• 30 September 2015

    Hello Nexus!

    posted by SirSalami Site News
    Thank you Robin, for the warm welcome! I'm Dave, your new Community Manager humbly reporting for duty!

    I'm a lifelong mod enthusiast. Starting with ZZT as a kid, I’ve been fascinated with modding both as a consumable and as a creative outlet. I've had the privilege of dabbling with many game engines and interacting with the communities they inevitably spawn. From Doom to GTA V, if it's moddable, I've probably played it. Though as I'm sure some of you can relate with, I sometimes get so caught up installing add-ons that I forget to play the games! Ah, such is the life of a modder. Mods not only extend the life of our games, they allow us to personalize our experience and share our enthusiasm with others.

    I view the Nexus, and I know Robin agrees, not as a mod repository but as a community. This is a testament not of the modding scene itself, but to the camaraderie you have shown in creating something bigger than the sum of it's parts, the Nexus. If you take a look at the network statistics offered at the bottom of the homepage, you'll be reminded of how strong your numbers are. Due to your efforts as modders, authors, and enthusiasts, the Nexus is well respected and you all deserve representation!

    Supporting Robin and Paul, I'll likely be involved in many aspects of the operation working directly along with you the community to help ensure that we are catering to your needs. My focus will be ensuring that you are all well represented and will serve as a direct line of communication between you and the rest of the team here at the Nexus. Of course, that's not to say that Robin will be involved any less with the community! I'll simply be appending my involvement to his own.

    Additionally, part of my job will be keeping an eye on the modding scene and the gaming industry in general. From indies to triple-a titles, I'll be evangelizing the Nexus amongst mod authors and their fans who may not already be part of the Nexus, bringing even more talent to your growing network. Of course your support with this will always be appreciated.

    Going forward along with changes to the website design that are planned, I will be bringing new flavors of content that will highlight things going on here at the Nexus. Though the form these offerings will take is yet to be determined, I would like to provide them on a fairly regular basis. Perhaps something like short articles, user and mod author spotlights, videos, contests, and more. While I do have plenty of ideas, I look forward to hearing about your interests and will be very open to any content submitted by the community.

    Though I've been an active user of the Nexus for quite a while as both a user and mod author, I owe it to you all to more intimately understand the community you have built. So initially with the help of the moderators, I'll be spending a lot of time simply trying to get to know you all better and understanding how things work around here. If you’re so inclined, you can always feel free to contact me personally via email with your questions, comments, thoughts, suggestions, complaints, or whatever! And of course, I'll be hanging out in the forums and the chat room often so feel free to stop by and heckle the new guy ;).

    So, thank you all so very much for having me. I hope to serve you well!

    Dave "SirSalami" Talamas
  • 30 September 2015

    Introducing our new Community Manager

    posted by Dark0ne Game News
    Back at the beginning of March I announced a job opening on the sites for a new Community Manager role. Putting a friendly face on the sites from someone who could dedicate all their time to bettering the community, within the community, has been long over-due and now, almost 7 months later, the position has finally been filled.

    It's taken a long time due to, in no small part, the sheer number of people who applied for the position. After only a few weeks I took down the job listing after receiving over 400 applications, many of them absolutely excellent candidates for the position. Over the course of many months I read through all the applications, followed up on many of them, had chats with some people and gradually whittled down the short list.

    Much like Highlander, there can be only one (but please, don't think that killing our new Community Manager will give you the power!), and today I'm happy to introduce Dave, our new Community Manager, aka SirSalami.

    Dave's role focuses almost entirely on the community. And I know that sounds odd, because surely everyone working here focuses on the community, but I mean it more literally. While the site programmers or NMM programmers work on tools and functionality for you all to use, Dave's main focus is on conversing with the community on a daily basis, listening to people's issues or complaints and passing that feedback on to us. Essentially, Dave will be the central point of contact for members who need to get into contact with us. He'll become the eyes and the ears of the Nexus, helping us to enact change and reform parts of the site or community that are crying out for attention. He'll head up our moderation team, providing the moderator's with much needed direction and support and providing them with a proper, dedicated individual they can truly rely upon. He'll also be the face of the Nexus abroad, in other communities, where we might need a friendly face to help people who have any questions or issues with the Nexus.

    For me, personally, Dave's list of skills fit the requirements for the job perfectly. In fact, he was almost a little too over qualified for the position, having experience with and a background in a number of programming languages as well as prior experience working for an indie developer in a similar role to his role now. He's a perfect fit for the small team of us working on the Nexus sites and I'm looking forward to seeing the positive change he can bring to the sites and community.

    I'm going to leave the rest for Dave, who'll be writing a news post following this one introducing himself to the community. But from myself and the rest of the Nexus team we wish Dave a very hearty welcome. We can't wait to see what he can do.
  • 18 September 2015

    Update on NMM version 0.60 and FAQ

    posted by Dark0ne Site News
    Yesterday we released version 0.60 of NMM, which, as the announcement said, is a major update to the way NMM handles files.

    While the update seems to have worked for a lot of people (as in, they installed it, NMM successfully migrated their files to the new system, and everything continued as normal), it also doesn't seem to have worked for some others. We're struggling to actually ascertain how many people it hasn't worked for because most people are focusing on sending us insults, hate, or, in some cases, death threats (yes, death threats...I can't help but laugh at the stupidity of it). Right now we know about 8,200 people have installed the latest build, of which, we've received about 40 bug reports from individual users about issues with 0.60.

    First of all I want to thank those 40 individuals who have actually bothered to send us in a bug reports. Some were filled with hate and largely useless to us without more detailed information, but some were really, really excellent, level headed, detailed, and have already helped us to patch up some issues and release hot fixes. Similarly, some have also found ways around some issues and helped others to fix theirs while waiting for hot fixes to come. Again, you folks make us happy and embody what's good about this community. Thank you for your help.

    One thing we have learnt from this release is that we need to improve the automatic update mechanism from within NMM. The update mechanism in NMM has been gimped for a long time after it was discovered, a couple of years ago, that it was inadvertently DDoSing our own web servers with the sheer number of people logging in to and using NMM with constant update queries. We pulled back the functionality a lot to prevent that from happening again. However, since that change, some things have changed in our server architecture (i.e. moving to our Cloud setup) that now make it more viable to make the update mechanism better. Specifically, we need to change it so you can see what's being changed/updated in an update before you can decide whether to download the update or not.

