: Alright, it’s eight o’clock and we’re English. So punctuality is important to us. So let’s get this show on the road. Paul: They’re on mute. Over to you? Robin
: So the point of this AMA, ask me anything, is literally just to give you a forum to talk to me and I will try to answer your questions as best I can. Or as many of them as I can. It’s kind of just like a tester; we’re testing out various different features on the site. Trying to engage more with the community. Trying to get more stuff on the site that isn’t just automatically put on the site by people adding stuff themselves ala Facebook. And, so we’re just using me pretty much as a guinea pig for potential future interviews that we could do with other people within the community.
So, with that said let’s get on to some questions.
Who wants to give me some questions? Paul: Do you want to go with some… So the first one was from Thalassa. And she said with the games like Skyrim special edition and with the massive mods such as Enderal, do you see the new Nexus putting their own pages on that? So sections specifically for Enderal and sections specifically for Skyrim, the special edition. Robin
: So, it’s a complicated matter. Same for Enderal as it is for the Skyrim, enhanced edition, or whatever they’re flipping calling it, that a lot of the mods for the current Skyrim mods on the site - 40,000 of them or so - are gonna work with the extended edition just like they do with Enderal, and some of them aren’t. And so it’s one of those things where I think we’re gonna have to play it by ear. And naturally Bethesda aren’t going to have to give us a heads up because of the unique way in which Bethesda handle their public relations which is, fucking shit. And…so…right now, ideally we’d like to just have it as a separate category. But if it turns out that more than ten percent of mods are not compatible – is that the right way around? I want ninety percent of the mods from original Skyrim to be compatible – so do the math. If it turns out that a lot of the mods basically aren’t compatible with the extended edition, then we will have to make a separate game for it. Having said that, it’s just playing it by ear, and we’ll just keep you posted the closer we get. But I think basically we know as much as you do on that one, because Bethesda…and yeah, we’ll keep you posted. Not that Thalassa is listening.
Paul: It’s alright, I’ll type it all out. The next one was, is Nexus Mod Manager going to get a new UI? Robin
: Yes, it is! And hopefully sooner rather than later.
We’ve got a lot going on at the moment. Both as you know with the site redesign, and with Nexus mod managers as well, we’re…this is kind of like a transition year for us. Up until now a lot of our time – pretty much all our time was spent just trying to keep the sites running. Making it financially stable as well as physically stable. Getting the right server architecture in, content distribution network, the database cluster, and we finally got to the point now where we’re not being woken up at 3am at least fifty percent of the nights that we go to sleep. And that’s really awesome, but unfortunately what’s happened is that we have a lot of technical debt to pick up on. So up until now we’ve been jamming things in, trying to fix bugs willy nilly without really having any sort of order to it. And now we need to go back and reorganise things and the same thing’s happening with the Nexus Mod Manager.
So we definitely are going to be giving the Nexus Mod Manager a face lift. We’ve got quite a lot of big news happening in that regard actually with Nexus Mod Manager, we’re just getting our bearings and we’re gonna, we’re gonna put up a big news post relatively soon. As soon as we got something to show for it.
Next. Paul: Now you can pick some of the questions out as well that people are asking. How’s England?
: (deep sigh) Cloudy, wet, with the occasional bit of sunshine. We don’t have any hurricanes. We don’t have any big insects. We don’t have any big spiders. So all in all I’d say that we’re quid’s in. Which means we’re on a positive.Paul: Favourite lunch? Robin
: Oh, dear Lord! Tuna Nicoise! Paul: Oh crikey days... Okay, where do you see the business in five years and what are your plans for expansion in five years? Thanks, Ben.
authors note: Ben is a friend of ours from Computer Gaming events, LANS, Board Gaming etc.
: Thank you, Benjamin. Five years. That’s a long time.
A lot of our focus at the moment is trying to diversify away from just Bethesda games. Not least because it makes sense for the continuation of the sites if we don’t put all our eggs in one basket, but also because – I think it’s clear to everyone – that Bethesda are an interesting company who maybe put their own interest above their own community which doesn’t always align with how I feel a business should be.
So, we would very much like to push out into other areas. And I don’t just mean modding wise, but gaming related in lots of different areas. I’ve got plenty of plans. A few of them are in motion. A few of them aren’t, but none of them are really ready to talk about yet. So, yeah we’re aware of the situation we’re in. And plans are being made to at least try to alleviate some of the problems we have with being so Bethesda focused. Which isn’t really a focus that we have so much as the focus that’s been given to us by the community because - you know - Bethesda modding is extremely popular, So, yeah, we’re diversifying basically. Paul: Did you ever expect Nexus to get such a large community? Not just mod makers but all the users and the frequent forums and discord? Robin
: No. No, not a chance – I mean, I started these sites when I was fourteen-years-old and it was literally a community website for Morrowind. We had a lot of information about the game before the game was released that was just available on the site. We had a cool little feature which was called the Seer counsel which was various “experts” within the community who were experts in a particular area whether it was stealth, or modding or magicians or anything like that who would answer questions on the forums if people needed questions answered. So it’s a lot more of a – just like a general forum and information site. And it was never expected to get this big. It used a YAB forum (yet another bulletin forum) and that was 2001 and it’s come a long way. And this, every year just requires learning new things to keep up with the massively changing landscape of the sites. So I definitely didn’t expect any of this, but it’s always a nice surprise.
