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A few weeks back a couple of individuals from the Neverwinter Nights modding community contacted me about the possibility of starting a Nexus sites for the veteran series of games. While I was sceptical about the prospect at first because the games have always been dutifully serviced by the Neverwinter Vault site, unfortunately it's also common knowledge that IGN are starting to wind down their fan site services and some are already falling in to disrepair, and the worry is that losing the Vault would decimate the Neverwinter community.
After talking it through with the modders over on the BioWare Social Site it became apparent that interest in a Neverwinter Nexus was high, and that it might help to provide stability and even revitalise the community in some areas. While the series has not had a new game in over 5 years, and is unlikely to see another since BioWare created their own IP in Dragon Age to remove their reliance on licensing the D&D universe from Wizards of the Coast, supporting this great community seemed like something I had to do out of duty. And that's why I am happy to announce the launch of Neverwinter Nexus.
If you've never played either of the Neverwinter games then stop what you're doing and go buy them. Where have you been these past 10 years? The series is arguably one of the last bastions of quintessential cRPGs, where your character build and the story telling play a more important role in the game. Remember when levelling up your character meant putting points in to your attributes like strength, dexterity, agility and so on and so forth? Remember when you could pick from lots of different classes, feats and abilities and you could literally spend hours planning your character build before you'd even started playing the game (and enjoy doing it, as well)? Remember when storylines were at least half interesting and slightly less clichéd and generic? Remember when developers didn't think you had the attention span of a five year old? That's Neverwinter Nights (and Icewind Dale, and Baldur's Gate...).
Neverwinter Nights (NWN) has a very mature modding community, as mature and large as the Morrowind and Oblivion modding communities respectively. The types of modifications for NWN are slightly different to Elder Scrolls mods, however, and mods tend to be released less often, but are much larger and content filled than their Elder Scrolls counterparts. So while Elder Scrolls modding has lots of small tweaks, texture patches, weapons and armour and so on, Neverwinter modding is more about the large expansions, conversions and additions. It's a nice balance. Case-in-point, a mod has just been released for NWN2 that is a complete remake of Icewind Dale, 3 years in the making. The entire Icewind Dale game from start to finish, remade for NWN2. Brilliant.
If you're from the NWN modding community and new to the Nexus community of sites then welcome. We're a 3.5 million member strong community of mod authors and mod users for various games, focused on providing as top-notch, stable, easy and efficient modding experience as possible. I understand that learning a new site interface and working out where everything is can sometimes be quite daunting, especially when you're so used to using one site for so long, but hopefully you can work it all out eventually. If you are struggling then you might find some of our Wiki articles are worth a read to get your bearings, or alternatively you can always ask on our forums for help or guidance.
Many mod authors have already uploaded their mods to the site, and I'm sure there are plenty more to follow, and it's really great to see a modding community so enthusiastic about modding the games even 5 years on from the last game release. My hope is that over the coming weeks and months I can work more closely with the community to get some spotlight features out, including some interviews and reviews of some of the content that is on offer here and elsewhere, because we all know that the Neverwinter Nights community already has lots to offer.
But for now, let me just welcome everyone to this new site, and I look forward to seeing the great mods this community has already created, and will create, being show-cased on another Nexus site.
Up until today we have had a policy of not allowing users to request or receive donations from other users on the Nexus sites. This has included things such as mod authors asking for Pay Pal donations in their file descriptions. This policy stemmed from a long running rule on Bethesda's official forums, dating all the way back to the launch of Morrowind where asking for donations, or even talking about the prospect of donations is not allowed. The reason is very simple; it's a legal grey area. In between EULAs and contracts, no one really knows the full extent of the law in this regard and it's been better for everyone that the matter is just kept a closed book so we don't open pandora's box.
It's never been a big issue on the Nexus because, as the largest source for Oblivion and Fallout modifications we helped to ensure this policy remained intact, so Bethesda have never had to look too deeply at the matter. In essence, we enforced the policy because our relationship with Bethesda, and ensuring modding isn't more hassle than it's worth for them (so they continue to release SDK's for their games), is more important than mod authors receiving donations. And I'll stand by that thinking.
