Before I get into the fixes we've implemented today on the sites I wanted to add a clarification to my previous news post regarding requiring users update to 0.46.0 of NMM in order to gain online access to NMM and our legacy support. In the post I said, "At this time I'm unsure if we'll ever open up legacy support for the previous versions again". I want to clarify that this doesn't mean we won't continue to provide legacy support at all (e.g. every time we release a new version of NMM you will be required to update otherwise you won't be able to login/download through NMM/check file versions, etc.) but it does mean that, from time to time, we will release a version of NMM that will require you to update in order to gain access to the online functionality. When I said we won't open up legacy support for previous versions again, I meant for versions before 0.46.0. It's my hope that we'll continue to offer legacy support from this point on until the next time we're required to force users to update. I believe the last time we forced an update on users was version 0.33.1 of NMM, well over a year ago.
Legacy support is important to me because I think it's important you have a choice. If you don't like something we do with NMM you should be allowed to roll-back to a version you did like, but in doing so you accept the consequences of that decision. We'll continue to move forward in ways we think are best and it's important you can choose to either continue to move forward with us or stay where you are. We can do this because the structure of our web services (what NMM uses to retrieve the file versions, download information, login details, etc.) stays relatively the same for very long periods of time. However, when we change the structure of our web services (perhaps to something more efficient, perhaps to accommodate changes with the sites) it's important that we force everyone to update, or force those who won't update into offline mode so that we don't end up DDoS'ing our servers, again, or spending extremely long periods of time trying to provide legacy support to the relative minority of users who don't update their NMM to the latest version as and when they come out, which is what happened last week. By not updating your NMM, by sticking with a version of NMM that you like or prefer, you are enacting a choice I've given you, but in doing so you understand and accept the consequences. However, please note, I don't in any way, shape or form blame you folks who don't update NMM for what happened last week. We simply should have put our foots down from the start and said "nope, you've got to update if you want online NMM". But we didn't want to because we didn't want to disappoint you.
Now I know some of you will wonder why offering the choice is quite important to me, and why I don't just force everyone to update NMM in order to gain access to the web services. After all, in doing so not only would we reduce the risk of potential issues but we'd also reduce the number of support tickets from users reporting bugs we fixed many, many versions ago. My wish to offer legacy support actually stems from my extreme dislike for the way in which Steam auto-updates my games without giving me any say in the matter. Sure, I can turn off the auto updating feature for specific games, but once an update is installed it's very, very difficult to roll it back. And I hate that. At the end of the day I bought the game and I think I should have as much control as possible over the updating process. In the same vein when we release patches, new features, UI updates and so on for NMM not everyone is going to like them and I'm willing to give those people as much opportunity as possible to enjoy the version of NMM that they prefer. Because, as I continually say, modding is all about choice, and NMM is built with that in mind. It's why it's open source, it's why we offer legacy support as much as possible.
I haven't received a single message complaining about this and indeed I believe there was only one comment about it in the previous news article but it's actually quite important to me, and I wanted to ensure my words weren't taken out of context. So there you go.
Now, on to the site fixes and updates implemented today.
First of all we've got the Nexus Wiki back up. With all the issues last week we didn't find time to port it over with the other sites but we've managed to get it across today.
We've fixed the issue on user's profiles that meant the pagination on the Images tab wasn't working (preventing you from seeing all a user's images). We've also fixed an issue with users being able to see (but not edit) other people's files in the file management area.
I'm sure many of you have noticed that you now have access to your complete download history on the sites, irrespective of whether you are a Premium Member or not. This isn't a bug, you don't need to pretend like you haven't seen it so that we don't "fix" it and patch it out. This was actually an added bonus of our centralisation process. We've changed the way that we store your download history and file download stats so that it is no longer a burden on our database cluster. I've always said that the complete download history was made a Premium Member feature because if everyone had access to it, it would have brought down our servers (300 million rows in the downloads stats on Skyrim alone, lots of people trying to view their download historys...boom). That's no longer the case and there's no longer a reason to make this a Premium only feature. So, enjoy your complete download history. Note: I'm aware the Premium Membership page still shows this as a feature, it'll be edited out.
