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What's new in Vortex 1.3?

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Vortex 1.3.0 has arrived! Over the last few weeks, we've introduced new features, improved existing functionality and squashed a whole load of pesky bugs. The Vortex team have been eagerly working through over 2,500 of your feedback reports to bring you the most polished modding experience yet. Here are the highlights of what's new in the latest release of Vortex. 




Vortex UI/UX update

It won't be obvious to the naked eye, but Vortex is undergoing a significant transformation under the hood. The team are hard at work decoupling the "front-end" elements of Vortex - that is, the parts the users interact with - from the more technical "back-end" components. This project will allow our front-end team to take over the implementation of the user interface and build on community feedback submitted specifically related to the flow and usability of the app. 

When Vortex was initially created we didn't have a dedicated front-end team and the design itself was passed between several different graphic artists before the final look was completed. Now that Vortex has been going strong for 2 years we feel it's time to give it a fresh coat of paint and use this opportunity to rethink parts of the app which may not be the prettiest or most intuitive to use. This change isn't just cosmetic though, as it will also enable our team to play to their strengths. Tannin and Nagev can focus on adding awesome new features and the front-end team will be tasked with presenting those features in an appealing and intuitive way. In the long run, this will enable us to be more efficient with our development time and even more responsive to your feedback. 

While it's still very early days, we'll be asking you guys - our community - for feedback to help drive the direction of the new design. To this end, we will be running a series of surveys focused on different parts of the UI to gather opinions of how you rate the current design and what you'd like to see it look like in future. These surveys will be available through Vortex itself via a notification when the app starts or from a banner on the website (which you may have already seen). Participation is optional, but we'd really appreciate it if you could take a few minutes to share your feedback.




Updates for modders

Microsoft Flight Simulator support

Vortex can now take the hassle out of adding new liveries, scenery and other mods into Microsoft Flight Simulator by automating a lot of the more fiddly aspects of getting things working properly including:

  • Automated merging of configuration files for aircraft to ensure all your liveries are available to select. 
  • Automated merging of localisations to avoid any potential collisions with newly added in-game text. 
  • Control the order of tweaks and edits which may overwrite each other by using the Load Order tab.



We'll be continuing to work on this extension based on user feedback and the developments related to the FS2020 SDK, so please let us know what you think.


More New Games and Extensions!

Vortex supports so many games now I'm starting to lose count. Along with FS2020, we've added official support for A Total War Saga: TROYNehrim: At Fate's Edge and Conan Exiles. On top of that, the awesome developers in the community have added support for Trials of Mana, Command & Conquer Remastered, Borderlands 2, Soul Calibur VI, Farming Simulator 19, Battle Brothers, Control and an improved version of the Greedfall support. 



There have also been significant improvements to the Witcher 3, SubnauticaThe Sims 4, BeatSaber, Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order and Final Fantasy XII extensions. 

Last but not least, agc93 has released a useful new extension called "Vortex Showcase" which will allow you to export your mod list in Markdown, JSON or BBCode. It's even set up to automatically put the mods into a spoiler so you don't end up with an enormous post when sharing your list in the comments section of a mod or on the forums. Super handy!


Blade & Sorcery Load Order

As we teased in our last update, Vortex can now set the load order of mods for Blade & Sorcery. We'd like to say a big thank you to the Blade & Sorcery team for providing the information we needed to make this possible. Oh, and we've updated the game image used both on the site and in Vortex to use the swanky new artwork released with U8. 



Conflicting File Previews

When trying to decide which of two files you want to use while resolving conflicts, it's sometimes hard to know what the differences are by file name alone. Vortex will now offer the ability to preview the files by opening one or both of the files in your preferred program. Like everything else in Vortex, this feature is fully extensible and community developers will be able to add their own special handling of certain files.




Jump back into modding faster by opening Vortex on startup

You can now set Vortex to run automatically when you boot up your PC, saving valuable time that could be spent modding your game. There is also an optional toggle to choose if you'd prefer Vortex to start normally or minimised to your notification area. As part of this change, we've improved the behaviour when you try and open Vortex from the icon but it's already minimised to the tray, so it should pop back into focus much easier than before.