The truth of the matter is that I coded a donation system on the Nexus many months ago, before the launch of Steam Workshop, in anticipation of any changes that the integration with Steam Workshop might bring. There's a 13 page thread in the private mod author forums, where I discussed the various options with mod authors that I started months ago as proof of this. Those changes were put on hold until we could tell whether Bethesda's policy or endorsement of mod author donations changed with the Steam Workshop integration. Steam Workshop did not offer any direct donation or payment methods, however, with the launch of Steam Workshop several mod authors have questioned recently why Bethesda/Valve were allowing mod authors to request donations on the Steam Workshop in their file descriptions, but we weren't. I assumed that, actually, Bethesda weren't allowing it, but instead were just unaware that mod authors were doing this. So this seemed like the perfect time to rock-the-boat a little and enquire further on this matter.
So I fired off an email to Bethesda this morning and we had a conversation on the matter. It was good to know that Bethesda and I are on exactly the same page in regards to this subject. However, I have now received a confirmation that if users want to ask for donations on their page then that should be fine. Which is good news. The worry is in the further ramifications, like mod authors trying to offer their services, support or files for money in any shape or form and that's something I agree with absolutely.
It's great to know that Bethesda do not have a problem with mod authors receiving voluntary donations from other users (and they used the analogy of a tip jar) but we need to make sure that's all that donations are used for. Voluntary donations are fine, but let's list some of the things that aren't fine so we're completely clear:
- Asking for donations in exchange for password protected files or additional content e.g. offering your own kind of DLC for mods in exchange for donations. All mods must remain completely open, and completely free. You cannot offer additional content for donations.
- Asking for donations in exchange for updates for your uploaded files e.g. saying "for every £10 I receive I will update my mod with new fixes and features".
- Asking for donations in exchange for help or support e.g. saying you won't help someone to install or fix problems with their mods unless they donate to you.
- Offering incentives for people who donate to you
- Anything that isn't just a straight forward, voluntary donation, in exchange for nothing
We have to be strict on this because there are bigger legal ramifications at stake when money is being exchanged. Because of this, and because I don't want file descriptions to be spammed full of "PLEASE DONATE TO ME" messages, we are going to enforce a rule of absolutely no donation solicitation on the Nexus. That means you cannot ask or talk about donations in your file descriptions, profile pages, comments or private messages. And we mean that. We have updated our Terms of Service accordingly.
I have coded a donation system in to every Nexus site that you can now configure in your preferences area. First things first, the donation system is completely optional and you most definitely do not have to use it. It's completely opt-in, so if you want to accept donations you need to fill in the required fields in your preferences.
When you fill in your donation preferences you can set where you would like donation links to show. At the moment you can set them to show on your profile page and/or all your file pages and it's a simple toggle to turn that on or off. Once on, new links will show on the pages you selected, with a donation button and text reading "Like what this author does? Consider donating money to this user through Pay Pal to help support and encourage them.". That's it. All donation links on all files are in the same place, so if a user wants to donate to you, they will. So remember the no solicitation rules in regards to donations.
I hope that this new feature within the community will be used, because god knows mod authors deserve any support and encouragement you're willing to give them, but I hope it's used properly and not exploited. We'll be monitoring the situation very closely to ensure that's not the case.
Over the past 10 months we have been working behind the scenes on a completely new Nexus site code. Because my code was not up to professional standards the premise was really simple, I've hired on 2 great programmers, and in order for us to make the most of the quality of these coders we needed to rebuild the site code so we had a strong base to push off from. We haven't added any new functionality or major changes, in fact, by the time we're happy with the code we want the site to look and behave exactly the same (apart from one or two bug fixes and small improvements).
Think of it like you would a house: You have a house. It has 2 bedrooms, it's old, decrepit and falling apart. You want a better house, with more rooms, an extension, a conservatory and lots of mod cons on the same patch of land. You can try and build on and extend your old house, but it's likely that at some point all the new extensions and additions you make to the house will make your old, decrepit house fall in on itself from all the load and burden you're placing on it. You don't want your house to be held together by sticky tape and band aids, or be afraid of it falling down at any moment! So what you do is demolish the old house, reset the foundation and rebuild the house brick by brick to your new specifications. That's what we've done. We've rebuilt the site brick by brick, but better, and with massive room to grow.