    Frankly, I've been quite surprised at the sheer amount of people that have been blindly downloading and updating their NMM without checking the site news or change logs first. Of course, we take some responsibility, as noted above, for not providing that changelog within NMM's update mechanism itself. Hence why we need to change it, and change it fast.

    It's also become obvious that we once again need to clarify the fact that NMM has always been in public Beta. That's not something we just say, it's written in big bold letters on the splash screen every single time you start the program up. When we release updates we release them on the pretense that first adopters, like any Beta software, are helping us to test the software. If you want to instantly install any new update to NMM as soon as it comes out then you do so in full knowledge that the changes made could inadvertently negatively affect your mod installation. If you didn't know that, despite the fact the word "Beta" is plastered all over the NMM download page and software, with clear warnings of what is involved with being in a Beta, then, guys...you need to read up about what you're actually installing on your PC before you do it! We're looking for help with our Betas. If you don't want to help and just want a stable piece of software to mod your game with then don't sit on the bleeding edge of the updates of NMM. Hold back and let the others who do want to help do their work. This is how we do things, it's how we've always done things these past four years since NMM's initial release. The system is going to change when we bring NMM out of Beta, but until then, that's how it'll remain.

    There's still a lot of confusion in the air about the release of version 0.60, so I'll address them in a simple FAQ setup.

    Q. Why did you release a piece of software to the general public that you knew would cause problems?

    To put it bluntly, we didn't. In that we didn't know it would cause problems. For version 0.60 of NMM we tested internally, between the two NMM programmers and myself, before releasing it as an alpha in January of this year. 40,000 people downloaded that alpha and provided us with feedback, which we used to fix any bugs that were reported to us. After many months of being practically bug free, we released version 0.60 in to the beta yesterday.

    This is exactly how the beta process is supposed to work. When we can't find any bugs we release it to others to help with testing. In the case of version 0.60 we wanted to have some more extensive testing done before doing a Beta release to the majority of NMM users, hence the Alpha. Once the Alpha was no longer reporting any significant issues, we released into Beta.

    Q. If you didn't know this many people would have issues, why *are* so many people having issues?

    We honestly can't work out how many people this version has been successful for because so few people are actually reporting bugs instead of sending us hate mail.

    Really, it comes down to the practically infinite number of variations in people's PC hardware setups, software setups, game setups and mod setups. It is absolutely impossible to account for the sheer number of these variations and we're seeing, from the bug reports, some pretty weird things from how people have setup their systems and mod folders. It's the equivalent of turning up for work and not being prepared for a man-size duck attacking you with an axe. Funnily enough, you didn't think that could ever even be a possibility...

    Major software companies spend millions (and millions) of dollars to make use of extremely advanced clusters of computers that try to account for every single one of these permutations and variables. Unfortunately, we don't have millions (and millions) of dollars. Hence why NMM uses Alpha and Beta testing and reactive updating to make it more stable.

    Q. Why didn't you warn us that this update required major changes to the way NMM works/uninstalls and attempts to reinstall my mods? Why wasn't it in big red font?

    I've address why the warning wasn't in the update mechanism from within NMM already. That's our bad for not making the information more readily available before presenting you with the chance to update, mixed with your bad for not checking up on what the update actually included before installing it.

    There were two warnings during the process on top of the announcement news post which is on the front page of any Nexus site that uses NMM.

    The first, in big red and bold font, was during the installation process. Here's a picture of it.

    The second was in the initial prompt you need to interact with before version 0.60 will work. This prompt informs you that NMM needs to uninstall all your mods and then asks you a question.

    If you click YES, NMM attempts to reinstall all your mods how they were before the update.

    If you click NO, NMM will uninstall all your mods and leave you to reinstall your mods how you see fit.

    If you click Cancel then none of the above will happen, but you won't be able to use version 0.60, allowing you to gracefully roll-back to your original NMM version through the normal method (installing the last version over the top of the usual NMM location). If you do this, nothing will have been changed and you'll be completely back to normal on the old build of NMM.

    The text explains exactly what NMM is going to do. We further clarified in version 0.60.3 that if you select cancel you'll need to reinstall your previous version of NMM.

    Q. Where can I download the previous version of NMM from?

    The back catalogue of NMM versions all the way back to 0.50 of NMM can be downloaded from the same place they've always been located, on the NMM forums. You can access this thread by going to the forums and clicking the sticky thread, by clicking the version number on the NMM download page, or by searching for "Previous versions of NMM" on Google (or any variation of that search).

    The download links are in the spoiler box tagged under the heading "Previous builds".

    Q. It says it should take 5 minutes. Mine took A LOT longer than that to complete.

    That is my bad. I wrote that "5 minutes" based on my own experience with this update to NMM using around 150 mods and around 20 scripted installers on my own system. Some people have reported much longer setup times depending on the power of their systems and how many mods and the types of mods they have installed. We'll get that changed in the next update of NMM so it's less misleading.

    Q. Why are you doing this now?

    The simple fact is that this change has long been coming. NMM was completely fresh code back in 2011, but it was based on (and built by the developer of) the Fallout Mod Manager for Fallout 3, which was released in 2008. Ergo, the architecture of NMM is 7 years old and based largely on a specific game engine. It's dated and it needed to be updated at some point so we could continue to move NMM forward.

    See it like a major update to some software you've used where documents made in old software no longer work in the new software and need to be transitioned over.

    We coded a migration progress for version 0.60 that would attempt to reinstall all your mods exactly how they were in the previous, old, architecture, but for some this migration hasn't worked completely for some people. We thought it would, but it hasn't. It wasn't some sinister plot to f' you over and ruin your day.

    It's an extremely complex problem. We need to do this to continue to develop the functionality we want for NMM, but it's causing a nasty "band aid ripping" situation that is unavoidable, despite our best efforts to alleviate it with the migration process.

    With the imminent launch of Fallout 4 it seemed prudent to release this version now, at a time when everyone will be starting completely from scratch with their mod installations, while allowing us to fix any niggling bugs that are in 0.60 that weren't revealed in the Alpha test.

    Q. I don't care about profiles/I don't want to update my NMM any time soon. Will I be forced to?

    No, people won't be forced to update for the foreseeable future. The last time we "forced" an update was version 0.52 of NMM, which was released in August of 2014. We only force updates when versions of NMM present issues with our web servers that require us to "cut off" previous versions from using our web servers for security or integrity reasons.