Select folders in the full game scan

While you've always been able to tell Vortex which folders to check for new games during a full scan, it was tucked away in the settings menu. With this update, you can now view and change the search paths before the scan is run. No more wondering why the games on your other hard drive aren't showing up!




That's not all…

If I were to go through every little change we've made this news post would be really, really long. So here's a quick summary of other noteworthy bug fixes in the latest versions of Vortex:

  • Tools stay in order - In older versions of Vortex, the tools on your dashboard could appear in a different order each time you started the app. We're now saving the time you added each tool and displaying them oldest to newest. 
  • Safer Staging Folders - A couple of the safety checks designed to stop you from putting your staging folders in potentially dangerous locations weren't working quite right so we went ahead and fixed those. 
  • Default avatars - If you haven't set an avatar for your account yet, Vortex shows a placeholder. However, the link to that image was moved by an update to the website (whoops!) and has now been corrected so you won't see the ugly "broken image" icon anymore.
  • Sort by enable time - We've added an extra column to the mods table so you can now sort your mods by the time you last enabled them.  

If you're interested in the full run-down of what's new in Vortex. You can read the unabridged version on GitHub or in the changelog dashlet on the Vortex dashboard. 


Updates for developers

Declare feature support for your game extension

For certain games, it's important to be able to declare if it won't work with a particular feature of Vortex. In 1.3.0 we've added a new option property when you register your game 'compatible' which you can use to include keys marking different features as supported or unsupported through a boolean. Right now we have these checks in place for Symlink Deployment and Null Deployment, but this list will expand over time. If you have questions about specific features, please post in the Vortex Development Forum or join our Discord server

Example (Conan Exiles) 


Add new Vortex API functions

In older versions of Vortex, you would need to rely on emitting and catching events to share functionality between extensions. Now, you can register functions directly to the context object with context.registerAPI(). Then call them from anywhere with context.ext.yourFunction(). 
Example (Nexus Mods Integration)


Intelligent file previews

As mentioned earlier in the article, you can now teach Vortex to handle specific files when users are previewing conflicts. This would allow you to open specific applications or potentially load the previews natively inside Vortex. This can be achieved with the new context.registerPreview() function. 
Documentation | Example



I'd like to say a huge thank you to the 700,000+ of you who are using Vortex, sending us constructive feedback and creating extensions. Without you, we couldn't continue to improve and evolve Vortex.

64 comments

  1. Viper1959
    Viper1959
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    Vortex is a decent general purpose mod manager to use if your game doesn't have a dedicated mod manager available. Dedicated managers are optimized for a given game and usually perform better, i.e. MO2 for Fall Out / Skyrim.

    For example, just did a 75 mod set up of Witcher 3 in Vortex that would continually crashed or wouldn't start; whereas Witcher 3 Mod Manager installed it on the first pass without any problems. The very fact Vortex is designed to handle a multiple games is its biggest weakness when dealing with any specific game. Generalization leads to mediocrity of performance and problems with more complex modding situations.
    1. Tannin42
      Tannin42
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      Your argument of "Generalization leads to mediocrity" is the same argument as "a general purpose game engine like the Unreal Engine is by design going to perform worse than one designed for the game specifically". While that may be true in theory - assuming devs have infinite time - in practice you save so much time using a framework, time you can then put into functionality that is actually unique to your game, that the result is bound to be better using something that's already tried and tested.

      Vortex is built from the ground up to be a framework supporting arbitrary games through extensions. Unlike NMM for example, which started life as obmm, a mod manager designed specifically for one game, and then got extended to kind of support some other games, Vortex was designed from day one to be game agnostic.
      I would argue it has the potential to be the best mod manager for every game it supports.
      The limiting factor isn't Vortex being a generic mod manager, it's the amount of development time that can be invested into any particular game. We're two devs trying to support over 80 (officially supported) games plus the core application. Most of the games we have very limited hands-on experience modding ourselves.
      Obviously someone who mods the game daily would have a better understanding of what that modding community for that specific game needs and what their problems are and implement it in their game-specific mod manager. But that same person could even more easily improve the vortex support for that game and take advantage of the ever-improving core functionality that already exists.

