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  • 15 October 2012

    Download system overhauled on site and in NMM

    posted by Dark0ne Site News
    Hotfix update (23:30 GMT, 15th Oct)

    We've uploaded a hotfix to NMM tonight that fixes an issue with the Download Manager window going missing for some people. At first we thought it might be limited to a small number of users who had moved their download manager out of sight in previous builds of NMM but it became apparent that this was affecting a large number of people. As this bug was confusing some users who thought we'd removed the download manager completely and just left you with a small download bar at the bottom of NMM we thought releasing a hot fix would be prudent. In the future, if windows or tabs go missing in NMM at any point go to "Tools" then "Reset UI" and you'll go back to the default NMM view and everything will be back to normal.

    Sorry for the inconvenience of having to download another build. We internally test every build of NMM we release across multiple different computer setups before we put it live on the site and this bug didn't show on any of our tests. Guess it's good that NMM is still considered as "in Beta"! :)



    Original news:

    I’m pleased to announce that with the release of version 0.30.1 NMM will now work with our new download system that was described in one of my previous news posts.

    QUOTE
    With the new download system your downloads are balanced across our entire file server network (currently 10 file servers). Non-premium members are capped at a download speed of 1MB/second (8mbit) across all their downloads. If you download 1 file, you'll be able to download at a maximum of 1MB/second. If you download 2 files, you'll download at 500kb/second for each file. 4 downloads would be 250kb/sec per file. And so on and so forth. Premium members are obviously uncapped and will be able to download as fast as their connections allow. We've also added another Premium-only download server in the US for their use.


    We’ve made changes to how the Download Manager part of NMM works and also what it shows. Hopefully you’ll find the new columns available within the download manager far more intuitive than before as we’ve done away with the whole “step” system and made it more like a standard download manager. You can now more easily see how your downloads are progressing and how long they’ll take to download at current speeds.

    Perhaps the only thing that needs explaining now is the “threads” column. Threads are how many separate download processes NMM is using for each of your downloads. When you download a file NMM splits the file in to smaller chunks to make things easier. It also means if your download fails for any reason NMM can resume from the previous chunk without you having to download all the way from the start of the file again. If you’re a Premium Member NMM can download multiple chunks at once, which works to speed up your file downloads and ensure you’re downloading as fast as your connection allows. If you can only download from a file server at 400kb/sec (because, for example, the file server is physically far away from your location) then downloading a single file with multiple threads will allow you to download at multiples of 400kb/sec, depending on how many threads NMM uses. 4 threads would be 1,600kb/second, for example. For normal members this is always limited to 1 thread. For Premium Members this is set to default at 4, but we’ll give you the choice to lower or raise that amount within NMM soon. And just to note: threads also apply to downloading manually through the site, so if you're a Premium Member who doesn't use NMM, compatible download managers should make use of multiple threads as well.

    If you’re wondering why we show you the thread column if you’re a normal member it’s because I like the idea of you at least knowing what Premium Membership can give you. If you can’t afford it or you just don’t want to support the Nexus sites then that’s absolutely fine, but Premium Membership directly funds our work on NMM and the Nexus sites, so the more people I can tempt to become one the better! With that in mind, you’ll now find a new download bar at the bottom of NMM that will show different views depending on whether you’re a Premium Member or not. As previously mentioned, normal members are limited to downloading at a maximum of 1024kb/sec across the Nexus Sites. NMM will now show you how much of your total allowance you are currently using. If the progress bar is in the red, you know you’re using up most of your download speed allowance and Premium Membership might benefit you. If you’re a Premium Member, NMM will show you your total download speed and the percentage progress of your file downloads.

    Premium Member or not we’ve worked very hard on not only improving the stability and reliability of downloading through the sites via both mediums (browser and NMM) but we’ve also enabled download manager and pause/resume capabilities for all members. On-top of that, NMM has built in error checking and retry capabilities now. If for whatever reason a file download isn’t working NMM will automatically attempt to retry your download over the course of a minute. If you get any errors now that require you to manually resume a download, or make you unable to download a file at all, it’s probably quite a serious one (like the server being down, or the file being missing for some reason) and will need to be reported.

