Mod manager

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Cataclysm: Dark Days Ahead Mod Manager

The Cataclysm: Dark Days Ahead Mod Manager is a powerful feature, included in the game since version 0.A (Kaufman). It allows mods to be sorted much more easily, and certain mods can be enabled per world. Mods are stored in the "mods" folder of the data directory. Modifications are a selection of items, recipes, and changes that alter the game. Sometimes, very significantly.

When creating a new world you'll be presented with the 'mods to use' menu. From here you can choose the modifications that you want to be built into your world. It is possible to manually change this in the config files after you have created a world, but this may cause conflicts and is best left up to a more advanced player.

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Mod menu

Use  and  to move your selector up and down the list of mods
The  and  will move your selector from the list of mods to the active list you have selected
TAB will move forwards across the list of sub-categories of Default, Blacklist, and Balance
SHIFT + TAB will move backwards across the sub-categories
ENTER to select a mod you want to use in your world or, on the active mod panel on the right, to un-select
s to save your list of selected mods as a default for the next world you create
> when you are ready to move on to World Gen Options and finally CONFIRMATION to create your world
< or ESC to return back across high-level tabs of CONFIRMATION and World Gen Options and cancel or to cancel at any point
? for the list of commands -- always helpful for any menu as it is updated for the context

Default Mods

There is a collection of mods that are shipped with the main C:DDA distribution and even in the experimental versions are known to run smoothly and deliver on their promised content. This list isn't just updated for a main release, but any modification can be included in the main line releases and experimental with permission from the author and the development team.

You can find a list of default mods in the game menu and, for the mods documented here, by browsing the Wiki.

Additional Mods

Many other modifications are available for download outside of the core C:DDA distribution. These are expertly organized on the forums as A Mod List. Thanks to the community support (just like on the main distribution) many of these mods run smoothly as well.

Installing mods

  • On Windows, drop the mod files in a directory inside the "Cataclysm-DDA\data\mods" directory.
  • On Linux, drop the mod files in a directory inside the "~/.local/share/cataclysm-dda/mods" directory.

Mods Files

Most mods are made of edited .json files, and as such, would have to manually override the other .json files. The mod manager removes the need to do this. The modded .json file is placed in a folder with the desired modname, for example: data\mods\DinoMod for the Dinosaur Mod. Inside the mod folder, you should have the modded .json file, and another .json file named modinfo. These two files are required, everything else (README's, Licenses, etc.) is optional.

Example Mods

You can look at existing mainline mods in `data/mods`. There are also small showcase mods in `docs/sample_mods`.

Lua in Mods

At the same place where the .json files are placed, a 'main.lua' can be placed, which will be executed upon loading the world. This file can be used to define custom IUSE's and other things.

Find out more about modding with lua here.


The modinfo file tells the game that the folder is a mod, and how to handle the mod. The required portions of the modinfo file should be set up as shown:

       "type": "MOD_INFO",
       "mod-type": "SUPPLEMENTAL",
       "ident": "(Insert text)",
       "name": "(Insert text)",
       "description": "(Insert text)",
       "path": "(Insert Path)"
  • "type": This should always be set to "MOD_INFO". It tells the game that it is looking at a modinfo file and a mod folder.
  • "mod-type": This states what type of mod it is, for example "SUPPLEMENTAL" means that the mod is an add-on, and should be added to what is already there
  • "ident": The name of the mod, as the game sees it.
  • "name": The name of the mod, as the player sees it.
  • "author": States the author of the mod. Not required. If you do not wish to have the author listed, remove the entire line.
  • "description": A description of the mod, will be shown in-game
  • "path": The path of the .json files, relative to your modinfo.json. For example, if your modinfo.json is at "Cataclysm/data/mods/MyMod/modinfo.json" and you have "path": "foo", then your JSON files should be at "Cataclysm/data/mods/MyMod/foo/items.json".
  • "dependencies": Lists any other mods the mod depends on to run properly. If the mod depends on default files alone, remove the line.

Using a mod

Mods are enabled in-game. Some mods may be enabled per-world, others may apply to the entire game, across all worlds.

Enable a mod

To enable a per-world mod, follow the steps listed:

Start Cataclysm: Dark Days Ahead

Go to the "World" tab, and "Create World"

Select What mods you want to use.

Select other worldgen options.

Confirm the creation of your world.

Play on the new world.

Which mods did I activate?

It can be hard to know which mods you activated in a certain world.

To discover which mods you installed look at your Save folder, go to the folder that has the name of the world you created. For example Earth-2149. In this folder there is a mods.json file. If you open this file with a text editor, it shows all the mods you have installed in the current game.

It uses the internal names for the mods. So some of them might not look the same as the mods you picked on the mods screen. Examine the mods directory in the data directory for the mods json files.

Adding mods to an already running world

While removing mods from a running world is not recommended. You can add them with less problems. To do so add the ident of the mod to the mods.json file of the world you want to change. The world folder is in the Save folder. the ident of a mod can be found in the modinfo.json file, inside the mods folder. Mods can be found in the Data\mods folder.

The resulting mods.json file should look like this


Do so at your own risk. (Adding mods is less risky than removing them).

Finding Mods and Tilesets