25 Best Mods For Surviving Mars Fans (All Free)This post may contain affiliate links. If you buy something we may get a small commission at no extra cost to you. (Learn more).
Life in space can get pretty tough. This is especially the case in Surviving Mars, one of the more recent titles from Paradox Interactive.
In this survival city builder, you’re tasked with building a colony on Mars. Your goal is to keep your colony alive but thriving as well.
With limited resources and knowledge of the red planet, do you have what it takes to survive?
Well if you’re looking to dive into this game with some added fun I’ve made this list featuring some awesome to get you started.
25. Mod Config Reborn
As you dive into the deep world of mods for this game, Mod Config is going to come in handy sooner than later.
Even just going through this list, you’re going to have tons of new mods to check out – and you’re not going to regret having Mod Config in the long run.
It’s basically a mod for managing mods. Seems boring but it’s really pretty useful.
It adds in-game settings menu for each of your mods (provided that they’re compatible).
From here you can easily manage which mods are activated and change the settings for each.
24. Info Bar
Staying on top of the numbers is crucial in any builder game.
That’s exactly why Info Bar is so important.
It adds a simple information bar to the top of your screen for instant access to important data like resources, research and funding, vacant houses and homelessness, and jobs and unemployment.
You’ll no longer need to go through the colony overview to get important information as everything is neatly placed at the top of your screen for quick and easy viewing.
The info bar is also highly customizable, allowing you to change the look, positioning, and time information as well.
23. Show Research Progress on HUD
Another great addition to your UI, the Show Research Progress on HUD does exactly that.
Towards the left of your HUD you’ll now be able to track progress of active research.
It’s a great way to save you time and help keep you on top of everything going on in your colony.
There are options for customization here as well, allowing you to see how many technologies are queued for research, as well as whether the bar becomes hidden once there is no research being done.
22. Rocket Stock
Nobody likes having to go back-and-forth just to figure out what needs to be done.
It’s actually surprising that this wasn’t placed in the base game. But luckily modder SkiRich has it for us.
A continuation of the Show Resources on Resupply Screen mod, Rocket Stock gives you all the info you need for resupplying.
When deciding what to ship, you’ll see how many resources, drones, and rovers you already have.
Not only that, but you’re also given information on resources consumed daily. A vital metric!
Basically you’re given everything you need to know to make decisions on what supplies you’re going to need – all in the Resupply screen.
21. Tech Researched Popup
Another great way to improve your UI – the Tech Researched Popup mod.
Fans of city building games know all too well how overwhelming it can be to micromanage everything in the game.
It’s easy to get lost in all the menus you need to go through just to find the information you’re looking for.
This simple improvement addresses research very effectively.
Once research is completed you’re given a completely new notification icon which can now be clicked.
Clicking the icon will give you a popup menu showing the research details such as the name of the technology completed and a description of what it does.
There is even an optional setting that will automatically open up the research menu so you can choose a new technology to research as soon as the previous one is completed.
20. Warp Speed (x10/x20)
Another essential for city building games: speeding up time.
A common area for improvement in these games, setting time speed is something every gamer finds useful to avoid idly waiting for tasks to be completed.
Usually we’re given the option to do so, but it’s still almost always too slow. No one wants to sit around for minutes at a time just waiting for the game to let you play again.
A quick and easy fix is here.
Warp Speed changes the medium and fast speed settings to 10x and 20x from the default 3x and 5x respectively.
If that’s too much, there’s a 5x and 10x version of the mod as well.
19. Better Zoom Distance (30K)
As your colony continues to grow larger and larger, you’re going to want a quick way to get a bird’s-eye view of everything.
It can get frustrating having to scroll around with a limited view just to find the exact building you’re looking for, especially given that your capability to zoom out is very limited in Surviving Mars.
If that’s something that bothers you, look no further!
Better Zoom Distance allows you to zoom out much farther for a wider view of the map.
A quick zoom out will now help you locate what you need much quicker and just like that, you’re getting things done.
If you’d like to improve zoom functionality but 30k goes too wide for your taste, there’s a 15K version of the mod as well.
