handles that by reducing the power usage of the standing lamp from 75 to 25. In a flash, ahem, you’ll help better maintain vital systems in the face of cursory ambience.

Orion’s Hospitality and Orion’s Faction Discovery

By [R5L] Orion

As I’m sure you’re now well aware, being lost in space can be a pretty lonely experience – particularly when your roommates have gone berserk, are gravely ill, and/or have died. Wouldn’t it be nice, then, if those non-hostile visitor types stayed for longer than that single one-off trade? What if you could provide them with guest beds and rooms? What if they even joined your faction for keeps? Modder Orion understands such desires and as such has crafted three mods to address this very point.

Orion’s Hospitality is the main one which caters to the above and establishes your colony as a regular traveller hub. If the nomads gain your trust, there’s a good chance they’ll stick around – so long as you’ve got the means to keep them from going berserk, getting gravely ill and/or dying, naturally. Orion’s Faction Discovery allows you to create new factions that can be loaded straight from existing games, as opposed to forcing you to start again in order to see them in action. Ultimately, this mod ensures you always have enough recommended bases on the map to activate “every faction you have installed.” Furthermore, a bonus Hippie Faction introduces “good old forest dwellers who don’t mean anyone harm” that are “ready to be exploited.”

More Vanilla Turrets and Combat Realism

By Jaxxa and skyarkhangel respectively

These mods are actually at odds with one in another in that they don’t appear to be compatible, however each adds a degree of realism to the game – as far as crash landing a spacecraft onto a foreign planet and setting up shop years into the future feasibly allows.

First, More Vanilla Turrets does exactly what you might expect by adding more turrets that are in-keeping with the base game’s style and design. Expect more turret and mortar variations (and a shallow moat), alongside some refined balancing. The full list of particulars can be found in this direction, however this mod also requires you up your research game in order to realise its full potential. Specifically, you’ll want to look into gun turret cooling; military grade turrets; shredder and precision turrets; vulcan cannons; mortars; and devastator mortars.

Again, Combat Realism sadly doesn’t play nice with the above, however it does straighten out RimWorld’s bendy-physics firearm shootyness which I personally find a touch frustrating. Instead, this mod facilitates some pretty extensive changes to combat and weapons by way of rebalancing, shooting ranges in relation to line-of-sight, fire rates, cooldown time periods and a whole host of other considerations which are designed to mirror real life.

Also see: Abrexus’ SuperiorCraftingA11b – an at times overly complicated mod which nonetheless adds a nice layer of realism, by way of logical thinking, and challenge to RimWorld’s research tree.

The Exiled Tribe and The Hangover From Hell

By Blitz and EnterElysium respectively

And so onto the scenarios because, let’s face it, that’s what RimWorld is all about. If you’ve reached this far in the list, I know that you know the longevity of your life out in the intergalactic wilderness is often a roll of the dice and that’s what makes it so darned great. Stick your ‘fail to prepare’ axiom!

Anyway, the first scenario worth turning you head towards (and then most likely sharply away from) is Blitz’s The Exiled Tribe. Things kick off when your tribe decides to swipe the current chief’s magical shield and ceremonial dagger, which in turn prompts a witch hunt with you and your pals as the star prize. Your entourage quickly realises this so-called “magic shield” is pretty damn useless, thus you “decide to pack up the village’s elephant and flee in the middle of the night.” Good luck!

EnterElysium’s The Hangover From Hell, on the other hand, stars five chums who awake with killer hangovers/an 80 percent chance to start with the ‘Chemical Interest’ trait (and a 100 percent chance of being hungover, duh) and must evacuate a burning ship. The writing’s on the wall with this one, really, as you’re tasked with making your way to the lifeboats – “with all the booze you can carry of course” – before making a break to an unknown land. I’d say good luck here too, but I reckon you’re doomed from the outset to be brutally honest.

Medieval Times and Zombie Apocalypse

By Vindar and Justin C

Hear ye! hear ye! Vindar’s Medieval Times mod is essentially an expansion to RimWorld which introduces two new medieval factions, and appropriate clothing, weapons, armour and building items. Beyond three new settlements, new maps also include two medieval societies and one medieval warband – the former of which act like outlander towns, the latter of which functions in similar nature to raiders. If part of the base game is about observing power struggles within initially unassuming colonies, adding a dash of the Middle Ages into the mix brings brutality to the table from the off.