      File Preview for example works with any games where files may conflict. We only had to implement it once to have it work for ~100 games and any future game added to Vortex - instead of 100 game-specific managers having to develop it 100 times each individually. Or - much more likely - not implement it because they don't have the time.
  2. Cheyron
    Cheyron
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    Hey I was wondering if for Bannerlord when you start the game through Vortex if it could actually run the game using Steam if the person has the steam version installed. People who use controller configurations through Steam need Steam to launch Bannerlord in order for the controller to work. Currently when Vortex launches Bannerlord, Steam does not recognize that the game is running, so your controller configuration does not get enabled. Can this be fixed? Thanks.
    1. Pickysaurus
      Pickysaurus
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      You can send this as feedback through Vortex itself to inform the developers directly (top-right menu). However, I believe due to the way the Bannerlord Load Order is generated this might not be possible.
    2. Cheyron
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      ah right, will do that now, thanks! yeah i figure you start the exe with the parameters to load mods... but perhaps you can have the official launcher start via steam. Then it would make controller support work. But yeah I will add that to the request.

      edit: just posted the feedback via app
    3. Pickysaurus
      Pickysaurus
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      You can add the official launcher to the Vortex dashboard pretty easily, but it will mean that mods aren't loaded in the order you sent in Vortex.
    4. Cheyron
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      yeah it is already added by default I believe. But starting even the launcher through vortex will not start the game via steam and so causes the same problem. Steam does not recognize the launcher was started either. It's not a huge issue since you just have to start via steam. I use a controller so it kinda prevents me from using vortex to start the game.
  3. yfh19961130
    yfh19961130
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    My Win10 system crashed, so I reinstall Win10, and all my vortex USER DATA lost.
    All mods are files, all deployment are links and database, so the INSTANCE ID is not necessary for MOD MANAGEMENT.
    All right, it's open source, but also a commercial service, not a pure MOD MANAGER like Mod Organizer.

    **__vortex_staging_folder**
    ```text
    {"instance":"4479673b-a6b7-46ff-8669-494505c1b938","game":"root-of-skyrimse"}
    ```
    **vortex.deployment.msgpack**
    ```text
    ...$4479673b-a6b7-46ff-8669-494505c1b938...
    ```
    1. Pickysaurus
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      I'm not really sure I understand what you're talking about, but if you'd like to expand on your feedback or need additional help please make a post in our support forums - make sure to include as much detail as possible.
    2. Captnmoregun
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      My issue quite a long time ago was very similar. Vortex even somehow tied the issue into a profile (that I never enabled) when I set everything back up. Crashed so bad I completely stopped playing and gave up. Eventually, I came back wanting to Mod my game again but went to manually installing mods or sticking with the garbage on Bethesda's site to get Mods (I know), but guess what ZERO crashes! It led me to cancel my Nexus sub also and no that's not Nexus's fault, but when they advertise something that crashes my game to utter loss well. I am interested in coming back if a lot of issues may have been resolved. I want to get back to some good Mods I miss. Are you the designers going to stay on top of it this time? Dont give me the support forum, garbage I have no information it was longer than I keep track of to give a darn. I just want assurance the team is their to help with issues and stay on top of any bugs or issues?
    3. Pickysaurus
      Pickysaurus
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      I'm afraid Vortex can't possibly be the direct cause of your game crashing. It's more likely there was something wrong in your modding setup. My question is, did you at any point ask for support? You say yourself it was a long time ago so there may now be a feature in Vortex that will help you understand what went wrong. We've been actively developing the app for over 2 years but if you don't report the issues we don't always know about them to offer a solution.
    4. yfh19961130
      yfh19961130
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      In my opinion.