    This update to the site has taken about 10 times longer than we originally estimated it would (we thought it would take 2 weeks, it’s taken 25 weeks...) but we wanted to do it right, and at this point we’re quite happy with what we’ve done. We’ve tried to test it as extensively as possible but we can’t stress test it without putting it live for everyone to use. Our fingers are crossed that nothing major comes up because I know I’m tired of talking about downloads, as are Axel and DuskDweller, and we’re ready to move on to other features that have been waiting a long time due to the delays we’ve had with the downloads. If you do come across any problems please keep us posted in our tracker, but if you’re also noticing an improvement feel free to throw your praise at us in the comments, it’d be good to know we’ve got it right!
  • 08 October 2012

    XCOM Nexus Launched

    posted by Dark0ne Game News
    It is with great pleasure that I announce the launch of XCOM Nexus ready in time for the release of XCOM – Enemy Unknown this week (Tuesday in America, Friday in most other places).

    If somehow you’re not aware, the X-COM series of games are considered massive cult classics with a whole wealth of depth that has never been replicated in the 15 years since the last proper game was released in the series. You play as the commander of a top secret agency tasked with protecting the world from an unknown extraterrestrial enemy who have an overwhelming technological superiority. Your job is to found bases, research and develop technology you find in the field and engage the enemy threat both in the air and on the ground, as you down UFOs and then go to the crash-site with a crack-squad of soldiers tasked with clearing the UFO area of enemies and recovering any salvageable technology.

    Creating a Nexus site for XCOM – Enemy Unknown marks a shift in general policy for Nexus sites, not only because I’m launching the site before the release of the game but also because there’s been no announcement from Firaxis or 2K Games on the modding potential of the game and whether they’ll be supporting it with any modding tools. However, the original X-COM – Enemy Unknown and especially X-COM Apocalypse were some of, if not my favourite games of all time. Indeed, X-COM Apocalypse has been listed as my favourite game on my profile page since moving the Nexus forums over to Invision Board back in 2004 so to say I’m excited about this game would be an understatement.

    I’d like to give the modding community as much support as possible, and early indication from the XCOM demo (available on Steam) seems to suggest that the game will at least be open to some forms of modification with or without a SDK. To that end I want to throw my support behind the people who are going to try their hardest to mod the game and help in establishing a modding community for it. Hopefully with enough support we can get the developers of the game, Firaxis, to help us out with a toolset. Typically Firaxis (known for the Civilization series of games) have been supportive of their modding communities in the past so there’s no reason to believe they won’t be this time around. If it becomes clear that the modding potential is very low and things don’t take off then it will be no harm, no foul, but it’s important to at least try and support the community as much as possible however I can.

    The official XCOM forums are still confined to a single forum at the time of writing this news post and this is stifling a lot of the modding talk that is taking place there. 2K have promised to create some extra forums any day now, but whether they’ll include a place to talk about modding without getting swamped by posts about other miscellaneous topics is unknown. To that end I invite you to join us on our XCOM forums where things are at a just-launched quiet at the moment. I know lots of folks on the official forums have been talking about the types of mods they’d like to see and how far down the line it’s likely we’ll get to see them.

    Once the game is globally launched and we’ve had some time to play it through and dissect the game’s setup I’m sure we’ll have a much better understanding of what will and will not be possible, as well as whether we can get it setup and supported in the Nexus Mod Manager. Until then, I’ll be bringing you as much news as possible as and when I get it, and we can still talk about the game in the XCOM section of our forums and share our screenshots from the game in the Image Share section .

    Fingers crossed for an open, moddable game!
  • 06 October 2012

    Obsidian commit to mod support and the Nexus for Project Eternity

    posted by Dark0ne Site News
    If you haven’t got your head close to the ground when it comes to gaming news you might not know that RPG developers Obsidian, famous for Fallout New Vegas, Neverwinter Nights 2 and Knights of the Old Republic 2, have been raising funds via Kickstarter for a completely new IP they’ve dubbed Project Eternity.

    Project Eternity is an isometric, party-based RPG much akin to some of the best RPGs ever made such as Baldur’s Gate, Icewind Dale and Planescape Torment. If you liked those games, or you liked Dragon Age, it’s safe to say you’re going to really like Project Eternity.

    The great news is they’ve already smashed the hell out of the total they were looking for at $1.1m and are currently sat at $2.3m with 10 days left to go for the fundraising. However, this doesn’t mean your money isn’t necessary and can’t be put to good use, and their latest project update has given you an even bigger reason to back Obsidian with your hard-earned cash.