And if you think power-hungry monarchs pose a challenge, try combating brain-hungry undead in Justin C’s Zombie Apocalypse. As “mindless killers”, zombies don’t just pose a threat physically – singularly and/or in hordes – but also promise widespread infection if you wind up the wrong end of their bite. Worse still, they can even endanger colonies via airborne viruses. “This incident never ends,” says the mod’s blurb of the latter. “Once the virus goes airborne, everyone is infected.” Lovely.

Honourable Mentions

Xeva’s Rimhair
By [R5L] Orion

If ya like it then ya shoulda put a wig on it.

Tilled Soil
By Sam

Bring a splash of Stardew Valley to RimWorld with Tilled Soil.

Let’s Cook – A Breaking Bad Scenario and Rimworld – The Survival Reality Show
By Modi Operandus

Another couple of fun scenarios based on Walter White’s adventures and a reality television show.

Orion’s Big Family
By [R5L] Orion

I think it’s probably best to let the mod’s creator field this one:

“Have you been waiting years and years for your brother-in-law to show up and he just walks past, just to be never seen again? Plot twist! One Big Family solves this problem by changing the odds! Everyone is related… somehow, right!? That spacer you found in a 2000 year old casket? Plot twist! Turns out to be the son you never knew of!

“Just settled down, built a little house with your wife and kids? Plot twist! Your step-mother comes on a visit with your secret lover who is also your wife’s daughter to sell you dog meat! Getting raided by a horde of savages? Plot twist! They brought their whole family tree, including your evil sister who turns out to be their leader and grandmother!

“After all, we’re now One Big Family!”

And that marks the end of our best RimWorld mods. Surviving the harsh realities of the space jungle while herding a temperamental group of colonists requires a very select skillset, though – one which is indefinitely subject to constant change. Which mods are you enjoying? Tell us in the comments below.

RimWorld is available now for Windows, Mac and Linux, direct from the developer or via Steam.

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38 Comments

  1. C0llic says:

    If you haven’t yet bought RimWorld, and you have any interest in the kind of stories Dwarf Fortress creates, buy it! It’s far more accessible and in it’s current state, already a great game.

    • Premium User Badge

      TheBloke says:

      Have you played Dwarf Fortress? If so, would you mind giving an idea of how it compares? Obviously the graphics and UI are superior. But how does it compare for complexity of systems and their interaction?

      I played DF with DFHack, and the latter added a vast wealth of extra functionality and especially greatly improved the UI. In particular I loved using the Workflow DFHack system for automation of production, so I was intrigued to see a similar-sounding system listed amongst these mods.

      I played DF extensively during the latter half of last year, but stopped playing while waiting for the later releases to get full DFHack support and haven’t so far gone back to it. I’m currently playing Stardew Valley for a much calmer building experience. But I keep hearing of Rimworld and am never sure if I should try it now or keep waiting for it to grow further, not wanting to go in for my first time until it’s pretty deep and complex, a la Dwarf Fortress.

      I will add that the one thing I’m not too concerned about is world generation – I’m sure DF has Rimworld beat there (and everything else for that matter.) But it’s not an area that hugely bothers me – I only generated a handful of DF worlds, and just chose play areas that allowed for lots of building. I’m far more into complexity of building and interaction of systems. Some of the most fun I had in DF was creating complex production flows, and building lengthy projects like pump stacks.

      So any info on comparisons between the two would be very useful – thanks in advance!

      • cautet says:

        It feels a lot like Dwarf fortress, especially with the tantrums, the bizare works of art, the fun of clothing them (no socks thank goodness), and the really fascinating and often very funny stories when you get a chain reaction of epic proportions from a very small and minor event.

        Also there is mining and stockpiles and zones and so on (stockpiles even more essential in this game).

        However, the focus of the game is slightly different. The focus is perhaps even more on the survival and micromanagement and also relationship sides (including trading, prisoners, raiders, and such) and less on large scale engineering projects. It’s more like the starting game in DF but with a greater focus on what actually is involved in the survival part. Food for instance is something you continually focus on. Food storage alone takes effort to set up and a few bad weather events combined can cause real problems. Which means you need to contingency plan for these.

        Worth getting whether you love or have DF (I love it). I found this slightly frustrating at the start as you simply can’t get as much done but that is part of the game. These aren’t the industrious little workers of DF. These are pampered neurotic self-entitled narcissists who get in a strop because someone else’s room is bigger and sit around playing chess when the crops are burning because of a bad experience in childhood. Imagine the worst noble from DF – he is your hardest working colonist.

