Modding Subnautica with Vortex

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Subnautica is an open-world survival-adventure video game developed and published by Unknown Worlds Entertainment. It allows the player to freely explore the ocean on an alien planet, known as planet 4546B, collecting unique resources to survive.

Released: 2018

Genre: Survival

Engine: Unity

Nexus Mods

This guide is designed to help you set up Vortex to install and manage mods for Subnautica.


You must install QModManager in order to mod Subnautica.

Before we get started, this guide assumes that you have installed Subnautica and Vortex at their default locations. You will also need to be logged in to your Nexus Mods account in Vortex.

At the time of writing, this guide only applies to Subnautica on Windows.


Getting Set Up

To begin, open up Vortex and navigate to the games section. If you don’t already see Subnautica under the “Managed” tab, check the “Discovered” section. Use the “Manage” button on the game tile to add it to your managed games.


If you can’t see Subnautica, you can scan for it or define it manually.

The first time you activate support for the game, Windows may prompt you to allow Vortex to make changes to the files on your computer. Accept this prompt to continue.


Setting the deployment method (Optional)

Depending on your settings, Vortex may select "Symlink Deployment (Run as Administrator)" as the default. This is perfectly fine to use but will require you to accept a security prompt from Windows each time you deploy or change your mods.

To avoid this, you may want to go to Settings > Mods and change the deployment method to "Hardlink deployment", then click "Apply". This will require one final security prompt to save the change.

See also: Deployment Methods

Installing Mods

For Subnautica, there are several different types of mods.

Type Description
QModManager Mods These mods directly require QModManager. QModManager allows mods to directly interact with the games code.
Reshade Presets These are graphical mods which need to be installed directly to the game folder and require the Reshade application to be installed.
EXE/MSI Mods Some mods such as Nitrox (a multiplayer mod for Subnautica) use an executable (EXE) or Windows Installer (MSI) files which cannot be installed via Vortex.

To get started you'll need to visit the Nexus Mods page for Subnautica and choose a mod you'd like to download.

On the mod page, there are two buttons that will download the mod directly to Vortex.


The first, in the top right, will download the primary file for this mod immediately. If you'd rather check which file you're downloading, head to the "Files" tab of the mod page and use the "Download with manager" button on the file.


Once the file has downloaded into Vortex, click the "Install" button in the notification or navigate to the "Mods" page and click on the "Never installed" button. Once the installation is complete, the button will change to say "Disabled". Click on it again to enable to mod (or use the button in the notification).

With all mods enabled, you can start the game by pressing the "Play" button on the game art in the top left of Vortex.