In some of my past blog posts I've been alluding to a project in development for the Nexus sites that, at the time, I wasn't prepared to go in to details on. I am now happy to announce that a Mod and Download manager, named the Nexus Client, is going in to Closed Beta with some select mod authors from Fallout 3 Nexus and New Vegas Nexus in the next few days.
Plans for the Nexus Client were laid down back in December of last year when I was approached by Kaburke, the current developer working on the Fallout Mod Manager, after I expressed an interest in linking the concept of downloading mods with installing and managing them. Kaburke is a veteran of this community and a proficient software engineer and it's been excellent to work with someone who not only knows what he's doing, but also knows what mod authors want and need. 10 months on, we're really excited to be going in to this next stage of testing our creation.
So what is the Nexus Client? In a nut-shell, it's the Fallout Mod Manager on steroids that will be compatible with every game the Nexus sites support. It's a completely optional piece of software you can choose to install on your machine that will download, install, manage and keep up-to-date all your mods for your games. Its whole purpose is to compliment the Nexus sites, and not replace them, so if you're not keen on installing new software on your machine you're not obligated to do it, and if you don't your modding experience won't change.
From a user perspective the Nexus Client will streamline the mod downloading and installing process. File pages on the Nexus sites will have a new download link on the page that, when clicked, will automatically add the file to the Client's download manager and download the mod you've chosen through the Nexus Client. The Nexus Client will have full download pause and resume functionality for every member
, not just Premium Members, so you can queue mods to download and install for later, at a time of your choosing. Premium Members will get the fastest download speeds possible (while normal members will still be limited to 500kb/sec) and will also be able to multi-thread their downloads to ensure they get the fastest download speeds possible. Once downloaded, you can click a button to install the mod and it will be added in to your game without you having to do anything (no more extracting files to specific folders manually and all that jazz).
Once installed you will be able to manage all your mods, turning them off, on or uninstalling them completely without having to worry about going in to the program folders looking for specific mod files. If there are any problems with the installation process you'll be told and the client will clean-up after itself without leaving redundant files and half-installed mods in your games.
The Nexus Client will also inform you when your files are out-of-date and give you the option to update your mods. For Premium Members, updating your files can be done with the click of a button and we're also hoping to bring in a "mod memory" function so you can mark the mods you always use as "essential". That way, if you lose a hard-drive, reinstall windows or uninstall your game and then come back to it later you can run the Nexus Client and tell it to automatically download and install all your essential files, saving you a load of time.
Mod authors will get the same advanced functionality that FOMM currently provides and we believe 99% of all the mods on the Nexus sites will be compatible with the Nexus client without you having to do a thing, so the Nexus Client expands your options but adds no workload to you if you don't want it to. Similarly the mods released by mod authors who are no longer active will still work with the client, and no files will be changed or modified to accommodate this. Some particularly advanced mods may have issues but we will happily work with any mod authors who find their mods not working with the client.
Kaburke has kindly provided a few words on the Nexus Client:
This version of the Nexus Client is the first step in expanding the scope of the mod manager. Instead of having multiple different managers, one for each game supported by the Nexus, the Nexus Client will be able to manage mods for all games from a single install. Currently, the Nexus Client only supports Fallout 3 and Fallout: New Vegas, but the other games will be added in due course. This homogenous design ensures that all new features that are added to the Nexus Client will be available for all games.
Past users of OBMM and FOMM will be familiar with most of the principals at play in the Nexus Client; however, the Nexus Client improves on just about every feature and aspect. The goal of the client is to streamline and simplify the modding experience, from mod creation through to mod installation.
If you're new to OBMM or FOMM then you might not know that they provide mod authors with additional tools, including configurable scripts control that let you define how your mod can be installed, and give your users choices. You can write powerful install scripts using the flexible XML Configuration scripts, the more powerful C# Scripts, or event the traditional OBMM/OMOD script language (the OMOD language is planned for a future version).
In the future, we'll also be adding a Mod Packaging GUI, a full-featured mod packager. Authors will be able to select the files they want included, specify the desired directory structure, identify dependencies on other mods, edit mod info, and upload the mod to the Nexus, all from one convenient interface. Authors will be able to save these mod projects, so that when they wish to upload a newer version, they won't have to repackage the mod from scratch.
We are releasing the Nexus Client under the GPL license
, which is something you'll probably not find with any other site that releases this sort of software. This means you'll have access to the source code of the client to make sure we're not up to any funny-business. It's not just to show that we're being completely transparent with our software, but also because the GPL enables you to help us with the development of the client, or make your own versions, plug-ins and adaptations to it. We really, really like it when mod authors work together, share their work with others and allow other mod authors to use their work. We want to set an example here and say "here's what we've made, please, use it, modify it to your liking, make it better and share it with others". Copyleft licensing
is something we think more mod authors should aspire to.
I'm obviously really excited about moving on to this testing stage of the Nexus Client and it's been very difficult for me to hold-my-tongue in past blog posts and when people have sent me messages asking why the site doesn't have its own installer program. I think the Nexus Client will really streamline the modding experience, breaking down the barriers to entry that prevent people from modding their games while reducing the amount of technical support mod authors have to deal with from some users that aren't technically gifted and can't install their mods.
You might be apprehensive about this or you might think it's a step in the right direction (I'm hoping you're thinking the latter!), and I'll try my hardest to answer any questions you might have, but right now we're still working hard on developing the client and focusing on the upcoming Beta test so try to keep the rabid scepticism to a minimum!
I'll keep you all updated on the Client's progress as and when I have more information, but I think you'll find the Nexus modding community is going to get a lot better soon.