Nexus Mods is looking into a new mod manager and soon hopes to ship an alpha version of it. The mod manager has been in development to better the user and mod experiences, and happens to go by the name of Vortex.
If you don’t know, Nexus Mods welcomed over 1,612,142 new users to Nexus Mods in 2017, which translates into a new member joining every 20 seconds. It is said that over 601,609,165 files have been downloaded, translating into 19 new downloads every second of 2017.
Now that we are in the year 2018, the Nexus Mods team have plans on releasing an alpha-like test for a new mod manager named Vortex. According to a developer by the name of Tannin, who is behind developing Vortex, he explains the current and future plans for Vortex over on nexusmods.com.
Overall Vortex is said to be something easy for newcomers, but meaty for veterans to use according to the Darkone:
“Tannin’s remit is simple on the surface, we want a mod manager for Nexus Mods that can handle modding for as many games as possible and that can be both simple for newcomers to use while containing (or supporting) all the advanced functionality users have come to expect from mod managers for games like Skyrim and Fallout. Simple on the surface, not so simple when you get down to it!”
Below lies an explanation of the mod manager’s progress:
“I had a little play around with Tannin’s latest version yesterday and I’m really happy with how it’s looking, how it’s working, and all the exciting things we’ll be able to do with it looking into the future.”
The Darkone later explains that…
“Vortex is obviously going to be released in an alpha state and we’re only going to recommend people use it, to begin with, if they want to help us actually test the software and aren’t shy about potential bugs or issues that might come from completely changing your mod management software. During this phase, if you’re a 500+ mod load order person who has everything delicately sorted to perfection and don’t want anything messing with that then you’re likely not the right person for the initial release of Vortex unless you want to help us test getting it all ported over and working correctly in Vortex!”
The Darkone went on to say that Tannin is eagerly awaiting feedback and bug reports and will likely work hard to resolve issue as fast as possible.
It’s worth noting that the Nexus Mods team have no idea how long the above action and/or process will take, but they’re confident they’ve learned from past mistakes so that Vortex will not be in an alpha state forever.
The team noted they’ve deeply explored different projects for Nexus Mods and NMM in the past, so much so that they were mere weeks away from launching a full-fledged mod pack system before it was mothballed.
If you want to read up on the old NMM system and what went down before the mothball act, you can head on over to a Reddit post made by the Darkone about NMM and Vortex.
If you are wondering what the team has in mind so far regarding virtualization, you can read their plans via a May 10th, 2017 post below:
Robin: I think we both know the biggest questions we’ve received around Vortex have been in regards to virtualisation and how Vortex will handle and store files on people’s hard-drives. Is Vortex going to use virtualisation?
Tannin: Yes it does.
I know people have – often very strong – opinions on the topic so I ask that you please read my reasons before you go to the comments and vent.
In the initial release of Vortex, virtualisation will be implemented using links (symbolic or hard links), similar to NMM v0.6. We’ve left the door open so we can implement different approaches (i.e. the usvfs library from Mod Organizer) but at this point I don’t think there will be a “no virtualisation” option.
Robin later poses a query about using virtualization and why it’s preferred over the old method of simply extracting mod files into the game directory. Tannin’s response lies below:
Tannin: Managing mods without virtualisation is slower, takes more space on your hard-drive and has a lot of hidden complexity that makes it more error prone as well as more work to implement (this translates to “fewer features per time” for those of you who don’t care about a programmer’s pains) and harder to understand.
Robin: Is there a performance cost to using virtualisation?
Tannin: For hard-links: no, none, zero.
For symbolic links: practically none. I doubt you could measure it and I can guarantee you won’t be able to notice it.
Robin: Some users have reported and complained about their custom mod backups being twice the size they should be due to virtualisation. What’s the solution to this?
Tannin: Get better backup software. Seriously, there is no excuse for a backup solution to not handle links properly.
But as an alternative, let me again refer to the “purge”-option that un-deploys all mods. You can do that before creating the backup, then just have Vortex re-deploy afterwards. This is a safe operation and will probably take less than a minute.
Lastly, Tannin provides expected or a tentative date of how long the Vortex build will stay in alpha:
Tannin: My current plan is to have an early alpha build in the hands of a limited group of test users within a month, maybe 6 weeks.
Depending on their feedback we should expect somewhere between 1-3 months to fix bugs after which I think we can release a public alpha.
You can read more about Vortex and the Nexus Mods team plans for the year 2018 by hitting up nexusmods.com.