  2. b00p says:

    it really is as good as everyone says

    • anHorse says:

      I got it a day or two ago and I’ve already put so much time in.

      Hell I’ve already had an interesting failure (a load of friendly yorkshire terriers unintentionally killing off my colony by eating all the food before the colonists)

      • b00p says:

        right?? i picked it up thinking it might be a try and return because i’m not particularly excited by the kinds of games it draws inspiration from but really enjoyed watching some people stream it. figured if i could get to the 2 hour refund limit it’d be worth it and ended up playing 6 hours straight, something i very rarely do. i haven’t even gotten into modding yet. hell, i’m still playing alpha 14 bc i can’t let my initial casually-learning-the-game’s-systems colony go, i’m too attached to them. basically, i’ve already gotten my money’s worth of a game still in alpha, which is really quite something.

        the way the various (relatively simple) systems hang together and interact is really pretty elegant and, like everyone says, the way stories happen really help make it something special. the music is also quite good, something i don’t see many people mentioning, so i thought i would.

        alex’s interview on here a few weeks back w the developer about utilizing apophenia was particularly illuminating and interesting in that regard. i feel like it’s the kind of thing a lot of games that have procedural and emergent emphasis in their design WANT to do but don’t have a good idea about HOW to do.

    • Chaoslord AJ says:

      Well worth the asking price both for entertainment and the guts someone bringing a DF-style game to the main audience (and it doesn’t suck).
      And there’ll be more content until full release (and possibly after) and there are mods.

  3. SunburyStudios says:

    It is really great. Even when I’m not playing it I still think about it, I can hear the music, I can almost smell the air of the alien planet. Wonderful stories come out of the game too, It has such a great atmosphere, addictive management, and solid mechanics. Even the combat, in its simplicity, is satisfying. It’s a wonderful game.

    • songkran says:

      I’ve got a long (13 hour) flight coming up. Do you think this would be a good game to keep me busy for the flight (assuming I have power plugin for my laptop)?

      • b00p says:

        without a doubt.

      • Oranje says:

        I did exactly that and I was honestly dissapointed when the flight landed. It was my first time playing on the plane as well, so I had no access to wikis or guides but I managed okay. Really fun game, kept me glued to the screen.

  4. Eagle0600 says:

    It’s probably worth noting that the most interesting of these aren’t compatible with the latest release yet.

    • TechnicalBen says:

      IIRC the official website has instructions on opting into the “beta” on the steam release, so you can downgrade to previous versions (if still available).

      Otherwise direct from the publisher the game is DRM free and can be kept at any version you wish.

  5. SaintAn says:

    Awesome, just got this game the other day. Though I downloaded a few mods already and they didn’t work.

    • b00p says:

      there were two big updates in a short time is why. people were just updating their mods to alpha 14 when the new version came out. they always put the previous version in the beta branch though, so if you want to try a bunch of the mods you can just select alpha 14 and play w the mods you want until people get around to updating their code. save files are not compatible between versions, but switching back and forth between versions wont break your saves either, so you can in theory have saves in either version that work for each.

  6. Yargh says:

    I notice there are lots of mentions of how lonely it can get on Rimworld, do remember that you can get most people to join your motley team… all you have to do is capture them and keep them prisoner while your persuasion experts go to work on them. Of course capturing a member of a friendly tribe probably won’t go down too well.

  7. icecreamjones says:

    I find it incredibly hard to recommend Glitter Tech since it cranksthe difficulty fully into unplayable territory pretty fast – my first raid was a commando with high tech armor and weaponry we couldn’t even put a dent in

    • dglenny says:

      Oh dear. Glitter Tech is easily my favourite mod of them all. So many bionic parts! With regards to the difficulty, I find that with the Hospitality mod you can relatively easily get on the good side of at least one of the high-level factions, who will then happily trade you their tech. Alternately, they will get into fights with the savages and you can pick over whatever remains. Failing that, the Embrasures mod will help!

      • Thurgret says:

        Hospitality was a wonky mess for me. Visitors kept arriving and I couldn’t keep up with the demand for stuff for visitors, and all my neighbours turned to disliking me before the first season was even done.

    • tehfish says:

      If you just want the expanded bionic parts, i’d highly recommend this mod instead:
      Expanded Prosthetics and Organ Engineering
      link to ludeon.com

  8. Eddy9000 says:

    I would play this, but I can’t stop giggling immaturely every time I hear the name.