    So when we say "force an update" we actually mean "won't allow you to use the automatic downloading/mod information updating functionality". There are still people using very early versions of NMM who do not require the online parts of NMM, and they have not (and cannot be even if we wanted to) forced to update.

    We have no plans to force an update any time soon. And that's not Bethesda speak. We really do mean "we know of no reason why we would do it any time soon".

    Having said that, we will no longer be updating the 0.56 branch of code (the previous version before profiles). So 0.56.1 is the final build that does not include profiling. There will be no more bug fixes or functionality updates for that branch, so that branch is now Final. This also means version 0.56.1 and previous versions will not include support for Fallout 4 when it is released. If you want to use NMM with Fallout 4 when it's released then you'll either need to bite the bullet and upgrade to version 0.60, or run two separate installations of NMM. One for your old mod builds, and one for new builds and Fallout 4 (and additional games we may add to NMM in the future).

    We have a very small development team of two programmers working on NMM and we cannot spare the resources to continue two branches at once. It's just not feasible for us.

    I'll say it once again for people who don't know. NMM is completely open source, so if people want to create forks of NMM following previous branches then they are most definitely allowed to, both with our blessing and with the blessing of the letter of the law. Similarly, if people want to help us with actually developing NMM then we would welcome it as well!

    Q. When would be the best time to upgrade?

    I'd say, when you're comfortable with the concept of reinstalling some mods (how many seems to completely depend on how the migration process goes and we've not found a pattern as of yet) and when you have the time to do it. For some, the migration procedure is taking mere minutes. Others have claimed it's taken many hours.

    A particularly good time would be when you're wanting to do a fresh install of Skyrim (or the game you're playing) with a fresh installation of mods. Or, if you're very secure and comfortable with the process of installing mods properly: any time when you have the time to do it!

    Q. I can no longer interact with mods that have scripted installers after I've installed them. How do I redo the options?

    NMM now has three mod states; active, inactive and uninstalled.

    If a mod is active, it's installed and turned on in your profile so should show in your game.

    If it's inactive the mod is installed, but it's not turned on in your current profile so should not show in your game. It may, however, be active in other profiles you have.

    If it's uninstalled then the mod is not installed and it's not active in any of your profiles.

    When you interact with a scripted installer for a mod it will install the mod with the options you set. If you want to reinstall that mod and go through the scripted installer again you need to uninstall it, not deactivate it. To do so, simply right-click it and select "uninstall". When you go to install the mod again you'll then be prompted with the scripted installer, as per normal.

    Q. Mods are now taking up double the space with this version of NMM. Why is this?

    The short version: it's not.

    The long version: we're using a system in Windows known as hardlinks and symlinks (depending on whether you install to different hard-drives or not, NMM picks the best one for the task). Essentially, these are shortcuts that your operating system uses to stop the duplication of data while still presenting data in multiple folders. For example, your "Documents" folder in windows uses a similar sort of shortcut.

    Using this system, NMM installs your mods to a single folder you specify in the settings and then places shortcuts in your game folders pointing to where the mods actually are for the game you're using. The shortcuts in the mod folder look and act exactly how they would if the files themselves were in the mod folder, but they're not. This is what allows us to accommodate multiple profiles without continually installing and uninstalling mods, and in a quicker fashion than manually uninstalling and reinstalling the mods you want to use.

    The folder will make it look as though the shortcuts are taking up a lot of space, but they aren't. If you use 1GB of mods then NMM will still only use 1GB of space, not 2GB of space like a quick check might show. The easiest way to test is to check your available hard-drive space. It won't have increased any more than before.

    Q. Where do I report bugs?

    If you think you've found a bug then please use our bug tracker. The bug tracker (and our forums) use the same login you use for the site, so simply login with your Nexus username and password to post.

    There's also a link to it from within NMM, in the top right corner.

    Please remember when reporting a bug to make it as detailed as possible. When you post bugs we've got to try and recreate the issue before we can fix it. Therefore the more information you can provide us about how to recreate the bug the more likely it is we'll be able to fix the bug faster.

    Good information to tell us is: your operation system, the version of NMM you're using, what you did to trigger the bug, what you were expecting to happen, what actually happened, and the tracelog file (if one was generated). Normally, with this information, we can recreate the bug and fix it, or at least give you some detailed information back about why it's happening.

  • 17 September 2015

    NMM 0.60 Beta released with profiling. Sharing profiles to follow soon.

    posted by Dark0ne Game News
    We released the Alpha version of our major milestone 0.60 version of the Nexus Mod Manager back at the end of January. The idea of the Alpha was to provide an optional download for users who wanted to test out the NMM profiling functionality and help us to get it ready for an official Beta release without forcing everyone to update their NMM installations. 40,000 users downloaded this version of NMM and, over the past 8 months, the NMM programmers have been working on refining this functionality and fixing any bugs reported to them. After 9 updates with very little in the way of major issues we're now biting the bullet and deciding to take the 0.60 update out of alpha and into the public Beta (which is what the "normal" NMM is).

    This means that version 0.60 is going to be the official version of NMM from here-on-in. Any future updates, including new updates and fixes, will only be applied to the 0.60 branch of NMM. 0.56.1 will be the last version of NMM we released before moving to this new profiling system in 0.60.

    0.60 marks a major milestone for NMM and it's also a huge change in the way NMM stores and works with the mods you install in the background (e.g. in the actual mod folders on your hard-drive for the games NMM supports). 0.60 is also the penultimate major milestone we had on our road plan before completely updating and modernising the UI and bringing NMM out of Beta and into a full 1.0 release.

    The major change in 0.60 is the introduction of Profiling; the concept that you can have different mod profiles, with different variations of mods installed, for different playthroughs of your game. With the simple click of the mouse you can change from your mod profile for your Mage to your mod profile for your Thief, for example. It also has great benefits when you're testing out new mods or variations of mods by allowing you to always revert back to a profile you know works if things turn out badly for you.

    Some other mod managers have had this functionality for a while now. We've had to take a very long time working on this (coming on two years) because NMM is designed from the ground up to work with all games and not just Bethesda games using the Gamebyro engine. As a result we've had to do it in a very different way to the way others have, and this has both its pros and its cons.

