The purpose of these roundups is to cast a spotlight on some mods that have caught my attention over the past month or so. The mods weren’t necessarily released or updated in that month, and I haven’t necessarily play-tested the mod, but they may otherwise look interesting, high quality, or are pushing the capabilities of the base game.
Stellaris has a huge number of mods from which to select so it can be difficult to spot what’s good and what’s not. I don’t claim that the choices I make are definitive, but I have enough experience with using mods that I can generally spot a diamond in the rough. I’m of course open to being corrected!
See other months’ roundups:
You can find all of the mods featured in this month’s roundup and others in my Steam Workshop Collection “Odin Gaming Mod Roundup”.
Cuelan Species Mod
Author: Nicolas Sabo
This looks like a very high quality animated portrait. It seems to be a first by the author who has creatively reused existing species assets to ensure that the species looks like it belongs in the universe – some sort of blind avian, although it looks like it could easily be taken for a mammal also. Why should alien biology conform to our own taxonomic hierarchy?
Not only is this a custom animated portrait, but it comes with sexual dimorphism, a starting star system, a namelist, and a custom cityscape. A lot of effort has clearly been put into this mod and it really shows!
The author (dogkisser – worth taking note, as they may make a name for themselves in the community) is working on a second portrait pack based on what looks like some sort of parasitic organism. Here’s a sneak-peak:
This one is a bit weirder – I took every vanilla race in the game and mashed them together into a single race’s phenotypes, so when you play the game as them (or against them) all their pops and leaders and scientists are randomly selected from the list.
Update: This portrait mod has been released as ‘The Lovers’. Find it here.
Quality animated portraits are disappointingly uncommon, so when a good one becomes available, it’s worth jumping on. These are, generally speaking, highly compatible with other mods, so you can just collect animated portraits as you go.
It’s worth also mentioning portrait mods by Sìlfae on the Steam Workshop. These can be a little different in that Silfae customises the species to have unique traits and buildings, which goes against the grain of Stellaris species customisation a little, but you can just use the portraits in a custom empire. I also see reports that some of the species are not directly compatible with other popular mods, most notably AlphaPlus.
Guilli’s Planet Modifiers
I like mods that add more depth and complexity to the base game; for me, this adds to my feeling of immersion, at least if the mod is done well.
Guilli’s Planet Modifiers has a well-defined scope and executes it rather cleanly. It adds modifiers to stars, which is particularly interesting; I haven’t heard of other mods trying to do the same thing. I’m hoping this mod will make competition over naturally rich worlds and systems particularly intense!
The mod is new and being actively developed – the author responds well to constructive criticism – so I have high hopes that this mod will continue to grow and become a mainstay of my mod loud-out, especially given that it’s compatible with AlphaPlus. The author has just released a major new version which:
- addresses early balance issues and problems with modifier exclusivity;
- adds more modifiers, including neutral modifiers for flavour (I’m certainly up for more narrative depth to the Stellaris universe);
- more tile blockers which are linked to planet modifiers (as an example, planets with a spaceship graveyard modifier has crashed spaceships as tile blockers).
I think this last one is brilliant. It’s the sort of attention to detail you’d hope for in the base game, but thankfully Guilliman’s on it!
Scarcity Mod [WIP]
This mod isn’t yet available but is undergoing development. It looks like it’ll be a massive total-conversion mod in a completely novel fictional universe inspired by the author’s own history with science fiction. Judging from the their description on the linked Reddit post, it could be quite an aggressive and gritty game. I look forward to learning more about this as the author updates their development diary.
Procedural Planets and Continents [WIP]
(The above is a screenshot from the video here.)
This is a pretty ambitious project. Again, this one’s in the works, but the author intends to procedurally generate planets with multiple continents each.
Each one has its own climate, its own tiles, and its own chance at anomalies! […] I hope to add a whole suite of planet sets for each type of planet, to greatly diversify the universe, and add complex strategies to conquest and colonization!
That pretty much says it! It could totally up-end both planetary conquest and colonisation. Multiple empires could occupy different continents on the same planet. Ground combat could acquire a totally new level of strategy. There are many ways this development could go, but I’m excited to see the result regardless.