Today we’ve rolled out an update to the category and search results page on all the Nexus sites and I’m quite excited about it. I think it’s really good, ergo if you don’t like it I’m going to be upset. So like it. Or else.
The general premise for this update was to have a single page from which you could find all the content people have added to the site quickly, easily, and seamlessly without the need for excessive page reloads or jumping between category selections, search pages, tag searches and so on. Now it’s all centralised in to one page with the ability to customise what you see and how you see things extremely quickly.
Lets start from the top of the new page and work our way down; beginning with featured files. Featured files are why, as a mod author, even if you don’t think your file has any chance of becoming a “hot file” (or it’s past the time cut off for your file to be eligible) you should still create a hot file image for your files. Every 10 minutes every category will get a new “Featured file”. It looks a lot like the hot files on the front page of the Nexus sites but the difference is every file is eligible to be a featured file. Our server-side script will iterate through all the files in your file category to ensure that every file has absolutely equal exposure; your file cannot be a featured file again until all the other files in its category have also been featured. And only files that have a featured image created for them are eligible to be selected, so if you haven’t setup a featured image for your files yet you need to do so by going to your images and creating a “hot file” image. This isn’t the same as a “background” image, so if you don’t like the background image system or don’t want to use it then the two are separate; you can have one without the other.
There are infact two “featured file” lists; one for the category your file is in and one for the “all categories” selection which shows when the user is browsing all the files on the site. So that means your file gets the chance to be featured two times per rotation of the file database.
As a user if you’re not a massive fan of the featured file system or if you don’t use it and would rather gain some more height space for your mod browsing then you can click the green “Hide features” tab button which will hide the features section for you. If you’re logged in then the site will remember your preference so if you leave the page and come back later the featured file section will still be hidden. If you’d like to see the featured file again all you need to do is click the “Show features” button and back it comes. And once again, the site remembers your choice.
We also understand that you might like to see some of the files that were recently featured on the site that you missed and that’s what the “Recent features” button is for. Click it and you’ll be taken to a page that shows you the past 20 files that were featured in this category, so just over 3 hours of featured file backlog you can catch up on per category.
Moving on you’ll notice we’ve split content between “Files”, “File news” and “File images”. The files tab contains information specific to files. Your bread and butter file search results.
The file news tab will display news articles that authors have written for their files. We added the articles system to files about 10 months or so ago and it’s been used well by mod authors. Not only does it allow you to keep your users updated with your progress, thoughts and opinions and gain valuable feedback but it’s also a great way to increase exposure for your files. We’ll no doubt revisit the system in the not too distant future so you can subscribe to your favourite mod authors and be kept up-to-date with what they’re writing about. So I’d recommend making use of this system wherever possible.
The file images tab is an additional feature we’ve added to the sites that allows you to browse mod image galleries without having to go to the mod page itself. Click a mod in the file images tab and you’ll be presented with a pop-out box with a slide-show gallery script so you can scroll through all the images that have been uploaded for the file. If you’re one of those mod users who likes to look at mods before you read about them and download them then this feature is for you.
Whether you’re on the file tab, file news tab or the file images tab the results you see are all affected by the filters you choose to the right of the results. If you’re currently looking at files in the Armour category, if you switch to the file news or file images tabs you’ll only see news or images for files in that category.
When browsing your file results you’ll notice that we’ve gone back to providing you with two ways of showing you results; block view and flat view. Nexus veterans will remember that before we updated our site design we originally had these two separate views but changed to flat view so that we could focus our time more easily on supporting one format. Now we’ve got two dedicated web programmers for the sites we can go back to supporting both methods, and the method you choose is totally up to you. You can quickly change the view mode by clicking the green “View” tab. Just like the “hide features” button the site will remember your viewing preference if you’re logged in. We’ve also upped the number of results per page from 10 to 30 to better fill the space made available through these changes.
And lastly we come to the new search, sorting and filtering options that allow you to drill-down into the database to find exactly what you’re looking for. Situated to the right of the file results are all the options you’ll need to find what you want, including the ability to search by file name, words in the description, author/upload name and sort your results by all the previously available parameters plus one more; the random parameter. Much asked for over the years the “Random” sort by filter will show you a random selection of mods using the other variables you’ve selected. So you can search for random armour mods that have images uploaded and aren’t tagged as skimpy or anime. Easily. Click the button again and you’ll get another random set of mods.
