Modding, or creating mods, is the act of modifying the behavior of the base game (often referred as vanilla), either for personal use, or to release publicly to other players, for instance via the Steam Workshop.
As for all Paradox games, Stellaris is moddable to a great extent.
Motivations of modders may vary widely: better translation to native language, more events or decisions, better map, major overhaul, etc.
This guide is intended to lower the entry barriers to the world of Stellaris modding. However, there is still a learning curve to it, and it cannot replace the need to read some working vanilla code, and do lots of trial and error experimentation!
- Create a mod for your modifications: use a personal mod even for small changes, and never modify directly game files in Steam Stellaris folder, as they may be overwritten without warning.
- Use a good text editor (like Notepad++) to edit files and search into multiple files.
- Validate your mod with The Validator, it will save you a lot of pain and time troubleshooting crashes and bugs.
- Minimize overwrites of vanilla files by adding separate files and loading from folders whenever possible, to improve mod compatibility and maintenance.
- Use a proper merge tool (like WinMerge), to merge between folders, and update modified vanilla files to a new vanilla patch.
- Backup your work to avoid losing everything. Consider using a source control system like Git and a collaborative forge like Github to manage team collaboration.
- Use ANSI (Windows-1252) encoding for text files.
- Indent properly to easily spot unclosed curly braced. Vanilla uses 1 tab for indentation rather than spaces.
- Use comments starting with # character, to remember reasons for writing tricky stuff.
Tools & utilities
- Notepad++ - Powerful editor to change files.
- [Maya exporter] - Clausewitz Maya Exporter to create your own 3D models.