The Best Performance Mods for Stellaris (All Free)

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As with any large-scale 4X grand strategy game, Stellaris can prove challenging for any system to run smoothly.

Released in 2016, Stellaris is relatively old, so most modern systems can handle it – but being able to “run” a game doesn’t mean you can’t aim at smoother performance.

If you don’t have the cash to get yourself an Intel Core i5 12000K, a GeForce RTX 3080, and 32GB of RAM, then modding the game to reduce lag is the way to go.

The following mods can make a big difference depending on your bottleneck, and even those with a solid gaming rig might get some use out of this list.


6. Remove Aura Graphics

Remove Aura Graphics Mod for Stellaris

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Better performance often means diluting visual effects.

Remove Aura Graphics by Kondi uses this strategy to give your game a few extra FPS.

It removes the glow surrounding units affected by shield dampeners and other aura effects. You won’t be able to tell at a glance which ships are affected by aura effects, but it’s a minor inconvenience.

Additionally, removing this aura actually makes the game look more realistic.


5. Stellar Performance

Stellar Performance Stellaris mod

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Another excellent performance mod that’ll help you witness large battles without your FPS dropping into the nearest black hole is Stellar Performance by Antharis.

This mod replaces the gorgeous vanilla ship textures with downscaled, lower-resolution versions.

You lose a bit of detail, but the game becomes much easier to process for your rig.

Stellar Performance is a must-have if you want a smooth experience on a non-gaming laptop or low-end PC.


4. Game Performance Optimization Fix

Game Performance Optimization Fix Mod for Stellaris

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Sometimes, it’s not the graphics that stress your rig but rather the background processes and AI actions that happen off-screen.

Author RegiZero offers us a collection of minor tweaks and fixes that reduce the amount of processing power needed for the AI. This includes limiting the number of sub-species they can have in their empire, only allowing them to construct a single Gateway, and so on.

One of my favorite changes is limiting the AI’s tendency to spam low-cost units. The mod changes the AI’s strategy to progressively replace units instead of spamming corvettes.

If you’re worried about balance, you can choose to apply all of these limitations to yourself too, which guarantees even smoother performance.


3. Stellaris Performance Mod

Stellaris Performance Mod Stellaris mod

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Next up, we have a mod with a super-creative name.

The Stellaris Performance Mod does exactly what you’d guess: improve your performance.

But how?

Creator Red-Eyed_Fairace reduced particle effects across the board to the minimum necessary amount. This affects guns, ship engines, and cosmic bodies like stars, dark holes, and planetary rings.

The same author offers further improvements through add-ons to the Stellaris Performance Mod. These include the Galaxy Dust Tweak and DDS Potato Edition.


2. Better Performance & Utilities

Better Performance & Utilities Mod for Stellaris

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If your game runs perfectly initially but starts slowing to a crawl in the late game, Better Performance & Utilities might offer a solution.

This mod works by keeping the number of different entities and processes the AI needs to worry about to a minimum by modifying their population growth curve, making migration automatic, and limiting their species variety.

Most of these tweaks are fully customizable, so you can choose what changes you find appropriate and which are too limiting.


1. Production Revolution

Production Revolution Stellaris mod

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As we’ve seen before, one of the biggest sources of lag and stuttering in Stellaris is the AI’s management of population and jobs.

The AI runs an individual check of every citizen of your empire every in-game month to determine their ideal job.

This is OK at first, but as the population grows, so does the processing power required for this task.

Production Revolution solves this by fundamentally changing how production works in Stellaris, removing micromanagement for both the player and the AI.

Instead of assigning individual citizens to each job, this mod gives you a “Manpower” output based on population and calculates Manpower costs based on available jobs.

It definitely takes a little bit away from the game’s depth, but Stellaris is so huge that you’ll barely feel the difference.

If anything, you’ll be free to focus on other aspects of space colonization.

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Nelson Chitty

Nelson Chitty is a Venezuelan expat living in Argentina. He’s a writer and translator passionate about history and foreign cultures. His ideal weekend is spent between leisurely playing games of Civilization VI and looking for the next seinen anime to marathon.