In the same vein some people have reported that since the centralisation last week the files they download aren't being recorded in their download history and that as a result they can't endorse these files. We have now fixed this issue but unfortunately we cannot bring back your missing downloads since the centralisation. So it'll work from now on but those downloads you made after the centralisation but before today cannot be retrieved in your history.
Since the centralisation a few people have said they miss the "Nexus Network" drop-down menu not containing links to all the Nexus sites any more. Obviously now we've opened up the network to all games that list will quickly become untenable (before the centralisation we supported 24 games, we now already support 43 games...). That list could potentially grow to hundreds or even thousands of games. What we have done instead is implement a new favourite games system to the sites. Using this system you can select 8 games that you visit the most and these games will display in the Nexus Network drop-down menu for faster access.
We're still working on getting a fix out for the alpha 0.50 version of NMM to those users who upgraded. Hopefully there'll be a download link for that soon.
Update: The NMM 0.50.1 hotfix can now be downloaded. Simply over-write your install with this version. Again; this is only for people who specifically updated to 0.50 to help us test our new profiling system.
I feel some people felt when I asked people to update to version 0.46.0 that this implied that version 0.46.0 was going to fix all the problems for you. When I said "Downloads might work sporadically or just not at all and service might be intermittent but it'll be fixed eventually" this meant "this new version of NMM is going to help out the situation immensely but we've still got work to do to actually fix all the issues, and there will still be issues". I hope this clarifies things for the people going bonkers that they've updated to version 0.46.0 and things aren't perfect.
Since this news post we've now turned off the web service support for versions before 0.46.0. So you now have to update to version 0.46.0 if you want to be able to login to NMM or download files. At this time I'm unsure if we'll ever open up legacy support for the previous versions again. It's presenting serious issues and while we like providing legacy support for people who, for whatever reason, don't want to update NMM to new versions, my main concern is focusing on what's ahead and not on what's behind. I'm sorry if this disappoints you, but that's my mind on the matter. We've spent a considerable amount of time (literally days) trying to sort this issue so that no one would need to update and so that we could maintain legacy support. There comes a point where you need to accept defeat and disappointment and just move on. I think we're at that point.
I'm also aware we've got some folks who moved to our alpha build of 0.50. We'll be releasing an update for the alpha to fix this for you guys, but it probably won't be until Monday. Sorry for that; sorry you're being penalised for actually trying to help, but we don't have the time to do it tomorrow unfortunately so I think you should know it'll be released on Monday.
We've performed more optimisations this evening and right now, 00:46am, things are running very smoothly both on the NMM side and the site side from what we can see (and what we can experience browsing around). I can't guarantee it'll stay this way, but it's a sign we're moving in the right direction.
Thank you for your continued patience. My original news post follows below:
One of the main reasons we've had to disable NMM over the past 5 days is because it directly calls our web services from the sites themselves. When too many requests occur, or those requests are bad for whatever reason, it directly affects the performance of the sites and that's obviously not good.
One of the beauties of our new cloud setup is that we can setup new "servers" instantly (technically they're now "nodes"). We decided it made practical sense to set up a new server that's sole purpose is to handle the requests that NMM makes. The reasoning should be quite obvious: if this happens again, if NMM brings down a server, it won't be a server that handles the sites and the sites will still work fine. We don't want a repeat of the recent situation and I don't think the popularity of NMM should negatively affect the people who don't use NMM.
We've released an update today, 0.46.0 that changes the connection settings in NMM so it no longer calls our web servers but instead calls the dedicated NMM node. To put it simply, the more people who update to 0.46.0, the less load there'll be on the web servers and the faster the sites will load.
On top of that we've launched NMM support for X Rebirth in this latest version. We recruited the help of Azhwkd on the Egosoft forums, who has worked on his own Mod Manager for X Rebirth, to help us get support for X Rebirth in to NMM. I'm very happy about this as it's allowed the two dedicated programmers we have for NMM to get on with their work while Azhwkd worked, with some pointers from us, largely on his own to get this code into NMM. It not only means we can keep our focus on current project but it also means that someone who knows the games well is working directly on that game's support. It makes sense. We're very thankful to him and he's been compensated accordingly.
