We’ve officially designated this week “fix the sites and make them work properly week” among the Nexus developers. We’ve not been happy with the status of either NMM or the Nexus recently, and we know you haven't been either, but thankfully you guys are pretty understanding, which means we've been able to get on with fixing it without worrying about a full-blown riot.
The first step in fixing the problem (past knowing there’s a problem) is finding out what the problem is. We think we can safely point our fingers at NMM for most of the performance issues at this point. Turns out we’ve made a pretty good home-brew tool to DDoS our own servers. Go us. Over the past year more and more people have been downloading and using NMM. We’re at over 1.2 million unique users at the moment, which means we’re getting about 100,000 new NMM users each month. To begin with this wasn’t a big issue, but now it kind of is, and we’ve been so busy trying to fix bugs and implement new functionality that the fact NMM is affecting the performance of the servers has kind of slipped by. Not our proudest moment. But this is exactly why NMM is still considered a Beta program. We know it’s not ready to be considered a “stable” release and until it is, it won’t get my seal of approval and we won’t bring it out of beta.
Having NMM in Beta, and you remembering that it’s a Beta program is still very important. I understand that lots of you now rely on NMM as your mod manager and if it doesn’t work then your gaming gets affected, so when we make changes we try to prevent disrupting things as much as possible. However, many of you are treating it like it’s a stable release and you’ll roll-back to older versions if it’s not working rather than actually helping us debug and troubleshoot the problems with the latest versions. That’s kind of counter to everything you’re meant to be doing as a beta tester. If no one reported bugs to us then NMM would never get any better (and no, “it’s broken, I’m rolling back until you fix it” doesn’t help!).
NMM version 0.33.1 is the beginning (and maybe even the end, if we've done a good enough job!) of our optimisations to get things back on track and with it come a couple of minor, but really important changes to the way NMM uses the web services:
The first is in the NMM version checker, the little screen that pops up for a split second when you first start NMM that checks if there’s a new NMM version available. In past versions NMM would check for new versions on every start-up of the program. We’ve changed that so it will only check, by default, every 3 days. You can change the amount of days between each check yourself within your NMM options from 1 to 7 days, or turn this off completely (as you could before). This will help to cut down on requests to our web services considerably.
The second is in the file version checker itself. As you know, NMM will query all the mods you have installed from the Nexus and let you know if the author has uploaded any new versions. Originally NMM would do this every time you started it. We’ve now changed this to only check once every three days, but we’ve added a button within NMM for you to ask NMM to check again whenever you want and once again you can change your preferences to change how often NMM will automatically check for new versions. We’ve done this because if you have 100 mods installed, and you open NMM 10 times a day to install mods or because you use NMM as your game launcher, you’re going to be making big calls to our web services 10 times a day when you might not always be using NMM to check for new file versions. That’s a lot of wasted calls to our web services when you split that across 1.2 million other people. It's important to note that the first time you use the update button NMM might become slow or unresponsive for a little while; don't worry, it hasn't crashed and it will come back. Subsequent uses of the button will not have the same problem and will normally update all your latest versions within a couple of seconds.
On the downloading front we’ve added some pretty cool (I think they're cool, anyway) options to ensure you’re downloading from the fastest servers at all times. You can find these options in the Settings section of NMM under the “Download options” tab. From here you can choose your nearest download location so that when you go to download a file via NMM, NMM will always try to use the servers in those locations first. This should really help to ensure that you’re getting the fastest download speeds possible at all times. If NMM can’t use those locations nearest to you for any reason it will just default to the least overloaded server. Similarly NMM will now tell you what file server location you’re downloading from. If you’re in the UK and the only file server available is in San Jose, you’ll understand why your download speed is going a bit slower. Please note that NMM doesn’t know where your nearest location is, so if you want to use this feature you’ll have to change the options yourself. Otherwise NMM defaults to using the least used file server at the time of downloading.
For Premium Members, in the same section you’ll find two new download options. The “Premium only” option will force NMM to always attempt to try and download from the Premium Only file servers, which should give you better speeds as there are far less people downloading from them. There are also options to change the number of connections/threads each download starts. Most people will want to keep this on 4 threads, but if you’re on a slow PC or if your ISP connection is a bit dodgy it might not like you making lots of connections at once, so this option is for you.
