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: TROY, Nehrim: 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, Subnautica, The 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.
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.