    • anHorse says:

      Before this came to steam I forgot the name and had an eventful time googling stuff like “rimland” and “rim game” to try and find it

  9. DeadlyAccurate says:

    If you like Combat Realism, you can also add RT’s Weapon Pack (and the RT + CR Compatibility Patch) for even more weapons.

    Colony Manager looks rather confusing at first, but once you figure it out, it’s invaluable.

    A few more I like:
    Feed The Colonists (lets you make 4 meals at a time instead of just 1)
    [T] MoreFloors (adds more floor patterns)
    Storage Search (search text box)
    Additional Joy Objects (more things for colonists to do for fun)

  10. rawardy says:

    There is only one mod that I use and that’s “Hardcore SK”.

    It’s a modpack that has most of the above mods included and makes them work perfectly together. Huge tech tree and tons of stuff to build and really fleshes out the game. Like it’s namesake its tough as nails but includes the above fluffy mods to make colony management easier. You really get that feeling of starting with bare-bones basics and building your colony up over time. Expect to lose badly the first few times you play this mod though.

  11. Folkert says:

    Rimhair seems an interesting name for a mod. I’m waiting for a mod with more jobs for the colonists, let’s just hope they don’t call it Rimjobs…

  12. Telkir says:

    RimWorld is a great game that can generate a huge selection of interesting stories. There’s still plenty of room for the game to get even better! I didn’t much care for the recent introduction of the drugs system, but at least it can be largely ignored.

    As for mods, apologies if it’s poor form to blow my own trumpet here but if you want some more carpet colours and floor styles / bed colours to decorate your colony with, maybe take a look at my MoreFloors / MoreBeds mods too. You can find them on the Ludeon forum if you search for T’s Mods.

  13. Chaoslord AJ says:

    Now I read this, Rimworld really seems like a futuristic TV reality show droping dudes or celebs on a planet/beach/jungle/island somewhere with cameras and watch them build housing and stuff (and get killed).

  14. xfstef says:

    This game seems to be an autist’s wet dream, not that there’s anything wrong with that. I just find the number of things I need to learn about it very intimidating.

    • Christo4 says:

      The base game is actually pretty easy to learn imo. At least i didn’t find it that difficult. True, i did search a bit on the internet since i don’t play these types of games often, but i think if you search for about an hour or so and then start playing it’s actually quite easy to get into it.

  15. Christo4 says:

    I don’t like being the sorrow of the bunch (sounds kinda weird lol), but i can’t say i enjoyed the vanilla experience that much.

    Indeed, it was fun at the beginning, building your base and managing your settlers and i actually had a pretty good colony going my first time playing and on a higher difficulty, survived some raids and did research etc.

    BUT, i kinda got a bit bored in the end to be honest. It ended up at a point where there wasn’t really much to do, not to mention that a lot of things that are normal to make weren’t in game (like moats for example, or hidden traps). And as i’ve seen someone say before, it really did feel like there weren’t enough options and there was mostly just one way to build the base.

    I know that the game can get a lot better with mods, but i don’t think you should buy a game based on that alone. At least, not fully priced at 28 euros.

    At 10 euros considering that mods can add a lot to it i think it’s a fair price, but as it is i can’t really recommend it until someone actually tries it, LOVES management games or considers my complaints minor. To each his own i suppose.

    My opinion, from having played it around 10 hours from a friend sharing with me.

    • Christo4 says:

      Oh another thing that annoyed me about the AI is that if they picked a bush that was far away and they had the hauler job as well, they still wouldn’t haul the damn berries right after picking it… Maybe i did a mistake somewhere but i thought that was really silly.

      • DeadlyAccurate says:

        No, you’re right. They prioritize based on their Work order, and that sometimes creates dumb AI moments. I’ve often seen a pawn walk right by something they could easily carry back with them, and had to pause the game to force them to carry it back with them before they could do whatever it was they were going to do.

  16. brucethemoose says:

    Anyone here on RPS remember the ultimate overhaul modpack before it got killed by drama?

    Now *that* was modded Rimworld.

    • brucethemoose says:

      Dang, reddit style markup is a bad habit I need to break…

  17. Raoul Duke says:

    The underlying game is really good, based on my limited time with it, basically like Dwarf Fortress but actually playable by humans and a tad (ahem) less complex, but still complex enough to be interesting.

    However, I hate the graphics. Like prison architect, it reeks of a programmer doing the ‘art’. Yes, the graphics are functional. But what I would really be interested in is a patch that means that the game no longer looks like arse.