      1. PORTABLE mode means all are files and all are INDEPENDENT.

      Mod Manager supports PORTABLE mode, but Vortex and NMM NOT.
      Maybe that is because users logined are not important for Mod Manager.
      Mod Manager looks at FEATURES, CONVENIENT, INDEPENDENCE.
      Maybe the most important thing for Vortex and NMM is SERVICE.

      2. In actually, a mod is a folder contains some files.

      So if some people use HARDLINK to deploy mods, use Vortex or NMM, they HAVE NO CHOICE TO RENAME A MOD CONTAINER (a folder) for EXPLICITY.
      Maybe some features, such as ""Update a mod", DEPEND ON the CONTAINER NAME of a mod.

      ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
      So In my opinion, INDEPENDENCE and EXPLICITY are better for SOFTWARE ENGEERING, and better for USERS.

      I pray that Vortex supports PORTABLE mode, just like pray for a "difficult" aspiration.
      Alas, I am a strange user, en, I write no thing. I am a guest.
      Thanks for all those developers of MO, NMM, Vortex.
  4. GamerPoets
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    The conflict preview is huge. It's one of 2 features that has kept me with MO2 for Fallout/TES games. For someone who creates guides it's become a necessity. 1 more to go = )
    1. Pickysaurus
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      MO2 doesn't have conflict preview, unless I'm mistaken? I'm curious now, what's the last thing on your list?
    2. GamerPoets
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      They've had it for a while but just with .dds as far as previews go (normal maps as well and perhaps other texture files). Can see the textures in MO2. I haven't kept up with latest releases so I don't know if there are new features that include other file previews. Being able to quickly scan for asset conflicts so I can go in game and test out what ones I prefer was a big one for me.. Though being able to open meshes on the fly in my app of choice is pretty awesome (vortex). I can say my eyes lit up quite a bit when I read this article = )

      Last thing on my list... I think load order rules are a cool thing. I prefer other methods of moving my plugins around. Not enough free time to adapt to other methods yet = )

      EDIT: I just checked it. MO2 let's me open the NIF files from the app as well to compare. Never knew it lol = ) Still looking forward to the future of Vortex.
  5. zhoulia
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    It sometimes does not load mods even when "launched" and several times wrecked my mod build. And for some reason removing the files made it annoyingly hard. It sadly is not easy for me to learn and for a while I did manual installing. That being said Nexus Mod manager is one serious dumpster fire at times. And the rest of the options require me to watch complicated tutorials. I just wanna mod. I do think Vortex needs more work. Please do not comment "it works for me" great, but it did not for me.
    1. BigBizkit
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      Sorry to hear Vortex wasn't to your liking. Have you taken the survey? Your feedback will be important when it comes to redesigning various aspects of Vortex to make it more user friendly.
  6. MyCompleX
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    Really nice update. I don't know why there is so much hate on Vortex, for me was a game changer. I use to run mods with NMM and MO but Vortex was the one I used the most so I keep using it. I like the directions you guys are taking with it and I hope to see more good features in the future.

    Also, thanks for the survey so we can participate in the upcoming release and hopefully see the changes we requested.

    Have a nice day.
  7. rdavidson98
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    vortex is the single most horrible mod manager i have ever used. It stopped me even wanting to play with mods it is that bad. Total garbage, absolutely recommend looking elsewhere for a mod manager and avoid this steaming dumpster fire at all costs.
    1. Pickysaurus
      Pickysaurus
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      Sorry to hear that.

      If you have some actual constructive feedback (i.e. this part of the app could be improved by doing x) I'd love to hear it. What you've posted here tells me nothing about the problem you had. Quite often it's a misunderstanding that can easily be cleared up if you post in the support forum.

