Question how to make a mod to change the standard horse?

Shoopuf

Greenhorn
Heya!

I want to make a small mod for myself to replace the standard horse with one that resembles my own horse. Same for the standard cat(s). I have zero modding excperience and I feel a bit overwhelmed with all the informations and mods out there, so I have a few questions! Is it possible to make this without using SMAPI? I play the vanilla game and I don't want any other mods or anything, I just want to be able to get my own horse in the game. My first quess was to get the horse file and replace it with my own horse, but how do I do this?
 

mouse

Rancher
You could do that, and I understand why that would seem like the simplest option given your lack of interest in other mods. Overwriting game files directly has a lot of drawbacks though, and SMAPI comes with some built-in positives like console commands that can help you when you are stuck, automatic save backups, and a detailed log you can use when you need help. You don't need to install mods you're not interested in, but the process will be much simpler if you decide to later, and you'll have a lot of help available from the general modding community.

I suggest this route:
  1. Install SMAPI. (Instructions for Mac and Linux if applicable.)
  2. Download Content Patcher and extract it into the Mods folder SMAPI created. (See this page for examples of installing mods if needed!)
  3. Download the attached mod and extract it into the Mods folder as well.
  4. Edit the sprites in its assets folder, using any image editor that supports PNGs. (paint.net, GIMP, pixel art software etc)
  5. Launch the game and see if your changes took effect.
For any future modding of game assets, you'll definitely want to start with unpacking the game files. (The horse would have been in the Animals folder, as are all the dog and cat variants.)

If you should want to make your own packs for Content Patcher in the future, it's extensively documented and lets you make changes to the game's assets under any combination of a staggering assortment of conditions. For example, if I wanted to have tons of variants for my horse (say, for every season or festival, or even my choice of spouse), I could add all the pngs with certain names to the assets folder and just edit one line in the provided pack's content.json to make SMAPI use them all at the appropriate time.

For now, on Nexus and ModDrop there are other templates for other assets you can use if you want to branch out :)

(Making packs for CP is pretty simple once you get the hang of it, and doesn't require any programming! It can still be kind of overwhelming at the start when you're just trying to get your horse in the game, which is why I included a pack that does nothing except replace the horse and its menu icon. You're welcome to use it even if you want to release it as your own pack; you'd just need to edit the manifest.json in any text editor to change the author details to your own. Feel free to ask for help if you decide to take the leap! )
 

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mouse

Rancher
I'm not very familiar with Paint and don't think it normally allows preserving transparency, but maybe that's not true in the more modern versions of it. It wouldn't be in my top picks either way (especially with so many free image editors to choose from), but I did find a how-to article that suggests that you can use workarounds for it.

Something with full layer support (and a grid that can be snapped to) would be ideal if you're doing more than the most basic edits, but is not required :)
 

LRangerR

Local Legend
I've been using mspaint for pixel art most of my life so i'm very familiar with many of it's limitations, lol. I don't think there's a way to preserve transparency either, but I just wanted to see what you had to say about it. Thanks!

-edit: Looks like the workaround is really simple to execute. Thanks x2!
 
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mouse

Rancher
You might check out Aseprite sometime, if you haven't already! I imagine the dedicated pixel art software would be a better option than a general editor, and there's still a version of it that's free if you compile it yourself. Not to try to sell you off something you're already familiar with, hehe.
 

LRangerR

Local Legend
There's also Paint.net!
Can you confirm the link? it's showing up as nothing.
You might check out Aseprite sometime, if you haven't already! I imagine the dedicated pixel art software would be a better option than a general editor, and there's still a version of it that's free if you compile it yourself. Not to try to sell you off something you're already familiar with, hehe.
I'll check it out at the very least. I used to have transparency done by others in a different community i belonged to, but they've long since scattered. This is the first time i've been back to pixel art since then, so I've gotta figure something out for that trans, haha.
 

mouse

Rancher
I linked to the site for paint.net in my original reply. I only mentioned Aseprite specifically because it's dedicated pixel art vs general image editor. There are definitely lots of options :)
 

pulilith

Farmhand
I wrote a content patcher mod that changes the pets and horse here: https://www.nexusmods.com/stardewvalley/mods/4764

Once you place it in the Mods folder, you can drop in the images you want to change and rename them accordingly. Since it's for content patcher it also requires that mod and SMAPI.
Also, I apologize if this is considered self-promotion, I just figured I'd share it since it was relevant to the question. If it's inappropriate, I will be happy to delete my response. 🙇🏻‍♀️
 
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