We’ve included quick attribute filters for files that have images uploaded, files that are considered NMM compatible (because the author hasn’t turned off the NMM compatibility switch for his files) and adult files, and because everything is done seamlessly through AJAX rather than new page calls you can quickly turn these features off and on without a page reload. The filters you select will be saved as you move between categories and even into search results so you don’t have to constantly click the same filters each time you run a search.
Finally, we’ve also added the three main saved preferences in to your member area preferences section so you can edit them at any time; these preferences are whether you want to see featured files, your default view between flat or block mode and the default sort by order for any file searches or categories you view (e.g. most endorsed first, or most recent first).
As per my recent blog post this new page will form the backbone of a centralised Nexus and our attempts to make finding mods as easy as possible. We’ll add an extra parameter to the filters on this page for the game you want to be browsing making it be extremely easy to look through, for example, the latest New Vegas mods and then quickly jump to see the latest Fallout 3 mods without having to go through a load of different mouse clicks to get there.
We’ve tried our hardest to optimise the code as well as we can to get the best server performance out of it but we’re not going to know how it’ll affect performance for sure until we actually put this live on the sites and see what effect it has. The worry is, because everything is done without page reloads it makes it very easy for you to press a lot of things quickly and send lots of requests to the server. We don’t know how the servers will hold-up until we actually apply the code so we’ll be monitoring how the servers cope throughout the weekend and if things get bad and we think it’s because of this new code we’ll revert back and wait until we’ve transitioned over to the new database cluster. Once again, I’m told that’s any day now. Either way you’ll have some time to try it out and let us know what you think.
Just wanted to drop a quick notice that we're aware that some people have been experiencing down-time on the sites today with error messages saying the sites don't exist. Just wanted to let you know it's not you, it's us. We've been moving servers around recently and reshuffling our name servers and it seems to have gone a bit pear-shaped.
There's nothing you can do (unless you're comfortable with hosts files, which I won't get in to now) except wait and let time heal the wounds. The sites aren't down. Nothing's been lost. And once your ISP reconnects with our name servers and updates itself you'll be back in action.
Sorry about the problems and hope to see you here soon.
It’s been a couple of months since my last blog piece where I updated you all on what we had planned for this year, focusing a lot on stability and a new server clustering setup. We’re now quite close to rolling this out so I’ll talk a little bit more about that and then talk about what we’re working towards.
The past couple of weekends have been a bit tough on the servers partly because we’re continuing to tack on new functionality and partly because traffic is still at an all time high. Our solution to this problem which I discussed in detail in the last blog piece focused on completely changing our server architecture to form a database cluster; the idea that you can “link” multiple servers together to make a (for all intents and purposes) single massive database monster that can handle everything you throw at it. If you need to add more power you just add more servers to the cluster, so the potential is practically limitless. We’re almost ready to roll this out which will obviously require a bit of scheduled down-time which we’ll inform you of before taking the sites down for the maintenance. The hope is that everything goes smoothly and when it all comes back up everything is running like a boss. Do things like that ever happen in the real world? Not normally. But hey, here’s to hoping.
While we wait for the final touches to be finished on our database cluster we’ve optimised the sites a bit more today. We’re hoping you’ll not notice those regular weekend slowdowns we get as much as before. It’s our absolute hope that when the cluster is fully set up and rolled out it’s going to solve our site slowdown issues for good, so it’s a really important step for us as we look to improve on the Nexus further.
So what’s the plan for the rest of this year? I know I’ve mentioned this already countless times but when I first started the Nexus sites (and the Source sites before that) I had some important principle tenets that were my aim and focus for running the sites; to create as useful and trouble-free resource as possible for modders that would stand the test of time and not be bottle-necked by bureaucracy or any one person, like me. I think we’re almost at this point now.
If I were to pass away tomorrow (touch-wood and all that jazz) these sites would continue to run in the form of the 4 other programmers working here. Sure, there’d be a ruckus, but the legacy should continue as they have access to much of what goes on behind the scenes. Moving away from this morbid subject, why am I bringing it up? I think the final remaining bottleneck is that of the games we support. In order to support another game for modding a bottleneck forms while I have to go through the process of setting up a new Nexus site. Why don’t we support modding in its entirety for any and all games that people want to mod? Well there’s lots of good reasons and I’ve always wanted to focus on games I know and like because it’s been important to tailor solutions specific to games themselves, rather than diluting our services to try and accommodate a broader spectrum of games. However what I’m finding is that we’re in the start of a little renaissance period for modding that has gone hand-in-hand with the recent prevalence of indie game development that has meant more great games are being released more often, the Kickstarter revolution that has helped to fund this, the launch of Steam Workshop that has helped to spread the word about modding and increase it’s popularity among people who were originally averse to the idea of modding and the decline of the “Triple-A” gaming market, where modding had been abandoned and replaced by lacklustre DLC to eek out more money from gamers.
