RimWorld multiplayer – a quick guide

It's possible to run a grim frontier survival with friends, and here's a quick guide on how to do it

a desert colony defends itself from raving monsters

RimWorld is one of the ‘original’ steam early access darlings, an excellent survival city builder game that drops you on the frontiers of known space and expects you to scrape a living surrounded by deadly mechs, weird aliens, and weirdos who most of the time want to kill you.

It’s a modern successor to something like Dwarf Fortress, an excellent management strategy game, and a wholly solo affair as far as the original design is concerned… but that’s not stopped people wanting to play RimWorld in multiplayer. If you're having fun keeping your rag-tag band of misfits alive in a hostile world, imagine how much fun you can have doing it with friends.

RimWorld spent five years in early access, and since its full release in 2018 has had two major patches and a premium expansion called ‘Royalty’, but no ‘official’ multiplayer support. What developer Ludeon has done, though, is make modding the game especially easier and it’s to the RimWorld mods community we turn to get that multi-person frontier experience we’re all craving.

RimWorld Multiplayer

Your main port of call for playing RimWorld multiplayer will be to source a mod called ‘Zetrith’s Multiplayer mod’. It’s available on Steam Workshop, directly via GitHub, and the official Ludeon forums. The mod has an official website you can go to for more information.

the world map in rimworld, showing the locations of settlements

It is compatible up to RimWorld version 1.2, as well as the Royalty expansion, although for versions of the game past 1.0 you’ll also need the Harmony mod installed, which is a C# library that underpins a lot of post-early access RimWorld mods.

This is co-op mod, so you can’t set up rival colonies or attack each other, but it DOES support RimWorld’s ability to run multiple colonies at once, so if you go down that route you can divide the different sites between you and keep multiple settlements running at once. The game can also handle desyncing each settlement running at their own pace, with a separate instance of the RimWorld simulation running to keep everything in check.

You can have technically an infinite number of players playing together, but the mod creators recommend you do no more than eight people at once.

colonists in rimworld try to protect their leader while the colony burns

Hosting a RimWorld multiplayer server

This information has been pulled from the official mode website, but you can also consult this YouTube video for help as well:

  • Create a single player world, choose what colonists and landing site you want, and wait until your colonists get out of their pods
  • Save the game, press escape, and click the Host button on your menu
  • Configure your desired settings on the Host window, and click host
  • When hosting through Steam, users can just connect through your Steam friends list
  • With the ‘direct’ option, users should port forward 30502 through UDP

If you have any further questions regarding how RimWorld multiplayer works, you can check out the official FAQ page, or join the team’s official Discord. They’re very active there and will definitely be able to help.

Now’s a great time to get into RimWorld with your mates, and what better mode to play than multiplayer. If they don’t have the game yet, it’s easy enough to buy RimWorld’s base game cheap, although the Royalty expansion is also worth picking up.

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