Paul: Have you thought about running any contests with prizes to draw in new users via social media? Robin
: I have thought of that and I’ve always thought of going one further and seeing if we could monetise modding a little bit from our own funds. Like, say, increase the cost of premium membership by 12.5 percent and and we’ll put in 12.5 percent as well and give 25 percent of whatever people pay for premium each month towards mod authors. The inherent problem is that such a dodgy system – I say dodgy, it’s not dodgy, but it could be seen as dodgy- would attract the attention of Bethesda in a negative way. And I think the same would happen if we had a monthly competition, or bi-monthly, or biannual competition which had substantial prizes in it. So it is something I would be interested in doing, but we need to talk to Bethesda about it, and I hate to talk to Bethesda about these things because every time you ask them a question you’re opening up Pandora’s box; you don’t know what answer you’re going to get. So I have, but it’s a touchy subject.
Paul: Since it’s an AMA – Have you ever tried hummus? Robin
: (laughs) Yep, I like red pepper hummus the best! With pita bread.
Paul: Okay, what is the financial state of Nexus? How are funds spent on upgrades, software updates, and site development? Is Nexus financially viable even if something unexpected were to happen to you? Robin
: Ooh, that's a couple of questions. Financially stable? Absolutely. Yes, it is. It's taken awhile to get there, but thankfully with sites of this size now... I mean, what are we now? Let's double check. Alexa, which you have to take with a pinch of salt, says we’re the 818th most popular site on the internet. Which has a lot of reputation to go with it. So it enables me to get some good advertising deals now which even up to two years ago I couldn't get. So it's not a massive deal. As far as finances go, the way that the site, the company - I call it the company because it's run as a company - is financed is that a certain amount has to be reached before we’ll hire new staff. And that amount is what we’d need to be able to pay staff for an entire year before we even begin hiring them. Which is important to me because I'm not going to hire someone on who I can’t afford to hire for at least a year.
As far as hardware goes, we’ve got a very good deal going on with the people over at Krystal Hosting, Krystal.co.uk. That's a company that I help set up when I was 15, 16. I subsequently sold my shares, but they’re still friends and Tom, who’s MrMason on the Nexus, is our head programmer now who came from Krystal. They know what they're doing. They're very good at giving me mates rates. So it's helped out alot with running the sites. There was an extra question there as well. I can't remember what was the third part of that...
Paul: How much…how are funds spent on upgrades…It just says how are funds spent on upgrades, software updates and site development? Is Nexus viable if something were to happen to you? Robin
: So the funds... it's kind of my job… one of my jobs is to try and notice where things are lacking on the sites and try and plug those holes. Over the past year we’ve hired three new staff. One of them was SirSalami. Who’s the community manager. That was really needed because up until then I was doing all of the community management and that wasn't much. And we really needed someone dedicated to that. And it's become clear in the year that he's been working that we actually need a second person for this job. So what we really need is an internal community manager. Someone who is good at handling the people we’ve already got on the site and an external community manager. Somebody who can be an ambassador for our site on the internet and the wider web. So that's the next hiring that we're going to be doing.
The other two we got was Tom who I mentioned from Krystal. He’s head of programming on the website. The inherent problem we had was that…I stopped programming in 2011 when we first hired our first employee, which is AxelDominator. Since then he’s been smashing it out with code that reads like French to me and I don’t speak French. So I haven’t been touching the code. So we’ve now got three programmers on the website. We’ve got three programmers on the Nexus Mod Manager side. And people are coming to me asking me quite technical questions and wanting answers which – while I could give – requires me to do extensive research just to be able to keep up to point. And it made a lot more sense to hire on someone who could answer those questions in my stead very well. So that’s what we’ve done on the web development side. So basically, the way the funds are spent - to get back to the original point - is they’re spent as and when needed. And as I said the external community manager role is a role that we’re currently saving up for and as soon as we’ve got enough money for it we’ll, we’ll get them, and we’ll do it.
I think that answers everything.
Paul: There’s a question by Manga who I’m waiting for him to reiterate. But going on from that, what effect do YouTubers have on Nexus Mods? Robin
: Let me log into our stats and I’ll let you know. Basically, not much. So I’ll just log in to the analytics and if you give me two minutes I’ll be able to answer that question accurately. Paul: I’m guessing with things like that as well, does Gopher and YouTubers who promote the Nexus bring some of their subscribers? Do you see a lot of things from that? Robin
: Right. So according to our analytics - YouTube - links from YouTube, so let’s just go with links from YouTube to begin with. I know that’s not a proper mark on if they are good for us or not. They don’t even rank in our top fifty links in. So in terms of them sending traffic from linking in their description and what not they’re not in the top fifty. Bearing in mind that, funnily enough Loverslab is in the top twenty which is always quite funny. Reddit’s massive. Facebook’s massive. Skyrim and Skyrim gems and the STEP project, they’re massive, but YouTube – links from YouTube videos do not feature massively for us in terms of traffic. What they do do is obviously raise awareness and I imagine a lot of the people who are watching those videos probably don’t use the direct links, but in their own time will come to Nexus or do a Google search for those mods. So it’s not an accurate marker but in terms of our – what we can quantify YouTube isn’t massive for us. Paul: What is your favourite vehicle? Robin
: What? For me to get from A to B? Paul: It just says what is your favourite vehicle? So interpret that as you wish.
: I like fighter jets, but if it’s a vehicle I’ll actually own that will be a car. I don’t like motorbikes at all because they’re just death wagons. I’ve lost a few friends to motorbikes so they can go fuck themselves. And, cars – cars are the way.authors note: Maverick agrees
Paul: Okay, where did the name Nexus come from? And what is your favourite food? Robin
: Nexus came from a thesaurus. When I was trying to look up different words…thesaurus.com is a great website to use when you’re looking for a domain name or a name of a brand that explains what you want, but a bit differently. And Nexus – I knew that...I honestly knew what the word Nexus was, but it wasn’t until I saw it on the thesaurus site and thought, oh that works. It’s got an X in it as well, which Americans love. Anything with an x or a z…zed…zee…no, no, you guys are zed. Yep, so it had an X in it so Americans would love it, and it’s a little bit different. So that’s how I ended up with Nexus.
