How to Manually Mod Stardew Valley on Steam Deck

Corwyn LaPan
  1. First, you’ll want to install Stardew Valley and run it at least once. Then, switch the Steam Deck over to Desktop Mode (to do this, click the Steam button, go down to power, and select Switch to Desktop).
  2. Next, you want to install SMAPI. SMAPI is an API, an Application Programming Interface. Basically, it lets mods work.
  3. To install SMAPI, go here and download it. Click/tap on Files, then click/tap manual download.
  4. Extract it wherever you’ll remember and is easy to access, then right-click/long press the “Install on Linux” file and run with the konsole, the terminal.
  5. It’ll ask you a few questions. Answer them accordingly. For me, it was 2, enter, 1, enter, 1, enter.
  6. I like to start the game up at this point just to make sure it’s smooth sailing, but if you feel confident, don’t bother. It will launch smapi when you launch the game automatically.
  7. For this guide, we will be using Nexusmods.com, a modding site I recommend and use myself. It’s only complication is you need an account. They’re free, and in my experience, they don’t send a lot of spam so it’s alright.
  8. Also for this guide, we will be installing Stardew Valley Expanded, SVE, one of the biggest and greatest mods for Stardew Valley, and you can read our spoiler-free review here.
  9. To be able to use Stardew Valley expanded, you’ll need to install its requirements. Most Stardew Valley mods have these, and they’re almost always a framework allowing the mod to work at all.

We’ll go over all the frameworks and what they do here:

  • Content Patcher – Changes data, images, and maps without actually replacing the XNB file. They’re easier to update, install/uninstall, and break less on game updates.
  • Extra Map Layers – Causes the game to recognize and display extra map layers.
  • Custom NPC Exclusions – This makes it so modders can exclude specific NPCs from events and quests so that, for example, NPCs outside of Pelican Town don’t get a quest on the board saying they went to the Pelican Town stores.
  • Spacecore – A framework for the modder’s, spacechase0’s, other mods to work.
  • Expanded Preconditions Utility – This is a modding tool for SMAPI mods, to add a condition checking system to their mods, usually for use with content packs.
  • Json Assets – Lets content packs add custom content to Stardew Valley.
  • Farm Type Manager – Farm Type Manager is a spawning framework that allows players and modders to spawn customizable features from Stardew’s farm types.
  • SAAT – Audio API and Toolkit – SAAT is a framework that manages, modifies, and allows the addition of audio tracks in Stardew Valley.
  • Shop Tile Framework – Allows modders to add custom shops to the game, and edit vanilla ones.

The install process:

Manually Mod Stardew Valley on Steam Deck
  1. Now, how do we install these? Here are the install instructions, after we make this a bit easier. Open up Steam in desktop mode, and go to your Steam library. Then use the left trigger, L2, to open the drop-down menu. Then click/tap properties, and then click/tap Installed Files. Then click Browse on the top right. This will open your local files of Stardew Valley.
  2. Now that we’re in the Stardew Valley folder, you’ll see a folder called Mods. If you don’t, make a folder named exactly “Mods” and then press the left trigger on it. In the menu, click Add to Places to make it easier to access in the future.
  3. Alright, now! We download the mods and extract them into the Mods folder. To do this, first, you want to open the web browser and head to Nexusmods.com. Then, click on Stardew Valley. This will show you all the available Stardew Valley mods. To download them, click on them to go to their webpage, click on the Files tab, then click the download button, the one that says Manual Download. Their file will now be in Downloads.
  4. Then you’ll want to press left trigger, L2, on the .zip file, and click/tap extract. Then click “Extract archive to…” and click the Mods folder on the left we just pinned there. That’ll move the mod into the correct folder. Or, extract them into the downloads folder and drag them into Mods.
  5. Repeat until you have all the required mods installed.
  6. Then, go to the Stardew Valley Expanded page, click on Files, click Manual Download, and do the same.
  7. Run the game. It will take a while to boot up, and a while to load/create a save. This is normal, and nothing to worry about. It could take several minutes!
  8. Now, another useful tool is the ability to configure mods. Typing and the like are a pain on Steam deck, so we’ll just download a mod that lets us do it in-game! Head to Nexusmods.com, click into the Stardew Valley section and search, the space on the top, for “Generic Mod Config Menu” and click in. Download and install this one.
  9. Now restart the game, and all compatible mods will have an easy-to-use menu to change their settings. Most default options are fine, but it’s nice with some mods!
  10. To install other mods, you do the same process. Install their requirements, then install the mod itself. Be sure to read the mod pages for any other important details!
My personal mods folder.

What if a mod updates?

SMAPI will automatically tell you when there’s a new version of mods to install.

Is this possible with Nintendo Switch or Xbox?

No, unfortunately as of now there is no way to mod Stardew Valley anywhere except PC, Steam Deck, MacOS, Linux, and Android.

Modded Stardew Valley on the Steam Deck is a wonderful experience, it’s a treat to play such a comfy, relaxing game anywhere you’d like already, but modded makes the game just that much better. Hopefully one day we’ll get Steam Workshop support! If you’re interested in further modding, read our list of the best mods to pair with Stardew Valley Expanded. From sprite overhauls to new features, there’s some great stuff there.

Meet the author

I am a freelance writer who is just getting started. I have an extensive knowledge on video games and the video game industry, and love writing and learning about them.

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