Modding refers to modifying the game software.  StarDrive supports modding primarily through XML editing, which allows you to add in weapons, modules, races, buildings, and more. New art assets can be added to the game as well (such as ship models, icons, etc) once they are compiled into a format that StarDrive can read. For a list of current mods and mods under development please refer to Current Mods page.

Modding through XMLEdit

XML (Extensible Markup Language) can be edited with a simple text editor (much like HTML). Opening XML files associated with StarDrive (using a program like Notepad for Microsoft Windows) allows you to adjust values for various parameters that affect gameplay (like weapon damage values, module bonuses, building resource costs, etc). Doing so can have profound impacts on game balance and pacing, which can ultimately lead to a vastly different gameplay experience.

Beyond XMLEdit

In order to add new art assets (and do more than edit XML files in general), you'll need two tools to further mod StarDrive:

XNA Game Studio 3.1:

Visual Studio 2008 Express:

The versions above are what were used for StarDrive's initial development. Newer versions of XNA and Visual Studio CANNOT be used. Using VS2008, you can open a new Game Studio project that will allow you to compile your content into a .xnb file, usable by StarDrive.

Further details with an example for editing ship modules can be found here: Zero's Guide to Modding

3D ModelsEdit

Models in StarDrive support diffuse, normal, specularity, and emitter maps.

Stardrive Model Exporter (Lightwave)


How to install a mod and activate it from the game (by The Doctor)Edit

Download the mod archive, and unzip it.This should provide you with at least two things:

  1. A text file
  2. A folder

These should both have the same name - this is the reference name of the mod. Simply put both of these into Steam\Steamapps\Common\Stardrive\Mods and open the game.
If there are readme files or screenshots in the zip, do not put them in the \Mods folder, otherwise the game will throw a tantrum because it'll try and read them as mods. You can, however, put as many mods into the \Mods folder as you want, provided each has a text index file and a folder of contents.

In-game, click the 'mods' button, choose the mod you wish to load, hit 'load' and you can now play.

How to get started with Modding (by Zero)Edit

How to create a Ship ModuleEdit

To be created

How to create a Weapon ModuleEdit

To be created

How to add new ships in the game (art and hull layout) Edit

1. Get or create a 3D model.

2. Compile the 3D model and its textures in .xnb format

3. Create the associated hull layout - 2 ways:

3a. Use the Ship Mod Tool (by Zero) : (all 3 first steps are described in this post)
3b. create ship hulls in colored PNG format and use Evil4Zerggin's scripts:

4. Create the ship's associated XML files (by The Doctor) :

5. Finalize the mod: create the Mod folder and organize it properly.

How to add a Technology (by Elethio and Eisenengel):Edit

1. Make a new tech file in the Technology folder (copy an existing one to make sure all the tags close correctly)
2. Edit file, make sure you give it a unique UID. It usually helps to keep this the same as your "research item" name, the UID is what the game looks for when it wants to draw research into the tree. In the file you will find a tag that says "leads to", these are the research items that this research will lead too. Warning: these items cannot also be items that lead to your current one!
3. Add an icon for your new tech (same filename) in textures/TechIcons. You can use already existing icons for this, or create your own. Any custom icons you create, will have to be compiled to XNA format first.
4. Add tokens to the localization file. This is really simple to do, just find the file in the localization folder, stick your descriptions at the end with a new number. Do not forget this because the mod would not work.

How to create new ground Troops for a raceEdit

To be created

How to create new BuildingsEdit

To be created

How to create new ArtifactsEdit

To be created

How to change the Solar System name listEdit

To be created

How to change Agent names for a raceEdit

  1. Find .xml file in stardrive/content/name_generators/
  1. There is an xml file for each race
  2. Edit and enjoy!

How to change the Exploration EventsEdit

To be created

Maybe not possible as per v1.06 (to be confirmed)

How to add a new Race in the gameEdit

To be created

How to add new Planet artEdit

To be created


StarDrive - Modding Forum - Want to discuss modding the game? The modding subsection on the official forums is the place to be.