We have a problem.


This is just an introduction and my thoughts, so if you're not interested, you can skip this part.

I recently discovered mods for Stardew Valley and was incredibly impressed by the unity of the community and the cool content that people create. The way people carefully and thoughtfully enhance the original game with their content deserves respect.

But nothing is perfect, despite the fact that most mods are well compatible in code, specifically the absence of clear software errors or serious bugs caused by strange interactions between multiple different mods. The same cannot be said about logical compatibility. Each author has their own view on how to improve or expand the valley, and that's great, but this diversity of views leads to an uncontrolled disorder.

No one would want to change or even redo parts of their hard work, and that's understandable, but sometimes it's still necessary. I conducted a small study on how different mods interact from a level design perspective. And here's my conclusion: the valley has become too crowded for all these mods that change original locations and add new ones.

Explanation of the problem.

I created a map of all the locations near Pelican Town. I tried to arrange them as logically as possible and then compare what I got with the in-game map. It's worth noting that this map doesn't include many mods that add locations not situated near the original locations within the in-game logic, but we'll talk about them later.
Some explanations about the symbols on my map:
  • Yellow arrows indicate transitions between locations that fit well or almost fit well together.
  • Black lines represent transitions that don't interfere with other locations but poorly or not at all fit with the map in the menu.
  • Green lines mark transitions that intersect and interfere with other locations and are not reflected on the menu map at all.
  • Red lines mark transitions that don't contradict logic but are not reflected or barely reflected on the menu map, such as teleports, buses, trains, cable cars.

Comparing the in-game map and my map of locations, I came to several conclusions:

  1. Scales do not match (distances on the menu map do not reflect real distances in the game). On my map, they're marked with black lines.
    • Mountains to Dam
    • Railroad to Dam
    • Town to Mountains
  2. Disrupted pathways (missing pieces of locations near transitions, they are present on the menu map but not in reality). On my map, they're marked with black lines.
    • East Scarpe to Mountains
    • Town to Bus Stop
    • Town to Beach
    • Town to Blue Moon Vineyard
    • Town to Forest
  3. Transitions between locations that strongly contradict both the menu map and location logic on my map. They are marked with green lines.
    • Backwoods to Mountains
    • Deep Mountains (East Scarpe) to Adventurer Summit (SVE)
    • Farm to Secret Woods(SVE)
  4. Locations not represented on the menu map near original game locations (many locations from small but still important mods for the community are not reflected on the in-game map at all). Perhaps I forgot some mods, apologies.
    • Cape Stard
    • The problem with Cape Stardew gets worse if you arrange Forest West differently, then it turns out that there is no place for Cape Stardew locations at all.
    • Lunna - Astray in Stardew Valley
    • Stardew Aquarium
    • Dam
  5. Locations not represented on the menu map that are far from Pelican Town. This list includes several mods available now and a few mods in development (I have almost no idea where their locations will be and how they will be accessed, but even so, I'm sure this will cause many logical compatibility problems). Perhaps I forgot some mods, apologies.
    • Stoffton
    • Durin's Rest
    • Welcome to Mineral Town
    • Juliet and Jessie the Joja Clerks
    • Downtown Zuzu
    • Visit Mount Vapius (WIP)
    • Sunberry Village (WIP)
    • Turnabout Creek (WIP)
  6. Locations that are oddly represented on the map. I mean the locations that are present on the menu map, have logical and reasonable access in the game, but their representation is just a small icon on the map, which, when clicked, opens a full-size map.
    • Ridgeside Village
    • Ginger Island from the original game 1.5 update
  7. A special mention goes to Stardew Valley Expanded, whose author has extensive plans to expand our beloved game, including adding a NEW CONTINENT. I'm not sure if FlashShifter plans to add this continent and CastleVillage to the menu map, but if such thoughts are present, it only exacerbates the problem of the limited menu map.
Of course, these are not all the level design problems present in the world of Stardew Valley; these are just the most noticeable ones that I was able to find.

What to do about it?

For the sake of fairness, it's necessary to acknowledge that one of the solutions to this problem could be to simply ignore it. In the actual gameplay, transitions between locations work and will work fine no matter how many location-adding mods you install. Over time, authors usually work on compatibility, and regular players might not even notice any issues. However, when you look at the bigger picture, the problems become apparent.