18. Unlimited Scanning
This may sound like a cheat at first glance. But it actually just modifies the scanning mechanic to make it easier to get things done.
The default scan limit of 10 sectors at a time just means you’ll have to go back to the overview map over and over to add new sectors to the queue.
Now who would want to do that right?
With Unlimited Scanning, you can easily queue all sectors of the map to be scanned, and just like that you have one less thing you’ll need to worry about.
It gets quite repetitive having to micromanage each of your RC Transports.
As you progress through the game, it feels like gathering resources should be less of a bother.
AutoGatherTransport solves exactly that. Now you can set custom locations for RC Transports to automatically gather Polymer, Metal, and Waste Rock from.
This saves you time as well as they will no longer remain idle waiting for you to instruct them to gather.
Once gathered, the RC Transports deposit them in the nearest storage location.
Furthermore they even automatically recharge at a nearby power cable when needed.
RC Explorers might be another thing you don’t want to deal with anymore.
Especially in later stages when you’ve got bigger problems to solve, AutoExplore comes in quite handy.
Idle RC Explorers now automatically go to discovered anomalies to research them. Simple right?
Also a great time-saver for when you’re focus can be elsewhere.
Do note, though, that with recent updates to the game similar AI have been added.
The only difference is that the base game requires certain technologies to be accessible, so this mod is still a winner in my book.
15. Automated Tradepad
Tradepads can be automated as well. If you find yourself annoyed by the constant notifications for trading, especially since you’re focused back to your tradepad for accepting trades, then this one’s for you.
The Automated Tradepad mod gives you different options to completely control how trading is automated.
You can set different tradepads to automatically accept offers, as well as how frequent trade offers are made for each pad.
No more annoying notifications to accept or decline trades as you’ll just be informed that an automated trade has pushed through.
14. Automated Tourism
Last of the automation mods is Automated Tourism.
Tourists can come and go, giving you extra money for visiting your colony.
However it’s not passive income. You’ll have to manually manage their transportation to and from Earth.
Automated Tourism fixes that, allowing you to designate rockets to go back and forth from Earth to pick up tourists.
Beyond that, it gives you tourism information as well.
You’ll be able to monitor departure times and payments made through the mod as well. Neat!
13. Smarter Worker AI
If you’ve ever had the problem of engineers taking on factory work instead of research, this mod is sure to come in handy.
Smarter Worker AI upgrades the worker placement mechanic of the game.
Instead of looking for work elsewhere, colonists with specializations will only work within their field for as long as there are available slots to fill.
The manual worker assignment option is still kept available, but this makes for a much smarter AI so you won’t have to worry about it too much.
12. Silva – Mega Apartment
For the next series of mods I’ll taking a look at some of the best additional buildings that can be added to the base game.
Popular modder Silva has become known for these mods as he’s made tons of new buildings available in the Workshop.
I’ve already picked out what I think are the best so you won’t have to go through them all.
First up is the Mega Apartment.
As your colony grows, you’re not just going to want your colonists to survive. Instead you’re going to have to worry about surviving comfortably.
The Mega Apartment allows you to build a residential tower that can house up to 96 people. The building also features a base comfort value of 75, so you can have your colonists living in style.
11. Silva – Retro Cinema
Now that your colonists are living comfortably, what are they going to do during their free time?
How about giving them a cinema to spend their weekends at.
The Retro Cinema adds a custom theater building that broadcasts old sci-fi movies. Doesn’t that sound perfect?
Also these aren’t just aesthetic mods as they have service interests as well.
The Retro Cinema in particular addresses social, relaxation, and luxury.
10. Silva – Toys Store
Last of the Silva mods is the Toys Store.
A special mod from Silva as this was his Christmas present to the community last 2018.
Your colonists have already gone out to catch a movie and aren’t quite ready to head home yet. How about a visit to the toy store?
Available for both children and adults, the Silva Toys Store is a great way to add gaming and shopping stats for your colonists.
Besides, who wouldn’t want to have a toy store on Mars?
Another new building, but this one isn’t by Silva.
Less of a fun mod, but don’t underestimate the value of this one.