    QUOTE
    From Neverwinter Nights 2 to Fallout: New Vegas, we've enjoyed supporting the mod community, and we are continuing that with Project Eternity. It is awesome to see how you extend the worlds we make.

    To make getting mods easy, we are excited to announce that our friends at the Nexus will be the official spot to download Project Eternity mods once the game is released. They have been a great host for mods for our past games, and we want to continue the trend with the Project Eternity Nexus. Check out the Nexus Network at www.nexusmods.com.

    Our plan is to release our file-format information and expose as much of the data in the game as possible for you to extend and edit. We traditionally do not "hard-code" numbers so that our designers, and you, have the power to easily change and iterate on RPG data. We also plan on releasing localization tools to let communities around the world create localized versions for languages we are not translating Project Eternity into.

    As we get more familiar with Unity during production, we will be extending Project Eternity even more for mod makers. Look forward to announcements in the months ahead as we make further progress and can provide you with more information about tools and mod support.


    I’m proud and honoured to be asked to support the modding community by Obsidian themselves, and will happily commit to the creation of a Project Eternity Nexus.

    Kickstarter has created a small revolution in the gaming industry recently by enabling talented individuals and studios to fund some great projects without the hassle of needing backing from over-bearing and demanding game publishers. How many triple A titles have come out recently without mod support that would and could have been better with modding tools? (The answer is all of them). While the ins-and-outs of why developers don’t pay more attention to modding are quite complex, I think it’s pretty safe to say that a major reason is that publishers just don’t want developers commiting to them. Too much time and too much effort for no tangible figures that can be put on to an accountant’s spreadsheet. You and I know the worth of the modding community, but try explaining it to the man with the money. That’s why it’s important that when these projects come around (and more and more are cropping up) that you try to support them however you can.

    Obsidian have come out extremely early in their development process in support of the modding community. They’ve committed to making their game as open as possible for modders and really want to release an SDK for the game as well, so long as they can wrap their head around the Unity engine (which I don’t doubt they will!). And I think that’s great.

    Frankly, I see Kickstarter as a pre-order service for my games and right now you can pre-order Project Eternity for the gob-smackingly low price of just $25. I assume it’s going to retail for a lot more than that, so if you’ve got the funds then consider helping Obsidian out and pre-ordering now. And heck, they’ve got price points all the way up to $10,000 with a myriad of different perks for backers, so check it out.
  • 20 September 2012

    IGN List of 100 Best RPGs

    posted by Lingwei Game News
    IGN has created a new list of the greatest 100 computer RPGs.

    A number of Nexus website games made the list:

    Skyrim #7
    Fallout 3 #10
    Oblivion #22
    Neverwinter Nights #31
    Morrowind #32
    The Witcher 2 #78
    Fallout New Vegas #89

    Related games for comparison:

    Fallout 2 #28
    Fallout #34

    The Witcher and Dragon Age didn't make it.

    Planescape Torment was the highest ranking "old school" RPG at #13.

    Read the full list at IGN. Spotted at NMA.
  • 19 September 2012

    Announcing Dark Souls Nexus Launched

    posted by Dark0ne Site News
    Hot on the tails of our new Grimrock Nexus site we’ve got another special treat for you. It’s my pleasure to announce the launch of Dark Souls Nexus for Dark Souls: Prepare to Die edition.

    For those living under a rock for the past few months I’ll break it down a little. Dark Souls was (originally) a dark-fantasy console-only RPG that is well known for being quite difficult but particularly rewarding for players. It was so popular that the PC gaming community petitioned for a PC version of the game. In the end the petition received over 90,000 signatures, so the developers got on board with the idea and released Dark Souls: Prepare to Die edition for the PC. Some players have been quick to criticise the direct port of the game lacking certain PC comforts, but developers FromSoftware were always very candid in mentioning that the Prepare to Die edition would be an almost direct port, so if you’re one of those complaining; stop! I think the best way to put it would be “perhaps the worst port going, but still the best game this year”.

    While the game hasn’t been without its fair share of issues, the PC gaming community has been quick to take on the task of getting it up to scratch (one of the many beauties of the PC as a gaming platform, I’m sure you’ll agree) and many programmers and modders have been working away at the game to see what they can do to make things better. And boy have they worked hard.

