How to fix Stardew Valley coop “Connection failed” error

Finding chill coop games which PC and Mac could play together was already quite a challenge, so imagine the frustration when excitement about Stardew Valley supporting such connection ended stuck on hopeless “Connecting” message which would only lead to “Connection failed” error.

We restarted everything that can be restarted, disabled all what can be disabled, pleaded for mercy from the Software and Networking gods, but to no avail. To make matters worse, it seemed that one trick of “launching the game from the Steam friends list” actually worked! We were able to play twice, start our tiny cute farm only to slam in the “Connection failed” wall again. This time nothing worked. For hours we tried EVERYTHING again. Multiple times. It’s entirely possible that some tears were shed over this.

When almost all hope was lost… I randomly decided to check if our virtual LAN setup that was one of the attempted workarounds actually worked. Apparently, it wasn’t pinging anything, because SOMEONE (khem…) didn’t setup things properly, so we got a few new things to try and a more tangible problem to solve! And after a few hopeful minutes solved it was! Ping was happening and, most importantly, I was back on our farm!!!

But enough of dramating retelling, here’s what worked for us!

Setting up virtual LAN to solve Stardew Valley “Connection failed” issue

Let’s not kid ourselves, barely anyone uses LAN anymore, yet SOME games do support it and setting up such virtual network can potentially solve some networking issues when our bean garden needs to be taken care of. My first instinct was to use good ol’ Hamachi, but it wasn’t compatible on the latest OSX and, for some weird reason, SSL certificate was invalid, which isn’t something you want around networking-oriented software. Quick “hamachi alternatives” search led to ZeroTier that had the most plainly designed user dashboard ever. Terrible UI means that high tier engineers are working on this software and they have no time for such hogwash like design. However, it also meant that users might not be able to figure out how things work and fail to set their virtual LAN properly. Which is what happened at first and it took me way too long to even attempt pinging other machine.

  1. Download ZeroTier application to both machines
  2. Create a new network in that plainly looking dashboard
  3. Make sure that both machines are connected to that network
  4. Make sure you see both machines in the network members list
  5. Check the auth box next to the members
  6. Try to ping (if you know how) the Managed IPs of the members
  7. Now use JOIN LAN GAME option in Stardew Valley and enter the IP of the Host
  8. Host should see a notification (good sign!) and accept a new client
  9. Check your farm!

Game is a total blast and I hope this solution works out for you!

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