The Cemetery mod allows you to build a cemetery within your colony. Why would you want that, you might ask?
Well having a cemetery isn’t just purely for design.
Penalties for colonists’ deaths are actually reduced when you have one built. Not only that, but new colonists learn from the past as well. Newborns actually gain positive traits based on buried colonists. Weird I know, but pretty cool.
Not only does this add value to the gameplay, but introduces a new level of realism as well.
8. Shadowed Solar Panels
Another great way to add realism to the game: Shadowed Solar Panels.
The mod doesn’t do much more, but it definitely makes sense to have.
If you’re looking for a much more realistic experience, Shadowed Solar Panels affects the electricity production when solar panels aren’t in the sun.
If panels are covered by a mountain, they will now only produce 25% of their output – so you should probably be more careful about placing those.
7. Paradox Radio
The dedicated modding community has come up with a way to add radio stations to Mars! Imagine that.
First off we have Paradox Radio.
The mod is actually approved by Paradox Interactive themselves.
Paradox Radio adds 34 songs to your soundtrack from your favorite Paradox releases. Included in the list are songs from Crusader Kings II, Europa Universalis IV, Stellaris, as well as the Cities radio station from Cities Skylines.
6. Rebel Galaxy Radio
If you’re a fan of space-themed games, you’re probably familiar with Rebel Galaxy.
Well as modder SundaeOfDoom was playing through Surviving Mars, he figured that the Rebel Galaxy would actually make a great fit for the soundtrack.
And here we are.
If you’re more into bluesy space trucking music (or whatever you want to call it) you should give this mod a try.
5. Founder Vetting
Many players felt that the gambling mechanic in the early stages of the game didn’t make sense.
Who can blame them?
Why are these people even looking for casinos in the first place, when your main concern should be survival?
This may make the start of the game a bit easier, but it makes much more sense this way.
Happiness meters will no longer drop because of a lack of casinos in the first 10 Sols of the game.
4. Nurseries Limit Births
Overpopulation can easily become an issue in Surviving Mars.
With your limited resources, you obviously can’t be accommodating new babies left and right.
With the Nurseries Limit Births mod you can limit the number of births to open slots in nurseries.
Basically, if there is no available nursery slot, then a baby won’t be born.
There is also a feature that allows you to mark a specific dome as a “birth dome.”
This allows you to focus all growth in a specific area as the birth dome will receive all births from all other domes.
There you have it, no need to worry about having more colonists than you can handle.
3. Synthetic Meat
Another question: why are all my colonists vegan?
If this is something you noticed about the game, then Synthetic Meat might just be the addition you’re looking for.
It actually doesn’t do anything more than add variety to the food available for your colony.
In case you didn’t notice, pretty much all of the food items in the game are vegetables: wheat grass, leaf crops, and kelp among others.
Now how much sense is it to have meat, I’m not so sure. Can cows even live on Mars? Who am I to say.
Either way this mod is a real nice addition for some added details.
2. Time Capsule
Time Capsule is great for those looking for more of a challenge.
When starting a new game, Time Capsule will check if you already have previous saved games in that particular site.
If you do, the map generated will include ancient ruins of your previous settlements depending on what you had built in those saved games.
It’s an interesting feature but also makes the game more challenging as there are now immovable objects on the map that will affect where you are able to build.
A common criticism of Surviving Mars is how frustrating it can be to learn the game.
As a new player, you’re not given much to go on in terms of game mechanics, requirements to maintain certain resources, stuff like that.
Some might argue that it’s part of what makes the game good. But for more casual gamers this could just as easily be a turnoff.
While this is considered a “cheat” mod, it could also be a great way for newcomers to learn the ropes.
The Sandbox mod basically gives you a free pass at the game to just build whatever you want.
By removing building costs, maintenance, enabling instant pipes and cables, and increasing funding, you’re free to do as you wish with your settlement.
This is not only great for helping newer players explore the game freely, but also great if you’re just looking to build a good-looking colony on Mars without restrictions.
Either way you’ll definitely enjoy this one and it’ll keep you busy for hours.