A Guide to the Most Essential Rimworld Mods

By Anna Blackwell 27 Jun 2018 4

Nearly five years ago I backed an interesting looking colony sim called Rimworld. When I started playing for the first time I found it was… alright. Ugly, a bit clunky and prone to the same AI issues that most tycoon games run into. I let it be.

Two years ago, I decided to dive into it again after coming across an old sendowl code in an abandoned hotmail inbox. Now I'm 200 hours down on the Steam version alone, and I just can’t stop.

Rimworld is one of the best Early Access games on Steam right now. There are plenty more.

Last month I had to put my latest colony to rest after we failed to stop an orc invasion and our food stores had been burnt down, leaving the crippled survivors to starve in the harsh winter. I could have tried to travel across the new world map and tried to raid a nearby ape tribe, maybe steal their food and settle again but it was no use. Better to let them die with dignity. The dying were frozen, hopefully to be one day saved by those more able.

TheRimworld

While the developer’s work has brought Rimworld along in leaps and bounds, I can say without a doubt that it’s thanks to the plethora of mods available that I’ve fallen this deep into the rabbit hole. From full overhauls like Medieval Times to quality of life changes like Research Pal, mods are what bring Rimworld's potential to life.

So if you’re late to the party and aren’t sure what mods you’ll need then you’re in luck; here are the 15 mods I can’t play without.

First up, How To Mod:

Rimworld can be a bit strict on how it deals with mods and if it detects a nasty clash it’ll unload all of them so keep use these handy tips:

  • Some of these mods require HugsLib which is a community code library and any mod that serves as groundwork (HugsLib, JecsTools, Misc Core) should be at the top of your load order so dependent mods can read from it.
  • Any mod that reads from other mods should go low on the load order to make sure they can get all the information they need. Hospitality, for example, takes faction mods into account and should be low on the list to prevent clashes.

Thankfully Tynan has said that the way mods are handled will be changed in the upcoming 1.0 release.

At the time of writing, all mods are compatible with Alpha 18, check your version before installing. 

The mods you Need:

EdB Prepare Carefully by edbmods

If you’re new to Rimworld, play at least one save without Prepare Carefully, just to get a feel of what the ineffable dev Tynan Sylvester intended. Then, after you’ve been suitably dragged through the mud, get this mod.

edbPrepareCarefully

Prepare Carefully allows you to tweak everything about your colonists from their appearance to their names, stats, traits, and equipment before giving you a nicely laid out menu for you to pick your starting resources from. It removes the points limit the base game uses to ensure a fair loadout so have some sense in what you choose. A dozen max level colonists armed to the teeth with laser weapons can be fun but it gets old fast.

Hospitality by Orion

One of my biggest gripes with the base game (that has been addressed somewhat in alpha 18) was that visitors had very little purpose. They would wander into your map, stay around for a little while (usually in front of the turrets or out in the rain) and then wander off home. Occasionally traders would come but they were few and far between.

Hospitality

Hospitality fixes this by giving you the ability to build guest rooms, to tell guests where they can and can’t go, to designate items in an area as buyable, and to improve (or damage) your relation with a faction by having someone dote upon them. It adds a lot of options like opening a hotel where you serve colony brewed beer or having a nice human trafficking ring going on. 

Dubs Bad Hygiene by Dubs

I like my tycoon games to feel realistic and while Rimworld goes in depth with moods and needs, it neglects one of the most basic needs: hygiene. I was more than unreasonably excited when Dubs Bad Hygiene released as it made my bases more believable.

DubsBadHygiene

Toilets, showers, sinks, baths, waste processing plants, sewage, and pipe systems are all added as well as the hygiene and bladder needs. And of course, the more opulent a bathroom, the happier your colonists will be. 

Less Arbitrary Surgery by The Word-Mule

During one of my longest running colonies I had the luck of rescuing a glitterworld surgeon, the best of the best with 18 in medicine. We had just had a difficult raid and my sharpshooter Tali needed bandaged up after losing her hand. The surgeon, seemingly having been possessed by the evil RNGods proceeded to cut her legs to shreds and slit her throat. Great job. 

Less Arbitrary Surgery

Less Arbitrary Surgery reduces the damage caused by failures, allows the doctor to give non-lethal injuries based on their skill, changes the chance of catastrophic failures, and, most importantly, gives you the implant or body part back if the attachment fails. This is a must have if luck is not your strong suit. 

Mod Switch by DoctorVanGogh

We’ve all been Icarus when it comes to mods. You’ve managed to get a few dozen or so mods balancing together to create something amazing only to add a Spiderman skin and have it all come crashing down.

ModSwitch

Mod Switch allows you to create mod lists that you can load, meaning you can experiment freely and have different overhauls going on. Star Wars preset, check. Medieval, check. Fallout, check. You’ll need this, trust me.

Some Quality of Life mods: 

Colour Coded Moods by PorqueNoLosDos

While Tynan, blessed be he, has done a lot to improve the moods and how easy they are to tell, this little mod makes it just a little easier.