Before we roll-out this new code we would really love your help in testing it out. We want you to jump all over it, and try out all the features on the site to make sure they work exactly like they do right now on the Nexus sites, because as much as we test it, there are things that you do that we don't! And it's impossible for us to test every eventuality. To that end we have setup a Beta Site which is a mock-up of TESNexus. It is using completely dummy, test data. This means all the data on the site, and anything you add or change will NOT be live on any Nexus site and you're safe to test things with test data without having to worry about affecting the general operation of any of the Nexus sites. Feel free to add, upload, modify and delete to your heart's content because it will not affect any of the content available on the Nexus sites.
The beta site should look and behave exactly like the current sites. We haven't made any major changes to the looks or functionality of the sites, so it should be practically like-for-like, and if it isn't, it's a bug which we need to squash! If you find a bug then please use our bug tracker to let us know and we'll get it fixed ASAP! So please, take 15 minutes out of your busy schedule to help us beta test the new code, because the sooner we roll-out the code the sooner we can start adding some really awesome new functionality to the sites.
This beta test is important as it enables us to iron out bugs before we roll out the code to the sites. If we don't know about a bug then we can't fix it, and you'll come across it on the live site (which might have worse implications!), so help us to help you!
So hurry up and help us ensure the transition is as smooth as possible by using every feature you can think of on our beta site.
Nexus Mod Manager version 0.15.7 has just gone live on the release server and should be available when you start NMM (if you can start NMM) or from the download page for NMM. This is a hotfix patch to resolve the issues that 0.15.0 presented.
A big thanks to kaburke and wrinklyninja who have worked on a Saturday to get this out for us.
In regards to version 0.15.x of NMM it's important to note that while NMM is now using BOSS API to manage load orders NMM does not currently use BOSS's auto-sorting functionality. That means that your load order is still completely managed by you. Priority with this release has been to just make sure the load order functionality is restored after Bethesda and Valve changed it to accommodate Steam Workshop. NMM does ask you if you want to download the latest BOSS masterlist, but at the moment this will not have any effect on your load order. It will be patched in soon (you are safe to pick yes or no).
If you are unfamiliar with BOSS then it would be a good idea to read up on what it does on the BOSS file page here on the Nexus. Here's some of the blurb:QUOTEBOSS (Better Oblivion Sorting Software) will re-order your mods to their correct positions, putting any mods it doesn't recognise after them, in the same order as they were before BOSS was run.
BOSS is designed to assist in the usage of mods, helping mod users avoid serious conflicts. It is not a complete solution to load ordering issues, as there are far more mods out there than BOSS knows about. To properly place mods BOSS doesn't know about, a good working knowledge of mod load ordering for Skyrim is still necessary, for which some research and documentation reading will go a long way.
Once NMM is fully integrated with BOSS you will be able to use the BOSS masterlist, which tries to come up with the best load order for your mods automatically. You can still manually manage your load order, and you can use BOSS's autosort feature to see what BOSS thinks is the best order then edit that order to your heart's content.
At the end of the day it's about providing you with as much help, and flexible choice, as possible.
Last night we released the Nexus Mod Manager version 0.15.0 for general download to fix the issues that Bethesda and Valve presented all the mod managers out there with the changes to the way load orders are handled. Sadly Bethesda didn't give us nearly enough time to ensure we could solve the issues they've presented us (and I'm sure they'd argue they don't have to), so I know that wrinklyninja (of BOSS) has worked at least 100+ hours in the last week alone on getting the BOSS API to a usable state for kaburke (NMM) and Lojack (Wrye) to equally spend a lot of time updating the respective mod managers.
Unfortunately version 0.15.0 of NMM has a program breaking bug in it at the moment that is going to need to be hotfixed as soon as possible. Lots and lots of people have reported this issue so I think it's safe to assume that almost everyone has the same problem! There is a fix for this right now, however, if you are willing to do a little folder copy and pasting. Alternatively you can wait for a hotfix, that will hopefully come today, or roll-back to version 0.14.2.
The fix is very simple. Navigate to where you have NMM installed (the default location is C:Program FilesNexus Mod Manager), copy the "data" folder from inside the Nexus Mod Manager directory, go back one folder (to C:Program Files) and paste the data folder inside the Program Files directory. NMM should now start, load, and work. If it doesn't then I'm afraid you have a different problem, and one that has likely been in NMM since before this version.