    Following on from this release, in the next few weeks (hopefully), we're going to be releasing the first version of our mod profile backup and sharing platform. This will be a system that will create backups of your profiles that are stored on a page on the Nexus Mods website. Imagine a situation where your hard-drive fails and you lose all your mods. If you've backed up your profile to the site, with the simple click of a button, NMM will be able to download all the mods you had installed in your profile (provided they still exist in the Nexus Mods database and the author hasn't deleted them) and install them exactly how they were installed before, with no need for any further interaction. Some quite powerful functionality, I hope you'll agree.

    We'll also be using the same system to allow you to share those profiles publically with other members of the site. Wondering what mods your favourite mod authors are using to get those awesome screenshots? How about YouTubers? If they setup and share a profile in NMM, you'll be able to not only see the mod list they're using, but also be able to download and install their profile and have it all setup and working exactly how it is for them. No messing around with load orders or scripted installers. No more "what mods are you using?" questions. And all the mod authors will retain any stats they would have had before, had you gone to each individual page and downloaded their mods normally (e.g. they'll still get +1 to their download counters, which opens up the potential for endorsements as well).

    When you share your profiles you can choose to either make them a backup, which is private and only accessible to you, or public, and visible on a new section of the site for others to browse, view and install.

    To me, this is the exciting part of this update. It's also why I want to get it out now, before Fallout 4's release in a couple of month's time.

    Because this new version is a major change to the way NMM installs your mods it will require some interaction from you in order to get it working properly. The amount of interaction required will depend on how many mods you have installed, how many of those mods use scripted installers (the mods that have their own specialised installations where you can pick and choose what you want to install), and when you installed those mods that use scripted installers. If you installed any mods that use scripted installers after installing version 0.53.3 or higher (after February 23rd 2015) then you won't be asked to reinstall those mods again. However, if your setup is very old and uses a lot of scripted installers installed before February 23rd 2015 then you will be asked, one-by-one and in-turn, to install those mods again. Unfortunately, before this date, NMM was not coded to remember the exact settings you chose while using the scripted installers, so that's why you're prompted to reinstall them again.

    For casual NMM users this update should be relatively painless. If you're a power user with an extremely fine tuned and touchy setup then it might require a little more work. We've tried to make it as painless as possible, but this is one of those situations where a small bit of pain right now will lead to much greater rewards later on.

    The Alpha version was tested by 40,000 users and we fixed all the bugs reported to us by those users. However, as with every single update we do to NMM, we cannot account for the sheer myriad variations in people's PC and game setups and configurations. That's long-winded talk for "hey, there could be bugs!". We make new versions of NMM completely bug free on our PC's to the point where, no matter what we do, we cannot get it to do something bad or wrong. However, there's only three of us to test it. We then push it onto you guys, where we rely on you, the users, to help us test our releases fully. Hence why it's called a public Beta. If bugs are reported to us then they're patched up quickly and we release hot fixes as soon as possible. The point I'm trying to make is; if you're the type who's going to throw all your toys out the pram and start attacking/insulting us if there's a bug that prevents this version of NMM working for you, don't install this version straight away. Wait for the kind and patient souls who are willing to download, install and test this version out to report back and see if we need to do any hot fixes. If you don't see anything bad from people after a couple of days, then download and install 0.60 yourself. NMM is still in Beta and we release it as a Beta for other users to help test. If you don't want to be a part of that testing process then for the love of God don't install this version straight away. You have been warned (in multiple places). And it's your fault if you ignore that, not ours.

    All bug reports should be directed to our bug report tracker. If you do come across a bug then the sooner you report it to us, the sooner we'll have it fixed (or give you a reason why it's happening). We've lost track of the amount of times someone has complained that a bug hasn't been fixed in a long time when they haven't actually reported the bug...yep, that happens. Don't forget to make sure your firewall isn't blocking connections from NMM to the site. Most firewall software will need you to reconfirm the exception for any software that's changed or been updated since last time you let it pass through. Like when you update NMM.

    In the extremely unlikely event that you just cannot get 0.60 to work, and you don't want to wait for the bug report you've sent in to be looked at (remember to do that!) then all versions of NMM released since February 2015 have a backup and restore functionality built into them. If you want to revert back to 0.56.1 from version 0.60 for whatever reason then you can do that by following these instructions on our wiki.

    You can download the latest version of NMM from the usual download location on our site.

    All our fingers are crossed that this release can go without a hitch. But, we are standing by incase it doesn't.
  • 09 September 2015

    Why we can't use Patreon, and talking about donations and doing more to support mod authors

    posted by Dark0ne Site News
    It's been just over 4 months since the paid modding fiasco failed and Valve stopped the sale of mods on the Skyrim Workshop. I'm not here to beat the dead horse on what happened then, but I am here to talk about one of the major fall out points (pun not intended) from that situation, specifically, donations to mod authors.

    During the time when paid modding was active, and in the aftermath, two things became very clear; a lot of users on the Nexus didn't know it was even possible to donate money to their favourite mod authors, and the amount of money donated to mod authors was so negligible it bordered on the pointless for almost all mod authors (we're talking a couple of dollars over the course of a 2 year period, even for some of the "big" mods...). We want to try and fix that, to get the word out more about completely voluntary donations while maintaining a certain degree of conformity and professionalism for mod pages.

    Before paid modding the donation system was very simple. Mod authors put their Pay Pal email address into their Nexus site preferences and decided whether to turn on a donation button on their file and profile pages. The donation button is in the top-right hand corner of the file page, where the Download, Track and Endorse buttons are also placed. Lots of users missed this.

    Accompanying that were a strict set of rules in our terms of service that state, categorically, that mod authors cannot, under any circumstances, ask for or even mention donations anywhere on the site. The main reason for this rule was quite simple; as it stands right now a lot of mod authors already fail to describe what their mod actually does anywhere near the top of their file descriptions. In between huge images, change logs, the latest news about their files/their life/their cats, what they will and won't provide support on and so on and so forth, it's sometimes extremely difficult to find an actual description of the author's mod. What I didn't want was mod authors asking for/demanding donations and giving running commentaries of their donor lists within their file descriptions and sticky comment sections, further muddying what should be an easy to read and understand section of a mod author's file page.

