I’m once again hacking my way through the undergrowth on the hunt for mods. This time it’s Stardew Valley, the game where you begin with a run-down farm and simply try and make it work. If you’re not terribly good at farming, don’t worry. I’m here to help.
I’ve been picking games recently where the modders have expanded tools and mechanics in order to craft an ideal version of the game, so a fair few of the mods here focus on quality of life again. Stardew’s modders really have made the farming experience a lot more parsable, meaning your work there can be as automated and as sharply focused as you like. Just a couple of the mods below will make your ground more fertile.
How to install Stardew Valley mods
Given that all the stuff here and below can be found on the game’s Nexus page, their Vortex Mod Manager is a decent way of installing everything without too much fuss. You just click the mods on the linked pages and select the mod manager as a download. Here’s an incredibly quick video to show you how to get started when you’ve done that.
Just do that for everything you download.
SMAPI is the main mod tool. To get it to work with Steam, you’ll see a line after the installer launches that says something like: “F:\Steam\steamapps\common\Stardew Valley\StardewModdingAPI.exe" %command%
Copy that, and then right-click on the game in Steam, then select Properties and Launch Options and paste it into the box that appears, including the single quotation mark at the start.
Install all those through Nexus and you should be good to go.
Best Stardew Valley mods
Stardew Valley Expanded by FlashShifter
Most people think they won’t get that back that feeling of their starting first Stardew Valley game. The slow-burn joy of learning the layout of the world, fretting over the crops, falling in love. Surely the only way to get that back would be through a new version of the game? Well, that's what Stardew Valley Expanded attempts.
It touches on every aspect of the game, with a new farm map and village, 23 new locations (a vinyard, a bridge, etc.), 9 more NPCs, and 100+ character events. Within all that #content are moments like meeting the new villagers and uncovering their secrets (both good and bad), trying out the new recipes and sharing them with your new spouse, and petting the damn dog, at last. It’s all thoughtfully made, enabling players to select if they want to explore some darker themes in the game, and comes with an optional massive farm if you’re really up for a challenge. This is basically Stardew Valley NG+
It has a fairly complicated installation, and a few additional mods and frameworks to install, but it’s worth the effort, as you’ll fall in love for the first time all over again.
NPC Map Locations by Bouhm
Though you generally get a feel for the valley dweller’s schedules as you play, there are lots of possibilities as the game plays out. So rather than wandering and guessing, just add NPC Map Locations. It’ll keep track of NPCs, horses, and other players as they potter about.
The map can be tweaked to your liking, enabling you to show or hide specific characters, only have them appear at a certain distance from you. It tracks seasons, in-game events like birthdays and quests, and even has a minimap.
Simple Crop Label by TheMusketeer
I’m fairly sure I’d be a bad farmer. I’d confuse corn for necornomicon and create the world’s most evil cereal. As such, I am very much in need of Simple Crop Labels.
All it is really is a tooltip that shows you what you’re hovering your mouse over. You can configure it to pop-up automatically, or require a button press to do so. It is a completely sensible edition, and extra useful if you've planted lots of different crops next to one another.
Billboards Anywhere by Alpha_Omegasis
Because Stardew Valley has a lot of walking, anything that helps you cut down the time spent on that is a good thing in my book. I am not one of life’s ambulators. Billboards Anywhere can see what’s going on wherever you are in the game, without having to visit the town to do so.
It’s a simple tweak that lets you view the calendar and daily quests anywhere, not just at a billboard. All the game’s events are present and correct, and you just need to press “B” for the billboard menu, or “H” for quests. You’ve just saved yourself minutes of wandering back and forth to the in-game notice boards.
Deep Woods by Max Vollmer
If you absolutely insist on walking, at least do it spectacularly. You don’t need to spend all your time tilling and milling, or schmoozing neighbours. If you’ve farmed yourself into boredom and are looking for adventure, Deep Woods will give you a procedurally generated forest to explore.
Like the vanilla game’s Skull Cavern, it’s the proc gen that makes it worth it: an unending forest for you to wander further and further into. It's a dangerous place, though, so you’d best be prepared to fight through monsters and more as you’re looking for ore (and more, for sure). It’s good to have something like this to keep Stardew Valley ticking along when your crops are perfect sown and everyone is happy.
Lookup Anything by Pathoschild
We’re all on a quest for understanding. Luckily for Stardew Valley you don’t need to do any work as a human being towards gaining fundamental knowledge about a person or object. You just need Lookup Anything.
It’s a mod that exposes all the simulation info you could need. You can easily parse what a villager’s likes and dislikes are, how often you’ve spoken to them that day, and if you can romance them. The more adventurous of us can check out what sort of drops a monster will spill, and how healthy it is. The less adventurous of us will use it to look at a piece of fruit. Even a strawberry has a lot of information that will help you.
Tractor Mod by Pathoschild
This is as amusing as it is practical. Of course if you’re rebuilding a farm you should have a tractor! It just makes sense!
It’s more than just a fun ride. You can tune it to help with a few aspects of the game, like planting grass seeds, sweeping away debris, or harvesting resources. It can help as much or as little as you want - and you get a cool tractor to roleplay as Kevin Bacon in Footloose.
Tillable Ground by Hawkfalcon
A simple tweak to the game that lets you make any tile in the game “tillable”, which is farmery speak for making it diggable. There are moments where a stubborn square of land will mess up your perfectly planned farm by being unworkable. With this, you can simply hover the mouse over that square and convert it to a tillable tile. Now you can craft the perfect plot.
Mega Storage by Amazingalek
When games have large, potentially unwieldy inventories I’ll often look around for a mod that simplifies things. Mega Storage is my go to Stardew Valley storage box.
It adds a number of larger chests to the game, but more importantly to it adds chests that will share their inventory, so you don’t need to go from box to box if you’re a messy hoarder. The mod also adds easy to use categories - you can filter through crops, materials, and more.
Data Layers by Pathoschild
Stardew’s cute farming can be serious business. If you want to know what’s really going on, Data layers has a bunch of informative overlays that can show how much coverage your various farming tools will have, and where you can or can’t build.
There’s a number of layers to toggle, each with specific overlays that help you plan out your farm and buildings. No need to guess or calculate if a scarecrow is covering enough crops: just toggle this and you can see exactly how much scaring it will do. It’ll even work with other mods.
Automate by Pathoschild (again...)
I get the feeling that Pathoschild has a farm at home and knows exactly what the best methods for productive agriculture rae. This is their Automate mod, and that name is not a lie.
It, well, automates production. If you have a machine that requires resources, you can put a chest next to it that contains those resources, and the automation mod will shift everything required from the chest into the machine as it runs. As a bonus, the processed items will be placed back into the chest.
No more tending to recycling machines, hay hoppers, tappers, and so much more. Automate has got it covered.