Vortex offers curators the ability to ship small changes to existing mods through binary patches. This allows for simple file changes and optimisations to be preserved as part of the exported collection. The binary patches generated on export will be applied to the mod for a user downloading the collection during the install process.
Binary patching is an exciting and powerful feature, but it's not suitable for all use cases and should be used only when it is absolutely necessary. Excessive use of the binary patch feature will dramatically slow down both the export of new revisions for the curator and the installation process for the user.
Binary patching should be used in cases such as:
Once enabled for a specific mod, a binary patch will be created when you export your collection to the website. Vortex achieves this by taking a snapshot of the files in the mod staging folder and the files included in the original download. It then compares the differences and for any matching files that have changed, a patch is created including only the edited portions of the file.
When the user obtains the mod as part of the Collection installatioon process, Vortex then takes another snapshot of the downloaded mod file and applies the patches to the files that were edited in the curator's setup. This process can take a little longer than a regular installation depending on the number of files that have been patched.
There are several notable limitations for binary patching that the curator should be aware of when using this feature.
In order to prevent abuse of this feature, there is a limit to how large the patch can be. If you receive an error related to patch size, you should contact the original creator of the asset(s) and obtain permission to bundle them with your collection. You will need to then move this file to a separate mod in Vortex and bundle it.
To create a binary patch, the mod in the staging folder and the archive in the downloads folder must both be present. Without both of these Vortex cannot compare the files correctly to generate a patch.
This feature only works for files that were present inside the archive when it was downloaded. If a mod creates new files (for example, some Stardew Valley mods create config.json files at runtime), these will not be exported and should be moved to a separate mod entry where they can be bundled.
When exporting a binary patch, the version selection must be set to "Exact only", this is because the patch can only be applied to the exact same file that the curator originally downloaded. If the user where to be given a different file, the patching process will most likely fail.
If the mod is not from Nexus Mods then it may cause problems for the user if the file has been deleted or changed so that it not longer matches the file that the curator had downloaded. It is not possible to reliably use the binary patch option unless you can be certain the external website will allow users to always download the exact same file (see: Exact version required).
Setting the install option to "Replicate" can help with badly packaged mods, however, this option has limited compatibility with binary patches. If you have moved a file from the default installation location or renamed it, Vortex will be unable to automatically find the corresponding file in the mod archive and cannot create a patch.
If the "Replicate" option has simply been used to delete excess files, it is still possible to create a binary patch.
If the mod contains an installer (such as a FOMOD) and the curator hasn't selected "Same Installer Options" (default) it may be possible the user to pick options that result in different files from those the curator had installed. In these cases, the patches may fail to apply.
Please see Patch size limit above.
This usually happens because the mod archive the curator has directed you to download is not exactly the same as the one they had downloaded. You should report this as an issue to the curator of the collection. For possible reasons why this happens see What are the limitations?