    Similarly, we didn't want situations where mod authors withheld functionality that was only for people who donated, or started doing "updates for cash". The idea that the author will update their mod when the donation amount reaches a specific threshold. That's not what the Nexus is about and if mod authors did want to do that they could do that elsewhere. But not here.

    This is something we, the people working on the Nexus, can help with by providing mod authors a dedicated area on their file pages to talk about donations. A nice widget or box somewhere on their file page, prominent, but not overbearing and instantly in the user's face, where the mod author can talk about their donations, track and thank their donors and explain what they'll use it for. But right now, with the current design, we just don't have the room to accommodate that. We could make another tab on the file page for donations, but would it be used? Would it really? It's something we'll be working on for our site redesign, but that's not going to be out for a good while yet.

    The Nexus has a lot of users who "skirt the rules" already, sitting in a grey area where they know it's a bit naughty, but it's not going to get them into any trouble. I feel if we relaxed the rules on talking about donations, without giving authors a dedicated area to talk about them, then we'd increase our moderator workload substantially, as well as the ensuing drama when we have to make judgement calls on whether what's been written about donations does or doesn't break our ToS. And for that reason, right now, our rules remain the same on soliciting donations.

    During and after the paid modding fiasco we altered our donation system slightly. Mod authors can now choose to show users who've already downloaded their file a small pop-up box before they try to download another file on the page. This box informs the user about donations and asks them whether they'd like to donate. The idea being, if you've already downloaded one of the files on a file page and go to download it again, it's likely the reason you're downloading one of the other files on the page is because you're downloading an update to the mod, or an optional file, and you actually liked/use the mod in your game. Similarly, the author can choose to show the same pop-up box when someone chooses to endorse the mod. Once again, the idea being that if you endorse a mod, you like the mod, are you're more likely to actually donate to the author because of that.

    Like the donation button, these options are completely voluntary and the mod author can choose to enable, one, two, three or none of the options at the same time.

    The inherent problem with the current system is, simply, that it's limited in its scope when compared to platforms like Patreon or Flattr. These platforms are specifically designed for exactly what I'm talking about in this post. From the ground up, they make it fast and easy to donate to your favourite creative people and give them financial support if you so choose. In short, they'd be perfect to implement into the Nexus.

    And I'd love to. I mean that. It'd take all the hassle out of us making our own donation systems and we could pass it on to tried and tested platforms that work brilliantly already.

    But I can't.

    After paid modding failed miserably, donations were talked about a lot both publically and in our private mod author forums. Lots of brainstorming occured on how we could get the word out better. A lot of people agreed (some didn't, mind you!) that systems like Patreon and Flattr would be perfect. I said I would be more than happy to implement them into the Nexus, provided that Bethesda would be OK with the idea and wouldn't send their legion of lawyers after us.

    Anyone who reads the gaming news will know, Bethesda's lawyers are trigger happy as f'. In recent years they've sued Mojang, of Minecraft fame, over the use of the name "Scrolls". They've sued Interplay, originally owners of the Fallout IP, over the use of Fallout. They've sued an indie dev for trying to use the game name "Fallout Fortress". And they've sued the Oculus Rift people over the use of "trade secrets". They clearly like using lawyers. I'd rather not lose this entire site over mod author donations.

    I encouraged mod authors who were interested in Flattr and/or Patreon to contact Bethesda about the topic and get their take on it. Initial reports back were not good or positive and the general consensus was that Bethesda had said no. The topic was laid to rest.

    Then, a few of months back, a site called "Sprked" cropped up, looking to become a Patreon style platform specifically designed for modding and activities of a similar ilk. They began contacting and messaging a lot of mod authors on the Nexus about using their site, but didn't send a message to me about it. I sent them a message asking them to stop doing it immediately. Not only was it spammy, but if mod authors attempted to mention using the service on the Nexus they'd have received a warning, as it would have been seen as soliciting donations. I explained the situation to the person I spoke to at Sprked, that Bethesda seemingly didn't want such a system implemented, but I told them I'd contact Bethesda personally to get to the bottom of it.

    So I got in contact with GStaff, the community manager over at Bethesda, to get to the bottom of the issue once and for all. I'll quote the messages I sent to GStaff on the topic, so you can see what I said, but I won't quote GStaff, out of respect, as I have not asked for or had his permission to do so.

    Hi Matt,

    I hope you're well.

    I wanted to give you a heads up on a new site that's just launched called Sprked. It's basically a Kickstarter/Patreon monetisation site tailored specifically for mods. It features Bethesda games, images and IP quite prominently.

    I know a user called contacted you after the Skyrim Workshop paid modding situation to ask if Patreon would be OK for mod authors. From what the mod authors had gathered you had indicated Bethesda would not be OK with such a system. Is this correct? I ask, as it's something we would have explored implementing in to the Nexus if you hadn't made it relatively clear to that you weren't OK with it. It's something we would not implement if Bethesda were not happy with the idea, especially if it would sour things between us, and because of this we haven't pursued the idea any further. It's also something we have actively prevented mod authors from advertising on their file pages on the Nexus, which has essentially "nipped it in the bud" as without our authorisation it's practically impossible for them to get the word out about it to their users.

    We have extremely strict/tight rules on mod authors asking for donations. Mod authors cannot specifically ask for donations in their file descriptions, they can't offer "perks" for donations and they can only use our generically written donation text, which links to a user's Pay Pal account. The Nexus never, ever, touches donation money. As such, we've informed the creators of Sprked that we will not allow them to contact mod authors about the service/advertise their service on the Nexus until we've heard back from you on the topic, simply because it's against our TOS for mod authors to advertise such services on their file pages at this time. That rule will not change unless you/Bethesda make it clear that such things would be deemed "OK".

    If you could shine a light on this rather precarious situation, I'd appreciate it.


    The response I received was one line long and informed me that it was something that Bethesda cannot support.

    Unfortunately, GStaff's answer didn't really answer my original question. I wasn't looking for Bethesda to support it, I was writing to make sure if the Nexus supported it, Bethesda wouldn't have a problem with it. I clarified the situation:

    Hi GStaff,

    Welcome back from what I assume was a busy week last week.

    Unfortunately this is something the mod authors are pushing me heavily for so I kind of need a little better wording on this one (sorry!). When you say "it's not something we can support" I don't know whether you mean it's just something Bethesda aren't going to support themselves, on their own sites/services (e.g. Bethesda.NET, the forums and Skyrim Workshop) or whether it's something which, if the Nexus did support it, Bethesda would be unhappy about/come after the Nexus either legally or with a blanket ban on Nexus related use?