This is something I'd love to see more of in the community: we've released NMM as open source not just so we're totally transparent about what's being installed on your PC, but also so that developers are able to help us out in a wide range of ways if they so wish. This includes the potential to get more games supported in NMM and I'm happy to compensate those developers for their time. Anyone can download the source code for NMM from our Sourceforge page.
At the moment the X Rebirth support is simple enough, it'll download the files from X Rebirth Nexus and place the files in the correct folder. In the future, if necessary, we'll be happy to work with Azhwkd again to get some more complicated functions into NMM for X Rebirth.
We continue to work on the sites and NMM over the weekend. Downloads might work sporadically or just not at all and service might be intermittent but it'll be fixed eventually. But in the meantime your best bet is to download this latest version of NMM as soon as possible, if you use it.
It's been a few days now since I originally said NMM would hopefully be up by the end of Wednesday and it's the end of Friday now. We continue to work hard to try and resolve the issues with NMM crashing our web servers but are yet to find a definitive solution (indeed, the times we have tried have resulted in the servers going back down again). Simply put now, unless you hear something different from me personally, we're still working on it and NMM will be back as soon as we've fixed things so that it no longer crashes the sites. Please, for the love of all that is good in this world, do not continue to ask me via PMs (I'm getting thousands a day) or support tickets (similarly, thousands) when NMM will be back. If I knew, I'd be telling you. If I had an update on the situation, I'd tell you. Thank you.
On the site front we've managed to implement a number of fixes since my last news post. I'll list them below for easy reference:
- All the file servers are back online and working for manual downloads again.
- Fixed an issue with the servers randomly "fake" logging you out on a page reload.
- Fixed an issue with the notifications area saying you're not tracking any files, and not showing tracked file updates, when you are.
- Fixed an issue with hot file images not working properly on XCOM Nexus.
- Fixed an issue with the readme uploader not working unless you used the file wizard.
- Fixed an issue where you could no longer use letters or non-integer numbers in your file versions (e.g. version "5.1" became "5").
- Deleting comments should now work again.
- Removed the links to Nexus sites in the footer of the site because if we end up supporting 100s of games it will become untenable (will be replaced by a favourites system soon).
First of all I want to thank the majority of you for your patience over the past 36 hours. I know that you know that we’re working extra freaking hard right now (9am-5am yesterday, 10am-10pm so far today) to get things not just back to where they were, but better.
Today has been plagued with bugs and, most of all, slowness. You see, I can deal with being logged out, downloads not working, Premium memberships failing and so on but what I can’t deal with, what really frustrates me, is having to wait minutes for a page to load only for that bug to happen. You find it annoying? Get the hell in line, I was here first.
First of all the good news. We found the cause of that slowness. Like the plotline to a bad B Horror Movie (which I’ve dubbed NMM 2: Revenge of the Mod Managers), it was Nexus Mod Manager that was inadvertently DDoSing the web servers. Now I know what you might be thinking, “Hey Dark0ne, didn’t this happen before?”. Why yes, it did. This time it’s different, of course, but I’m hoping if and when it comes to finishing off the trilogy we’ll be a bit more well versed in spotting the signs earlier next time, because we’ve spent the better part of the past 36 hours tweaking the hell out of our config wondering why and how our database cluster was serving 15,000 mysql queries a second and our web server was serving 2,700 requests a second without exploding. By the time you’re reading this we’ll have sorted this issue, at least temporarily, by shutting down the NMM web services. You can still use NMM in offline mode, you can still add mods to NMM and manage your mod lists, but you’ll just have to make do with doing it the old fashioned way by manually downloading mods from the site and adding them to NMM after-the-fact. The results, I hope you can tell, are pretty darned obvious. I’m browsing around the various games on the network without a care in the world, split-seconds of loading times between each click. It almost brings a tear to my eye. Queue people commenting on this news post saying that they can’t connect to NMM (one turd sandwich, coming right up!). Tomorrow we’ll investigate why exactly NMM was DDoS’ing our web servers and hopefully by the end of tomorrow it, too, will be back up and operational again.