Paul: Have you ever thought of funding the site through micro-payments, like the brave micropayment system or other methods? Brave looks to be a bitcoin micropayment system. Robin
: Oh yeah, we’d like to accept bitcoin. We’d like to accept any financial way that you can pay, financially, that we can. Unfortunately, we’re quite limited in our eCommerce solution which is a simple package for our forum at the moment. It’s definitely, definitely on our list of things we need to change including forums, the registration process, the member database, and pretty much everything on the site needs to be updated, to be honest. But the eCommerce solution needs a massive overhaul. We’d love to be able to accept anything and everything that involves paying money. So, yeah that’s definitely on the cards.
Paul: Okay, how far along are you guys on your redesign? When do you plan on deploying things out on the site? Do you guys plan on migrating – oh you just answered that – to use the IPB software anytime soon? Robin
: The redesign is stumbling at the moment. Not because it’s difficult, so much is the fact that – one of the things I was talking about is the technical debt earlier. If you just joined us, to give you the short version, this year is a bit of a transition year for us where we are having to go back though our logic code and then update it. Make sure that it’s working properly.
The sites were designed to be made by a single person and now we’ve got four or five people working on them. They need to be redesigned to accommodate more people which takes time.
So it’s literally just a matter of time. We’re grinding through it. We obviously want to get this out as soon as flipping possible because our current design is obviously very dated and something that I’ve noticed personally from dealing with the No Man's Sky modding community is that we’re struggling to compete with other websites online simply because we’re using a dated look, even though these new sites are using WordPress skins which take ten minutes to set up, people would rather use a WordPress site than the Nexus if they’ve never been to Nexus just because it looks a bit dated. So the redesign is definitely foremost in our mind right now. But I can’t give you an actual time because I have no flipping idea. If I knew, I’d tell you. Paul: Okay, Mangas asked a question that I’m trying to get my head around. I’m not sure if you’ve seen it. Can you see it, Robin? Robin
: Sorry, where? Paul: It’s 8:17, it’s, I’ll read it and you can... It’s will Nexus Mods control ads for revenue income? A game publisher will upload an ad or video to the Nexus, and the Nexus staff will approve that ad. Then when the site goes to download a mod they can watch or see an ad which can capture clicks and impressions. That way you make money and return stats to outside game publishers. You can sell that up to, like, 5k clicks, bundles, or impressions etc. etc. Robin
: In short, no, because no one would use it. The advertising industry is abso-fucking-lutely horrible. Absolutely horrible. It’s an evil that unfortunately I have to be involved with for the time being, but if I could get rid of it I flipping well would tomorrow because they are – it’s so backwards. Horrible to try to deal with, but if we had a manual advertising system then no one would use it. And if they did use it, it would be for pittance, and it wouldn’t fund the site. So unfortunately it’s a necessary evil, but if I can find any way to avoid that evil I will.
Paul: What’s the best film you’ve seen this year and why is it Independence Day? Robin
: I guess that was Ben! I assume that was Ben! That was an awful film! I absolutely hated that film. It was an insult to two hours of my life which I will never get back. What’s the best film I’ve watched this year? I really liked that Captain America film. It was absolutely brilliant. I did watch The Big Short earlier on in the year and really enjoyed that. Yeah, I’m going to just give you that. Robin
: Actually, someone said Warcraft. I remember going into it thinking that it was going to be absolutely horrible. I came out thinking that it was really average. So if you think it’s going to be awful and it turns out to be average, then it’s good. Paul: I’m going to ask a question. Who’s your favourite film star? Robin
: I don’t really have one. I honestly don’t. I love Brad Pitt films and if it has to be a woman I used to love Claire Forlani, but we never really see her anymore. So I don’t know, I honestly don’t know.
Paul: You said you were going to try and spread out into the games and not stay just on mods. Can you explain this a bit more? Robin
: No. Paul: Will the old chat ever be fixed? Robin
: No, it won’t because it uses really bad software from Invision Board who have decided that they probably don’t ever want to update it. So the old chat is the old chat, it’s going to stay the old chat and it won’t be updated unless they update it. Paul: Can the redesign be an option, or will we just have to accept it? Robin
: You will accept it. We will be running it side by side for probably a couple of months. So you’ll be able to switch between the old and the new pretty much with one click. And we’re hoping that obviously people will transition over quickly and learn the new way; learn the new system and realise that it is absolutely a hell of a lot better, which it is. And as much as people are gonna say that it isn’t better I absolutely guarantee you it is and if you think it isn’t then you’re a little bit silly.
But after those couple of months once we’re absolutely satisfied that the new design is working bug free the old design will be decommissioned. If you’re gonna ask why. Then the obvious reason is that maintaining two different forks of a web design is not efficient for a very small development team. And when we want to add new features we don’t want to be cramming it into the old site which is already ridiculously bloated. So that’s a few good reasons.
Paul: Someone’s commented they never thought they’d hear the man in the suit drop the f-bomb. Robin
: Fuckity fuck fuck fuck cunt!