    While several great utilities have been released to make PC gamer’s lives easier within Dark Souls, the cream of the crop has got to be Durante’s DSfix tools. DSfix provides many customisable options, including changing the game’s internal rendering resolution past the embarrassingly tiny 1024x720 defaults, depth of field changes, HUD customisations, save game backups, but most importantly for modders, texture over-rides.

    Using DSfix with texture overriding enabled allows users to find, modify and change pretty much any of the textures used within the game. It also allows users to share these modifications with others. And that’s what Dark Souls Nexus is here to help with. While texture overriding isn’t like having a full SDK or editor to play with, it’s a great start, and heck, even if that’s the only modable thing the clever-clog programmers like Durante can get out of the game then it’s much better than nothing. Durante has kindly agreed to keep us posted on his work on DSfix as a news writer here at Dark Souls Nexus, and I’m pretty sure he’s going to be getting an initial piece up about what DSfix currently can and can’t do in regards to modding some point soon. So keep your eyes peeled for that.

    Thanks to the great Reddit community and the quick action of some of the users on the site there’s already a flourish of modding activity going on for Dark Souls over in the DarkSoulsMods section, all pretty much revolving around DSfix. Some have come to the Nexus forums to see if a Dark Souls Nexus might be possible, and I’ve been monitoring the situation for a little while now. What I’ve seen being done and worked on with what little resources have been provided from the developers has really made me want to help out in any way I can. The Dark Souls modders deserve a decent modding community to get behind them, and I’m here to try and kick it up a gear.

    With that in mind I’ve tried to contact as many mod authors as I could find on Reddit to see if they’d be interested in getting their work up on Dark Souls Nexus before I launched the site. Their response has been fantastic and I’m really pleased to say there are already a good handful of mods available for the game. If you’ve created some new textures or utilities for the game then please come and share them with the rest of us, and sorry if I didn’t catch you on Reddit.

    Because DSfix is required to enable modding in Dark Souls it does present a small barrier to entry for newcomers to modding. Having said that, we are currently working on getting Dark Souls supported in our Nexus Mod Manager that will enable the easy one-click installing of mods. It will still require DSfix to work, but we’re going to build some checks in to NMM to ensure you’re all set to go. If you haven’t got DSfix, or you haven’t setup your ini properly for modding, NMM will tell you. So that should hopefully help out a few people. In the mean-time, if you want to get in to modding your Dark Souls game then head on over to the DSfix page here on the Nexus, download and install it and then check out willypiggy’s tutorial video on how to get your DSfix setup and ready for modding. You’ll need to do this for mods to work in your game.

    If you’re reading this news and you’re an RPG fanatic but haven’t looked in to Dark Souls: Prepare to Die then get on it. If you can get around the slightly disappointing obvious console port feel to the game you will honestly find it one of the deepest, darkest and challenging RPGs you’ve ever played. Just a word of warning however, it’s not called “Prepare to Die” for nothing.
  • 12 September 2012

    Announcing Legends of Grimrock Nexus

    It is with great pleasure that I announce the launch of the newest Nexus website, Legends of Grimrock Nexus, through my proxy, Axel.

    Legends of Grimrock is a great throwback to the era of Dungeon Master style games, where you control a party of up to four characters and delve into the mysteries and puzzles of dungeons. For those of you who aren’t aware of Legends of Grimrock, here’s some of the blurb from the official site:

    “Legend of Grimrock is a dungeon crawling role playing game with an oldschool heart but a modern execution. A group of prisoners are sentenced to certain death by exiling them to the secluded Mount Grimrock for vile crimes they may or may not have committed. Unbeknownst to their captors, the mountain is riddled with ancient tunnels, dungeons and tombs built by crumbled civilizations long perished now. If they ever wish to see daylight again and reclaim their freedom the ragtag group of prisoners must form a team and descend through the mountain, level by level.”

    Legends of Grimrock is available for $14.99 right now from multiple different digital distributers, including Steam, GOG.com and Gamers Gate.