Now, we weren’t just working on that all day, we’ve implemented a number of fixes to the code based on your feedback (with my thanks). The list is as follows:
- Fixed tracked files missing on all games except Skyrim. If you are still experiencing this issue then let me know, and tell me if you’re missing your entire track list or just some of the files are missing.
- Fixed a link in the tracked files feed.
- Fixed the issue with the file upload and update dates being wrong.
- Fixed an issue with the comment pagination not allowing you to go to another page of comments.
- Fixed an issue with the tracking centre pagination.
- Fixed an issue where new Premium Members who had signed up after the work started were not being recognised as Premium Members on the site. I will be giving all Premium Members compensation (5 days, probably) once we’re done with the bug fixing to say sorry.
- Fixed an issue with only a few file servers being operational. More are being brought online as we speak, but there should be several to choose from now. And they should work.
- Fixed an issue preventing files from being uploaded to the X: Rebirth site. If people are experiencing this anywhere else then please let me know as we do NOT know about it and cannot fix it until you tell us!
We’re still aware of a few issues that are on our list of things to fix, these include:
- NMM, obviously.
- An issue with file uploads for newly added games that is preventing them from propagating to our file servers and, ergo, from being downloaded.
- Intermittent logouts or the issue where you’re logged in, but in the top-right corner your username is missing. Possibly related to site load which might now be fixed. Time will tell.
- Issue where sometimes, as a Premium Member, it shows you the “normal” member file server screen thus preventing you from downloading from a Premium-only server. Quick fix is to close the window, reload the page and try again. Will require looking in to for a permanent fix.
- An issue we’re finding hard to replicate where HTML and ASCII characters are replacing certain elements of the file descriptions you submit for new files. E.g.
tags or apostrophes being replaced with ASCII equivalent. Would like to hear from anyone who is still experiencing this.
- An issue where ReadMe uploading isn’t working properly if done outside of the file adding/editing wizard.
- Probably some more I’ve seen but am too tired to remember right now.
We’ll be working hard throughout the week to sort out the aftermath of the work done yesterday but I think we’ve finally turned a corner, things are starting to look up. Sleep is no longer a pipe-dream. And little glimmers of hope have emerged, the first pioneering mod authors have uploaded the first mods for some new games in the network including Minecraft, Mass Effect 3 and Knights of the Old Republic 2. I can’t wait to see the results once the network is back on its feet.
Well hello there. Before we get into the main meat of this news post I’d like to list a few things happening right now on the sites that we are aware of, that we don’t need you to tell us about or confirm, or reconfirm, that will be fixed soon. I say soon, we’ve been working 14 hours straight, from 9am to 11pm and while the main conversion is complete there’s still work to do which will be pushed into Tuesday day (i.e. we’re going to bed soon!). Anyway, here’s the list, and if you comment on this news post bringing up these points it means you didn’t actually read this news post before commenting and that you, sir, deserve a turd sandwich:
- Apparent slowness on all sites or pages not loading at all with 500-504 errors. Sometimes at random, sometimes all the time. This is because our new server setup and configuration needs lots of testing and tweaking with the new load put on it. It should go away over the coming days. Good news for us is it’s not database related. First time this year.
- Not all the file servers are up and operational yet. The ones that are up might be slow, or not working at all, due to this fact.
- Issues with some Premium Memberships not working. Unsure whether this is on the sites (can’t replicate this issue on my end) or in NMM (can replicate this issue on my end, Premium Members not being recognised in NMM). Feel free to share feedback on this one to help me troubleshoot (obligatory turd sandwich is waived in this instance).
- A few broken links. I know about the forum button link and the “More from this uploader” link. Any others feel free to share.
And now, to the meat of the news...
Our maintenance work is now completed on all sites and I can now happily announce the completion of my plans to centralise the Nexus into one database and open up the site to mods for all PC games.
The overall premise of this update is to centralise the management and presentation of game files across all the games we support while still maintaining that drilled-down, focused aspect of browsing individual Nexus sites for individual games. I understand that some users only visit the Nexus to get files for a single game and I also understand that some users use various different Nexus sites and also have files and images on multiple different Nexus sites. I didn’t want to remove the more personal Nexus browsing experience you get when browsing a Nexus site for a specific game but I did want to offer the option to users to very quickly and easily find files for multiple different games very quickly and easily without having to switch between sites, or even pages.
