STARDEW VALLEY MOD NOT WORKING | Easy step by step guide

Imagine, you’re modding Stardew Valley. You’ve got a bunch of mods you’re really enjoying, or planning to enjoy. You launch the game and all of a sudden, something goes wrong. An error message appears and your mods are not working! This situation happens more times than any of us would like to admit. This troubleshooting guide is here to help you!

Mod not working error message

Here are some important things to make sure you did before you even get started on troubleshooting:

  • Did you run Stardew Valley before trying to install SMAPI? This is an easy step to forget if you’ve modded Stardew Valley multiple times. The Stardew Modding API won’t be able to install correctly if you don’t run the game first.
  • Did you get all the requirements? Make sure you didn’t forget any; if a mod has listed requirements, it needs them. Some mods that have a lot of requirements, like Stardew Valley Expanded (which you can read our spoiler-free review here!), are easy to mess up and miss one.

Mods Not working? Here are some basic steps to follow

If everything we mentioned above is not the problem and your mods are still not working, here are some steps to follow to help troubleshoot the problem.

  • First, restart the game. Sometimes things just don’t start up properly! It can happen with any electronic, and all it needs is a simple reboot to get back in order.
  • Second, make sure you’re using the latest version of Stardew Valley which is, as of writing, 1.5.6. You can check this by booting up the game and pressing the question mark in the corner of the title screen. Also, make sure you haven’t opted into the 32-bit beta! To do so, right-click the game in your Steam library, click properties, and click betas. It’ll tell you there if you are or not.
  • Next, make sure you download and are using the latest version of your mods and the latest version of SMAPI. If they’re not all updated, there may be an issue and it could cause things to not work.
  • Check your mod compatibility. Make sure nothing conflicts, they are compatible with your game version, their updates, everything.
  • Make sure everything is properly placed within the mods folder. It can be easy to make a mistake here, by placing the zip file in for example. Your game folder and mods folder is located:
    • On Steam: C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\steamapps\common\Stardew Valley.
    • On Mac: ~/Library/Application Support/Steam/SteamApps/common/Stardew Valley/Contents/MacOS.
    • On Linux: ~/.local/share/Steam/steamapps/common/Stardew Valley.

If you want to make this all easier, I highly recommend installing a mod manager. Be it Vortex or Nexus Mod Manager, these will do basically everything for you, like placing the mods in your Stardew Valley folder, updating them, and even downloading and installing them off the Nexus Mods website.

Here are some troubleshooting tips for common problems:

Game isn’t booting up:

First, restart your computer. Try again. Like I said earlier, sometimes things just won’t boot up correctly. If that doesn’t work, the easiest way to fix things is to just reinstall the game. This will ensure your installation is in top condition, and fix a lot of possible issues. If the mod is still not working, try deleting your startup_preferences file. It’ll be in with your saves, located at %appdata%\StardewValley\Saves.

Error Message says: “Could not load ‘Stardew Valley’ or one of its dependencies”

Try verifying your files through Steam. To do this, right-click on Stardew Valley in your library, click properties, then click installed files. In there, click “Verify integrity of game files.” Let it do its thing, and then try booting the game again.

“Skipped ‘…’ because it doesn’t have a manifest.json”

This means it’s not a SMAPI mod, so you need to follow the installation instructions on that mod’s page.

Error Message: “Could not load file or assembly”

Try verifying your files through Steam. To do this, right-click on Stardew Valley in your library, click properties, then click installed files. In there, click “Verify integrity of game files.” Let it do its thing, and then try booting the game again. If this doesn’t work, uninstall and reinstall the game.

OutOfMemoryException errors

Typically this means you have too many mods, and the game can’t run them all. This will especially happen with custom music mods and SAAT. Try removing mods you don’t particularly need, then try playing the game again.

SMAPI takes a long time to load

Depending on how many mods you have, this may be normal! A lot of mods can make your load time take actual minutes. If you’re sure it’s not that, it could be your antivirus. Try whitelisting SMAPI, Stardew Valley, and their folders.

Game lag or stutters in-game

Make sure everything is updated, first. If it continues, you’ll have to uninstall all mods and boot up the game. If it’s no longer lagging or stuttering, that means one of your mods is causing it. Reinstall them one at a time to narrow down which mod is doing it, and remove the mod causing it.

You can also try closing external programs. Chrome, for example, is very intensive and can make a lot of games run slower. You should also disable programs like MSI Afterburner and RivaTuner

Game audio doesn’t play or audio is distorted

Restart the game, and if that doesn’t work, restart your computer. If that doesn’t work, make sure Windows Mixer didn’t mute the game. It just does that sometimes.

Game launches but there are no mods

Did you launch the game through the new StardewModdingAPI.exe that SMAPI made? If so, make sure your mods were placed in the mods folder, and if that doesn’t work, verify your files through Steam.

Game launches but a mod is missing

Your load order might be wrong. This means the game is loading the mods in the incorrect order, causing things to break, be overwritten, or just not work.

My best suggestion here is to install a mod manager. Those will make modding as a whole easier, but also handle load orders for you.

If you want to handle it yourself, Stardew Valley loads mods in alphabetical order. So just rename each folder according to the order you want it to load. You should also check if you installed the mod in the correct place, and/or have all its requirements.

I’m not getting achievements/I can’t open Steam overlay

As you’re installing SMAPI, you’ll see some green text that’ll give you a file path ending with %command%. You’ll want to take that file path and add it to the game’s launch options. To do so, right-click on the game in your Steam library, and click properties. Under General will be a box for launch options. Put that file path in there, and that’s it! Now you should be able to launch the game through Steam to activate SMAPI and get all your achievements.

Modding Stardew Valley can be very easy, or it can be quite a hassle. Hopefully, these troubleshooting tips helped you fix any issues you have. If not, I highly suggest visiting the Steam forums or the official forums here. Other players may be able to help you!

If you’re interested in modding, consider reading our reviews such as Stardew Valley Expanded and our one on Ridgeside Village. Both these include manual installation instructions as well!

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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