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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.

46 comments

  1. rdavidson98
    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.
  2. 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...
    ```
  3. SupremeJustice63
    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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.)
  6. sweetrolls4life
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    I love the new feature to preview files, thank you so much.

    Quick question regarding the survey:
    Are we supposed to get an email confirmation?
    Because I didn't get one and I wondered if the form was even sent. My wi-fi wasn't the most reliable went I took it. Might have to do it again.
    1. BigBizkit
      BigBizkit
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      Regarding the survey, you should be receiving an email with a link in it allowing you to edit your responses - yes. Have you checked your spam mail?
    2. sweetrolls4life
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      I have. Several times actually.
      I suppose it didn't get sent then.
      Well, no big deal. I'll fill it out again and send it off.

      Edit: sent it again and no email even after almost 2h. Not a problem, though, this time I bookmarked the "Edit your answer" link.
      Just thought I'll give you a heads-up.
    3. Rhypon
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      I completed the survey yesterday and have also received no e-mail confirmation.
    4. Pickysaurus
      Pickysaurus
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      If you can't find it in your spam folder you may have mistyped your email in the form.

      In the event that you want to update your responses and didn't get the email, it's probably best to redo the survey and we'll just take your most recent version as your feedback.
    5. DarkDominion
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      No email, no spam, did not mistype
    6. sweetrolls4life
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      I didn't even "type" my email but let my phone paste it for me, so that can't be the case.

      But as I said, there's still the option of simply copying the edit-link once you finished the survey.
    7. ChaosGodstone
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      No email here either.
    8. Pickysaurus
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      I wish there was something more I could suggest, but the emails, in this case, are controlled by Google so there isn't anything we can do about them missing your inbox.
  7. llihP
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    "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"

    It's really worrying that it went through multiple people and still looks like it does now. IMO you should stop recruiting from news posts and track down designers with portfolios of work that match your requirements. PC app designers, usability experts and so on. Back in 2015/16 this was made in a couple of hours on a whim:

    https://www.phill.com.au/wp-content/themes/phill/images/gallery/nexus-nmm2.jpg

    As there was no functional spec, a lot of it may not make sense, but the design was tight, consistent and used various visual cues to make it easy to use and digest. Compared to Vortex which has been in the wild for years now, and went through multiple artists:

    https://i.imgur.com/VPTt8wk.jpg - tidied up example of what currently exists
    https://i.imgur.com/ZJuTzw5.jpg - I missed another 'outline' style which is found at the bottom of downloads
    https://i.imgur.com/ezxbrxh.jpg - red indicates wasted real estate
    https://i.imgur.com/1MSYUBl.jpg
    https://i.imgur.com/7O3ju0O.jpg
    https://i.imgur.com/ZdRys3S.jpg

    Making images takes too much time:

    - Scroll bars aren't consistent, sometimes custom, sometimes OS
    - The expand/contract animation stutters
    - No uniform margins, padding, font weights, font sizes, seems to be a free-for-all
    - Button labels are sometimes at a reasonable size, other times they are absolutely tiny (Games)
    - No delineation between grey scrollable areas and the parent containers they reside within
    - No delineation between news items
    - Instances of fonts being bold and at a very small size, very hard to read
    - Theme settings tend to make font and margin issues worse
    - The app seems responsive, yet the column headers on the Downloads section force a minimum width. In fact, if you click the settings icon, enable everything and then make the window very wide, you can't make it small again. In every section they appear in, column headers seem to be incredibly buggy.
    - Custom scrollbar is hard to select - OS scrollbars are designed at their current sizes for a reason. Most people are going to be on Windows PCs, not Macbooks with touchpad scrolling.
    - Dashboard tile sorting more often than not results in strange placements, empty spaces etc. There should be an option to simply stack them, or at least minimize them.
    - Dashboard tiles with small amounts of content take up enormous amounts of real estate because the rule states they must be as tall as their tallest neighbor. This is where minimizing/stacking them would help again.
    - Next/Prev buttons - if I can't click it, don't show it or make it look disabled. Eg: 'Next' is still visible when I've clicked all the way to the end of what is available.
    - Why can't elements on the dashboard be expanded contracted in the event that they are never used?
    - Downloads: expand / contract is buggy in appearance, dotted line is blurry and out of alignment
    - Games: This section clearly illustrates where a unified navigation area would benefit Vortex the most. You have scan on the left, scan at the bottom of the page, search near the top of the page and view options on the top left of the page. Why are these all so spread out when they would all easily fit into one section?
    - It seems odd that 'contrast' isn't the default theme, but then, it has its own visual oddities: https://i.imgur.com/uUuO4IW.png
    - Extensions: content jumps around the more you scroll, and sometimes jumps back after a few seconds. Column header backgrounds often bleed into the content below. Column header elements change width for some reason when expanding/contracting.
    - Tab fades fade out nicely but then BAM appear immediately, no point in using fades if it only works in one direction
    - White on green buttons would not pass a contrast test
    - Info/help messages have no left padding, the 'X' is out of alignment, there's no bottom margin in some cases and so it runs into other content
    - Dashboard tiles don't calculate their widths/heights/positions when visiting from another section, meaning they won't be in the correct place if you resized the app and then went back to that tab. Meaning they won't fix themselves unless you resize the app again.

    This is before the app is even used to manage mods

    If you hire a UI/UX designer who knows what they're doing, they'll be able to create something that works. At that point it would be worth asking people what they think could be improved based on the way they use it. Asking users what they think about the current app (based on a design that is already quite odd) is going to build upon bad ideas.
    1. ChaosGodstone
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      This has reminded me of a few .. niggles, about Vortex, which I had started forgetting due to prevalence of being.
      You could, if you haven't already, put in a development suggestion on their Git.
      https://github.com/Nexus-Mods/Vortex/issues
      .. or download the source and make a fork.
      https://github.com/Nexus-Mods/Vortex

      Just a thought
    2. DarkDominion
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      Did you guys do the survey ?
      I guess the Vortex team is eager to find out about your ideas so fill it in !
    3. ChaosGodstone
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      I have, yes. I just forgot, in trying to think, about some things.
  8. IProZacI
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    I didn't know I needed the conflict preview 'til I saw it. Great work guys.
    1. BigBizkit
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      Thanks! It's great to hear so many people liking the preview feature
  9. Psykomanteum
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    That files preview is something incredibly impressive. Cheers on the update.
  10. Schriefer29
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    Does mass effect andromeda work with it now??
    1. Pickysaurus
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      Not currently, if there's someone in the community who wants to give it a try we'll do what we can to assist them though.