Perhaps more exciting is the fact we have updated our file upload wizard and now accept files for any and all games on the PC platform. As part of my wish to support modding in totality I wanted to open up the Nexus so it could be used by all mod authors out there, irrespective of whether we support the game currently or not. As a mod author it’s actually extremely simple to add a file for a game we don’t currently support and there’s very little extra work involved. The process is as follows:
- Go to our file upload wizard on nexusmods.com
- The very first step, Step 1, is where you choose what game your file is for
- If the game already exists simply select it from the drop-down menu
- If the game does not exist enter the name of the game
- Continue with the file upload wizard as per before
Note: this step is made simpler if you use the file upload wizard from a specific Nexus site, e.g. if you use the file upload wizard on Skyrim Nexus then step 1 is completed for you with Skyrim pre-selected.
The game addition phase is a manual one which requires an administrator to confirm the submittal of your suggested game to the database. This means until an administrator confirms your game suggestion your file won’t be visible on the sites. While adding this bottleneck is a bit counter to how we’ve done things up until now I’m sure you’ll agree it could become an organisational nightmare if the game adding process was automatic. It’s simply there to allow me time to add the game box art and ensure that people haven’t uploaded different files for the same game under different names, e.g. C&C3, Command & Conquer 3, Command And Conquer 3, CNC3 and so on. In such an event I can merge all the files in all those games under one name and ensure everything isn’t a mess before publishing the game on the network. However, you can still create your entire file page including uploading your images and files and submit your file so that as soon as the game is approved by an admin it will be instantly published along with the site. That means you don’t have to suggest a game, wait for it to be approved, and then submit your file. You do it all at once and then simply wait for me to approve the game, at which point your file will become available.
Once a new game is approved a new Nexus site is automatically created and added into the pool of games to browse in the file database and our game list. For all intents and purposes once the game is approved you’ve just created an entirely new Nexus site in seconds. Minecraft Nexus? You can do that. The Sims Nexus? Yep. GTA Nexus? Uh huh. I no longer dictate what games the Nexus supports, the mod authors do.
Any new Nexus site created by this new system will use a generic design under the original Nexus orange and grey colour scheme (the Oblivion colour scheme) with no background image. You can tell what Nexus site you’re currently browsing in many different ways. Established Nexus sites have unique colour schemes and unique background images that really make them stand out, but all Nexus sites have the name of the game in the top-left hand corner of the site below the Nexus logo. It’s my hope and intention to create unique colour schemes and background images for any games that reach a certain level of activity. In my mind that level of activity is around about the 30 files uploaded mark. Once 30 files have been added to a specific Nexus site I’ll create a unique background and colour scheme for it.
With this update we’ve also changed the addresses/URL’s used and we’ve moved away from the subdomain system of separating Nexus sites (e.g. skyrim.nexusmods.com, oblivion.nexusmods.com, etc.). I know this is annoying for some of you who like to ensure you’re using the latest links but we really did think it through and, with this update, the benefits of changing from a subdomain system far outweigh the annoyance of the change. We’ve been careful to ensure any old links to your files will still work with the new system; they should seamlessly redirect to the new URL, but I do understand the frustration of having to change links, just please know it was in our best interests, and ultimately, yours (it’s all to do with search engine optimisation). All new Nexus sites will not have a subdomain attached to them. If you’re noticing that redirects from the old URL to the new URL are not working then please let me know and I’ll get it fixed up as soon as possible.
We’ve updated the NexusMods.com homepage accordingly to become the central hub for finding all the games we support and even accessing all the files across all the games from one single page. From NexusMods.com you can find any file for any game on any Nexus site from the files page. This page is exactly the same as the file page on individual Nexus sites only you can broaden your browsing range from a single game to all games. If you prefer to browse for files from specific Nexus sites then you can still do that (indeed, the Nexus sites remain pretty much unchanged with this update), and you can also access our game list to see a list of all the games the Nexus currently supports.
