The Best Rimworld Mods09 Jul 2020 7
Years ago I backed an interesting looking colony sim called Rimworld. When I started playing a couple of months later I found it was… alright. Ugly, a bit clunky and prone to the same AI issues that most tycoon games run into. Much later I decided to dive into it again after coming across an old code in an abandoned email box. Now I’m nearly 400 hours down on the Steam version alone, and I just can’t stop.
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 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 makes Rimworld so full of potential.
So if you’re late to the party and aren’t sure what mods you’ll need, here are the mods we can’t play without.
All mods are compatible with 1.1, check your version before installing.
The best Rimworld Mods
- EdB Prepare Carefully (Essential)
- Reunion (Essential)
- Colony Manager (Essential)
- Hospitality (Essential)
- Tech Advancing (Essential)
- Dubs Bad Hygiene (Essential)
- Rah's Bionics and Surgery Expansion (Essential)
- Quarry Mod (Essential)
- Colour Coded Moods (Quality of Life)
- Common Sense Mod (Quality of Life)
- Dubs Break Mod (Quality of Life)
- Replace Stuff (Quality of Life)
- Realistic Rooms (Quality of Life)
- Research Pal (Quality of Life)
- Open the Windows (Quality of Life)
- Misc. Robots++ (Cool Stuff)
- Save Our Ship 2 (Cool Stuff)
- Fashion Rimsta (Cool Stuff)
- Dinosauria (Cool Stuff)
- Rimsenal Series (Cool Stuff)
- Empire (Cool Stuff)
- Twitch Toolkit (Big Stuff)
- Multiplayer Rimworld Mod (Big Stuff)
How To Mod Rimworld
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 yourself right with these handy tips.
First up, the big change in 1.1 is that you now need to download Harmony from the workshop and set it to load even before the core game. As long as you have it in the right place, Harmony won’t cause any issues as it’s just a C# library that a lot of mods use and used to come bundled with.
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 (but beneath Harmony and Core) 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.
Of course, as of Rimworld 1.1 and the Royalty expansion, you can now auto-sort mods! Hurrah!
Essential Rimworld Mods
EdB Prepare Carefully
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.
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.
As an addendum to Prepare Carefully, Reunion lets you create pawns that will be discovered through crashed drop pods, chased refugee, and other visitor joining events. Perfect for including your extended friend group without having to wear yourself down with controlling a dozen or more pawns at the start.
With Colony Manager you can take out the micromanagement of manually designating hunting and wood cutting jobs. All you need to do is designate how much wood and meat you want to have stored and your colonists will try to keep it as close to that as possible. The manager also helps with herds, letting you set up auto-butchering, designate areas to keep predators away, as well as taming and training to your specifications.
Seriously, this is an important one if you want a smoother colony. In fact, check out most of Fluffy’s work to make the micromanagement easier.
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 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.
One of my biggest gripes with Rimworld is that for the life of me I can’t work out how to get my tech level to advance. Seems I’m not the only one either as modder GHXX has put together a handy little mod that advances your tech based on what you’ve researched.
Once one of the two Conditions(either A or B) is fulfilled:
- Condition A: If you researched all projects of techlevel X and below, then the techlevel rises to X+1
- Condition B: If you researched more than 50% of the projects with the techlevel Y, then the techlevel rises to Y
Nice and simple and strangely absent from the base game.
Dubs Bad Hygiene
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.
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.
Rah's Bionics and Surgery Expansion
Slightly less important in recent builds, RBSE has been a staple of the Rimworld modding community as it allows for the creation of prosthetics, bionics, and advanced bionics, synthetic organs, and brain implants.
It also changes how organ implants work, allows for bone repairing, and adds a whole slew of changes across the board. There are two versions available, LITE and Hardcore which both use different costs for the various craftables.
Do not use with expanded prosthetics and organ engineering.
Digging into the mountains is great for recreating your favourite dwarven stronghold but it comes with a few issues of its own. Namely, infestations. Thankfully Quarry has your back and you can now get a near limitless supply of stone just by having pawns dig it out of the ground!
Combine with Prison Labour to never run out of stone again!
Rimworld Quality of Life Mods
Colour Coded Moods
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.
Normally your colonists have a bar behind them that will lower as their mood sours, Colour Coded Moods changes the colour of the bar depending on how low it goes. Green for happy, yellow for meh, red for sad. Simple.
Common Sense Mod
Y’know that frustrating moment in tycoon games where you design a beautifully laid out base/theme park/hospital only to watch the AI clumsily route itself through the gardens/fridge/minefield? Well, Common Sense aims to fix that by making your colonists just a bit smarter.
From cleaning their workstations and rooms before working or sleeping, getting their outdoors fix during recreation, and just generally handling a bunch of things better, this is definitely one for the bigger colonies.