While we’ve been focusing on these Triple-A games that support modding (that come along once in a blue moon) there have been lots of indie, or “smaller” games passing us by that have provided modding support but have often lacked a decent place to host their content. We’re talking about games that would have a small modding community that maybe produces 50 - 200 mods. The problem isn’t that I don’t want to take the time to make Nexus sites for these games, the problem is that I’m struggling to keep up with the market.
I don’t want to support modding for specific games. I want to support modding. Period. While Steam Workshop has been great at demystifying modding as some obscure past-time and brought modding to the masses I personally think it’s taking modding in a troubling direction by essentially DRMifying mods. In order to download a mod from Steam Workshop, currently, you need to have bought the game on Steam or have access to a Steam key for the game and install the game via Steam, essentially negating the whole point of wanting a DRM-free copy of the game (by all means please correct me if this is no longer the case). This would be like changing the Nexus so that you could only download and install mods from the site if you used the Nexus Mod Manager. We certainly would never go down that route. And the annoying thing is that the solution is quite simple for Steam Workshop; they just need to offer a manual download button. Will they do it? I’ve no idea. And the problem with the modding community right now is that there’s not much choice out there in terms of general modding sites. We’ve got moddb.com, and what a great resource that has been and still is and, thinking about it, they’re the only major site out there that I know of that provides a modding solution to any and all games. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; modding should be all about choice. It’s your choice what you mod and it should be your choice where and how you choose to get and distribute your mods with others. Choice is exactly what is needed and I want to position the Nexus so that it becomes one of those choices, and I can’t do that if I have to cherry pick the games we will and won’t support.
So what’s the plan? First things first if you only care about modding one of the games we already support then for you things aren’t going to change past what we would have done before irrespective of supporting other games. Skyrim/Oblivion/Fallout/Witcher/etc. Nexus will still exist and look and act just as before. We’ve got design updates in the pipeline but these were always going to come along anyway, irrespective of this plan. So yes, if you don’t care about us supporting other games then for you, “phew”, nothing is going to change. So what will change? Essentially we’re going to be centralising our offering on to nexusmods.com, where we’ll support modding for any and all games. It’s actually quite a simple change; when you go to add a mod you’ll be able to choose the game your mod is for. If the game isn’t in our database, you can add it, and then add a mod for that file, so you’ll be able to add mods for games that we didn’t originally support.
This will create a new, generic Nexus site for the game you just added. It’ll look and feel like Skyrim/Oblivion/Fallout Nexus, but it just won’t have an updated template and will use the same standard colour set and generic background. From NexusMods.com you’ll be able to drill-down in to all the files we support across every Nexus site and every game. This will go hand-in-hand with our new category and search pages that we’ll be rolling out in the next fortnight that I think you guys are really going to like just because it puts so much more at your fingertips to really get to what you want quickly from a single page. But let me just reiterate; the experience you get from the Nexus sites we currently have won’t be changing, or moving. This is about providing support for more (or all) games, and adding to our catalogue, not changing our back catalogue.
This change will enable mod authors to add mods for any and all games that support modding. I regularly get asked by mod authors from various other games we don’t support (to name but a few of the more popular requests; Minecraft, GTA, STALKER, Sins of a Solar Empire, Crusader Kings 2, Torchlight 2, the list goes on..) whether they can upload their mods to the Nexus. They can’t, because we don’t support the game. The idea isn’t to swamp places and detract from communities, but to offer mod authors who like the Nexus format and like how we operate to share their work via the Nexus itself. Don’t like Steam Workshop? Use ModDB and the Nexus. Don’t like ModDB? Use the Nexus or Steam Workshop. Don’t like the Nexus? Use ModDB and Steam Workshop. Don’t like any of them or want to share with as many people as possible? Make your own site or use one of the many community sites already on offer. It’s all about choice, and you should all be able to have that choice and not be limited to one site alone. I’ve no idea if opening up the Nexus to all games is an option that’s going to be used by mod authors or not. It could take off massively or it could not be used at all and really, that’s not the point.I just want that choice to be there.