Paul: What did you enjoy more then? Independence Day or Ghostbusters? And how do you rank the old ones? Robin
: I didn’t watch Ghostbusters because I just knew I’d be upset. I really like the original Independence Day and I really like the original Ghostbusters. They’re classics of the time. They’re obviously not brilliant films, but what makes them brilliant is how corny they are. The new films are just horribly insulting. And that kind of fits into what we’re seeing in American cinema in the moment which is it’s two hours of non-stop explosions, action, no respite, no character development. Just non-stop action and it’s just an insult to my brain. Paul: Have you migrated to full devox architecture and with containerisation and micro services with a CDN download migration? I was hoping that it would be a signal that you are moving forward with a cloud based solution. Robin
: I’m just reaching for my gun because that made me want to kill myself. I honestly have no idea what you’re talking about because this kind of, like, fits in well with that I was saying earlier about hiring on people that can hit a technical level that I lost about five years ago and haven’t ever found again because I’ve been too busy doing other sides of the business. I imagine if we asked Tom that he’d probably be able to give you a very good answer. But I actually have no clue what you said, so sorry I can’t help you.
Paul: We’ll bring Tom into another one. Charmander, Squirtle, or Bulbasaur? Robin
: Charmander, I reckon.
Paul: What are some of your hobbies?
: Video games. Yep, video games are massive. Board games come – oh, I don’t actually know whether I prefer board games or video games. Obviously video games I can play every night whereas board games require I get friends over which isn’t hard, but you don’t normally get someone over every night to play board games. So board games and video games. I play a lot of board games. What else do I do Paul??? Do I do anything?
Paul: Eat nice food? Robin
: Yeah, I do eat out a lot. That’s true. I go to the cinema quite a bit although I don’t watch crap films. Yeah…
Paul: It’s basically board games and video games. Robin
: Yeah, it really is. Paul: What is the meaning of cheese? Robin
Paul: Okay, and if you had to choose wine or cheese. Robin
: That is the world’s worst choice, because they go so well together. Don’t, this is upsetting me, I would probably…(deep sigh) ...but wine is my favourite drink as well...aah - I would pick cheese because I’m not a massive drinker. I’m not a casual drinker. Having said that, I did have a glass of wine with steak tonight, but that’s with steak. But I don’t drink that much, and I eat a lot of cheese so, yeah, I would keep cheese.
Paul: What colour underpants are you wearing?
: Let’s check. Yeah I am wearing them today. Black.
Paul: Is the site update CSS based instead of sprite sheet based? Robin
: Yeah, we’re doing away with the image maps. They did my nut in something chronic, but they were so popular, say, about five or six years ago. So, yeah, CSS based, yeah, Paul
, is it? Paul: Yeah, totally Paul: Nationality of South African. Thoughts? Robin
: I don’t even know what that question is. Paul: Somebody is South African. Your thoughts on South Africans.
: (South African accent) Diplomatic immunity. Paul: Can they have a Halo channel on the Nexus page since Halo 5 is coming out on Windows 10 in just a couple of days? Robin
: Yeah, but probably not. Halo Forge seems interesting should we say, but I think it’s going the same way as SnapMap for Doom. So it’s going to be hosted on its own servers. There isn’t going to be much room for playing around. But the Halo community’s absolutely mental. The modding that they managed to get out of that game when there were no tools available is exemplary. Just absolutely brilliant.
I played Halo for the PC when it first came out. What was that – I was 18 at the time. So 12 years ago. And it was a brilliant game. Absolutely loved it. And I was absolutely staggered to find that people are still playing it now. Albeit heavily modded with their own web server browsers and stuff. But I would like to help out that community more if I can. Simply because they do such amazing work. The inherent problem is that a lot of the stuff they do isn’t necessarily legal. And that obviously puts us into hot water being such a big site.
So, yeah, I would like to help and I will be looking into it, but there’s only so much I can do with this site. Paul: What do you think of Game of Thrones? Robin
: I think it’s brilliant. I think it’s absolutely brilliant. I tried to read the books. I got about four books in and it just – it just went on and on and on and I - it’s one of only books that I ever stopped reading because I got bored. But the TV series I absolutely love. Paul: How do you keep yourself motivated? Robin
: I think it helps working with people you actually like. It really helps, the fact that you can work from home once you get into the right sort of routine. I was the sort of guy when I was at university, or college, or high school, or secondary school that when it came to course work and things like that and when it came to revision for exams I can’t cram it. I need to do an hour on, an hour off. And that’s kind of how I work as well. I work for an hour or two and then I play a game for an hour or two. I work for an hour or two and then I play a game for an hour or two. Or I’d go out and do things. And that really works for me. A nine-to-five job – if I ever had to get a nine-to-five I might be screwed. But it’s a lot easier to motivate yourself when you enjoy what you do, when you can play a lot of video games, when you can talk to quite a lot of cool people, when you can work with some people you enjoy working with even if they can be dicks sometimes. And, yeah, motivation isn’t a problem for me. Paul: Okay, what do you feel are the key changes for an effective go-to market strategy for Nexus as it moves into a stronger competition with major corporations a ’la Bethesda? Robin
: Can you – just tell me where that was so I can read it because I lost my head. Robin
: Ah, I’ve got it, I’ve got it… Robin
: What do you feel are the key changes… I feel like this is an essay question. What do you feel are the key changes for an effective go-to market strategy for Nexus? I don’t know what that is. I’m not going to lie, I did do a business study course and graduated, but I don’t know what that is. As it moves into stronger competition with major corporations, reasonably Bethesda.net?
How I advertise and get my name out there? It’s a tough one, we’re obviously in a – as I’ve been saying on the forums, if the last generation – the last decade – was the decade of DLC, which is the decade where game developers decided to finally rinse players for all they’re worth and give up on some sort of – valuing their players and just rinsing them, then this generation is gonna be the generation of UGC which is what they’re calling it, which we all know as mods. UGC stands for User Generated Content.
Sites like Facebook, Myspace before that, and even Nexus Mods to a very big degree have proven that if you provide people with the correct tools then the users of a product can increase the value of a product almost infinitely – indefinitely. And they are now going to be clamouring to monetise that. Which is really only natural because it’s a way for them to make money for doing very little in the grand scheme of things. They need to provide the tools. You guys do the rest.
