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The top area of all the Nexus sites has been updated today. There's been some rearranging of the top menu, the title images have been spruced up a bit, some cliche gradients have been added for uber coolness and, yes, that's another advertisement I'm afraid.
A 728x90 leaderboard ad has been added to the top right of the site. I'm hoping the additional funds gained from the placement will help to secure the necessary money needed to support an additional site should Obsidian release an SDK for Fallout New Vegas as well as prepare myself for the nice £17,500 ($25,500) server bill (will rise to £23,300, or $33,750, if an additional site is needed) that's due at the start of next year to pay for the web servers for the year of 2011. Note that payment doesn't include the 4 file servers that use around 450mbit/sec of bandwidth, or 145TB of bandwidth each month that isn't cheap either!
With only an additional 45px of height real-estate used this shouldn't affect the people browsing on lower resolutions too much. I've tested all three sites in 1024x768 all the way to 1920x1200 in Chrome, FireFox and Internet Explorer. No plugins. Let me know if you're experiencing any graphical issues that you think aren't intentional.
Around 4am GMT this morning the download service on the site stopped working. My server provider was working on their infastructure around this time and managed to bring down the hard-drives that store all the files on the site.
Service is now back up and working again and I apologise for this issue. Thank you to the 300+ people who emailed me over the past 6 hours letting me know!
I don't normally do much news outside of modding because hey, I'm rubbish at it, ok? But after doing some browsing today there's word on the grape vine that Bethesda is gearing up for the announcement of a "secret" at E3 that starts in just over a week.
Now a new Elder Scrolls game wouldn't be a surprise. Since Fallout 3's release over 18 months ago Bethesda haven't announced any new projects in development in their own dev studios (just lots of publishing deals with their various partners). You can hardly have expected them to all be sat in their studios updating blogs all day inbetween Madden sessions with Todd. Maybe you can. But lets not forget that ZeniMax, owners of Bethesda, started an MMO division some two years ago and developed quite a talented pool of staff from some major MMO's.
If this is a Bethesda announcement then I'd assume this wouldn't be MMO related and with New Vegas close to launch I doubt they'd try and dent that game's publicity by annoucing another Fallout game so the logical conclusion would be an Elder Scrolls V announcement.
What I'd really love is a dual launch of both the Elder Scrolls V and an Elder Scrolls MMO. Launch ESV and then release [the] MMO a month later following on from the conclusion of ESV. Hook people in to buying both games as each is linked to the other. I understand the taboo that is MMO gaming, but I haven't played a proper MMO in years (I don't count EVE Online) and I for one would welcome an Elder Scrolls MMO so long as it didn't cut in to a single-player Elder Scrolls game launch.
Bethesda have always shrugged off talk of an Elder Scrolls MMO claiming single player games to be their forte and I doubt they'll have changed their focus now, but keep an eye out for that MMO announcement too.
Interesting times. Hopefully in 45 days time we'll have the announcement of the ESV, an Elder Scrolls MMO and England will be lifting the world cup again. I'm not sure which is least likely.
The old file servers have been replaced with new servers and updated hardware that should be able to much better handle the load from all you folks who like to download so much. Twin 600GB SAS drives in RAID 1 are now handling your file serving needs on 1gbit lines.
Lets see how this goes.
I am aware of an issue with the file servers at the moment that is seriously affecting file delivery for normal members.
One of the file servers has been throttled at 100mbit rather than 1gbit at the ISP for some reason this weekend and I'm in contact with them about getting it fixed. That's putting undue pressure on the other file servers and coupled with a particularly busy weekend (190,000 unique visitors yesterday and 250,000, so more than 2.2 visitor/downloads a second) has brought the file servers to their knees.
Please bear with me as I get this sorted as sundays aren't great days to get things fixed.
On a similar note I only found out about this problem due the volume of people signing up for Premium Membership to circumvent the issues. I was sat in the pub watching the Champions League final and checked my emails at half time only to notice an abnormal number of people signing up for membership but not one email or forum post telling me about a problem with the sites. As nice as it is for people to support the sites please understand you shouldn't have to pay to download files on this site and you should only have to become a Premium Member if you actually want to be one, not because you feel forced to. So please don't assume I know there's a problem with the site, especially with the downloads themselves as I rarely get a chance to play new mods these days!
I have just enabled a new member bar feature on the Nexus sites and the forums that is going to be running through beta over the next couple of days. Before I say anything let me waylay your initial gulp reaction after you first saw it; you haven't picked up a malware toolbar off the internet! This is legit ;)
The toolbar will display for any members that are logged in to the sites or the forums and it syncs with the forums. You can turn the bar off in your preferences area if you don't want to see it or use it, or by clicking the red "Turn off" icon on the bar.