I love this game, and personally, I would like it to be as vast and rich as possible. But I also want all this scale to be cohesive and justified, so that the game world truly feels alive and real. Achieving this goal will require many actions from various modders. If these modders share my perspective, here's a rough plan on how this could be achieved.
I see two positive paths to solving this problem, aside from ignoring it: the Complex Path and the Very Complex Path.

Complex Path:
  1. Firstly, everyone involved in adding or changing locations should come together to discuss a solution. A private Discord channel might be an excellent place for these discussions.
  2. Carefully plan the mutual placement of all locations from all mods. The way I arranged them on my map is just one of many options, and it might not be the best. Consider the distances between transitions from one location to another to ensure logical placement that doesn't interfere with other locations.
  3. Find a capable programmer who can overhaul the in-game menu and create a modular, expandable, and, most importantly, LARGE map. The implementation can vary, such as having one large image with all mentioned mods and space for future additions. In the actual game, only part of this image would be visible, and players could move it with the mouse to view other sections. Alternatively, multiple images for each mod could be switched between on a dedicated tab.
  4. Find an artist to create this new map, and this task won't be small. Alternatively, each mod's author could individually draw their part of the map, and it would be programmatically integrated, but an artist would still be needed for this project.
    • This new map should accommodate the preferences of all modders, and achieving this will be quite challenging. Nevertheless, it's possible to arrive at a solution that satisfies everyone to some extent.
  5. It is necessary to think over the base map, that is, simply expand the map from the original game, placing only the city and surroundings on it, as well as Ginger Island not as a drop-down tab, but fully place it on the map. Everything further from the city can be filled with an ordinary landscape like mountains, rivers, forests and fields without significant objects. When creating this base map, it is necessary to take into account both the original game and to think in advance of locations from mods, based on the map of the relative location of locations, so that when installing a particular mod, it correctly and reasonably appears on the map and does not cause a feeling of alienness.
  6. Next, depending on the modders' decision, either 1 artist or different artists should draw maps for all mods that add locations so that they are visible on the map in the menu.
  7. Well, actually it is necessary to implement all this and put it together so that it works.

Very Complex Path:
This path is called very complex because, in addition to all the points in the Complex Path, it involves extra work, namely work for the authors of each location-adding mod. This path aims to achieve a seamless gameplay experience, so that when players transition between locations, they don't feel that a part of the path is hidden by a black screen. An excellent example that comes to mind is the transition from Grandpa's farm to the bus stop; it's almost perfectly executed in this regard. This needs to be implemented in many places and won't require excessive effort, but it will need a lot of collaboration between modders and meticulous work. Fences should connect with fences, trees at the edge of one location should be the same trees in the same place in another location, and so on.

Modders will need to slightly adjust the edges of their locations to smoothly connect with other locations from other mods, where transitions already exist and where necessary. It might also be a good idea to add additional transitions based on the changed mutual position of the locations. Of course, these adjustments should align with the appearance of the menu map to ensure that additions and changes are consistent.

And quite a bonus in some places where the distance between locations will still remain too large, even given the redesigned and optimal mutual location of locations can add additional transitional locations designed to smooth out this gap. They can be organized as a separate optional mod for those who really need it.

The situation could have become much simpler if the necessary changes to the map logic were introduced by ConcernedApe in the upcoming 1.6 update, as it's intended to streamline the work for modders. If this became an official change in the game, it would significantly ease the future work of modders in dealing with the map and creating locations. However, I have no idea whether he would agree to take on more work, especially considering that the update is expected to be released very soon. This approach has substantial benefits; the base map I mentioned would become official, and modders could use it as a foundation to design the logic of their locations. Anything that contradicted the official map would lose canonical credibility. This approach wouldn't take away from the mod's efforts or render this project meaningless, but it would notably alter its direction. However, I'm unsure about the feasibility of this option in reality.