    Sounds extreme, I know, but when Bethesda opened the Pandora's box that was paid modding all this other stuff came out with it and we, at the Nexus, are coming under pressure to do more to support mod authors from a donation stand-point when we're utterly unsure how far we can go without you, Bethesda, getting upset. Hence this message.

    Thanks for your time.

    GStaff's answer was to say that yes, it would be problematic if we were to pursue Patreon or Flattr-esque systems on the Nexus, and that was that.

    GStaff did not go into any further detail as to why it would be problematic if the Nexus used Patreon or Flattr and frankly, I didn't ask because I didn't want to push any further. You can speculate on the reasons yourselves. I imagine if they were pushed they'd likely quote the tried and tested "legal complications" with such an idea. Though why there'd be legal complications over Patreon/Flattr but not straight-up Pay Pal donations, which Bethesda signed off on personally when I asked them for permission to implement that system after Skyrim's release, I don't know.

    It's also been widely reported in the gaming press that Bethesda will be revisiting paid modding at some point after Fallout 4's release and I think we can all safely assume that they're going to be gearing towards such a system on their Bethesda.net site, which they've been talking about a lot as well. Such a system would effectively allow them to cut out Valve as the middleman, accommodate an interesting push in to console modding, and either ensure they can maximise their profit as much as possible, or allow Valve's original cut to go to the mod authors. I freaking hope they're going for the second of those two options. Irrespective, I've no idea if the fact they want to revisit paid modding in the not too distant future has any bearing on their decision to say no to Patreon or Flattr on the Nexus, but I think it's similarly possible.

    In light of the fact they've said no, I think what upsets me most, personally, is the seeming irony of Bethesda's stance on the topic of paid modding. They've said time and again that they believe mod authors should be allowed to be compensated for their work, but they forget to add their caveat to that statement; that they seemingly want mod authors to be compensated for their work, provided they can take a cut. And heck, I completely understand why they believe they deserve a cut. It's their game, their platform, from which mod authors would be making money. It's entirely reasonable for them to take a cut (how much of a cut is still open to debate, though!). What I don't appreciate is the fact they try and paint it like they're doing it for the mod authors out of the charity of their own hearts. It just seems really silly.

    As I said, this is something I really wanted to get behind for mod authors. It seemed so simple and easy to implement that it was a no brainer. But we can't, and for that, I'm sorry.

    I wanted to set the record straight on this topic as I still get contacted about it regularly even today. It was also mentioned a lot in our recent site survey that 25,000 users were kind enough to fill in, and I still see a lot of posts on other sites wondering why we haven't done more. The reason why we haven't done more is because our hands seem to be tied.

    If you have any ideas about how we can make donations more prominent and friendly to mod users while using a simple donation system over something more expansive, like Patreon and Flattr, then by all means get in contact or leave us a comment. We're all ears on trying to help out mod authors more, without the potential for getting sued to hell and back.
  • 03 August 2015

    UX / UI Designer needed

    posted by BlindJudge Game News
    If you have read my previous news post you will be aware that we are now looking to recruit a part-time User Experience / User Interface (UX/UI) Designer. This is integral to getting the redesign of the site correct and we need a professional to come onboard as soon as possible to help us!

    We've received a heck of a lot of feedback from the survey we ran and on top of that lots of members have been sending me personal messages about what they'd like to see changed on the sites. From the information I've received, I know that you are all very interested in being a part of this process. The Nexus community is one of the best (if not the best) online community I've ever had the pleasure of being a part of and the devotion to the site is incredible. Because we know there's a lot of people who feel passionately about this redesign process we thought we would post this position here first to see if we have any takers.

    Obviously we'd much rather work with a professional UX/UI designer who is already a part of this community. Someone from within the community will be much more attached to the project and have a deeper understanding of the requirements of the site as opposed to someone who's never used this site before.

    If you're a professional UX/UI designer and you're interested in working with us then please take a look at the below job posting.

    User Experience / User Interaction Designer

    We here at Nexus Mods are looking for a passionate and like minded individual to work with our small but very fun team to do lots of amazing things including talking about cats and beards, taking the piss out of the Nexus Mod Manager programmers and chatting about random rubbish on Skype. Oh, and we would also like you to be able to do some UX/UI stuff, too!

    This position is offered on a part-time, freelance contract basis. Fees can be discussed on a per-applicant basis, but this is, of course, a paying role as we're looking for a professional.

    Ideally we're looking for someone who has at least 2 years previous proven experience or who has a very strong portfolio from University, college or similar.

    We're looking for someone to:

    • Research and understand interaction design trends (those cool sliders, drop downs and things that make the site flow).
    • Analyze data given from the Nexus Mods community; including, but not limited to Surveys, Feedback Forms, Forums and PM's.
    • Consult closely with Robin and I regarding necessary functionality.
    • Have top notch design skills, attention to detail and an aptitude to do things off your own back.
    • Be able to create visual representations of sites using wireframes, process flows and visual design composites.
    • Have very strong written and verbal communication skills in English.

    It would be great, but not essential, if you lived in or around (or can travel to) the South East of England, to make it easier to converse face to face.

    The position will report directly to Robin and I.

    If you feel that you have the necessary qualifications, ability and drive then we would love to hear from you.  Please email me at paul.buttle@nexusmods.com and provide details of why you think you would be awesome for the role, a link to any portfolio you may have and also your Curriculum Vitae / Resume.

    Robin and I look forward to hearing from you.
  • 03 August 2015

    Survey Responses!

    posted by BlindJudge Site News
    The results are in!

    Well the results are in and I thank you for all the time, effort and input that went into completing the surveys. We had over 25,000 responses in a two and a half day period which took both Robin and I totally by surprise and just reinforced our belief in the passionate community we have here at NexusMods.

    I've put all the comments into two different documents and am now in the process of reading them, making notes and tallying the suggestions up so that we get an idea of what we can do to best improve the experience for you all.