On top of this change we’re also going to open up the possibility on all sites to create your own file categories for your files. When you pick the category for your mod you can pick from a pre-set list. Your mod will go into this category to begin with, just like it does right now, but you can also suggest a category that isn’t currently listed for your file that fits it better. If we agree with the category then we’ll add it to the database and your file will be automatically moved into this category once it’s approved. You’ll also be presented a list of categories that others have suggested to pick from; so if we see that 50 files have been added for a suggested category then we know right away that yes, that category is probably worth approving.
The subject of supporting modding in general has been on my mind for a long time now and it’s been one of the major driving forces for wanting to get this database cluster setup and running smoothly. I can’t in good conscious begin supporting modding for a multitude of new games with the sites performing as sluggishly as they have; it’d be a kick in the teeth to the people who’ve supported us for a long time and I wouldn’t want you to feel as though I’m abandoning the roots of the Nexus to go tread in new territory. No, we get things working perfectly, confident that we can transition into this next step without screwing up everything we’ve worked on before.
And to placate the moderating fears and appease those mod authors who’ve been demanding this for a while now it’s likely with this change that we’ll provide mod authors with full comment moderation tools for their mods. I think at that point the gates are open and we’ll have to change our policy to ensure both the sanity of the moderation team and the sanity of the mod authors.
For me the Nexus up to now has been about supporting the communities I know and love. I’ll continue to do this, and I’ll continue to keep my eye out for games that I’d love to focus support towards. Opening up Nexus Mods to all games is going to be an “as-is” service. We’ll provide the tools and the services “as-is”, but will continue to offer that more focused and specialised service for those Nexus sites we’ve fully committed to supporting. And by analysing the new games that are being added to the database I’ll be able to see at a glance if there’s any games that we can make a full-fledged Nexus site for (i.e. a site with it’s own custom template, colour scheme and background, as it is right now with the current Nexus sites). So if (as an example) 100 Minecraft mods get added to the database then yes, it’d probably be worth spending the extra time on my end to give those folks a custom look to their Nexus site.
It’s our aim then to open up the Nexus fully with an API for web designers and a software hook for developers, all offered free of charge. Think of a service like Skyrim G.E.M.S.; they’d be able to plug in to our API and retrieve information about all the mods they have in their database straight from the Nexus without the need to program a scraper or manually enter data. On the software side we want to provide hooks and API data to game developers so that they can present and provide mods to gamers from within the games themselves; including being able to download the mod straight from our servers to their games. We’d happily allow that. We wouldn’t look to charge for this service at all (either to gamers or the game developers); we think modding should be open and free to everyone and I want to run these sites on good-will; it’ll cost us a lot of money to provide free downloads to everyone, but I think what goes around, comes around. If you offer a good service that people appreciate then donations (in the form of Premium Membership from users) and top-ups from game developers who appreciate that offering those millions of downloads last month probably cost us a lot of money so they might want to consider helping out with a donation will be more than enough. Running on good-will rather than private investment and money-grabbing has worked well for us so far, and there’s no reason it won’t going forward as well.
This change isn’t imminent. We’ve got a few things we want to get out of the way first before we look into this but you can consider this a statement of intent. This is what we’re working towards. This is what we want to do, and we’ll try our hardest to not only make it a reality, but a reality that works well and for the good of the gaming community.
An extremely underused feature on the Nexus file pages is the “Discussions” tab, which allows authors and users (provided the author allows it) to create different threads for different parts of conversation to do with the file. When you have a large mod that gets hundreds of new messages a day it can often be difficult to keep up with what’s going on within your single comment topic. Bug reports, feedback, suggestions, troubleshooting and general chit-chat get all mixed up in a big soup of one large mega thread where anything and everything is spoken about and large amounts of cross-talking takes place. With discussions you can create separate threads for these issues and then, hopefully, people will use the thread most relevant to what they want to talk about on your file.
I hope the new reply mechanics are helping you to keep up with the amount of cross-talking going on, but discussions are also there for mod authors to make use of that help to segregate their chats into more concise areas. Unfortunately because using the single comment topic is so ingrained in what people do on the Nexus sites a very large proportion of people completely ignore the discussions area, or worse, don’t know about it.
I know lots of mod authors like having a single comment topic where everything is placed and nothing has changed for you folks. In fact if you don’t care about discussions you can stop reading now and get on with your merry business. But what we have done is provided some options when you make your file page for how you would like your comments to be setup. You can now choose to have a comment topic and no discussions area, a comment topic and a discussion area, just a discussions area and no comment topic, or no comments at all. How is this different you ask? Well before we didn’t let you have a discussion area without a comment topic as well; so you couldn’t force your users to use your discussion area and split your discussions up into more manageable chunks. The problem was then that everyone would just talk in the single comment topic and ignore the discussions. By turning off the single comment topic you can force people to use the discussions instead if you so wish.