As part of this work we’ve centralised our database into one single database. Originally each Nexus site used a different database. 18 games, 18 databases. We’ve now merged all the databases into one. This provides practical functionality to the sites, for example if you’ve uploaded files or images across multiple different Nexus sites you can now manage all of them from a single page or, in keeping with my wish to maintain a more personal approach, you can continue to go to each individual Nexus site and maintain your files for individual games from there. Your file management pages have a form field at the top that lets you filter between all the games you’ve uploaded files for which provides quick and easy access. Similarly the centralisation also allows us to present a unified listing of all your files and images on your profile page for everyone to see. Once again, filter options are available that allow users to see what files you’ve uploaded for specific games.
While originally only Skyrim was using our new Cloud setup we’ve now moved every site on to the Cloud. While this might create a few days of instability as we re-tune all the settings and config for the increased load on the nodes it is the next step in our efforts to increase the reliability of the network which I’m sure you’ll agree (and if you don’t you’re being silly) has improved over the past couple of months compared to the past few years. It’s still not perfect by any means but we are getting there and this work is a step towards the ultimate goal of 100% uptime and 100% reliability. Liken it to surgery; relatively brief times of pain for much longer term benefits and gain.
Having said that this centralisation work is the combination of thousands of hours of work and while we’ve tried to test it all as much as possible I think logic (and past experience) dictates that there are going to be niggling issues and, potentially, bugs. We’ll be working overtime to ensure we fix any bugs as soon as we find out about them and, once again, we’re relying on you guys to let us know when you find something amiss or not working properly. We can only fix what we know about.
It’s important to understand that this update is laying the groundwork to future improvement. It’s not the end, it’s simply the beginning of a new era, a new foundation for Nexus Mods from which we’ll be working from. This year has been all about two things. Improving the reliability of the network and opening up the network to files for all PC games. In the new year we’ll build on both of those objectives and we’ll be switching our focus away from these two big projects into a lot of smaller, more functional updates and improvements which we haven’t really focused on this year at all. It’s difficult to say “the best is yet to come” but I honestly believe it. What you see before you right now is a foundation. Next year we want to build on it and improve on it based on your feedback to us and we’ve positioned ourselves accordingly.
The OpenMW team is proud to announce the release of version 0.27.0! Grab it from our Downloads Page for all operating systems. This release brings the first official release of OpenCS, the OpenMW team's efforts to bring an open source solution for editing content for OpenMW. OpenCS is in an early Alpha state, please take that into consideration when testing! See the full notes below.
Check out the release video by the indomitable WeirdSexy.
- PLEASE NOTE! There have been changes to the OpenMW config files. The game will not run with old configurations, but your configuration can be updated by simply running the Launcher. If you normally run OpenMW directly from the executable, please re-run the Launcher once to update.
- Extreme shaking may occur during cell transitions for some users (enable anti-aliasing as a possible workaround)
- Implemented Acrobatics
- Implemented God Mode
- Implemented torch extinguishing
- Implemented breath meter color change when it is running low
- Fixed polish language version of Morrowind crashing OpenMW
- Fixed decimal numbers not displaying correctly in the UI
- Fixed camera not lowering while sneaking
- Fixed ambient sounds playing while the game is paused
- Fixed being able to enter third person view with the mousewheel when it should be disabled
- Fixed some CDs not working correctly with Unshield installer
- Fixed a script instruction to allow the Quick Character Creation plugin to work
- Fixed fatigue not regenerating when jumping
- Fixed Laire dieing inexplicably in Beshara
- Merged the --master and --plugin switches
- OpenCS: Implemented a start dialogue
- OpenCS: Implemented handling file paths so that files are saved only to the local data cirectory, and only with OpenMW extensions: omwgame/omwaddon
- OpenCS: Implemented Saving
- OpenCS: Implemented new ESX selector
- OpenCS: Implemented enforcing single-instance mode since multiple projects can be open
- OpenCS: Implemented record filtering
- OpenCS: Implemented default record filters
- OpenCS: Proper compiler configuration (currently used only for syntax highlighting)
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For New Developers
Heads up folks, we will be taking all the Nexus sites down one at a time starting on Monday the 2nd of December as we begin our conversion work over to our centralised network. I can’t give you exact times of when each site will be down and how long each site will be down for but you can safely assume that the larger sites (Skyrim, Oblivion, New Vegas, Fallout 3, Dragon Age) will be down for longer than the other sites. Depending on how long things take this might spill over into Tuesday, though we’ll only take sites down when we’re actually working on them so this basically means if we don’t get around to taking down a site on Monday, we’ll be taking it down on Tuesday instead (and not that the site will be down from Monday through to Tuesday...making sense?).