    Like I said before, this process is open to the community. So for your information, these are the results of the survey:

    Male: 88%
    Female: 9%
    Rather not say: 4%

    18 - 24: 40%
    up to 17: 22%
    25 to 34: 19%
    35 to 44: 8%
    45 to 54: 5%
    Rather not say: 4%
    55 to 64: 2%
    65 to 74: 1%
    75+: 0%

    Daily: 49%
    Weekly: 36%
    Occasionally: 9%
    Monthly: 5%
    First Visit: 1%

    Usage (multiple answers possible):
    Mod User: 96%
    Browse Around: 20%
    Forum User: 9%
    Mod Author: 8%

    Uploading a Mod is Simple and Easy:
    Average: 7.77

    I like the look of the website:
    Average: 7.59

    Easy to Navigate:
    Average: 7.58

    Find what I want Quickly:
    Average 7.24

    Everything is clearly labelled:
    Average: 7.51

    Browsing Experience:
    Particular Mod, then browse around: 53%
    Browse for Hidden Gems: 44%
    Particular Mod, then leave: 3%

    Recommend to a friend:
    Average: 9.23!!  

    An average score of 9.23 out of 10 for recommending to a friend, now that is certainly a good thing to hear.  

    We also had an enormous amount of suggestions and feedback, 700+ pages to be precise and I’m actually going through all of it. Some people have gone into incredible detail:

    Better tracking of your own comments in various sections/mods, to see when/if someone replies. Better access to mods that are high quality, but haven't got too many downloads and/or endorsements. Many great mods are bogged down way back in the pages, with skimpy clothes and nudes clogging up the front pages.

    Many have been listing parts of the site and how they believe it should be changed. Others have blasted down ideas in bullet points including highlighting tagging, making the site more responsive and improving the site search functionality.

    It actually doesn't matter how you have given your feedback we are exceptionally grateful for all of it. I have received plenty of PMs too which I will reply to over the course of the next week. Things are pretty go, go, go at the moment but please be aware that I'll reply to everything eventually.

    I’ve also created another form incase you wanted to put forward any more feedback and suggestions throughout this process.  You can access that by clicking somewhere around here.

    We have picked the 5 winners of the Steam vouchers and will be contacting them via email in the next few days.

    So what's the next step? Well, we are looking at taking on a part-time User Experience / User Interface Designer to work with us on interpreting the information we gathered from the surveys, hopefully we can find a passionate person from within the Nexus community, but I will put out a separate post on this very shortly.

    Once we have managed to recruit someone to come on board we will begin the whole design process. To begin with this will involve analysing how people use the site, which parts of the site get looked at and how people interact. From that we'll find the areas that can be streamlined and made more intuitive, work out a process flow that people will not find too different from the norm and then begin with wireframes.  

    Once we have managed to produce the wireframes these will be shared with the community for feedback.

    These are fun times to be here at NexusMods and I'm looking forward to the next month immeasurably.
  • 23 July 2015

    A big "Hello" to the Community

    posted by BlindJudge Site News
    Hi all,

    If you’re reading this and you're wondering who I am then you might want to check out Robin's news post that briefly introduces me. But let me explain a little more about myself. Firstly, a big hello!

    Okay, so my name is Paul and I go under the forum name BlindJudge - which comes from one of my favourite looking wakeboard tricks and no, I can’t do it - yet!

    I’m a passionate gamer who enjoys pretty much any game going, my Steam collection is pretty vast (1100+ games at present) and contains everything from the latest blockbusters through to some lesser known but amazing gems of indie titles. Currently I’m playing games such as Battleblock Theatre, retreading my way through Skyrim (this time modded to the brim) and some of the old school games like the Homeworld remake.

    I've been brought in alongside Robin to work in a Content Director role. It's a wide and very varied role but will initially focus on improving how the staff work behind the scenes and working on a complete redesign of the Nexus Mods site. That might be a little worrying, for a new guy to come in and tell you he's heading up a redesign of the sites, but let me try and put your fears to rest.

    The Nexus site design is now a good 4-5 years old and it's starting to show its age. Not only that, but it's also splitting at the seams due to all the functionality that's been "tacked on" since the last site redesign was done. The current design wasn't developed with a lot of the new functionality that's been added since in mind, hence why some places can seem a bit cramped and it's often hard to find exactly what you want.

    As has always been the Nexus way, we want this process to be as transparent and open to the community as possible and we would love people to come forward every step of the way to offer their suggestions, thoughts and any input you deem could help us deliver to you the site that you deserve. We're not keeping this a secret and just springing it on you once it's ready. We're not working in private with a couple of "respected users". We want to get everyone's opinion every step of the way through to completion. This is your site and your community and you guys are best placed to tell us what you think is best for it - not us and not a few "carefully selected" individuals. We would like it to not only look nice but be exceptionally easy to navigate and easy to find exactly what you're looking for while highlighting not only the bigger mods but also the hidden gems people may have discovered. Importantly we'd also like to to be future proof for any new functionality we add to the sites in the future to avoid that "tacked on" look.

    We’ve already started collecting lots of behind the scenes data over the last month. Heatmaps have shown us where people are clicking and how many people scroll up and down the pages. Analytics are showing us where people are arriving from and which pages they are entering and how they're browsing between the various pages on the site. The next logical step for us is to get some really important information from you guys, the people who use the sites the most, on what you'd like to see from a new Nexus site design. To that end I've set up a quick survey, it only has 15 questions, which are mostly multiple choice and should (honestly!) only take 5 minutes to complete, unless you want to give us really detailed information (which we'd really like to read!).

    So if you don’t mind, please take our survey, the information you submit will be used to make the site better for you, after all! As an added incentive we’re going to pick 5 names at random from the completed surveys and each of those people will receive a $50 Steam Gift Card.

    I know, they are annoying and no one likes to fill in surveys - but the information that we can capture from you guys would be highly advantageous to all of us when it comes to a site wide redesign. We don’t want to just change things over and spring it on you in a “TA DA” kind of way, we would like it to be user driven and because of this, my posts will more than often be asking for help, input, or informing you where we are in the process - and it’s going to be a long process!

    So what is our timeline and when do we start?

    Well, as mentioned we’ve already started to collect important data behind the scenes and hope this will give us a good insight into what is currently working and not working on the site. There will be a few more bouts of research, such as the survey, so we predict this could last anywhere up to around 8 weeks. We’ll try and get wireframes drawn up and put out in the public eye to gauge reaction and see if anyone has anything they strongly agree or disagree with. Heck, if you feel that you can come up with any ideas or wireframes or even designs yourself then we would love to see them.