In other good news we’ve found the cause of the constant log-out issue, which is also the reason why some of you have been unable to upload large files recently (because the site logged you out half-way through uploading), and this has also been fixed. Thank the heavens, because that one was really annoying.
We’re turning off our old web services that past NMM versions have used (any before this latest one); not because we want to force you to use the latest versions but because as we release new versions and fix vulnerabilities or improve the performance of our servers we want to drop support for the older, inefficient versions as soon as possible to protect the integrity of the sites. That means if you want to stay using the older versions of NMM then NMM won’t be able to find new versions of your mods, and you also won’t be able to download through NMM either.
I'm pretty excited about this release of NMM because it's what I wanted the new download system to be like, and how I wanted it to work from the start. It works perfectly for me, and for us, in our internal testing, so my fingers are crossed tight that there aren't any major issues and that you guys are getting the same sort of performance I am out of it. However, should you run in to any problems (once again, touch wood you don't), as always please use the bug tracker for posting any bugs. And in other good news, we'll be putting online our two new file servers, one in Amsterdam and one in San Jose at some point a little later tonight.
This new version of NMM, along with our file servers, have had a number of efficiency tweaks applied to them and we’ll be monitoring the sites over the next 24 hours to see how much the changes have helped. If we think it needs more, we’ll do more, but we’re pretty confident that these pretty small changes are going to make a really big difference to everything and that we can get on with the new functionality we’ve been working on recently, which includes the ability to endorse files within NMM and the long awaited ability to make and sort your mods into categories. On the site side, we’re working on our much needed brand spanking new moderation suite for our staff to use, a new Nexus site and not one, not two, but three announcements of Nexus collaboration with three separate game developers, for games currently in development, along with a new type of Nexus site that will focus on pre-release information for these games.
It’s been almost a year (15th November 2011) since we announced the open beta of the Nexus Mod Manager. Since then the software has been installed on over 1.1 million PCs and counting. Back in March we hired on our first full-time programmer to keep NMM updated and improve on the program and now we’re looking for another programmer to join our team and help us push NMM in to a full release candidate.
Applicants need to be experienced in .NET and C#. 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 alongside DuskDweller, our current resident NMM programmer.
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.
I’m enjoying a slow couple of days at the moment, catching up on watching Homeland (which I don’t think is that great, in case you care), playing through Borderlands 2 again and trying for the life of me to finish a campaign of Crusader Kings 2 while fighting the good fight for the Vanu in Planetside 2. All this is before I even think about playing through XCOM, and I’ve still got Torchlight 2 waiting in my Steam account, unplayed, with Faster Than Light installing on to my PC as we speak. Oh, and I still haven’t completed Skyrim. I don’t know about you but we’ve had an explosion of awesome games come out over the past 2 months and I’m really struggling to keep up with it all. It should definitely keep me going for the next 6 months. But while I wait for these games to install I thought I’d update you with a blog post about recent things happening at the Nexus. I assure you it’s not particularly exciting, but I know some of you take an interest in reading through my banal twittering and ramblings that go off on wild tangents, so this one’s for you folks.
So let’s start with where we are right now. Since this time last year I’ve hired on two more full-time staff to take the compliment of staff working on the Nexus to three (or four, if you want to count me, which I don’t) along with all the great volunteer staff we have here in the form of moderators. We’ve also doubled our server count from 8 to 16 where we now have 6 boxes dedicated to displaying the sites, 8 boxes dedicated to file serving for all members and 2 boxes dedicated to Premium Members (although we have 3 servers for Premium Members, the UK Premium file server is actually direct from the web servers rather than file servers, hence why the UK Premium Server is always up-to-date without ever being out of sync). In sensationalist terms we’re packing 48ghz of CPU power and 226GB of RAM, passing over 1.5 Gbit of bandwidth every second with a capacity for around 3.2 Gbit of traffic. We’ve also more than doubled our offering of Nexus sites by launching 7 new Nexus sites for Skyrim, Mount & Blade, Neverwinter Nights, World of Tanks, Legend of Grimrock, Dark Souls and XCOM while also splitting TESNexus in to Oblivion Nexus and Morrowind Nexus respectively. And lastly we’ve released our Nexus Mod Manager which is now compatible with 8 of the 15 games the Nexus sites support.