      I'm going to lock this comment chain, but the right place for constructive feedback is here.
  8. SupremeJustice63
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    So we can install the update now or is it not finished?
    1. Pickysaurus
      Pickysaurus
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      1.3.8 is now available. If you already have Vortex installed it should update next time you open it :)
    2. SupremeJustice63
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      i installed it and it looks better.
  9. Loveblanket
    Loveblanket
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    I'm having an issue with the update. I can't read a lot of the text on parts of the dashboard screen. For example on the right is the Tab named "Latest Extensions". Under the line " Adds support for Team Comtress 2 to Vortex" there is a line of text that's bright white on a light grey background and I can't read it without my face an inch from my screen. It might be because I'm partially colorblind, but I simply can't read it and it's popped up elsewhere in Vortex like that. It's pretty unusable for me. I don't know if that's a technical issue, or if I can change it, but it's really annoying.
    1. Tannin42
      Tannin42
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      Please try going to settings->themes and for a first measure, just select the "contrast" theme which - as the name implies - gives you a much higher contrast between text and background, although it's not specifically for colorblindness.

      Next you could clone the theme to make your own adjustments, i.e. you could set colors that you are more comfortable telling apart or increase the font size.
    2. Loveblanket
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      I did that and the looks a little easier to read when it's larger, but it's still a strain because of the odd colors. Is there a way to change that greyish-blueish background in those text boxes specifically? I've tried changing each listed color to a darker one, but none of them changed that text background color on those particular bars. It's the bar with the install button for extensions at the right end and some notifications also have that same match. Thanks for the help btw and sorry, this might be a colorblind issue and I know that can be a pain in the ass for a lot of people who don't have it.
    3. Tannin42
      Tannin42
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      You're right, that color is not directly editable through a color picker, you can still fix it if you're happy to do some edits with a text editor:

      After you've cloned a theme, let's say you called it "foobar" you can find the directory c:\users\<username>\appdata\roaming\vortex\themes\foobar
      In there is a file "variables.scss" which you can open in any text editor.
      Now at the bottom you should find a block that looks like this:

      $dark-theme: true;
      $gray-lighter: #2A2C2B;
      $gray-light: #4C4C4C;
      $gray: #A9A9A9;
      $gray-dark: #DDDDDD;
      $gray-darker: #DEE2E6;

      Copy these lines to clipboard, create a new file called "details.scss" and paste the lines there. If you edit directly in variables.scss your changes will get overridden as soon as you change the theme in the ui, edit details.scss instead!

      If you know hex color codes you will notice these names are lies, "gray-lighter" is actually a fairly dark gray and vice versa, this is because that is a dark-mode theme ($dark-theme: true;) so the grays are inverted.
      Anyway, the box you're looking at has the background color "gray-lighter" which is #2A2C2B which is approximately 15% gray (so if you imagine a scale from black to white, it's a gray 15% above black and 85% below white)
      You can go to a page like http://hexpicker.com/ - find a color you're comfortable with, put it into that file replacing the existing color code (please make you don't remove the # in front of the code)
      Generally you probably want to make the dark grays (called "gray-lighter" and "gray-light" in dark themes) more dark and the bright grays brighter to ramp up the contrast.
      You can of course also adjust the other colors in this variables.scss as well by copying them to details.scss and editing them there.
      Save the file and click the little reload button in the top right of the Settings->Themes screen.

      If you end up making a theme that is great for people with your particular form of color blindness it would be cool if you could share it on https://www.nexusmods.com/site
    4. Loveblanket
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      Thanks for your help. I'll do that over the weekend and post it when I'm done. I appreciate you taking the time to get me the steps.
  10. Razor204
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    Hey there, new to the whole modding scene, and I've been messing with borderlands 2 a good bit, really fun to revamp the game and such. I tried to change over to Vortex for my mod management needs, but the only issue I've encountered is I can't seem to create a tool to run BLCMM (Borderlands Community Mod Manager) from the Vortex dashboard. In all honesty, it probably won't be that annoying to open it normally, but I'd love if anybody could help me out a bit. It's a java executable and I've set the target to java and the commandline to -jar and then the path to BLCMM, and yet it just says "Running..." and then nothing ends up happening. Loving how Vortex looks so far nonetheless

    (Oh, and apparently I can't launch it because Epic Games requires it to be launched from their client. If there's a way around this that'd be nice.)