When a hotfix gets released for version 0.15.0 you'll be safe to remove the copied data folder from your Program Files directory.
Many apologies for the program breaking bug, but everyone involved has been scrambling and putting in ludicrous hours (especially wrinklyninja, who deserves your thanks) to get this problem sorted for you as quickly as humanly possible.
It is with great pleasure that I announce that we are now supporting the Mount & Blade series of games at Mount & Blade Nexus.
The Mount & Blade series of games are unlike any game you'll have played and I'm a huge fan, in spite of the fact I've never quite been able to finish a campaign of either of the three games; Mount & Blade, Warband and With Fire & Sword despite pumping in over 50 hours of play time to each. If you've never heard of the Mount & Blade series, picture Civilization or Total War style castle building and world-map domination mixed with a first/third-person combat system that is second-to-none, with the real kicker being huge battles and excellent mounted horse combat.
You travel the world map in the name of your king (or in your own name if you wish in Warband), defeating rival faction warlords or sieging forts and castles until you are the last faction standing. The graphics aren't amazing compared to some recent releases (the Mount & Blade series is by no means old and dated, mind) but what it lacks in crazy video card killing graphics it more than makes up for in huge battles, gameplay and scope. So while in Skyrim your PC will start to die horribly with more than a few fighting NPCs on the screen at any one time, Mount & Blade will throw 200 horse-riding bandits at you without breaking a sweat. Trust me, after the first 30 minutes you won't care at all about the looks!
The Mount & Blade complete pack can be purchased from Steam (and other places) for £34.99, which I assume will be $49.99 for our friends across the pond. Alternatively and controversially, if you're a bit stumped for cash right now then Mount & Blade: Warband is £19.99 on Steam. I think you'll find most in the M&B community would recommend you play Warband first, and move on to With Fire and Sword if you're looking for something a bit new (which you won't want to do any time soon!). Warband is everything the original Mount & Blade was, but better, and with multiplayer if you wish!
The Mount & Blade series has a dedicated modding scene with over 2,500 modifications to boot. I have merged the prominent community modding site, MBRepository, in to the Mount & Blade Nexus database so that all files available on the Repository are available here on the Nexus too. This was, of course, done with the blessing of the owner of MBRepository, Janus.
If you're starting to tire of Skyrim, or if you're looking for something new in your gaming life then I recommend you get your teeth in to Mount & Blade, there's literally hundreds of hours of fun to be had in the vanilla games, and then hundreds more to be had within the already mature modding community. And all the mods will be here, at Mount & Blade Nexus.
Over the past month Axel and I have been secretly working away on a side project to upgrade and improve our file server infrastructure, primarily to make us future proof and increase the storage capacity of all our file servers, but also to ensure we have more than enough bandwidth to go around.
If you're particularly astute, you may have noticed that some servers have gone missing from the server selection window for days or even weeks at a time, and new servers have cropped up (for instance we now have 2 servers in Washington DC, and 2 servers in London). We've been taking down servers for upgrades and putting up new ones to bolster the ranks. And the reason? We're now pushing over 1.8Gbit of traffic a second across our network. Here's some maths:
1.8Gbit a second = 230 MegaBytes a second
230MB x 60 = 13.8 GigaBytes a minute
12.8GB x 60 = 828GB an hour
828GB x 24 = 19.9 TeraBytes a day
19.9TB x 30 = 597TB a month
Our upgrades are now complete and a direct result of these upgrades is that I am going to be doubling the speed cap on downloads for normal members from 500kb/sec to 1MB/sec. This will apply to both "manual" downloads and downloads through the Nexus Mod Manager. Expect this to happen some time next week.
We're very close to announcing the new site code going in to beta (any hour/day now!), which is something I've alluded to recently in the news and my recent State of the Union video blog. The beta and subsequent roll-out of this code is the spring-board for us to roll out a host of additional features and upgrades for the sites, so this is a really exciting time for us.
Axel is currently working on a new download mechanism for manual downloads that will do away with the server selection window and provide you with the best file server for downloading at the time. It should save you a few clicks and a bit of waiting around for your download to start. But more on that later.