    The developers, Almost Human, are due to launch their modding tools that allows users to easily create their own dungeons and items for the game and share them with others very soon. Almost Human have also kindly given us access to the closed beta and versions of the game so that we could quickly set up a Nexus site and integrate the game in to our Nexus Mod Manager (NMM). If you’re new to the Nexus, NMM is our very simple to use mod management software that allows you to one-click install mods directly from the site and on to your computer, with no need to fuss about with zip files and folder placements. The latest version of NMM, available now, is fully compatible with Legends of Grimrock.

    At the moment the Grimrock Nexus site is quite bare as we’ve only just launched, and the open beta for the modding kit has only just started. I will be working closely with the Grimrock modding community to get the site up to scratch as soon as possible and ensure we can provide the very best and most feature rich service for all the mod authors out there. If there’s anything you think the site needs, just let me know.

    PS. sorry I couldn’t do this in person, I’m currently travelling until the end of the week so have sporadic internet. I’m around all week for Nexus work, though :)
  • 07 September 2012

    11th birthday, 1 million NMM unique downloads, and a download overhaul

    posted by Dark0ne Site News
    We've passed a few milestones over the past couple of weeks so I thought that now would be a great time to announce them along with a belated birthday present for the sites.

    August marked the 11th birthday of the Nexus sites in its varying forms. From Morrowind Chronicles, to Morrowind Source, TESSource and Skyrim Nexus and everything in between these sites have been up and running for over 11 years now. I've said it before and I'll say it again; the principle goal when I first started hosting mods for Morrowind back in 2003 (before that Morrowind Chronicles was a Morrowind fansite and forum community) was to provide a modder's resource that people could rely on to still be up in the future. 2002-2004 was a turbulent time in the Elder Scrolls modding community as many mod hosts failed to keep up with demand (Morrowind Files, EuroMorrowing, Morrowind Mods et al) so I really wanted to provide a resource that mod authors could trust to stick around. I stuck in there, despite people telling me that the NewsCorp funded FilePlanet would always outlast whatever I did (ironic, no?) and I think I've realised that goal.

    As if fate smiled upon the birthday we also reached a milestone of over 1 million unique downloads for the Nexus Mod Manager. We launched the Nexus Mod Manager last year, on the 15th of November, so we've managed to hit over 1 million downloads in just over 9 months. It's a great achievement and one I'm really proud of. I'm happy so many people are enjoying and making use of what we've managed to get out there, and we've got lots in store. Happy Birthday to the Nexus.

    Our timing has been a little off, and it's taken us a bit longer than anticipated, but we're very close to finalising our work on the new download mechanism for the sites and for NMM. Some people have been reporting some sporadic issues when downloading from the sites or through NMM and we're hoping that this new system will sort that out.

    When we set out planning the new download system we wanted to release something that would benefit both normal members and Premium Members alike and we think we've got it right. Premium Members are the life-blood of these sites and without them we could not afford our mounting expenses (currently at $25,000/month and growing monthly), so I'm always glad when we can add something to the Premium experience.

    With the new download system your downloads are balanced across our entire file server network (currently 10 file servers). Non-premium members are capped at a download speed of 1MB/second (8mbit) across all their downloads. If you download 1 file, you'll be able to download at a maximum of 1MB/second. If you download 2 files, you'll download at 500kb/second for each file. 4 downloads would be 250kb/sec per file. And so on and so forth. Premium members are obviously uncapped and will be able to download as fast as their connections allow. We've also added another Premium-only download server in the US for their use.

    All downloads have been opened up to download manager support, or even simple pause/resume functionality using the built in browser download mediums whether you're a Premium Member or not. This will now *fingers crossed* mean that if you get cut-off or the server drops half way through your download you'll be able to resume it from where you left off. If you're not a premium member you'll still be limited to 1MB/sec download speeds and you'll only be allowed to download 1 chunk per file, even if you use a download manager, but you'll have greater control over your downloads. Premium Members will be able to download files using multiple chunks/threads per file, even on the non-Premium-only servers, and thus get speeds as fast as possible. We still highly recommend using DownThemAll! if you're a FireFox user as this is the download manager that requires the least fuss when used in conjunction with the Nexus. We've also tested the system with GetRight and can confirm it works, but it requires a couple of settings tweaks which we'll write a tutorial for in due time.