I fully understand that implementing this idea will require the agreement and involvement of many people, and achieving that won't be simple. I might even try to do it myself – obtain permissions from other authors, write code, create a map, and so on – but unfortunately, I lack the necessary skills and experience, and even attempting this alone is an incredibly challenging task. However, I firmly believe that this is necessary for the community, and the community is cohesive enough to at least attempt to make this happen. Mods will continue to be released, locations will contradict each other, and it will all turn into a chaotic mess, resembling a patchwork quilt made from colorful pieces rather than a cohesive game that lives and thrives.

That's why I ask everyone who reads this and agrees with my ideas to spread this article, share it with friends who also enjoy Stardew Valley and mods, and inform mod authors who add new locations. Anyone who cares about the fate of our game can contribute to its improvement. I also posted a short post on Reddit and an image on Nexus where there are links to this article. If you want to help spread this idea to the masses and draw attention to the project, you can also distribute links to them.


It's a nice idea - and I believe that various modmakers have proposed this idea or stitched together maps of their own - sometimes for own use - that blend together the mods that they're using.

However, having a scale map like this would lead to a "All or nothing" type of affair. Like... what if the people don't have Expanded? Also, you'd require ALL town expansion modmakers, past, present and future to be onboard and that feels like a headache and a half to organize.

Are you proposing another map between Town and Mountain? That would be nice because it would make more real estate for custom NPCs, yes, but would not only require changing of warps, but also stuff up NPC scheduling.

Project Moonlight proposed a "better" structured map a long time ago (it's where the original Scarp map came from) and I think it slots things in together quite neatly. It did, however, involve reworking the Mountains map in a manner that would mean all events and schedules set on the Mountain would need to be rewritten as it expands it left. It also doesn't work with SVE's maps.

You also make it sound like this is a massive problem and that modmakers will ruin the game if they don't join in on it. And I'll have to say, I feel like most people can maintain their suspension of disbelief enough to avoid having to spend an extra 2 hours walking from place A to place B.

Since the only one of my warps that is problematic is the DeepMountains > Adventurer Summit one, I can easily set a config so they can remove it. It's there for player convenience, not story purposes.


However, having a scale map like this would lead to a "All or nothing" type of affair. Like... what if the people don't have Expanded? Also, you'd require ALL town expansion modmakers, past, present and future to be onboard and that feels like a headache and a half to organize.

Are you proposing another map between Town and Mountain? That would be nice because it would make more real estate for custom NPCs, yes, but would not only require changing of warps, but also stuff up NPC scheduling.

You also make it sound like this is a massive problem and that modmakers will ruin the game if they don't join in on it. And I'll have to say, I feel like most people can maintain their suspension of disbelief enough to avoid having to spend an extra 2 hours walking from place A to place B.
You are right, you definitely have a point; attempting to realize such a project would indeed bring about headaches and a host of organizational problems.
Disrupted NPC schedules, complicating the work of modders, and the presence of people who don't require realism and two-hour walks to points of interest, all of that is true.
However, it's precisely for this reason that the rearrangement of locations was delegated to a separate "Very Complex Path," an unrealized dream of a game that would seem cohesive rather than patched together from various mods. An ideal scenario for me and perhaps a couple of other enthusiasts.

Yet the arguments you've listed don't negate the fact that many mods simply aren't visible on the in-game map menu. This is what I consider a significant issue, though it's only my opinion and doesn't claim to be an absolute truth; some people might be fine with it as it is. Implementing an option where the community at least attempts to create a new and comfortable map in the menu, something better than a small image where the city itself barely fits, isn't such a complex task and personally, I believe it would benefit everyone.

I didn't say that the current situation and the actions of modders "will ruin the game." Different people have different ideas. Some might want to add as many locations and content as possible, while others might install only "East Scarpe" into the vanilla game and be happy with it. Modders can and will do only what they want; that's the essence of mods – to enhance the game according to their own desires. This post and the potential project are merely attempts to find out if there are people who might also be interested in this. Moreover, I never intended to give advice or dictate what would be best for such a group of significant people.


Can you update the map with the "Walk to Desert Redux" connections? Which adds a road to RSV, Calico Desert, and Zuzu CIty.
It also apparently would connect to Garden Village mod in a future update.

Cape Stardew also has a bus stop to the west of it which connects to a tunnel that heads south. I could imagine that looping around West Cindersap Forest and hypothetically linking to Garden VIllage.