Keep your eye out for the beta announcement as we're hoping as many of you as possible will take some time out of your busy schedule to make sure the sites are as bug free as possible before we go live. I want no complaints if we roll out the new code and things you use are broken because you didn't help us beta test!
Over the past few months the uptake of our Nexus Mod Manager beta has been tremendous, with now close to 350,000 users of the software. I would like to continue expanding and improving the Nexus Mod Manager and it's features while also improving the stability of the software and ensuring that as many people as possible who want to use the software, can use the software. With that in mind I am opening up a new employee position at the Nexus for a dedicated .NET/C# programmer to work on NMM, and similar utilities for the Nexus sites.
It will be the duty of the .NET developer to continue improving and expanding the scope of the Nexus Mod Manager while working on fixing bugs and stability issues with the current code.
If you are an experienced .NET programmer with at least 3 years of experience and are looking for a job, please head over to the job page for more information. Be sure to send in a CV and previous examples of your work to the email address provided.
A couple of months back I uploaded my first video blog for the Nexus sites, partly to save my hands from writing out the typically 2,000 - 4,000 work essay blogs I used to write, and also so you could see what I look like and see my mannerisms when I expressed my opinions. I said I would do some more if they were well received and I had the time, and today I've finally gotten around to doing another.
Today's video blog takes on the roll of a "State of the Union" type address. I cover the recent release of Steam Workshop and how it has affected the community and the Nexus sites, what we've been up to recently and what we'll be working on in the not too distant future.
While I had set out to make this video shorter than the last one I still managed to talk for 30 minutes without even realising it (my teachers always used to say I suffered from verbal diarrhea) so if you're only interested in a specific subject I'm talking about then take a look at the times in the contents list below:
1. Prologue, introduction to the video (0:00)
2. A talk on Steam Workshop and it's effect on the Nexus/the community (1:05)
3. What we've been up to at the Nexus in the past few months (9:47)
4. The future and what we're going to be working on (12:25)
4.1 Point of contention #1 - only showing content to users that they actually care to see (14:57)
4.2 Point of contention #2 - increasing the visibility of mods past the first week (16:40)
4.3 Point of contention #3 - overhaul of the moderation system (23:00)
4.4 File uploading system overhaul (27:14)
4.5 The Nexus Mod Manager (28:40)
5. Finishing up (29:50)
If you're the sort of person who likes listening to podcasts, or would simply prefer an MP3 to listen to on a portable device or on your PC rather than listening to the YouTube video, then I have uploaded the audio from the video blog here for you to download.
The Nexus Mod Manager recently passed the 300,000 unique downloads mark, which means that at least 300,000 of you are helping us to beta test the latest version of NMM. We've still got so much left to do with NMM, and I'm currently trying to see if I can squeeze enough out of the Nexus site budget to get a programmer on full-time to work on making NMM as stable and feature rich as possible. That's my hope (and if you're a C# programmer living in the UK, let me know!).
While I can't program in OOP languages to save my life, what I can do is documentation. A couple of weeks back I asked well known mod video blogger and Nexus member Gopher if he would be willing to create a video tutorial for people who were new to NMM. If you're not in the know, Gopher has a popular following of YouTubers who tune in to the regular mod review videos he publishes on his YouTube channel. I highly recommend them!
The video is now available and takes you through everything from downloading and installing NMM, getting it to work with FOMM to installing mods, managing mods and updating mods. It runs at 34 minutes, and I know some of you have ADD (among other things) and might not be able to sit still for 34 minutes, so I've taken the liberty of making a Wiki page that details what is in the video under specific headings, along with time links to the specific time in the YouTube video. So if you're only interested in learning about one area, you don't need to watch the whole thing to find it.
On the subject of the Wiki, the Wiki now has it's own NMM category and I've begun the long process of adding pages to the Wiki specifically for the Nexus Mod Manager. The hope is that in the not too distant future it will cover everything from the simple basics, to the really technical stuff like how to make those really cool scripted installers that make NMM really handy to have. Remember that you can help with publishing Wiki articles, and if you're serious about helping out then get in contact with me, I can help you learn the ropes of the Wiki (if you've never done wiki articles before) and maybe sort you out with a little Premium time for your troubles.
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