    Following the research and initial planning stages we’ll jump into the initial design stages which we will announce on the site. This is where we will be consulting the community and UI/UX experts to come up with design mockups for the site, using wireframes and feedback for the designs. These will once again be scrutinised and discussed, shown to the community and your comments will help further these. This should last around 8-10 weeks.

    We would love for the new site (the moment it reaches Beta) to be released alongside the current one like the Nexus did with the previous design. This means that people will be able to switch between the two designs, old and new, finding out what they like about the new site, but more importantly what they don’t. There will be a feedback form for you to report back anything straight to us. Every single one of these will be read by me and put into metrics to facilitate changes to the more disliked features or a bug tracker to get things fixed.

    It will be exciting times for us over the next few months as the site is developed and coded. It will be done in parallel with the existing site, so nothing will change on the existing NexusMods.com site and, as we said, we'll consult you guys, the users, throughout the entire process.

    Site launch day will be exciting, this will be the day when the site swaps over from what it is now to the new one. It will have been a long labour of love from not only the staff here, but also the community as a whole and something I am exceptionally excited to see happen.

    Once the new design is rolled out we are going to make sure that site updates and features are then released quickly, no getting stagnant as we want to evolve at the same pace as (or ahead of!) the gaming industry, quick to react to changes taking place in the gaming world. It will be a part of my job to move the site forward quickly ensuring that we stay ahead of the pack. Through listening to the wants and needs of the community I believe this is very possible.

    It’s nice to finally say hello and I’m looking forward to working with each and every one of you.


  • 23 July 2015

    Introducing our "Director of Content" at Nexus Mods

    posted by Dark0ne Site News
    Back in March we put up a job posting for a Community Manager position at Nexus Mods. I was looking for someone who was a part of the modding community who could be a friendly-face on the sites and would handle a lot of the PR and community side of things on the Nexus which has been lacking in recent years.

    Over 400 people applied for the position and over the course of a couple of months I whittled down the applicant list to a "short-list" of 30 people, and then further down to a shorter-list of 4. Before I contacted these remaining 4 individuals, however, I met up with a close gaming friend for lunch one day. His name is Paul.

    Paul and I met several years ago at StratLAN, a relatively small 100-150 person LAN event that takes place a few times a year at Stratford-upon-Avon racecourse that is run by Multiplay here in the UK (the same people who run the large Insomnia series of LAN, which I also go to, and who also did this year's Minecon, whose staff I know relatively well). Paul and friends were playing the Game of Thrones board game around a big table and, over the course of many hours and many drinks we all got to know one another. We now all meet up regularly, despite some long travel distances for some of us, to play board games and go to LANs together. When we're not LANning or board gaming we're often online playing games with one another. A good 15-20 of us are close friends now, of which Paul is a part, with a further 10-30 I've come to know and like a lot. Paul and I sit next to each other at the LAN events and he sometimes watches me as I do some Nexus work in between gaming sessions. He regularly offers advice on things he'd change on the Nexus site or asks questions about why I haven't done this or that. He tends to be quite astute!

    When we met up recently Paul and I got to talking about our individual situations and, long story short, I saw a place for Paul working at the Nexus. He has a passion and drive for this sort of work with prior experience working on sites and in graphic design with a keen eye for the challenges facing the site and the work necessary to get the Nexus back up to scratch. I say up to scratch because I definitely feel like the Nexus could be doing more than it is right now in almost all areas, and the reason we've dropped the ball a little is because of me. Paul's coming in to streamline our operation and work just below me (no innuendo) to not only help with the decision making process but to help micro-manage the implementation of new functionality both behind the scenes, working on streamlining our work process, and on the front end that users actually see. Basically, he's another me, who will have the time necessary to really do what's best for the sites and this community. It doesn't mean I'm going anywhere, it just means I'm now getting some help on the sites that I really needed. And quite importantly for me, Paul is someone I know, who I can go and visit and who I can trust implicitly (indeed, he's sat a couple of metres away from me right now working away at his desk, migrating our internal bug tracking system over to a much better and more efficient system).

    Paul will be making himself known and getting straight down to work in his own news post to follow. In the mean-time, I would still like to hire on a dedicated Community Manager. I held off on finalising any choice of Community Manager based on the applications received while Paul was brought on and acclimatised. we've both decided that a Community Manager is still very necessary and would be very worthwhile to the sites. I'll continue that work soon (tm).
  • 22 July 2015

    It's holiday/DDoS season

    posted by Dark0ne Game News
    Over the past 24 hours the Nexus sites have gone down 3 times, sometimes for as much as an hour. It's school holiday season which means it's also DDoS season, typically a time when an abnormally high amount of DDoS attacks happen (logical conclusion is...?). We're told by our hosts that we are not the target but unfortunately we're being taken down due to the attacks happening against our host's and main data centre's infrastructure. It's nice to know we're not the target, at least, but obviously it still sucks.

    If you're wondering why we don't just "do something" about it. We do. We pay a lot of money (right now about $3200 a month and growing) to help against DDoS attacks, but DDoS mitigation is a bit like that scene at the end of Batman Begins where Jim Gordon is talking to batman and he's talking about escalation. "We start carrying semi-automatics, they buy automatics. We start wearing kevlar, they buy armour piercing rounds. And you're wearing a mask...". You can buy a ridiculously expensive firewall that can scrub 20GB/s of malicious traffic on your upstream, then you'll just get attacked by a bigger botnet that attacks you with 50GB/s of malicious traffic. You buy a firewall that can handle 75GB/s, they attack you with 100GB/s. And so on and so forth. And each time it gets more and more expensive to combat against. And it can get really, really expensive after a certain point.

    We and our hosts continue to react to the DDoS attacks as and when they happen. If they happen while I'm at my computer then I'm updating the Nexus Twitter account to let people know about the down-time and that we're aware of it. So if you like to be kept in the loop while the sites are down then you can follow us on Twitter. We don't really use that account for anything else right now so you won't get spammed about crap you don't care about!

    While the techheads work to sort this out for all of us (and this DDoS is affecting thousands of sites, so we're not the only victims) please sit tight and be patient. At the end of the day, this is one person ruining it or all of us. Well, one person, and hundreds of thousands of computer illiterate people who haven't secured their PC's/routers/Internet of Things hardware against people using their hardware as botnets. So by all means, take this time to review your own system security!