An update on App development

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For the last 6 months, the new App Team have been working hard on laying the foundations for our next-generation mod manager - the Nexus Mods App. There isn't anything fancy to show just yet, but we'd like to share an update with you all on the technical choices and design decisions we've made so far.

This video was originally streamed as part of C3: Community Creation Con on 2 Feb 2024, but in case you missed it (or simply weren't interested in a conference around Bethesda games) we've put it up on our YouTube channel too. 

During the 45-minute talk, our very own Tim "Halgari" Baldridge walks through the following topics:

  • Introduction to the Nexus Mods App: Why we build mod managers, software and hardware considerations and our open source philosophy.  
  • Design decisions: File deployment and archive formats.
  • New features: Change tracking, "Global Undo" and the NX Archive Format.
  • Community Involvement: Contributing and the frameworks we're providing to help.




We originally announced our plans to build a new app back in August, you can find that post here. We're also thrilled to say that Nagev has rejoined our team and will be working with Insomnious on our continued maintenance of Vortex. 

The source code of the Nexus Mods App is available on GitHub and you can check out the milestones section to see how the project is progressing and what features we're added next. 

If you like this kind of technical update or the video format and would like to see more content like it, please let us know in the comments! 

123 comments

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  1. Pickysaurus
    Pickysaurus
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    Update: There are docs for the Nexus Mods App here
  2. ousnius
    ousnius
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    The presentation provides great insight into the thoughts and technical details that went into the new app. Don't be shy to do more of this in the future.
  3. blackshark64
    blackshark64
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    Perhaps I missed this question in the article, video, or comments but will the current Collections for Vortex be converted or able to be used in some way without people having to completely remake them for the new app?
    1. neurovx
      neurovx
      • supporter
      • 1 kudos
      I'm wondering this too. And backing up games, that's a lot of space. I don't think this is going to be popular at all. In fact, I think it's going to cause the new Mod Manager to be whole Heartly rejected!
    2. halgari
      halgari
      • App Developer
      • 606 kudos
      Collections on the site, yes. For auto conversion from Vortex we're still looking into what's involved in this process, but it's not a very high priority. I'd rather make the value proposition for the app so high that people will want to redo their lists, than to tempt them with an easy conversion process.
    3. blackshark64
      blackshark64
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      As a UX professional that response makes me a bit nervous for you. Especially because if this is coming out any time soon you should already be warning in the collection areas that this is coming and not just a blog post. Imagine being a person making a giant collection only to find out you have to redo it all already. They probably wouldn't have read this so they'd be caught off guard and end up mad. Essentially I'm saying this tool will be a lot more polarizing if a conversion method gets skipped. Wish you the best of luck either way.
    4. halgari
      halgari
      • App Developer
      • 606 kudos
      I think you misunderstood what I said above. The collections on the The Nexus will work as-is in the new app, that's something we've known we will need to support from the start. But the automatic conversion of whatever someone has in Vortex to the new app (or from MO2 or NMM) is not a priority at this time. People can switch when they decide to next redo their list, and the collections on the website will continue to exist and continue to work with the new app. 
    5. blackshark64
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      That is much clearer and makes way more sense. Good to know the current collections won't be lost in the transition. Originally it seemed like you planned on having collections again but that compatibility of the currently existing ones for the new app was low priority at best.
    6. Zanderat
      Zanderat
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      For auto conversion from Vortex we're still looking into what's involved in this process, but it's not a very high priority. I'd rather make the value proposition for the app so high that people will want to redo their lists, than to tempt them with an easy conversion process.
      Wow.  This statement is stunning in its arrogance.  Damn ease of use!  User experience doesn't matter!  My brilliance does!

      This type of thinking will doom NMA.
    7. halgari
      halgari
      • App Developer
      • 606 kudos
      It literally *is* about ease of use. If I have a limited amount of resources to spend, then it’s better to spend it on ease of use for every day tasks and the day to day workflow of the users. A MO2 or Vortex conversion script is a one off tool. Some people would use it, many won’t, but anyone who does will only use it once. So wiser use of finite resources is to optimize the workflows that are used every single day, instead of those that are one off.
  4. ODAKOTA
    ODAKOTA
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    I think these technical updates are a good thing. You have the feeling of being part of how the community is developing.
  5. JamesLionheart
    JamesLionheart
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    • 5 kudos
    Thanks Nexus for being super transparent with us! I do believe this is a good development choice as the gaming world is constantly evolving, and new(sometimes radical) methods are needed to keep up with the race. 

    For those interested in the drawbacks of this (still-in-devemopment)new mod manager, it can be summarized to 2 points:

    1. Disk usage. The upcoming Nexus Mod App is using the "Immutable Modlists", that means the app will make a backup of your original game files at start(for a "factory reset/return to vanilla" kind of backup, without having to reinstall the game all over again).

    This means an extra 60-100% disk size depend on the game size. So a 100GB game will need an extra 60GB-100GB for you to use Nexus Mod App. I don't think this feature can be turned off no, as this is the base for the manager to work.


