How to start a Stardew Valley co-op farm with multiplayer

Stardew Valley co-op split-screen teaser image
(Image credit: ConcernedApe)

Stardew Valley co-op makes multiplayer easier than ever now that the farming simulation has online and split-screen options to play with friends. You can mix and match how you and your friends collaborate on your farm with options for splitting resources and controlling how your game operates while multiple farmers are present. Stardew Valley co-op works around your playstyle.

Co-op farming relies on the Cabin farm building that you can buy from Robin. The host must have cabins on their farm for each friend (up to 3). Luckily, each cabin is cheap to build in an existing singleplayer save. You can also begin a new multiplayer farm with cabins already pre-built.

Saves are stored on the host player’s machine, meaning others can't keep playing after the host leaves the game though. We'll start off with the quickest and easiest way to play Stardew Valley multiplayer with your friends and also share some tips on how to be most effective as a farming team.

How to start a multiplayer farm in Stardew Valley co-op

Stardew Valley Guides

(Image credit: Eric Barone)

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Stardew Valley co-op: Farm with friends
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The quickest and easiest way to start a multiplayer farm is from scratch. In the "co-op" section of the main menu you can either join a friend's farm or choose to begin your own.

If you want to be able to invite your friends immediately, set the number of "staring cabins" to the number of farmers who will be joining you. Any co-op partner needs to have a cabin in order to join in. You may also want to choose the Four Corners farm map which is specifically designed to fit a whole four farmers with their own space to farm on the same land.

You can also invite a friend via LAN connection or by sending them the invite code located in your options menu in the multiplayer section. Your co-op partner can find options to join a LAN game or enter an invite code in the co-op section of their main menu. The "invite friends" option allows you to send an invite through your Steam or GOG friends list to the person you'd like to play with. You can also open your game for split-screen play.

How to play split-screen in Stardew Valley co-op

(Image credit: ConcernedApe)

If you've already started up a farm and have a cabin available for a friend, open your options menu and scroll down to the multiplayer section. Clicking "start local co-op" will prompt you to press start to join the game. You can do this either with a gamepad or the escape key on your keyboard. Your extra players should now have their own section of your screen to play on.

How to host a multiplayer farm in Stardew Valley

If you want to turn your solo farm into a co-op farm, don't worry. It's easy. Visit Robin's shop to build up to three cabins for anyone you want to invite. They're quite cheap, so even if you've just started a new farm you should be able to create a spot for your friend quickly by bringing her 100 gold and 10 stones or 10 wood. Robin will build cabins instantly, so you won't need to wait any in-game days for your friend to join you. Once it's plopped down, you can now invite another farmer by starting up split-screen co-op, a LAN session, or sending your invite code.

Stardew Valley multiplayer options

Since multiplayer has been added to Stardew, other updates have added additional options and farms to make playing together easier. Here are the options you'll have access to while in multiplayer and what they mean.

Starting Cabins
These cabins will come pre-built on your farm, one for each co-op farmer you plan to invite.

Cabin Layout
Nearby cabins will be build close to the main farmhouse while the separate layout makes it feel like you have your own space. If you don't like the default placement, don't worry. You can always ask Robin to move them.

Profit Margin
If you've been playing Stardew co-op, you'll probably notice that more hands means more work gets done and you may find it very, very easy to stack up cash. You can lower the profit you earn on items to give your group a bit more of a challenge.

Building Move Mode
This setting can be changed while playing your farm. It controls who on the farm can ask Robin to move buildings. You can set it to "everyone", "host only" meaning the owner of the farm, or "building owner only" meaning your friends can't move one another's cabins and other buildings around. 

Money Style
Note: This option is now controlled by reading a green book on a table in Mayor Lewis' house, not in the game menu. 

Separate money means that you and your friends have separate wallets—a good choice if you have a friend who won't stop buying seeds when you were trying to save for that backpack upgrade. Shared money means that all farm hands share one bank account.

Tips for farming together in Stardew Valley co-op 

The most important things to remember in Stardew Valley co-op are what you share with your friends and what you don’t share. These things remain separate:

  • Inventory
  • Skill levels
  • Energy
  • Relationships

What you do share:

  • Farm space
  • Gold (unless playing with "separate" money enabled)
  • Most importantly, your time

It makes complete sense that in a shared game the clock would march on regardless of who happens to be organizing their inventory or perusing Pierre’s store. What I forgot is just how much time I spent doing those things while playing alone. I may well have spent equally as much of my days in some kind of menu, causing the game’s clock to pause, as I did actually running about. In multiplayer, the clock stops for no farmhand and the days fly by at a breakneck pace. 

The sun is always setting hours before I feel like I’ve gotten done what I had hoped to accomplish—terribly realistic. The pressure to perform quickly isn’t a defect with the multiplayer design, but it’s a new way of thinking about playing that I had to consciously adjust to. If you absolutely must pause, the host player can press the default key T to open the text chat window and type "/pause" to force freeze the game.

Inevitably, a friend will log off with something in their inventory that you needed. You can pilfer what they held out on you by checking what looks like a dresser inside their cabin. If you choose to invite friends to one of your existing saves, they will create a new character and begin with a basic set of tools, no skill levels, and only the starting amount of daily energy. My partner was forced to dig through my abandoned clothes and weapons to find hand-me-downs that would let him dive into the lowest levels of the mines, while also finding that he didn’t have the energy to water all the crops on my farm. 

Stardew Valley cross-platform status

Currently, Stardew Valley does not offer cross-platform play between devices and at this point it seems unlikely it ever will. It's an bummer, but Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation Vita, and mobile users cannot play multiplayer with PC players and vice versa. You can only play with other friends who own Stardew on the same platform as you.

Lauren Morton
Associate Editor

Lauren started writing for PC Gamer as a freelancer in 2017 while chasing the Dark Souls fashion police and accepted her role as Associate Editor in 2021, now serving as the self-appointed chief cozy games enjoyer. She originally started her career in game development and is still fascinated by how games tick in the modding and speedrunning scenes. She likes long books, longer RPGs, has strong feelings about farmlife sims, and can't stop playing co-op crafting games.