As you can see we’ve heavily reinvested back in to the sites with the money brought in from the ads you see on the site and Premium Memberships, which are integral to not only keeping the sites afloat but also ensuring we continue to develop the sites and network to expand our support of as many games as possible. Case-in-point we recently put a link to the premium sign-up page within NMM which has bolstered the amount of people supporting the site. I’m currently in the process of using those funds to purchase 2 new file servers for use by all members, and I’m close to saving up enough money to hire on another dedicated programmer for NMM. When it comes to hiring staff I always save up enough money to be able to pay their salary in full for a year. I don’t take any chances at all when it comes to the Nexus and its financial stability.
I know I’ve spoken about this before, but I brought on programmers to the staff because I wanted these sites to be coded properly, in proper OOP, using all the best practises that would ensure these sites were future proof. I knew when I hired these people on that my role as a programmer on the sites would become largely obsolete. I know nothing compared to these guys so I’m mostly limited to simple tweaks to the CSS and graphic changes, while I leave Axel, Tiz and Dusk to the hardcore feature programming. This has freed up a lot of the time I usually dedicate to work on the Nexus for other areas of the community, and this is why you are seeing us roll out more Nexus sites than before. While we might have only launched one new Nexus site a year, we’ve released 7 over the past year alone and I’m more than willing to expand that range.
Over the years I’ve visited various communities around the internet for games that we don’t currently support. Members in these communities will talk about modding and finding a location to host their mods, someone will bring up the Nexus, there’ll be a few of the stereotypical comments that people don’t want nude mods in their farm simulator and others will say “The Nexus only hosts mods for RPGs”, or “The Nexus only hosts mods for large games” or words along a similar vein. This isn’t true at all and I’d rather that stigma didn’t stick. How we’ve progressed and the games we’ve supported up to now have just been a natural progression along a simple path, rather than a wilful choice to only support Bethesda games, or RPGs in general. It was a conscious decision to never bite off more than I could chew and to focus on games that I was really interested in. And when I was sole programmer, server admin, accountant, community manager and developer of the Nexus I couldn’t bite off much. Now, with 3 dedicated staff who have taken on some of my previous responsibilities, I can start biting off more.
I see some networks out there, past and present, that try and support every game imaginable from the get-go. They either over-extend themselves, unable to dedicate the necessary resources for the good of the community, or they dilute their offering so much that it becomes useless. When I release a Nexus site for a game I want it to be focused, I want it to provide a real benefit for that game’s community and I want it to be wanted by that community. I don’t want to step on people’s toes and I don’t want to be launching Nexus sites “for the heck of it”, or just “because I can”. It’s one thing to provide a place to host files, it’s another thing to be actively supporting and developing a modding community. I want to be doing the latter.
No word of a lie, it takes me a maximum of 2 hours to make a new Nexus site. I setup the subdomain, upload the core files, import the database structure, edit 3 image files with the colour scheme and background skin I want (we use imagemaps that makes this process very simple), edit the CSS with 2 different colour codes and I’m done. It’s that simple. The longest process in that list is in finding a colour scheme that works that I haven’t already used. It’s bloody hard to do! When I coded the Nexus sites it was deliberately setup to be that quick and easy, and when Axel recoded the sites that was one of the main tenants I gave him for his work; make it easy and quick to setup a new Nexus site. So what takes so long? Why don’t we have 100 Nexus sites for every moddable game imaginable? Quite simply put; not every game needs a Nexus site, not every community wants a Nexus site, and not every community would fit in with our somewhat unique ethos and rule system.