    2. This also means that computer/devices using this app need to be relatively fast if we want to use it comfortably. For the first time operation of a newly installed game, the speed of backup will take signficant more time than using regular mod manager(due to the 1st time backup process). Subsequest restore of files to the vanilla will also take more time(depends on the size of the files needed to be restored).

    So for most of us with modern fast cpu and an ssd drive, this is not a big problem. But for older device users(older intel cpu, hdd drive, etc), this will take longer to perform.


    I might be missing a few things(as I am in no way expert in modding or programming), but you can read more here.
    1. neurovx
      neurovx
      • supporter
      • 1 kudos
      "Immutable Modlists??"" 100% more disk space? Sounds like something, despite my large storage, I DON'T want!
      Failure in this endeavor is imminent. 
    2. halgari
      halgari
      • App Developer
      • 606 kudos
      These are some pretty strong assumptions that are just not true. 

      This means an extra 60-100% disk size depend on the game size. So a 100GB game will need an extra 60GB-100GB for you to use Nexus Mod App. I don't think this feature can be turned off no, as this is the base for the manager to work.

      Not necessarily, as you don't have to back up any files that are not going to be modded. We plan on making this configurable, and also look into being able to source the files from the game stores themselves (redownloading steam files, etc.). There is a tradeoff here though if you want to make your loadout resiliant against the game auto updating you may want the files backed up, if you don't you can turn the feature off. 

      This also means that computer/devices using this app need to be relatively fast if we want to use it comfortably. For the first time operation of a newly installed game, the speed of backup will take signficant more time than using regular mod manager(due to the 1st time backup process).

      Again this is a bit inflated. The data is compressed, and as mentioned above if you don't want the files backed up you can turn off that feature. We're talking about a 1 minute process on a HDD to perform the initial backup for Skyrim SE. For a SATA SSD this drops to 27 seconds, and with a NVME drive 3.6seconds. Larger games take more time, but we're still talking about single digit minutes here, and it's a one-and-done thing not something you have to deal with on a daily basis. 
  6. Shezza2022
    Shezza2022
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    This sound like a great idea and all, but I have two questions: 1) Which platform(s) is it going to be on and 2) Will we be able to download mods to our games if the app is, say, going to be on our tablets?     

    Speaking of our apps, for all of you  have an Android tablet, there's another way to play your games remotely.     I did that with Empire, and it worked like a charm. With Skyrim, not so much. I couldn't even move the horse!

    Again, I think your app is a great idea. I hope we see it soon!

    Thank you for your time. I remain,


                                                                                                Sincerely yours always,

                                                                                                 Shezza.



                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  
    1. halgari
      halgari
      • App Developer
      • 606 kudos
      I covered both of these questions in the video. But the app currently runs on Windows and Linux, and OSX support is in the works. We currently don't have plans to support IOS, Android or VR operating sytems. 
  7. chchch3
    chchch3
    • member
    • 0 kudos
    I want to make a suggestion. An API to interact with the mod-manager to change files on the fly from in-game scripts. This can enable cool stuff like seasonal texture sets (snow, autumn leaves, etc) or regional differences like the desert FNV and lush green FO3.
    1. halgari
      halgari
      • App Developer
      • 606 kudos
      We are enabling a lot of the app's functionality via a CLI interface, and plan on keeping this API up long term. I'm not sure how usable it would be for your usecase here, but it should help people who are trying to automate downloads, perform batch conversion of files, etc. 
  8. DeLaPoutana
    DeLaPoutana
    • supporter
    • 4 kudos
    RIP mo2
  9. QlH9ovVcxCwEx9S4
    QlH9ovVcxCwEx9S4
    • member
    • 6 kudos
    Any info on the plans for mod conflict resolution? I've used both Vortex and MO2 previously, and I think I'm not the only one who prefers MO2's simpler model rather than Vortex's rules (clicking on lines to change the precedence between mods in terms of load order).

    The other question I had was whether the new mod deployment model will allow us to close out the Mods App after making changes to the load order & before playing the game. That's the part I liked about Vortex - MO2 requires being kept on because of the virtual filesystem. There's nothing wrong with that - I just prefer closing other applications when I play games.

    Happy to see C#/.NET will be used here - that should result in better performance on Windows (even on slightly older machines). Thanks in advance & good luck on the project!
  10. DavyJ12
    DavyJ12
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    This was an incredibly information video, and very enjoyable. I hope you can do more like this in the future, or at the very least some dev blogs. I always enjoy hearing about the development process.
  11. MikeInWare
    MikeInWare
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    • 0 kudos
    As a father will little time to play around with modding I have really been overjoyed at the works the kind people put in. Now I can keep current with mods and things and not be punished for having kids, they are my priority now.

    I only ask that the transition to the new Nexus Mod's Ass have a simple automated way to transfer big collections installed in Vortex to the new Nexus Mod's App.
     Thank you!