Starbound is a spacefaring adventure with a thriving mod community. Whether you're about exploration, combat, or complete overhauls, there's something for just about everybody. TechRaptor has compiled some premium Starbound mods for 2022, along with an overview of each.
Starbound Modding - Safely Back Up Files
Before beginning any Starbound modding experience, it's important to know how to preserve your game. Mods that change significant portions of a game can cause problems upon uninstalling them. Starbound items are turned into Perfectly Generic Items, but anything involving planets or biomes can corrupt your universe seed. To preserve your data, the best way to prevent problems is to back up your files before you download any mods.
The process is very simple.
- Navigate to your Steam installation folder (typically C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\steamapps\common\Starbound\storage) and select your "player" and "universe" folders.
- Copy and paste the folders.
- You don't need to change or rename them, but you should probably add something like "backup" to the folder name. Then, you can safely delete the originals. If it can't find existing data, Starbound will generate a new universe on its own.
When uninstalling a mod, back up the modded saves in the same manner, then unsubscribe from the Steam Workshop item or follow instructions from the mod creator. Once you've removed those files, you can safely put your original backups into place.
Starbound Mods - Frackin' Universe
Frackin' Universe overhauls much of Starbound's progression. Through exploration, the player acquires Research to unlock everything from engineering to electronics to chemistry projects. There are hundreds of new resources to collect, along with new races, race stats, planets, biomes, and dungeons. Some of the content was cut from older editions of Starbound, so if you feel nostalgic for eerie bases that stretch into space or USCM bunkers populated with enemies, it's a great way to breathe new life into the game. Many of the story missions received an overhaul, too, making them more of a challenge. It's hours and hours of new content if you enjoy complexity.
Frackin' Universe relies on the player being prepared for the numerous new dangers the universe throws at them. Having the right equipment is the key to surviving on planets with extreme pressure or deadly heat. Rather than have a single set of gear, you'll frequently switch between sets that protect you best from the extreme weather effects and deadly enemies. There's a bit of a fixation on the macabre and some edginess, but most of it is confined to the Madness tree and can be safely tossed.
Because of its complexity, Frackin' Universe is best enjoyed on a second or later playthrough. The sheer number of materials and various paths make advancement quite convoluted. Without referencing its wiki for recipes, you may find yourself stuck on how to progress. The speed at which you upgrade is also much, much slower than the core game. Since it changes so many things, we strongly recommend following the mod's advice and backing up your universe and player folders prior to installation. There's a full list of incompatible mods also available on the wiki.
Starbound Mods - Wardrobe
What's the point of having all of these cosmetic items if you can't find them? That's a thing of the past thanks to the Starbound mod Wardrobe. Sure, you could cheat in endgame armor if you wanted, but you can also spawn in an outfit piece you've been searching for for hours. A preview window allows you to see the outfit in total and dye it before you generate it for the character.
There are also a number of addons to Wardrobe that will allow you to spawn their armor items in. By simply making it easier to dress up your character how you like them, Wardrobe is a useful mod to help you look cute while fighting the dangers of the universe.
Starbound Mods - RPG Growth
In Starbound, your character's equipment normally dictates their stats. With RPG Growth, you'll get all sorts of new toys to use. You can select one of six core classes and get started building a powerful character. While the stats and such can eventually get out of hand, this adds a new sort of progression to Starbound, one that gradually gives you more and more tools. It's rather slow until you hit later Tiers of progression, and even at the level cap you can continue to accrue and use experience.
Classes in RPG Growth have unique Techs and special weapons. You can also pick a Profession to aid in exploration or combat, a Specialization to further enhance your class, and an Affinity to align yourself with an element. Skills, gated by stats, allow you to boost your combat power, move speed, jump height, and so on. RPG Growth is great for Starbound multiplayer, but even a solo player might find great utility buried in the Explorer class. And if you ultimately have class remorse, there are scrolls that let you reset your choice and your stats. Things really start to snowball once you get to level 30 and can pick out a Specialization.
RPG Growth is fully compatible with Frackin' Universe. Keep in mind that the latter is not balanced with RPG Growth in mind.
Starbound Mods - Stardust Core (Lite)
Stardust Core (Lite) alleviates some of the quality-of-life issues with Starbound. For one, it's a lightweight UI system with user-selectable styles, improvements to widgets, and context menu support. There's also the Quickbar, which supports a number of mods and adds quick, easy navigation. It's all right there at your fingertips.
The Lite edition is compatible with vanilla servers, if you want to keep your modding to a minimum. The standard Stardust Core requires server owners to load additional .pak files to ensure that it works properly.
Starbound Mods - Arcana
Oh no, you've got magic in your spacefaring adventure! If you're into technomancy, Arcana adds over two dozen new planet types, more than 80 custom weapons, dozens of armor and cosmetic pieces, and over 600 new tiles and objects. Add in five new star types at Tier 6 (normally endgame) and you have quite a pretty magitech package. Arcana recently entered version 1.0 in November. Due to the sheer number of planets, some can feel a little empty at the moment, though the team has stated an interest in developing them in the future as more than repositories for new ore.
"Most mods are compatible with Arcana," reads the description. "You are also not required to start a new character or universe." Still, we strongly recommend that you back up your save files, as with Frackin' Universe. The two are fully compatible if you want to completely stuff your Starbound game with new content. It's certainly an ambitious project, and requires Stardust Core Lite, above, to function.
And there you have it, five of the best Starbound mods to instill some new life into your spacefaring adventures. Good luck exploring the stars!