What takes time isn’t setting up the Nexus site, it’s exploring the game community you’re interested in making a Nexus site for and working out their needs, wants and desires for their community, and working with them to ensure what you offer is tailored to their needs. First of all, are the game’s developers at all interested in making the game moddable? Do they like modding or do they want to stop modders from touching anything to do with their game? If modding has no support at all from the developer, with or without tools, then that’s a massive barrier to overcome. Have the developers released tools for the game? Do they plan to? Is the game moddable without tools? Is it feasible that at some point in the future tools might be made that could enable modding without the developer’s help? Could a Nexus site for the game help to show the developer that lots of their customers really want to mod the game?
Next, is the community keen on modding? Is it likely to take off to the point that there’s more than just a handful of mods or is it just a few members with pie-in-the-sky ideas of total conversions and overhaul mods that will never come? Would a Nexus site help to improve and bolster the community? Is there already a modding site set up for the game? Is it doing a good job or is it stifling the creativity of the community? An example of a game I have no interest in releasing a Nexus site for because I know the modding community is in good hands is Torchlight (1 and 2). They have the Runic Games Fansite, which not only hosts mods well enough but also has its own NMM style client for downloading and installing mods. I would never want to step on the toes of that site that has done so much for its modding community, even if people keep begging me to make a site for it (which they do!). I’d love to work with them, though. In retrospect when Bioware released their Social Site for Dragon Age: Origins I didn’t think I’d need to release a Nexus site for the game. Unfortunately the site was (and I’m not afraid to say this) pants. The forums had no search feature, the mod database had no, or very limited search functionality and unreleased mods and ideas were in the same database as released mods, making it an utter chore to find anything useful. It was as though the person(s) making the site had no idea about the needs or wants of a modding community. I wanted to give Bioware the benefit of the doubt and not step on their toes, but after a month with absolutely no changes or bug fixes made, and practically no contact from the dev team within the community, I released a Nexus site for Dragon Age: Origins and never looked back because the Social Site was seriously stifling the creativity and expansion of the Dragon Age community.
Moving on, would the community that already exists for the game fit in well with the Nexus community or would there be massive conflicts of interest and differing views and opinions? We’re relatively set in our ways here at the Nexus, we’ve got rules, regulations and etiquette that we’ve built up from community input over the past 11 years. What we don’t want to do is bring in another community, with very different views to our own, that could potentially upset the status quo and unbalance the community. We don’t want to be frigid and inflexible, and compromises can be made for different communities, but how we operate and run, our rules and our etiquette shouldn’t be influenced just in the name of getting a few more page views and Premium Members. How other people choose to run their sites or communities is completely up to them, but we’ll stick to how we’ve done things up to now until we think a change is really necessary. With that in mind, not every community wants a Nexus site, and some would aggressively oppose such an idea. I’m not blind or high enough on success to think that the Nexus is great for everyone, or that everyone likes the Nexus, or that the Nexus should work in every community. In some communities a Nexus site just wouldn’t fit, and I’m not going to go against what the majority want or need.
These are just some of the things I have to consider when I’m looking at new games and communities to create a new Nexus site for. Once I’ve got a good idea of how the community operates and whether I think a Nexus site would work for the game I’ll try to start a dialogue with some of the prominent mod authors within that community. I’ll talk to them about the Nexus, how I think it could help and ask them how they think things are going. What would they change within the community? What would they improve? How would they improve it? Would a Nexus site within the community work, and make sense for them? This gives me a great feel for the average modder within the community. If things still look good, I might start a dialogue with the game developers or I might hit up the official forums and create a public thread on the topic.
At the end of the day I do not run the Nexus sites with a businessman’s head. My aim isn’t to increase page views/premium membership/revenue year on year (if it was I’d be dinging out Nexus sites like there’s no tomorrow), it’s to run sites that actually benefit, support and compliment a community, with emphasis on the compliment aspect rather than trying to over-run a community and move everyone away from the sites and official forums that are already entrenched within that community. As the Nexus network gets bigger this idea of not wanting to swallow everything up whole is something I’m really trying to get in to people’s heads. I’m not in your community trying to convert you to a different religion and getting you to leave your community for mine, I’m in your community asking if a Nexus could work together with whatever other communities already exist to ensure modders are getting the best service possible, so that the modding community is free to do their very best. I don’t want the Nexus to become some huge corporate machine trying to overtake modding communities whether they like it or not, and whether it helps or not. I don’t want to be driven by a need to have 3m unique visitors a month by next year, and 4m unique visitors a month by the year after. Such goals only serve to ensure I think about the business first and the community second. I want to help, and I want to provide and build tools that make modding better for as many people as possible. The moment I think the Nexus has a detrimental effect on modding rather than a positive effect is the moment I shut down the sites.