That obviously presents a big barrier for a site like Nexus Mods which one, can’t monetise legally and two, probably wouldn’t monetise even if it could. I mean, I would like to monetise it. I would like to help out Mod authors as much as possible because I definitely think that is right to do so. It absolutely is right to do so. But I probably wouldn’t do it on Nexus Mods so I probably would make another site for it and link it to the member database.
But how is the Nexus gonna do it? I definitely have my ideas. It definitely involves diversifying. It definitely involves focusing more on the indie game scene. It focuses on promoting what is good about open modding as opposed to closed modding which is what Steam workshop is. And ideally it’s kind of what the role of our external community manager, which I was mentioning earlier, is going to be all about. About being an ambassador to the site on other boards to help us get the word out that Nexus Mods isn’t just for Bethesda games and it isn’t just for nude mods because at the end of the day only five percent of the mods on the site are adult content anyway. It isn’t just strict moderating cause it hasn’t been like that for five years now even though we’ve still got that reputation.
So we’ve definitely got some hurdles to climb. We know what those hurdles are. We got some ideas about how we’re gonna do it. But we probably won’t share too much right now in this first chat. Next? Paul: Do you think the Bethesda game modding is so popular now because of the reused engine? Robin
: Oh, absolutely! I think it really helps – I was looking at it the other day because someone was being a dick in the comments on another website so I wanted to look at the stats. And there were ten thousand mods out for Skyrim before they even released the tool set. Now there is no way we would have had ten thousand mods out for Skyrim unless people already knew how to mod the engine.
And people cry out a lot for a new engine for the Bethesda games. They say they’re being lazy and so on and so forth, but it’s a, it’s done in quantity – if they were to redo a game with a new engine then who’s to say it wouldn’t end up being on IdTech6., or an engine which is a lot less moddable, or is only moddable in a way that – they much more directly control. If you think that they – they’ve been using a variation of the engine pretty much since Morrowind, if not Oblivion. Oblivion being ten years ago. Morrowind being fifteen years ago. They had absolutely no intention of monetising user made mods at the time nor do they have any intention of controlling it the way they’re trying to control it now with Bethesda.net. If they go and make a new engine now you can be damn sure that they’re going to be focusing a lot more on how they can control it. How they are gonna make sure that they direct mods in a certain way that suits them. And probably isn’t for the greater good of what the modding community is now, which is a lot more free and open. So it’s definitely a concern for me, and when people cry out for a new engine, I think it’s one of those cases where “be careful what you wish for”…
Paul: Okay, what is your absolute favourite movie? Robin
: I am an absolute sucker for Meet Joe Black. I absolutely love that film. I don’t know why. I think I like things that handle life and death very well. Good film. Paul: Okay, as consoles have come into play and competition from other sites, do you see more quality control of mods uploaded to the Nexus? Robin
: No. No, not really. Simply because it’s not really our place to do quality control in that regard. Obviously we’ll do quality control when it comes to viruses, mods that we know break the game, etc. etc. but my issue with quality control, especially on a free mod hosting site as opposed to a paid modding site is everyone starts somewhere. And I’m pretty sure most mod authors have made some pretty shit mods in their time and released them, or some mods that – when they look back they think “oh my God, that was pretty crappy” and if we start trying to raise the bar with modding and only release mods and help mods that are of a certain standard and quality then you are raising the barrier to entry where there shouldn’t be a barrier to entry. So it’s important that we are free, open, and willing to accept every sort of mod and not be dicks about it basically. Paul: What’s your favourite cartoon?
: Oh God, I haven’t watched cartoons in a long time. I loved the X-Men cartoon though. Ooh. Ulysses! That was a great cartoon. Paul: Not Archer? Robin
: No, I’m not really into Archer. As much as people try to liken me to Archer all the time. I’m really not into it. Paul: If you’re one of the characters on the Red Dwarf, which one would you be? Robin
: That was a little bit before my time, Red Dwarf. Because he’s the only one I can remember it would be Kryton. I’m pretty sure he was the robot with the weird hexagonal face. Paul: Yeah. favourite console before 2006 and your favourite game for that console. Robin
: Obviously N64 and Golden Eye.
Paul: What’s your absolute favourite and absolute least favourite board game? Robin
: It’s got to be Game of Thrones, Paul
and I play a lot of Game of Thrones when we meet up for board games with all of our friends and, it causes arguments. It’s brilliant because it lasts about three hours. We’re normally drunk by the end of it. So when it gets to turn ten and everyone turns over their pieces and we realize we made a massive cock up, and, yeah, good times are had. Worst board game? To be honest, I don’t play any shit board games, but I’m not really a fan of Monopoly anymore, so let’s say Monopoly.
Paul: Have you played table top D&D before and would you be interested in playing a live D&D session if someone offered? Robin
: I’ve never played D&D. I’ve got a few friends that are playing D&D now, as well as friends that do it like the Star Wars RPG as well, and they seem like they’re having fun. Mainly the reason why I haven’t done it is because the people that do do it don’t live anywhere near me. And I’m not going to drive three hours to play Star Wars RPG with people. So I probably would do it. I’d give it a go. I’m not sure it would be my sort of thing, but I’d be willing – I’d be open to it. Paul: Okay, have you ever made any mods yourself? Robin
: I did for Morrowind. I absolutely loved my “Boots of Unblinding Speed” because the “Boots of Blinding Speed” were a bit shit. Let’s face it, because they made you blind. So, to be honest the problem with that was once I started making mods like that it was basically cheating and I’m the sort of guy that once you start cheating I can’t stop in a game. So if I use God mode to get round a particular puzzle – which I cannot be assed to go through because I hate puzzles in video games – it’s very hard for me to then turn off God mode again. So I have made mods. I try to stay clear of them because mods I make are the kind of quality life mods that I probably shouldn’t use. So I tried my hand at No Man’s Sky modding as well and that was ridiculous because I haven’t used a hex editor since I was about fifteen. So, yeah, I’m not massive on modding myself. I don’t really have much time for it and I’m a bit of a retard.