So what is it? It's essentially a rip of the Facebook chat bar that many people will be familiar with from Facebook with a few twists and differences here and there. It will allow you to see all the people in your friend's list that are online and also talk to them personally, one-on-one, if you like. You can make yourself visible to your friends, offline to them or show them you're busy and unlikely to reply. The personal chat also has a few gimmicky features, like the ability to play games with your friends (I've already had a game of chess with helpful member katashy) or send them handwritten pictures like on MSN.
In a similar vein there are also chat rooms that you can join and chat to others in (it's the third icon from the left). I'm in the main room most of the time (I know that's not much of an incentive to join in...) and you can also make your own rooms and even make password protected rooms if you want to have a little group meeting with your modding buddies or something. A word of advice if you want to stick around in the chat rooms for a little while: if you browse around the sites while in the room it will log you out of the room each time you move pages so my protip of the day is to click the "popout" option. It will put the chat room in it's own window and then you can browse around the sites to your hearts content while chatting to me ;)
Aside from the chatting features there's an option to view the site's Facebook fan page or, for our non-english friends, a button that can translate all the text on the site to a language of their choice. I only speak English unfortunately so I can't vouch for how good the translation is but it looks pretty cool none-the-less.
This is all gimmicky stuff and I know some of the people who use the forums and actively engage in the community are really liking the new features but some of you aren't going to be interested. That's cool, just disable the bar in your preferences and you won't see it any more.
So have fun with the new features. It can be slow at times, and sometimes it can timeout so if you haven't received any messages you're expecting in a while then try refreshing your page and it should sort the problem. I'm going to be monitoring how it performs on the server(s) over the coming 24 hours and I'll work from there. Who knows, I might be able to modify the bar so it can inform you when a new mod has been uploaded to the site. Now that would be cool.
I have added a new reputation system to file and image comments on all the Nexus sites. This new system is a "plus or minus" system similar to the current rating system except that minus points can actually have consequences to the post. It is visible on all file and image comments to the right of the comment date.
If you like a post you plus rep it by clicking the thumbs up icon and the post will instantly gain a reputation point. If you don't like the post, if you think it's a troll post or didn't add to the discussion then you can neg (negative) rep the post using the thumbs down icon and it will instantly gain a negative reputation point.
If a post has -5 or less reputation then it will automatically be hidden from view and the only way for the post to be seen is for the user to specifically click to see the post. You can only give reputation to a post once (and you can't change your decision) and to avoid people going crazy and just repping everything and anything you can only give rep to 5 posts per 24 hours if you're a normal member and 10 posts per 24 hours if you're a supporter of the site.
Please note that this system should not replace the use of the "Report this comment" feature and if you think someone is trolling or breaking the rules then please report the post for the staff to take a look at it; the person might need to be hit with the ban stick. So hey, neg rep the post so others can't see the needless post and then report it just to make sure the staff see it and take some action.
This system is my first attempt at using AJAX, PHP and MySQL together for a seemless experience (no pop-up windows) so fingers crossed it's all working!
After reading through the feedback provided by the community on my last news post I decided to return to the confines of the private Nexus staff forums to listen to the council of my fellow staff members and discuss viable solutions. Today I've decided to go ahead with my plans and we'll see how it goes.
To start with I have created a new paid for member group known as a "Supporter". Supporters are either people who have paid a one-off fee of £1 to become a Supporter of the site or are past Premium Members whose subscription has expired. They're essentially a mini-Premium member with a few additional features over normal member accounts but with less features than a full Premium Member, Premium Members get these features and more.
Perhaps the most prolific of these features is the ability for Supporters to manage the comments of their own files and images. Supporters can remove any comments they desire from any member (except a staff member) who has posted on their file or image comment topic essentially making them the moderators of their own files and comments. This will be a welcome addition to any file owner on the site who doesn't like to turn the file comments off but likes to have control over what is said within their comment topics.
My plan is to further compound this functionality in the near future with a digg.com style "negative reputation" system to allow members to down-rate posts they believe to be in poor taste, or trolling, thus sending the post to the bottom of the pile, hiding it or deleting it entirely. Imagine someone posts on a great file that they think it's absolutely rubbish. An obvious troll post from an idiot. Five people read the file comments, they don't like that particular comment, and they each neg-rep it. That post then becomes hidden from view. That's the plan.
As well as comment moderation Supporters and Premium Members will now have access to a seperate Image Share section (it's on your right navigation bar under "Image Share (Sup)") that is just for them. This Image Share section has more relaxed terms and conditions, allowing nudity within the realms of legality and similar adult-only content that was recently disallowed from the main Image Share section. While I regret to add this Censorship to the main Image Share section this choice was mine to make and while I appreciate that a "behind closed doors" philosophy isn't great I am much more comfortable with this arrangement, as are the majority of the staff here.
The file database will remain unchanged and untouched.
Finally the private message storage capacity of Supporters has been increased from 100 to 500, inline with the Premium Members. Great for authors who receive a lot of communication via PM.