And everything I’ve just explained in detail above is what takes time. A Nexus site might take 2 hours to make, but coming to that decision to make a Nexus site can take days, weeks, months or heck, even years. I’ve got a spreadsheet full of games and communities I’ve explored, notes taken from my observations of my time within the community and what problems and barriers there are to releasing a Nexus site for the game. Very few from the list have made it in to becoming a Nexus site. I hope from the depth of details I’ve provided you realise that releasing a new Nexus site isn’t just some knee-jerk reaction, but a really well thought out and explored idea that I really want to succeed.
I wanted to release this blog piece because recently, with the launch of multiple different Nexus sites in a short space of time, a few members have come to me concerned that we’re over extending. We’re not. In my opinion we’re very under-extended (if that’s possible), which is something I’ve consciously done because I was waiting until I, personally, had enough time to dedicate to get out there and work with other communities. It really does take a long time to do. For me, that time has come. And personally, I think it’s a very exciting time. Lastly, I wanted to make it known that we’re not genre specific, we’re not developer or publisher specific, we’re not AAA title specific, and we don’t want to be. Funnily enough we’re currently working on a Nexus site for a well known space sim series, and I’m looking forward to announcing that one in the not too distant future.
Read this far? Well done. Have a cookie.
We've released a new version of the Nexus Mod Manager today that provides official support for an offline mode as well as a few bug fixes. While the old NMM worked while offline it was never officially supported. Version 0.31.2, the latest version, provides support for an offline mode as a button at the login screen. If you don't want to login, or don't have a connection, you can use the "Offline" button to use NMM in offline mode. You won't be able to download files or view latest version information of your already installed mods, but most other features within NMM will continue to work.
The OpenMW team is happy to announce OpenMW version 0.18.0 has been released. This version introduces a myriad of new features, including Level-Up, Key re-binding, Spell buying, eating ingredients, using Keys to open things, and much more. A full changelog shall be added at the end of the post. As since version 0.9.0, a release commentary video which covers the most important changes is available to watch.
New to OpenMW?
OpenMW is a modernized and more moddable open-source engine which aims to be able to implement the game we all love and all mods made by the community. Be sure to check out our FAQ video or official site for more information. If you have questions or want to help, feel free to post on our forums.
Version 0.18.0 log:
The launcher can crash on OS X versions < 10.8, this will be fixed in version 0.19.0
“Shaking screen effect” can occur on cell change
Implemented Level-Up dialog
Implemented Hide Marker, fixes big black blocks
Implemented Hotkey dialog
Implemented Keyboard and Mouse bindings, input system rewritten
Implemented Spell Buying Window
Added support for handling resources across multiple data directories
Implemented Object Movement/Creation script instructions
Initial AI framework implemented
Implemented eating Ingredients
Implemented Door markers on the local map
Implemented using Keys to open doors/containers
Implemented Loading screens
Implemented Inventory avatar image and race selection head preview (note that only default Dunmer male displays at the moment)
Fixed the size of Preferences menu buttons
Fixed Hand-to-hand always being 100
Fixes for NPC and character animation
Fix for sound coordinates
Fix for exception when drinking self-made potions
Fix for clothes showing up in 1st person
Fix for weird character on door tooltips
Fix for “onOfferButtonClicked” crash
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"! :)
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.QUOTEWith 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!
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!
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.QUOTEFrom 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.
IGN has created a new list of the greatest 100 computer RPGs.
A number of Nexus website games made the list:
Fallout 3 #10
Neverwinter Nights #31
The Witcher 2 #78
Fallout New Vegas #89
Related games for comparison:
Fallout 2 #28
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.
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.
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