ColourCodedMoods

Normally your colonists have a bar behind them that will lower as their mood sours, this changes the colour of the bar depending on how low it goes. Green for happy, yellow for meh, red for sad. Simple. 

Colony Manager by Fluffy

There are a lot of moving parts in Rimworld that require your attention and as your colony grows, these can get a bit overwhelming. Manually designating animals to hunt and trees to cut and livestock to slaughter while dealing with your growing colony’s emotional and physical health is difficult. Thankfully modder Fluffy found a solution. Micromanagement!

ColonyManager

Colony Manager allows you to set target values for meat and wood, meaning your colonists will keep your stockpiles filled. Animals can be separated by sex so you won’t get unwanted breeding and your colonists will automatically clear wind turbine areas, so they stay at max efficiency.

It also gives you the ability to set a colonist as a manager which gives them the power to designate jobs and I think that’s pretty cool. Sad, I know.

Realistic Rooms by Crisniper

The default Rimworld scenario has you control three colonists that crashland on a namesake rimworld, some distant wild planet. Then they have the cheek to get upset about not eating at a table and about having a small room and having to wear Kyle as a hat because we’re freezing to death and he was incapable of hauling. Snobs.

RealisticRooms

Realistic Rooms reduces the size requirements for bedrooms to something a bit more manageable which just makes things much nicer. 

Research Pal by Charlotte

The research tab has always been a bit finicky, especially once you start adding research from mods to it. Sometimes certain mod research can cluster together on the vanilla tree, making it very difficult to follow.

ResearchPal

Thankfully Research Pal clears the table up and takes some lessons from recent Civilisation games, allowing you to choose a research and automatically queuing the necessary steps.

Hand Me That Brick by Dingo

On a real building site there are workers whose job it is to put the bricks together to make a wall and workers whose job it is to bring the bricks to the ones who know how to make a wall. In vanilla Rimworld, the builder does all of these jobs which is tiring.

HandMeThatBrick

With Hand Me That Brick, haulers will now carry supplies to blueprints and all builders need do is apply their skill and build the damn thing. No more waiting for builders to run back and forward or juggle stockpiles.

And some mods that add Cool Stuff to the game:

Misc. Robots++ by Alæstor

While it is possible to train animals to haul and hunt, the common badger finds it very difficult to cook a decent meal and labradors make terrible surgeons. So what are we to do? Do it ourselves? Bah!

MiscRobots++

Misc Robots adds robotic helpers that come in different tiers (I - III) that specialise in certain skills and can really take the weight off your colonists. Cleaning robots are my particular favourite. A really fun mod if you prefer your game with more of a hard sci-fi flavour.

Requires Misc. Robots and Misc. Core in descending order: Core - Robots - Robots++

Megafauna by Spino

The wild thrumbo is the biggest and most dangerous creature in Rimworld, living to be hundreds of years old and able to rip through a colony with ease if enraged. Their horns sell well among traders and they provide months worth of meat. But they’re just so beautiful and peaceful!

Megafauna

Megafauna adds 23 giant creatures to the world. Some peaceful, some not so much. They are a hunter’s greatest challenge and can change the fate of a colony.

More Furniture by Anonemouse2

I like to build. I played every Sims game and bought most of the DLC when I was younger and while there are 3 or 4 furniture mods I would recommend, More Furniture won out.

MoreFurniture

More Furniture adds several modular furnitures, like the counter and couch which are great for creating custom spaces but wins out due to the dressers and bedside cabinets which improve the sleep quality of nearby beds. Also check out RIMKea and More Joy Objects.

P Music by Peppsen

Rimworld takes a lot of inspiration from Firefly. Which is probably why I and so many others love it so much. And while the ambient tracks that come with the vanilla game are great, there aren’t many of them.

P-Music adds 18 amazing new tracks to the game that fit so well with the official soundtrack I had to check to see which ones were new.

RimQuest by Jecrell

Jecrell is one of those modders that puts out such great content you half expect them of being a proxy of the developer. He’s made Call of Cthulhu mods, Lord of the Rings mods, as well as the fantastic vampires and werewolves mods.

RimQuest

But for the purpose of this list, RimQuest wins out. RimQuest adds quest givers to caravans and travelling groups. You can talk to these quest givers and they will give you a selection of quests to choose from. These are then placed on your world map and you’re tasked with dealing with it. Prisoner rescue, bandit camps, item stashes, and other vanilla events are all currently available but Jecrell has stated he’ll be adding more in the future.

Save Our Ship [Unofficial B18] Original by Kentington, B18 by Mr.Sandman

While not exactly necessary, I just can’t invest in the ship building without it and thankfully someone took the time to update it to B18 and I can finally finish a colony again!

SaveourShipB18

Save Our Ship adds the ability to save your launched ships layout and any items stored within it. Then you can add the ship to your next new colony and it will spawn on the map as if it landed there! It even brings your colonists across although currently they don’t autojoin your colony so prepare accordingly for that. Perhaps have a lovely greeting area prepared with nice thick bars so the confused colonists don’t wander off and get made into hats.

If you have any mods you think should have made the shortlist, leave them in the comments section below and maybe they’ll let me do another one of these!

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