You can still choose whether you want to let users make their own topics or you can choose to setup your own topics and not allow others to make one, so you can control the flow of what people talk about more easily. You can also lock, sticky and delete any of your threads, providing you with even more control. Why is this helpful? Well, you can setup your threads so you have a “Bug Reports”, “Troubleshooting” and “Feedback” section and then direct people to the correct thread for the topic being discussed.
If you want to remove your comment topic and make use of your discussion area on a mod you’ve already uploaded you’ll find a new setting in your file attributes page that lets you turn off your comment topic, essentially providing you with the same functionality.
While we were hoping we could give each mod its own private forum category on the Nexus forums after further investigation and research we worked out we couldn’t do this as past around 5,000 forum categories things kind of die, and with over 90,000 files hosted on the sites now it won’t be possible to achieve.
We’ll be taking a short break for easter now (happy easter) and then we’ll get back into the swing of things with a design update to the category and search result pages, NMM profiling and a move to our new database server cluster. Fingers crossed.
We’ve released a bug fix edition of NMM, taking us to version 0.44.4. Here’s the change log:
1. New Feature: The ReadMeManager now supports PDF files.
2. Bugfix: ReadMe Manager preventing .txt files from being installed in mod folders. (This fixes the installation of mods like Fores New Idles)
3. Bugfix: Rare crash while deleting a mod in CategoryView.
4. Bugfix: Omod script interpreter.
5. Bugfix: Users were able to set Mods and Install Info as the same folder.
6. Bugfix: NMM crashing with a corrupt ReadMeManager.xml file.
7. Bugfix: NMM using the wrong game path after a game rescan.
8. Bugfix: LoadOrder export using the wrong plugin list.
You can download the update through NMM or by downloading and installing manually through the NMM download page.
Unfortunately earlier today we found out that some of our file servers had been hacked, replacing manual (not NMM) downloads with a malicious installer that contained malware. This hack was targeted as the hacker deliberately named the file “Nexus_Downloader.exe” to try and snag as many people as possible. While I haven’t tried to run it myself it seems to be a scam malware that sends the user to a fake FBI page informing the user they must pay must in order to unlock their system. To make it worse only 4 of the 20 main anti-virus programs people use flagged this as a virus. It’s obviously a relatively new one that most haven’t caught up with, and this might have caught a few of you off guard.
As soon as we found out about the breach we had the servers down and patched up within minutes and we’ve been working today further hardening our servers and shutting down the method used by the hacker to gain access.
There’s a few things to take away from this. First of all I’m sorry that this has happened to some of you. You clearly trust us to provide you with a safe and secure modding experience and we got caught with our pants on our heads. While this won’t help you now, can I give you some advice? Don’t trust anything, any site, or any person fully on the internet. Be suspicious of everything. If you’ve tried to download a fluffy sheep mod that says it’s 50mb in size for Skyrim and instead been given a file called “Nexus_Downloader.exe” that’s 100kb in size...be suspicious. We’d never do something like that, especially without letting you know first. These sorts of things can happen to any site out there (just look at the past hacking’s of Sony, Valve/Steam...even Bethesda got hacked) and having an anti-virus, firewall and malware protection won’t keep you 100% safe. Nothing will. But try and be perceptive and don’t let your guard down.
We can’t guarantee your safety 100% when browsing and downloading from the Nexus. No other site can offer you that guarantee either. What I can guarantee you is that we work hard to try and make the experience as safe and secure as possible, and we work even harder when we know we’ve been breached, often without sleep.
Never be afraid to report suspicious activity either by others or by the sites themselves on the forums or to the staff.
We’ve been knocking out tiny updates and tweaks to the site since we changed the design around a bit a week or so ago. These updates tend to be small enough to not warrant a news post, but when they build up enough I like to smash them all out in a news post in one big list. But before we do that let's get NMM out of the way.
We released NMM 0.44.3 last Friday that contains some more bug fixes and some minor feature changes. Here’s the list:
1. New Feature: NMM will now prevent ReadMe files from being extracted in the mod folder (thus only installing them in the ReadMe Manager), you can set this behaviour on/off in the Settings menu (Default on).
