Modding Stardew Valley with Vortex (2024)

Modding Stardew Valley with Vortex (1)

Stardew Valley

Stardew Valley is a farming simulation role-playing video game developed by Eric "ConcernedApe" Barone and originally published by Chucklefish.

Released: 2016

Genre: Simulation/RPG

Engine: Microsoft XNA framework

Nexus Mods

This guide is designed to help you set up Vortex to install and manage mods for Stardew Valley.


  • 1 Requirements
  • 2 Getting Set Up
  • 3 Installing Mods
  • 4 Troubleshooting
    • 4.1 Can I run Stardew Valley without SMAPI?
    • 4.2 How do I update or uninstall SMAPI?
    • 4.3 Can I stop the admin prompts when deploying mods?
    • 4.4 Can I use Steam overlay and achievements with mods?


Before we get started, this guide assumes that you have installed Stardew Valley and Vortex at their default locations. You will also need to be logged in to your Nexus Mods account in Vortex.

At the time of writing, this guide only applies to Stardew Valley on Windows.

If you haven’t already, please run Stardew Valley at least once before modding it.

Getting Set Up

To begin, open up Vortex and navigate to the games section. Locate Stardew Valley in the "Unmanaged" section or by using the search. Use the “Manage” button on the game tile to add it to your managed games. The game artwork will appear in the top left of Vortex to confirm your active game.

If Stardew Valley is not already in colour, you can scan for it or define it manually.

When you first manage Stardew Valley, you will be prompted to install the Stardew Modding API (SMAPI). This is required for Vortex to manage mods and highly recommended even if the mods you are using do not require it. Click “Get SMAPI” which should open the following link in your browser:

Head to the “Files” tab where you will be presented with the files you can download:

Pay special attention to which version you download, as with the example above, some versions will only work with the beta branch of the game.Click the "Download with Manager" button and this will send SMAPI to Vortex to be installed. You can also download the file manually and add it into Vortex from the toolbar in the Mods tab or by dropping the file into the bottom of the Mods tab.

Install the mod in Vortex and SMAPI will be ready to use. If you have the Steam version of the game, follow the instructions in the window to configure Steam to work with SMAPI.

Pressing the “Play” button in the corner of Vortex (or on the Dashboard) should now run StardewValley through SMAPI. If it is working correctly, a SMAPI command prompt window should open a few seconds before the game.

Installing Mods

For Stardew Valley, there are several different types of mods.

Type Description
SMAPI Mods These mods directly require the Stardew Modding API. SMAPI allows mods to directly interact with the games code.
Content Patcher Mods These mods are dependant on the Content Patcher by Pathoschild which changes the games images and data without directly overwriting the original XNB files.
XNB Mods This type of mod is an outdated mod format that is almost completely unused and can lead to some game breaking bugs if use incorrectly. XNB mods directly replace the XNB files found in the game directory. Where possible it is recommended you use a Content Patcher alternative.

For the purposes of this article, we will install the following mods:

Content Patcher
UI Info Suite
Canon-Friendly Dialogue Expansion for All Friend-able Characters
Farm Extended

To begin, download all these mods by clicking either the "Vortex" button in the top right of the mod page or the "Mod Manager Download" button on the files tab.

Once all the files are in Vortex, install them and ensure the mods are deployed. You can then start the game using the play button in the top-left of Vortex where the names of your installed mods should appear in the SMAPI window as the game loads, along with any errors or warnings.


Can I run Stardew Valley without SMAPI?

You can do this by launching the game through Stardew Valley.exe. On the Vortex dashboard, there "Stardew Valley" option will launch the game without SMAPI.

How do I update or uninstall SMAPI?

The same way you update or uninstall any mod! Just click "Check for updates" and install the latest version or "Remove" to uninstall it.

Can I stop the admin prompts when deploying mods?

The admin prompts are caused by Vortex's Symlink deployment. This is often selected as the default, however, you can switch to Hardlink deployment under "Settings", then "Mods". You can learn more about the different deployment options here.

Can I use Steam overlay and achievements with mods?

Yes, this requires some additional setup. There's a useful guide for this here.

Modding Stardew Valley with Vortex (2024)
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