    Over the coming weeks we'll be updating the Nexus Mod Manager to take in to account these new download changes and we'll try to make it as obvious as possible in the download manager how fast you're downloading and whether you're hitting your download speed limits. The hope is to entice some of you to part with your hard-earned cash to help us out a little; not just with the server expenses but with bringing on more professional help to make these sites the best they can be. We've got 3 people working full-time on the sites now. 2 on the sites, 1 on NMM. And we'd like more. I'd never jeopardise the future of the sites by overspending, however, so can only get more people on-board if the cash flow is right.
  • 08 August 2012

    Site issues since Dawnguard

    posted by Dark0ne Game News

    Hi folks,

    I thought I’d jump on real quick and fire off a news update on the sites. As is my way, I’ll start off with some self-defensive history.

    Roll-back to a few weeks ago and the one month XBox exclusivity on Dawnguard, the first Skyrim add-on/expansion/whatever you want to call it, was due to expire. Many expected Bethesda would release it for the PC there and then. But they didn’t. In fact, Pete Hines coyly came out and said “We have not announced Dawnguard for any other platform, nor given any timeline for any such news. If we have any news, i promise i'd tell you”. So Dawnguard was an unknown.

    Around this time of the year I tend to take a trip to Zakynthos in Greece with old housemates and past university friends. I’ve done so for the past 4 years now, so when they said they were going again this year I left it to the last minute to decide if I would go. With Dawnguard’s release up in the air, I booked my tickets and went and had a merry old time (thanks for asking), with my middle finger in the air to Dawnguard until I returned. Then Dawnguard middle-fingered me back :(

    Without so much of a whisper, Bethesda released Dawnguard on Steam 4 or 5 days ago and lots of people who’d moved on from Skyrim came back, and they were hungry to see what mods had been made in their absence. And that’s when the problems hit. Not only was I away on holiday, but we were literally half-way through rolling out our new download system, so it was a bit like Bethesda pulling our pants down in gym class without knowing we were going commando that day. No fault of their own, of course, it’s the wacky world of Bethesda PR and they’ll do things how they want, and I won’t begrudge them that. However it meant that we had a huge 30% influx in traffic smashing the hell out of our download and database servers whilst we were half way through bringing out a piece of non stress-tested new code. The servers went parp, I went parp, and I also got hit with a nice $5,000 bandwidth overage bill to boot as well. We pushed over 1200 TB of bandwidth last month. I had to look up what 1000 terabytes is. Apparently it’s a Petabyte. New Nexus record, anyway!

    So it’s been all hands on deck since then. I returned home about 2 hours ago after a flight back through the night, on zero sleep, and I’ll get this fixed as soon as possible. I’ve responded to a lot of the emails (especially to premium members having problems) but please understand, I’ve got about 3,000 unread messages from the past 2 weeks so if you don’t get a response to your “Why doesn’t it work” email, it’s because I’ve got about 2,000 more of the same email from other people! I’ve just sent in a request for an additional 2 US file servers to lighten the load on these, increase the download speeds and hopefully stop any of the connectivity issues that have plagued the servers in the past 5 days. The coders are busy working on tweaking everything as best they can.

    The new download system is taking a back seat for the time being until we can get things back to decent functionality again. I’ll cover what we’re doing in more detail soon, but in a nut-shell normal members are going to get download manager support but the total capped bandwidth will remain, premium members will be able to multi-thread their downloads and hopefully, if all goes to plan, maximise their full internet connection speed to download files much better than before. And NMM will do it all for you, if you use NMM.

    Anyway, better get back to sorting all this mess out!
  • 08 August 2012

    Site issues since Dawnguard

    posted by Dark0ne Site News
    Hi folks,

    I thought I’d jump on real quick and fire off a news update on the sites. As is my way, I’ll start off with some self-defensive history.

    Roll-back to a few weeks ago and the one month XBox exclusivity on Dawnguard, the first Skyrim add-on/expansion/whatever you want to call it, was due to expire. Many expected Bethesda would release it for the PC there and then. But they didn’t. In fact, Pete Hines coyly came out and said “We have not announced Dawnguard for any other platform, nor given any timeline for any such news. If we have any news, i promise i'd tell you”. So Dawnguard was an unknown.