I’ll make a bigger announcement about the work done and the changes made after it’s all been converted over but this is a heads up to say, if you’re planning to release your new mod you’ve worked on for 2 years on Monday or Tuesday, you might want to hold off until Wednesday.
Naturally when problems occur on the Nexus they don’t occur at 9.30am just as we’ve showered, eaten and gotten to our desks. They always occur at 1am just as we’ve gone to bed, leaving a good 8 hours before we know there’s anything wrong.
In true Nexus fashion we hit a rather comical problem in the early hours of this morning whereby we’d reached the maximum number of registered accounts as set by the forum software we use, Invision Board. I’d never thought to check up on whether there was a maximum because, well, why would there be? Oops. So for most of the day our registrations have been either broken, spewing out some ambiguous database error (of course, rather than saying we’d reached the maximum it simply gave a generic error), or deliberately taken offline by us so we could sort it out.
We think we’ve sorted it now. It required a lot of altering of some rather huge database tables, hence why you might have witnessed a few slowdowns or 500/504 errors today, but we should be back on track now.
If you’re one of those people who registered between the hours of 12am and 12pm today please check if the details you registered with work. If they don’t then I’m afraid the only fix will be to make a new account. If you’re one of those users who paid to become a Premium Member as you were registering during that time then please, please get in contact with me via the Contact Us link at the bottom of the site so I can sort it out for you.
We’re so close to finishing our work on the centralisation we can almost see the light. We’re putting the final touches on the code and running mock runs of the merging work we’ll need to do to centralise the separate databases so that the down-time the centralisation will cause will be as minimal as possible.
As I mentioned way-back-when, one thing I wanted to add to the sites before we finalised any centralisation work was an update to the moderating tools available to mod authors. It’s something that has divided opinion among mod authors over the years; some wanted to be able to directly control what posts were and weren’t allowed on their file pages while others wanted control to remain with our moderation team. Each school of thought has its pros and cons. While I’ll always skew towards the latter school of thinking, once we open up the Nexus to all games and, potentially, a lot more files I think keeping a strict moderating stance among a small, close-knit group of volunteer staff will be an untenable situation.
Today we’ve updated all the sites with the new functionality for all uploaders who are within the mod author group. A reminder, in order to be in the mod author group you need 1,000 unique downloads across all your files for a single game. 500 + 500 unique downloads on 2 Skyrim mods? You’re eligible. 500 unique downloads on Fallout 3 Nexus and 500 unique downloads on Fallout New Vegas Nexus? You’re not eligible. The script is run once a day to add you to the mod author group and at the time of writing this article there are over 15,000 users in this group. This functionality is not available to people who are not in the mod author group at this time.
The new functionality is two fold. To begin with mod authors can now delete comments from their file pages. There’s no delays, no moderator review and no crowding your comment topics with lots of notifications informing you about posts that have been moderated. To you, and other users, once you delete a post it’s gone. What actually happens is the post becomes hidden to everyone except the staff. We’ll retain a copy of all posts deleted by mod authors to ensure that the feature isn’t being used for nefarious means. Examples of what we consider “nefarious means” would be things like getting into a flame war with a user and then deleting all your posts while leaving the other user’s posts to try and make the other user look worse. This system isn’t being put in place to allow mod authors to cover up any indiscretion, it’s there to allow mod authors to keep their file comments clean and tidy and ensure the discussion going on in their file page comments is to their liking within the boundaries of our terms and conditions. Having said that our terms of service are still going to be enforced to the fullest extent. If you’re a mod author who doesn’t mind users treating your file page comments like it’s a 4chan thread then tough luck, our rules still apply to the fullest extent.
