SMAPI does a great job at making the installation of Stardew Valley mods simple. However, not all mods available on-site are SMAPI compatible. These mods are referred to as XNB mods because of their file extension (.xnb). Luckily, these aren’t so complicated to install either, let’s find out how!
Making a Backup
It’s always a good idea to make a backup of the vanilla version of the game in case you make any mistakes while installing mods. A simple way to do this is by right clicking Stardew Valley in your Steam Library, and then clicking Properties at the very bottom.
Once open, click the Local Files tab at the top, and then the Backup Game Files…option from this menu. Make sure Stardew Valley’s box is ticked when the list of your games appears, and click Next.
From here, simply click the Next button again and make your backup. Note that you can change the backup file’s save location to anywhere you’d like for easier access! Remember where this is in case you ever need a clean version of the game.
When downloading mods, you will come across some that are in a .zip file. We’ll need to open this with another program such as 7zip, WinRAR, or any unzipping program of your choosing. Once done, extract the files to a location of your choice. I recommend your desktop for easy access.
Adding Your Mods
Now it’s time to get the mods to your game! This is relatively simple, you just need to replace your game’s files with the new ones you’ve downloaded. You need to navigate to your ‘Content’ folder, and from here you will need to search the folders for the XNB file you need to replace.
Most are easy to find as they are split into categories like Animals, Buildings, etc. However, you’re having trouble finding it, you can use the search bar in the top right to find the correct path. All that’s left to do is to drag and drop (or copy and paste) your new XNB file!