    Around this time of the year I tend to take a trip to Zakynthos in Greece with old housemates and past university friends. I’ve done so for the past 4 years now, so when they said they were going again this year I left it to the last minute to decide if I would go. With Dawnguard’s release up in the air, I booked my tickets and went and had a merry old time (thanks for asking), with my middle finger in the air to Dawnguard until I returned. Then Dawnguard middle-fingered me back :(

    Without so much of a whisper, Bethesda released Dawnguard on Steam 4 or 5 days ago and lots of people who’d moved on from Skyrim came back, and they were hungry to see what mods had been made in their absence. And that’s when the problems hit. Not only was I away on holiday, but we were literally half-way through rolling out our new download system, so it was a bit like Bethesda pulling our pants down in gym class without knowing we were going commando that day. No fault of their own, of course, it’s the wacky world of Bethesda PR and they’ll do things how they want, and I won’t begrudge them that. However it meant that we had a huge 30% influx in traffic smashing the hell out of our download and database servers whilst we were half way through bringing out a piece of non stress-tested new code. The servers went parp, I went parp, and I also got hit with a nice $5,000 bandwidth overage bill to boot as well. We pushed over 1200 TB of bandwidth last month. I had to look up what 1000 terabytes is. Apparently it’s a Petabyte. New Nexus record, anyway!

    So it’s been all hands on deck since then. I returned home about 2 hours ago after a flight back through the night, on zero sleep, and I’ll get this fixed as soon as possible. I’ve responded to a lot of the emails (especially to premium members having problems) but please understand, I’ve got about 3,000 unread messages from the past 2 weeks so if you don’t get a response to your “Why doesn’t it work” email, it’s because I’ve got about 2,000 more of the same email from other people! I’ve just sent in a request for an additional 2 US file servers to lighten the load on these, increase the download speeds and hopefully stop any of the connectivity issues that have plagued the servers in the past 5 days. The coders are busy working on tweaking everything as best they can.

    The new download system is taking a back seat for the time being until we can get things back to decent functionality again. I’ll cover what we’re doing in more detail soon, but in a nut-shell, normal members are going to get download manager support but the total capped bandwidth will remain, premium members will be able to multi-thread their downloads and hopefully, if all goes to plan, maximise their full internet connection speed to download files much better than before. And NMM will do it all for you, if you use NMM.

    Anyway, better get back to sorting all this mess out!
  • 06 July 2012

    New Site Index - Day 3

    posted by Dark0ne Site News
    A few days ago we finished rolling our preliminary new index page, complete with feeds. Since then we’ve been carefully combing through the feedback that didn’t contain threats on our lives or the use of pitchforks, fire-lit torches or tinfoil hats and we’ve been gradually working to improve the features on offer. I thought, on day 3, I’d share some of the updates and improvements we’ve made since first rolling out the new index page and just let you know that we’re still working on it and taking on-board constructive feedback.

    The change log up until now:

    • Moved the Hot Files thumbnails from the right nav to underneath the large hot files image, where it was before. Expanded the width to take up the entire content area to ensure we can fit the new 6 hot files, up from the original 5
    • Added left and right arrows that allow you to move the hot files image to the previous or next file in the list
    • Removed the tool-tip to the right of the "Your feeds" heading and replaced it with a link to your feed preferences to make it more obvious you can actually manipulate the feeds to some extent
    • Site news is now the default feed for people who haven't set a default
    • You can now disable your activity feed on your profile within your preferences
    • Increased the font size to make it more readable in most areas
    • Large images posted in file news articles are now scaled down in the File news tab to ensure they don't take up too much space (this will not affect the actually news article itself)
    • Fixed an issue with the file news article likes that meant you could like an article an unlimited amount of times
    • Changed the Latest Files and Latest images so that they show three in a row, and 15 per page
    • Entries in the Latest files and Latest Images now show how long it has been since the file has been added to the site
    • The "more" button on the Latest Files and Latest Images tabs will now provide 15 more entries on the same page [note: we plan to update this so that it replaces the current 15 entries, rather than tacks another 15 on to the end. You'll then be able to scroll back and forth through the latest files and images without leaving the index]

    If you haven’t already I’d recommend you go to your preferences where you will find options to manipulate your feeds a bit more to your liking, and change your default feed preference. Don’t care about the activity feeds? That’s fine, change your default feed to Site News, Latest Files or Latest Images, depending on what you come here for, and you’ll get that every time you land on the site.

    As I said, we’re still very much working on this and appreciate the constructive (with emphasis on constructive) feedback we’ve been receiving.