Introduction

vortex-sfm is a Vortex extension that adds support for Source Filmmaker. This allows for managing (non-Workshop) mods and assets using the Vortex mod manager.

This simplifies installing SFM “mods” from external sources (SFMLab, other users, forums, DA etc) by automatically installing any mod from an archive file. It also means you can quickly and easily enable/disable or uninstall mods without affecting your other installed mods, all from Vortex’s convenient UI.

If you already use Vortex for games, this extension will not interfere with them and SFM will simply be available as a discovered game you can manage.

Getting Started

Getting started with vortex-sfm is pretty easy: install the extension, relaunch Vortex then install mods from any archive file.

Make sure to read the info below on the different versions of `vortex-sfm` available as the behaviour is quite different!

Vortex will still be responsible for the actual installation and management of mods so you’ll be able to manage your SFM mods just like any other Vortex-supported game.

Versions

Before you begin, you should choose the version of vortex-sfm you prefer. The difference lies primarily in how mods are deployed on disk and how SFM sees those mods.

In short, the regular mod variant will deploy all your installed mods to a single vortex folder, so SFM will see them as one mod with a lot of assets. Vortex itself will still be able to manage mods independently, but SFM will not be aware of that (similar to Workshop mod content).

Conversely, the Alternate mod variant will deploy every mod you install separately as its own mod. SFM will then see each mod you install as a separate mod (named after the archive file) so you can browse your installed assets by the mod they came from.

If you're unsure, we generally recommend using the regular variant for most use cases. The Alternate mod variant is most helpful for users with very large numbers of installed mods or who need to locate assets by the mod they come from.
If you rely on hotfixes or update packages, these will *only* work with the regular variant of the mod. The Alternate mode treats every installed archive as a separate mod and will not be able to install "over" other mod installations.
Feature Normal Alternate
Hotfixes
Full Updates
Partial Updates
Per-mod Filtering

Installation

Installing vortex-sfm is a simple process, but make sure to follow the instructions closely to prevent any issues with the extension later on.

Before we begin, make sure you have already installed both Vortex and SFM.

You can get the extension files from either Nexus Mods or GitHub.

Download

No matter how you install it, you need to start with an archive of the extension files.

Nexus Mods

To download the extension files, click the Manual Download on the Mod page on Nexus Mods to download the archive.

GitHub

Download the latest files from the GitHub Releases page. These are rebuilt on each commit and may not be as stable as those available on Nexus Mods.

Install Extension

Automatic Install

If you have Advanced mode enabled in Vortex, you can install the extension directly from within Vortex itself.

Advanced mode can be enabled in the Settings window, under Interface > Advanced > Enable Advanced Mode

Select Extensions from the sidebar to open the Extensions screen. Simply drag and drop the archive file into the drop zone at the bottom to install it. Finally click Enable on the extension to deploy the files, and restart Vortex.

Manual Install

If you don’t want to enable Advanced Mode for Vortex or want to install the extension yourself, you will have to install the extension files manually. Make sure you close Vortex before proceeding.

First, unpack the archive to somewhere convenient. You should have a directory named either game-sourcefilmmaker (normal extension) or game-sourcefilmmaker-alt(Alternate variant) with three files inside:

  • info.json
  • index.js
  • gameart.png

Now, copy the whole directory to your Vortex folder. You can easily open your Vortex folder by opening a new File Explorer window and entering the following in to the location bar: %APPDATA%/Vortex and then opening the plugins directory (create it if it doesn’t exist).

Once you’re done, you should have three files at the following locations:

C:\Users\<your-user-name-here>\AppData\Roaming\Vortex\plugins\game-sourcefilmmaker\info.json
C:\Users\<your-user-name-here>\AppData\Roaming\Vortex\plugins\game-sourcefilmmaker\index.js
C:\Users\<your-user-name-here>\AppData\Roaming\Vortex\plugins\game-sourcefilmmaker\gameart.png

Usage

Once you have installed the extension, reopen Vortex and SFM should appear as a game you can manage in the “Discovered” tab of the Games screen in Vortex. Click Manage to add SFM to your games list and perform the initial setup.