Dubs Break Mod
A micromod that, for someone who sorta sucks at Rimworld, removes a painful niggle. Usually colonists will have extreme breaks if they’ve got a bunch of little problems (ate without a table, small room, tattered clothing) and haul off to go murder their friends and family. Not the most realistic thing in the world (though I’m sure a lot of us can sympathise) so Dub’s Break Mod necessitates at least one -20 mood thought to cause an extreme break.
Rimworld doesn’t have a replace or upgrade command by default which can make upgrading your perimeter wall a dangerous task. Either you break it down and replace it as you go, build it one block further out or closer in, or you stick with the wooden wall until it gets destroyed and your last colonist is cut into mince meat by a scyther.
Replace Stuff allows you to upgrade walls and items by placing objects of a different type over them. Then, much like placing a floor over a tree, your colonists will break them down and build over them. Handy.
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.
Realistic Rooms reduces the size requirements for bedrooms to something a bit more manageable which just makes things much nicer.
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.
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.
Open the Windows
Having to include lights in every single room gets expensive and really, who needs a light on 24/7 anyway? Open The Windows allows you to place windows on your walls which lets in natural light and act as a vent, letting air into the room.
Combined with Beautiful Outdoors, windows also provide a boost to a room’s beauty.
Cool Rimworld Mods
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!
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++
Save Our Ship 2
With the final goal of Rimworld is to build a ship and escaping the planet, it’s very easy to get disheartened. The colonists you’ve seen grow so much over the past few hundred hours will escape but that’s the end of it. Well not anymore! With Save Our Ship 2 your next save can start with your previous colony and ship touching down on another Rimworld. The sufferi... er, fun, the fun never ends!
You will need to build and launch a ship before you can use the mod.
As I said before, I played a lot of Sims when I was younger and I bought a lot of DLC so you probably saw this mod coming.
Fashion Rimsta (Fashionista, get it?) adds a bunch of new clothing options to the game, including uniforms that improve a colonist’s abilities in certain areas. Want your surgeons to look the part and work better? Scrubs. Better builders, hi-vis vests. I’d recommend mixing this with Apparello 2 for maximum customisation.
Adding in giant carnivorous reptiles and insects may not sound like the most sensible option for the already difficult task of surviving on a Rimworld but hear me out. You can tame dinosaurs.
With art that fits perfectly with vanilla Rimworld, Dinosauria is my personal favourite expansion, even if it does make the game much harder. It’s like 2D ARK: Survival Evolved, what’s not to love?
Just, don’t expect sauropods to go down easy…
This is actually a collection of mods but they’re at their best when used together. You need Rimsenal Core to install the others, but here's the full list:
- Rimsenal Core adds new weapons and armours from 4 weapon companies that each focus on different strengths (sort of like the weapon companies in the Borderlands series).
- Rimsenal - Federation adds new energy weapons alongside a new pirate faction born from the remnants of an interstellar empire. They had powerful heat weapons, new armour tech, their own custom mechanoids, and are generally a frightening sight to see dropping in from orbit.
- Rimsenal - Ferals adds even more new weapons alongside a new pirate faction. The ferals are brutal psychopaths reminiscent of the Reavers from Firefly that field twisted mutants and junk weapons.
- Rimsenal - Security adds new turrets based off of the 4 weapon companies from Rimsenal Core, as well as explosive barrels and dummies to distract enemies.
The mod author has also made a custom hair pack called Rimhair, a mod that expands on the vanilla weaponry called Rimsenal - Enhanced Vanilla Pack, and a Rimsenal - Storyteller Pack that includes three new storytellers that are designed around the Rimsenal lore.
New Rimworld 1.1 Mods
With Rimworld finally stable and with Patch 1.1 providing even more tools for modders, Rimworld's mod scene is flourising like never before. From Save Our Ships getting more and more complex to a plethora of mods working on compatibility, Rimworld is always evolving in new and exciting ways. A few specific ones we want to highlight are:
What better way to celebrate Royalty’s new empires than by forging one of your own? The Empire mod lets you create vassal states, collect taxes, hire mercenaries, and generally rule over those less fortunate.
Being able to enact policies and add traits to the NPC villages under your control really changes how Rimworld feels and is a great addition for anyone looking for a new way to play.
If you’re a fan of Twitch streamers then this one will really excite you. By some sort of coding magic viewers are now able to earn currency by watching the stream and spend it to trigger events. Hire mercenaries for or against the streamer, spawn traders, and more as the beta mod develops.
If you are a Twitch streamer, the mod also gives you various options when interacting with your fans like letting them buy colonists or gifting them lootboxes with a random amount of coins.
The mod is currently in beta and will get more stable and have more content as it develops.
Multiplayer Rimworld Mod (Link)
This mod is still lagging behind at time of writing but it was mostly stable in 1.0 so hopefully it will catch up soon! Until then, best to either go back to 1.0 or hold off on multiplayer.
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!