When you go to delete a comment you’ll be presented with an easy to use text field to report the comment to the moderators. This doesn’t affect the actual deletion of the user’s post, that will be gone straight away, but what we most definitely don’t want happening is mod authors deleting posts and blocking users from their file pages and not actually reporting the members who they think are breaking the rules. We want to get rid of any members who aren’t following our rules properly rather than just hiding what they do out of convenience. Deleting a user’s posts and blocking them does not remove the root cause of the problem; the user, and simply allows them to go off and do the same thing to another mod author. So please use the report feature if you think user’s are breaking the rules when you’re deleting their posts.
The second new feature is the ability to block a user completely from your file page or all your file pages. We’ve also added in a convenient link to the pre-existing forum page that allows you to block specific users from PM’ing you. This functionality should be pretty self explanatory; if you have a problem user who won’t leave you alone and you no longer wish for them to be able to access your file pages then you can block them entirely either from that specific file or all your uploaded files. Note that this doesn’t just block the user from commenting, it blocks them from your entire file page; they won’t see a single thing or be able to download your files and they will be presented with an access denied page explaining that you, the mod author, have blocked their access to the page.
A new page has been added to the “User area” where you can view the users you have blocked and remove the blocks if you so wish.
As far as the staff is concerned I’m not planning for the moderation team to get involved with this aspect of moderation at all. If you’ve blocked a user from your file pages then that’s that. We’re not going to deal with the justified and/or petty squabbles between mod authors and blocked users in this regard so if a mod author blocks you from their files do not come running to the moderation team about it because we’re not going to be removing any blocks. In the same vein this new functionality presents a whole new dimension of potential issues, e.g. you block a user, they PM you with hate. Naturally we’ll jump to the defence of anyone who is being abused through the PM system but you should be aware that blocking people from your pages will open you up to potential abuse and you should harden yourself accordingly to that eventuality. We naturally speak from experience on this subject. We have put a warning on the access denied page informing the user that if they PM you and they’re anything less than amicable in their message they’ll probably be banned instantly. Still, some people are really stupid. So as I said, harden that back-bone if you’re going to use that feature. Or block the user from PMing you entirely. Your choice.
Lastly, with the help of the moderation team here at the Nexus I have just updated our terms of service with a completely new rewrite. These new terms of service incorporate as much information as possible about what we consider acceptable, what we ban for and how we operate. For most of you who are familiar with our old terms of service and how we operate there really isn’t going to be any surprises for you. These new terms of service simply get in to writing a lot of the “unwritten rules” that we’ve enforced but never properly described within our terms of service. For example, the fact we ban pirates dumb enough to speak about it in public isn’t anything new to most people here but it was never obvious within our terms of service. Now it is. If you’re confident you know our rules then you’re probably absolutely fine but, if in doubt, there’s no harm in reading them. I will say that if you’re a regular user of our Image Share section then we’ve clarified quite a few of our rules in regards to what is and isn’t allowed within the normal (non Supporter) Image Share section, including a detailed image of what exactly we do and do not consider acceptable in terms of visible flesh and body parts. That might be worth a look at. Remember our moderation of the Image Share section is not retrospective, meaning we don’t go back through all the images in the database and delete images that no longer apply to our rules, so the “he’s done it so why can’t I?” excuse is right up there in the list of excuses that we moderators really, really despise.
X Rebirth, the next iteration in Egosoft’s popular space pew pew series, came out on Friday. The X series has always been highly moddable and I’ve always been a big fan of it (indeed, I helped a friend to maintain a fansite for X2, X2 Source, for several years back in 2004-2006). I’ve had a lot of people ask me if I’d be willing to run a Nexus site for the game and while I know many of the modders in the community are quite set in their ways in using the official Egosoft forums there’s no reason why both cannot be used. A Nexus site to host the files and the official forums for publicising and critical feedback would synergise quite well, to be fair, much like the synergy between the Elder Scrolls/Fallout games, Nexus and the official Bethesda forums. We’re not mutually exclusive.
With that said I’m happy to announce the launch of X Rebirth Nexus. I will be monitoring the community closely over the coming weeks to assess how things are progressing and whether there’s any demand (or possibility) to integrate the game into NMM. In the meantime I hope people are enjoying the game.
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