|This article is suggested to be rewritten. Reason: Should be a general intro to what mods are, links to other tutorials, the installation tute etc. You can help RimWorld Wiki by improving it.|
Mods are player-made modifications to the game, they can add items, new functionally, and a variety of other things.
If you want to learn how to make mods, see Modding Tutorials.
Note: With new mods coming out weekly if not daily, no manually edited page will ever contain the thousands of available up-to-date mods. A somewhat complete list can be found at the Mods->Released section on the forum and on the Steam Workshop, or on sites such as GitHub. Each of these will have exclusive mods as well.
Unless a player is playing "vanilla" (i.e. no mods at all), it would be unusual for any two players to have exactly the same mix of mods. Each player picks and chooses what they want to "improve" their version of the game, according to their own preferences and play style, and what they think is "fun". There is no "right/wrong" way to select the mods you want to use, or don't use. Use hundreds of mods, a select few, or none at all!
And if the mod you're looking for doesn't exist, feel free to create it! In fact, Ludeon has utilities built-in to the game to make using and sharing mods easier, and this wiki hosts a number of helpful tutorials to help you get started!
Loosely speaking, there are three types of mods, although many fall into more than one category:
- Cosmetic: This changes only how the game looks, not how it plays. Examples are hair styles, clothing colors and styles, existing animals that come in a greater variety of coloration, an adaptation of an existing feature with simply a different appearance, and so forth. You could have a "vanilla" playing game that looks nothing like vanilla.
- User Interface: There are many utility mods that add new, useful menus, lists and/or commands. These are "quality of life" improvements, which (usually) do not change how the game plays, but make playing the game much easier. Examples would be an expanded and detailed inventory, medical lists for all colonists/prisoners/animals/hostiles, or a 10-color "planning" overlay (rather than the vanilla 1-color white-ish one).
- Game changes: These actually change the game itself, adding additional items and/or complexities. It might be as subtle as a new lighting item or orange jump-suits you can make for prisoners, a moderate change with a favorite new animal species, dog breed or furniture type, or as radical as a "everyone dies now" type weapon, or even a "magical" RimWorld that replaces anything "technological" with spells and potions (although that could be purely cosmetic, depending). No one (except the authors themselves and player "peer review") checks these for "game balance", so anything is fair game, limited only by the creativity (and sanity) of fan coders. Consider before you slap in something like this, then enjoy your decision.
Mods can be acquired using the Steam workshop page (if using Steam version), through Ludeon Forums, or through third party websites (use at your own risk!). When using the Steam workshop, all you have to do is to "Subscribe" to a mod, and Steam will do the rest. It takes more effort to install mods from other places, however. This is done by downloading mods, then moving the mod files to the "mods" folder in the game files. The game files are accessed through typing "appdata" in the search bar of the file explorer, going to the LocalLow folder, then opening the "Rimworld by Ludeon Studios" folder.