Paul: Has anyone at any time appreciated in a personal message or email to you saying what a great job you and the Nexus team do? Robin
: Thankfully we get quite a few of them and they outweigh the people calling me a cunt. So it’s kind of quids’ in really. Yeah – it is nice to get those sort of emails. It does happen quite regularly: private messages, support tickets, those sorts of things. And a lot of people also feel the need to send something nice whenever I respond to something in their support ticket when they realise I’m manning a support desk. So, yeah we do get that quite a lot and it’s very nice to get. Paul: When does Nexus Mod Manager support for No Man’s Sky come out? Robin
: Who wrote that?
Paul: That was by Silent Mr. Dave.
Robin: It might be Obsidian writing for him. So we’ve got a guy helping us along. He’s called ObsidianMinor. He’s doing a very good job. At the moment, we’ve got pretty much everything we wanted to put into it, but the modding is changing so quickly that – we keep wanting to add more things to it, basically. We’re getting a bit of feature creep, but we’re waiting on the ability to unpack and then repack files. Which someone else is working on so we’re kind of waiting on them at the moment. But it’s being worked on. It’s been done pretty well. I’m quite happy with where it’s going so yeah – yeah, we’ll be hopefully not too long now because I’d really like to get It out, as I’m sure Obsidian would and everyone else.
Paul: Years ago you’ve talked of possibly making an adult Nexus for the questionable mods. Has anything changed?
Robin: Yeah, I’m not gonna do that. I can’t remember what actually motivated me to want to do that. I think it was revolving around the Supporter image share. I was really not happy with what I was seeing in the image share on the site, which was basically just rule 34. It wasn’t nice. It wasn’t pretty and irrespective of whether we had an adult filter or not it was getting ridiculous. And I just didn’t want to host it.
And I don’t mind it – I don’t mind if it’s a bit like with the mods. Five percent of the mods we have are adult content. And adult content doesn’t necessarily mean nudity. So I’m happy with the five percent ratio. That’s good, that’s fine, that’s actually a minority. But the image share was actually a majority of what I would call porn. And not very nice porn either. And I just wasn’t happy with it so I think that’s what sparked that conversation, but I’m now a lot more at peace with it so, no that won’t be happening anytime soon.
Paul: Do you think the quality of users has declined over the years as modding has gotten more popular? Were they always entitled and toxic?
Robin: Sorry mate, my mind went off into the wild. What was the question?
Paul: Do you think the quality of users has declined over the years as modern – bare with me a sec. Do you think the quality of users has declined over the years as modding has gotten more popular, or were they always entitled and toxic?
Robin: No, I don’t think the quality has deteriorated. I just think there’s a lot more people now. I think if we were to put it as, say, a percentage of people I think it’s the same percentage of people who cause the same amount of problems or lower the bar more than anything else. It’s just that when we first started with Morrowind there might have been fifty thousand people and now with Skyrim there’s five million people. So as far as percentages go there’s more people who are dicks, but that’s just because statically twenty-five percent of five million is a lot more than twenty-five percent of fifty thousand.
Paul: What’s your favourite anime?
Robin: Oh God, I haven’t watched an anime in years! What did I like back in the day? I absolutely loved all the flipping meccas. So, I loved Gundam Wing. I liked Rahxephon. I liked – I did watch Full Metal Alchemist, it wasn’t great. What was the other one? That was Full Metal or something or other? I can’t remember. The mecca ones I really liked. I wasn’t a massive fan of the really popular mecca which I can’t for the life of me remember now. Evangelion, that’s it. I kind of got a bit bored with anime once I got through my teenage years simply because the Japanese seem to have a fascination with having protagonists that are given extremely ridiculous powers they can save the world with, but they don’t want to use their powers. And that just really pisses me off because I can’t relate to it and if I had super powers I wouldn’t be pussy about it and that annoys me. So, Japanese anime just kind of pisses me off a little bit.
Paul: Where do you see the site community in five years? I think you covered that briefly earlier, but Micalov just jumped on.
Robin: Yeah, we did cover that earlier, pretty much. Basically, to give you the short version it involves diversifying quite a lot more out of Bethesda. Diversifying not just to different games, but also diversifying what we offer. So I don’t know what that’s going to entail just yet, but I have ideas. I’ve got lots of stuff in the pipeline which I’d really like to tell you, but if I do then it all comes out and this isn’t the right place to talk to you about it. So there are things that we’re working on, but I’m not going to talk about it right now.
Paul: Do you like No Man’s Sky?
I’ll give you a bit more on that actually. I kind of got ticked off because I wanted to just chill out and do some mining and on the very first planet I was on which was an acid planet which is always a fucking shit start. You know, you start mining something and within five seconds this bot comes along and starts shooting you. It’s not exactly the most chilled out environment for playing a game. So that kind of didn’t win it over for me in the first five minutes. And then to find out that you’ve been massively lied to, and it was a massive cash grab kind of plays into what really upsets me in the video game industry at the moment which is that – it’s just absolutely ridiculous.
Game development companies have lost sight of the fact that players need to be entertained and don’t want to be lied to when looking for a particular thing which doesn’t seem to be fulfilled. So, yeah, No Man’s Sky upset me.