You’re now ready to install SFM mods with Vortex!

Installing Mods

Now that Vortex is fully set up, download any mods you want to install. Mod files should be the original mod archive files (*.rar, *.zip, *.7z etc).

Open the Mods screen from the Vortex sidebar and drag-and-drop the archive files into Vortex to add them to your list. You will then need to install them and enable them as per the usual Vortex installation process.

Once you Enable a mod, its files will be installed into SFM’s install directly automatically.

Search Paths

As with any mod installed for SFM, whether manually or using vortex-sfm, you will need to tell SFM about your new mod. Here is where the differences really start between the normal extension and the Alternate variant.

Normal Method

If you're using the normal extension, you will only have to do this process ONCE, after your first mod install.

You need to enable the search paths for vortex-sfm just like you would any other mod you have installed. Open the SFM SDK, by clicking Launch in your Steam library and selecting “Launch SDK” when prompted. In the SDK window that appears, click “Edit Search Paths for Selected Mod” and ensuring that the entry for vortex is checked. Close the SDK and relaunch SFM.

Alternate Method

If you’re using the alternate method, each mod you install will appear to be a separate mod as far as SFM is concerned. You will need to open up the SDK and enable the search paths for each mod you install after each mod install.

This can get unwieldy fast with lots of mods so see the tools section below for options to improve this process.

Support

This is just a community-backed open-source project, not an officially-supported Vortex component. As such, support is best-effort.

To report a problem or request a new feature, create a new issue on the GitHub repository and provide as much detail as possible.

Tools

Out of the box, the vortex-sfm extension will include everything you need to get going with Vortex, but the vortex-sfm project also provides a couple of additional tools you can use to make life easier.

USPU

USPU should be considered alpha quality at best and is still undergoing testing. Please report any issues you encounter when using it

The Usermod Search Path Updater (USPU) is a simple command-line tool intended to automate the process of enabling newly-installed mods search paths, in much the same way the SFM SDK does.

Downloading

You can download the latest uspu.exe from the GitHub repo. Drop the uspu.exe into your SFM install directory (the folder with the game directory).

Running

To see full details, open a command prompt in the game directory, then run uspu.exe --help.

By default, USPU runs the enable-all command which will add any detected Vortex-managed mod to the Search Paths for SFM. If you don’t want to install it to your game directory, you can also manually pass the install directory as the first argument. For example:

./uspu.exe enable-all "D:\Games\Steam\steamapps\common\SourceFilmmaker\"

Vortex tool support

Assuming you did install uspu.exe into the root game directory, Vortex should pick up that USPU has been installed and just running USPU from the Dashboard should automatically enable any Vortex-managed mods that have been installed.

FAQ

Here are some of the Frequently Asked Questions about vortex-sfm.

What’s the difference between the normal and alternate extension?

Check the info on versions above for all the details.

Why are there two versions of the mod?

Because everyone uses SFM a little bit differently, and I wanted to give people the choice of how they’d like to work with their mods. Generally speaking, the normal version should be fine for most people but this way users who want more organisation options will have them.

Why do I need Vortex for this?

Rather than reimplement all of Vortex’s functionality or introduce any number of new and exciting bugs that might break your SFM install, using Vortex lets us make the most of a reasonably reliable source of consistent and reversible mod installation tooling while tuning it to match the SFM way.

Why not just use Steam Workshop?

You should! If the mod you want is available on the Workshop, use it from there! Steam and SFM already include a lot of very reliable tooling around managing SFM mods and you should make the most of that if you can. vortex-sfm is here for mods that aren’t available on the Workshop.

I’m a mod author, how do I make mods compatible with Vortex?

They probably already are! If you want to maximise support and avoid some issues, pack your mod archive in such a way that the materials/models/maps/sound/scripts directories are at the root of the archive, and that’s basically it.

Why can’t I download mods from the Nexus?

Nexus Mods doesn’t currently support SFM, so you will not be able to download mods from the Nexus website. If the day comes when Nexus starts supporting SFM (pretty unlikely, I know) most of the Nexus/Vortex integration features (including the one-click downloads) should just work out of the box.