If people find any bugs then please send a report my way so I can take a look at it.
I'd like to take this time to announce some new spin-offs to the Nexus sites labeled Adult TESNexus, Adult Fallout 3 Nexus and Adult Dragon Age Nexus that are currently being developed. While these sites are not finished I'm announcing them now to gauge community response and receive feedback on what possible users would like to see from the sites. While I can't fulfill all requests I always learn a lot and get lots of great ideas for future site features from these sorts of feedback sessions.
As the name suggests the Adult Nexus sites will be for adults. Not necessarily for adult-only content but for adults in general. The idea is to create a more exclusive community in which those who wish to partake can enjoy the Nexus site structure with inebitably fewer and perhaps more mature people. Why would I want to create such a site? You'd be surprised how many people email and private message me saying how much they love the site but can't stand a lot of the idle public chatter, or the way some people talk, or the possibility of some trolling, or the whiners...the list goes on.
Adult Nexus sites will be a get away for people such as this who prefer smaller communities rather than larger ones. While this may sound elitist it definately isn't the aim and my main focus will always be on the main Nexus sites. However creating a small community network for those people who don't like being in the large hussle-bussle of the main Nexus sites has been something I've been pestered about for many years, back to the TESSource days.
Adult Nexus sites will be a pay-to-enter site at a one off fee of £1 (about $1.55). Paid once and only once via PayPal and perhaps a few other online payment gateways. Why is it pay-to-enter? Because a simple 'What is your date of birth' just isn't going to cut it. I need a realistic way of only allowing those in who have the highest chance of actually being adults and what better way than to require a credit or debit card? Yes, people younger than 18 can get debit cards but this seems the most logical and indeed most simple way of doing things. It also has the added bonus of adding an extra deterrent against trolls who want to ruin it for everyone. Premium members past and present will automatically be able to enter Adult Nexus sites and will not need to pay the one-off fee.
The fee isn't designed to put money in my pocket. Running some numbers if (what I consider to be rather unlikely) 1,000 people were to pay the fee it would only cover one half of the Nexus's monthly costs. Hopefully that should put things in perspective.Similarly there will be no advertising on the Adult sites; this is not a money chasing scheme.
What will be on the sites? Simply put they'll be trimmed down Nexus sites with a file database and an image share database. Some of the stuff that has been disallowed in the recent terms and conditions update will be allowed on the Adult Nexus sites. Pictures of nude characters will be allowed in the image share section but I'd like to stress that the intention isn't for the Adult sites just to be for risque content; users will be able to upload anything within the bounds of the terms of service (so still no paedophilia, necrophilia, bestiliaty and all the usual illegal stuff) but the terms will be much more relaxed for all the stuff still within the realms of legality.
The Image Share section has an added "Content" filter that will seperate pictures of male characters, female characers, pictures of both male and female characters or none of these. So if you like pictures of guys and just guys you can filter out all the other stuff and vice versa.
Image and file uploaders will gain the ability to remove comments on their own files and images on Adult Nexus sites, so uploaders will be their own moderators for their files. If things get out of hand then the moderators will be around to lend a swift swing of the hammer of justice but the idea is for the community to be a bit more exclusive and a bit more autonomous.
This is an interesting idea and something a bit new and different and I'm interested to hear people's response to this. But, please, for the love of all that's good in this world don't go off on a rant putting lots of words in my mouth without providing anything useful. If you don't like the idea then explain why you don't like the idea and provide me with actual alternatives; alternatives that don't involve people scanning-in their passport or drivers licenses and emailing them to me. If you like the idea then show your support and throw some crazy ideas out in the air for me to consider.
The Terms of Service for all Nexus sites and the forums have been updated today with some important changes to rules on file and image uploads and general etiquette.
A new section has been added on Uploading files and images (click to go straight to the relevant area) that clearly sets out in writing what we do and don't allow on the Nexus sites. Many of these rules have been enforced for years but they've never been properly set out in the Terms of Service, making things slightly "grey" for people who aren't wise to the way we work around here. I want to once again compound the fact that I have absolutely no wish to host modifications that allow sexual acts with children or child-like characters, animals, dead people or include rape, torture and masturbation. Legal or illegal; I just don't want to host these mods and there are plenty of other sites out there that will happily host these for you. Thank you for your understanding.
Similarly a rather important new rule has been invoked on the Image Share section on all Nexus sites, effective immediately.
The image share section was originally designed to be a place for users to upload screenshots of funny, interesting or aesthetically pleasing things they'd taken in game. It wasn't designed to be a porn (or nude art) hub for people's personal pleasure. From this day forward the Image Share section cannot be used to upload images of a pornographic nature (including sex, masturbation and solo "legs spread" images).
We continue to remain open and liberal to the vast majority of content created out there but I wish to draw the line on certain things. If further clarification is needed then I will try my hardest to do this.
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