Paul: I’ll go ask this one because this made me laugh. Marry, fuck and kill - DDProductions83, Hillary Clinton, or Trump.
Robin: Right. I’m sorry, Darren, but I’m looking at this from a logical point. Fuck Hillary because she’s a woman. Marry Trump because he’s got a lot of money and I could use him to really further my goals, you know, in life. And that will involve having to kill you. So, DDProductions83 with the candlestick in the library.
Paul: What is your opinion of Tale of Two Wastelands? The banned mod that merges Fallout 3 and Fallout New Vegas?
Robin: What a brilliant mod. What a shame we can’t host it, or couldn’t host it. I’m not sure if that’s true anymore actually. Yeah, I can’t remember there was two different mods that did that and one has been accepted now. I can’t remember which one it is.
Paul: Will the Nexus Mod Manager ever support all the games on Nexus mods?
Robin: Oh, I hope so. That really is an aim. That’s - you know, actually that’s a good answer for the five-year plan. We definitely want to be supporting as many games as possible. And we’re making changes to accommodate as many games as possible. I know that. And, yeah, we really want to make it to the point where when – you know – when we’ve got a site that’s got more than thirty mods for it we just put support in because hopefully it’s only going to take a day to add it anyway. So, yeah that’s definitely something.
Paul: Are you familiar with Agile and Scrum? And do you manage your Employees and Company following any guiding principles?
Robin: I’m assuming Agile and Scrum has something to do with coding. I remember you talking about Agile recently, Paul.
Paul: Yeah, we use the Agile method.
Robin: Okay, so we use Agile. I assume that’s because we like to be fast and on our feet and take one day at a time. I don’t know.
Paul: It is.
Robin: Good. I’m glad I’m really on the ball with this one. And, what was the second part?
Paul: And do you manage your employees and company following any sort of principles?
Robin: Yes. Yeah, the principal is treat them like they’re your friends and they get really upset. So treat them like shit and you’re golden. No! Well, actually, Paul, you can answer that one.
Paul: I love it, I met Robin and was best friend’s with him before I joined the Nexus and I just joined in basically because I said I didn’t like the look of the site and thought it looked shit. And Robin said do something about it then. So he brought me on, and I’ve loved it so far. And hope I continue to do so.
Robin: And how do you feel treated, Paul?
Paul: Oh you’re an absolute arse but erm, very relaxed. You take every day as it comes and…
Robin & Paul: (grumbled audio)
Robin: You get a little bit of banter. Quite a lot of us, we had a good meeting about four months ago over at my house and lots of alcohol was had and board games were played. And it’s always nice to see the human side of the people you’re talking to via voice chat and text chat. And there’s some good banter. One of our Nexus Mod Manager programmers gets really upset because I never give him any positive encouragement. To be honest, it’s because he always says something’s going to take a week and it takes a month. So I don’t understand why someone needs positive reinforcement with something like that. But, hey, Fabio hates it. There’s another guy on the web development team, Tiziano, who always gets positive encouragement from me. So that fuels a nice bit of banter which I always like reading and fuelling myself. There isn’t really an ethos that goes behind it. I’m not a good leader. I’m not a leader at all, but I’m the boss so at the end of the day they just have to do what I tell them to do. So.
Paul: Do you have any idea how old the youngest – how old the oldest Nexus users are? And what is the current average age?
Robin: Off the top of my head, no. I can’t answer the youngest simply because if you’re younger than thirteen – which I’m sure we’ve got some people younger than thirteen – then you shouldn’t be on the site. And we do ban people if they’re under thirteen. So I can’t answer that one. But the old wise, I know we’ve got some seventy-year-olds, and I’m not sure about any older, but I’m sure statistically with 11.6 million members we’ve probably got an extremely diverse range with the eighteen to thirty-five being average.
Paul: Okay, and if things were different with you and you never created the Nexus and any prior sites what do you believe your life would be like instead, i.e. what would your career be now?
Robin: I’d probably still be doing the website hosting with Krystal. I was a partner in that company and I had a twenty-five percent stake, so I’d still be doing that. Krystal’s doing really well as well, so before Nexus Mods, well, at the same time as Nexus Mods I also ran a video game company that was offering free website hosting in exchange for putting advertising on their site. And that was getting something like ninety million page views a month and that was back in 2007; 2006 – 2007. So let’s just say I was doing more than okay before Nexus Mods took off and Nexus Mods isn’t the only business I have my fingers in. Yeah that didn’t come out right, but you know what I mean.
Paul: Will the Nexus redesign be done before 2047?
Robin: I hope so. Please let it end! Yes, it will be done before 2047. I just don’t know when.
Paul: Do you enjoy watching rugby?
Robin: I absolutely do! We have a premiership team in Exeter, which is where I live. I probably go and see four or five games a year at Exeter. I don’t really like Twickenham because it’s an absolute ass to get into and ass to get out of, but I do like going to watch rugby. I prefer the internationals, but I think it’s a superior sport to most other sports to be honest.
Paul: What are your thoughts on open source and do you have any plans for Nexus Mod Manager or any of your other software sites be on open source?
Robin: So Nexus Mod Manager is open source and has been from the very beginning. The mentality being that I personally think that mod authors should be more open with sharing their creations with other mod authors. And therefore it would be hypocritical to then create some software that facilitates modding which isn’t open source as well. So, in a way we kind of had to make it open source, not that we didn’t want to. Open source is brilliant. We wouldn’t make the website open source for two reasons. One, security. Two, it’s kind of a competition issue. But as far as Nexus Mod Manager being open source, abso-flippin-lutely and people have forked it and used it for their websites and we don’t mind at all.
Paul: When is the IPO?
Robin: Never because I like owning the company 100 percent. If I had to answer to someone else I probably wouldn’t be running the sites anymore.
Paul: Okay, you only got three minutes’ left. We’re getting there. If you could make a game, what kind of game would it be?
Robin: There’s two types of games. I absolutely love multi-player games. Single player games aren’t actually my forte. I know that might come as a shock to you considering the amount of single player games that we support on the site. But I play single player games for 50 hours to 100 hours and then I get bored and move on. Whereas multi-player games I think I’ve put about 300 hours into DOTA 2 and I’ll probably put about 300 – I’m sorry, 3,000 hours into DOTA 2 and probably a good 5,000 hours into the original DOTA. I’m playing Seven Days to Die with friends at the moment. Battlefield, I probably put a good 200 hours into each Battlefield iteration except Hardline since Battlefield II. So, multi-player game I’d like to make, and I’d also like to make a single player game which is completely open source, completely free, and completely open to modding and pay for it with a paid modding section.
Paul: What is your usual brand of cologne?
Robin: If I really have to wear it I’d rather wear Cerruti 1881, or I’ll wear, what’s that one which is like the flipping French sailor? Jean Paul Gaultier.
Paul: Sorry. What’s your favourite beverage?
Robin: Wine. Red wine – red wine. It has to be a Malbec or a tempranillo.
Paul: Favourite cricket team?
Paul: Will you give someone a job?
Robin: Depends what they do.
Paul: Do you work out?
Robin: No, I just eat well.
Paul: Do you watch Gamegrumps?
Robin: What’s that?
Paul: I have no idea.
Paul: Guess not. What time is it? We’ve got a few more questions. How tall are you?
Robin: I’m 5’10” and three quarters.
Paul: Rick and Morty, or Adventure Time?
Robin: Neither because I just don’t watch cartoons anymore. I’m sorry.
Paul: Favourite colour?
Paul: Coffee or iced coffee?
Robin: Neither. I don’t do caffeine.
Paul: Will you hire Darren for PR?
Robin: No, because I want my company to do well.
Paul: Will you explain the differences between biscuits and cookies?
Robin: Biscuits will go – oh, hang on a minute. I can’t remember which way around it goes. Either biscuits go stale when left out and cookies go soggy. Or vice versa.
Paul: Do you need glasses?
Robin: No. I had my eyes tested only a week ago because I got a headache from being on the computer too much and they said I have perfect vision. Yay, yay!
Paul: Do you have hair?
Robin: Yes, I do. If you watch some of Darren’s “Get to Know your Mod Author” - monthly things - and I’m on them and you can have a look at me.
Paul: Favourite Mod Author and why is it Gopher?
Robin: Because he’s been good to me. He’s a nice guy.
Paul: Favourite Mod Author and why is it Faded Signal.
Robin: Because he is also a guest name model in the monthly chats and he seems a nice guy.
Paul: Which way did you vote in Brexit?
Robin: I voted Brexit because a bit of financial pain for what you think is right is the right thing to do.
Paul: Do you believe in aliens?
Robin: I do believe in aliens. I don’t believe they’re visiting our world, but I think statistically it’s a definite that they are out there somewhere.
Paul: I’m just going to keep throwing these out there for a couple of seconds. Favourite mod show?
Paul: What is love?
Robin: Baby don’t hurt me!
Paul: How did the universe start?
Robin: Big Bang
Paul: Chocolate or vanilla?
Paul: Are you building a game and what is it about?
Robin: It involves rolling a ball around to try and complete a puzzle and get to the end of the map. We’re gonna sell it for about seven dollars. I don’t think it’s going to do very well, but at the end of the day what else am I gonna do?
Paul: Monkey or a bear?
Robin: A bear!
Paul: Do you like Marmite
Robin: Absolutely! I love Marmite.
Paul: What was before the Big Bang?
Robin: Another universe.
Paul: And I think that will do.
Paul: How’s your voice?
Robin: Absolutely fine. I’ve just been monotone for an hour.
Paul: Good job. Everyone’s saying good job. Well Terrorfox is and he’s chatting for everybody. Oh God! Why is Darude Sandstorm your favourite song? That’s from Tom.
Robin: Because it’s so easy to dance to.
Paul: There you go. Last one. I can’t wait for that to be your wedding song, Tom. Tom just had a baby and he’s going to ask Laura to marry him soon, I hope.
Robin: Yeah, that’s what I’ve heard.
Paul: And everyone on Nexus is invited to his weddings. Weddings, plural.
Robin: To see the bastard! Bastard! Bastard!
Paul: Can we stop talking because I’ve got to type this all up!
Robin: No, let’s go for another hour.
Paul: No, I’m getting the fuck off. I want to go to bed. I’m hungry as well. We’re having Nandos.
Robin: Captain Monotone needs to talk more.
Paul: Well you can talk to the people. I’m going to go now so I can go eat Nandos.
Robin: I can’t keep track of – I can’t talk and read!
Paul: Yes, you can. Everyone’s saying goodbye anyway. They said that Robin’s really boring and they’re gonna leave.
Robin: I hate everyone. I hate them.
Paul: They want twenty-three, they want twenty-three more hours of AMA.
Robin: Oh, for charity.
Robin: I understand that I talk extremely boringly, but I have no intention of starting a YouTube channel for this very reason. But I thank you for coming along. Hopefully I answered enough of your questions and I think – I think it was a success. So we might be doing this more often and maybe getting some more modders on to do AMA’s every now and again. I think that would be great. Thank you guys.
Paul: Alright, let’s wrap this up. Yes, this is recorded, I think Dave’s recording it. I’m going to type it up and Dave’s actually going to post the recording, I believe. Good night everybody.