2. New Feature: The user can now select the game mode by double-clicking on it.
3. Bugfix: Mods failing to deactivate on upgrade.
4. Bugfix: Category view failing to update after mod rename.
5. Bugfix: Mod list not re-sorting after mod/category name change.
6. Bugfix: NMM mods startup scan searching in the readme folder (causing some duplicate entries in the mod list).
7. Bugfix: NMM crashing when another instance of the program is already running.
8. Bugfix: "Yes to All" not working as intended.
9. Bugfix: Some OMOD crashes (comment lines and "misplaced" curly brackets).
We’ll continue to drill out some bug fixes in coming updates, and the next major feature we’re working towards is mod profiles; the ability to have different modding profiles for your games so you can have different mods installed and running in your games for different saves/instances. We don’t want to introduce a DLL hack to do this, though, so we’re exploring other ways of doing this with NMM so we can get profiling in every game NMM supports. We then hope to further expand on that functionality so you can share these profile setups with others on the Nexus sites, like Steam Workshop Collections, but done slightly differently. That’s the plan, anyway.
As always you can get the latest version of NMM from the download page
And now the site updates:
1. The arrow next to your account information in the top right corner is now clickable so as to be less confusing.
2. Changed the search button so it highlights the textfield, bringing the search functionality back to a one-click process.
3. Added the ability for advanced search options in the filename field, including using quotes to group words, the “OR” operator and the “-” operator. Instructions on this functionality can be found on this wiki page.
4. If you have tracked a file the wording will change from “Track” to “Un-track”. If you have endorsed a file the wording will change from “Endorse” to “Unendorse”.
5. Fixed an issue with the vote, track and endorse buttons being a bit temperamental and sometimes not working.
6. If you have not voted for a file this month the vote button will be green. If you have voted for the file you are looking at the button will be orange. If you have voted for a mod, but not the mod you’re currently looking at, the vote button will be yellow.
7. Added a confirmation popup for voting to let you know you’ve already voted for a file this month, that you can only vote for one file in a month, and if you vote for the current file you’re looking at then your previous vote will be removed.
8. Adult-only files are now eligible for the hot files, provided the user has turned adult-only content viewing options on.
9. Added a “reply” link to every reply to a comment so that you don’t have to scroll up to the original comment in order to reply (replying to a reply is just treated as a reply to the original comment, however, and there’s no added nesting).
10. Replying to a comment will now bump the comment (and replies) to the top of the comments. If you don’t like this functionality you can turn it off in your preferences under “Replies to posts bump the original post”.
11. We have reduced the wait time between downloading a mod and endorsing a mod from 3 hours to 15 minutes.
12. The “Download with NMM” button no longer shows in the file header if a file has more than 1 main file. The user will have to go to the “files” tab and choose which file they want to download.
We’ve released version 0.44.2 of NMM today that provides a number of bug fixes and updates to problems caused in the recent 0.44 builds. Here’s the fix and new feature list:
1. New Feature: New “Uninstall all active mods” button in the Tools menu.
2. New Feature: The readme scan is now optional and you can manually perform it by right-clicking on selected mods/categories and choosing the option from the context menu.
3. Bugfix: Category view: category and mod properties failing to properly update on the list.
4. Bugfix: Category view: NMM freezing when trying to delete a mod from the list.
5. Bugfix: WoT manager crashing when the game was using a malformed version number.
6. Bugfix: NMM crashing when checking for mod updates and the server was unreachable.
7. Bugfix: NMM reporting a mod as installed/uninstalled even though the user aborted the scripted install/uninstall or there was an error performing it.
8. Bugfix: NMM failing to properly load saved column sizes.
9. Bugfix: Readme Manager creating readme archive files into the wrong folder for newly downloaded mods.
10. Bugfix: Readme Manager setup adding random mod files in readme archives.
With version 0.44.0, in moving the mod view control system fully over to our new system a few debilitating bugs quickly rose to the surface once we released the update publicly. I’m sorry for that, however, having read some of the overly-entitled opinions left in the comments, I’d like to once again reiterate a few important points when it comes to NMM.
NMM is still very, very, very much in beta. We have never alluded to it being anything other than in beta, despite the fact it’s been in beta for going on 18 months now and has 1.7 million people using it, and there’s good reasons why it’s still in beta; we’ve got a lot more things we want to add in to NMM before I’m confident to say it’s ready for a full release. We’ve got a huge to-do list of features we want to implement and I’d never want to say NMM is “done” before giving it a completely new lick of paint and a UI overhaul to make it look less like a “my first .NET program” school project. So yes, you have that to be worried/look forward to.
What does being in beta mean to us? It means we’re going to continue to add new features, updates and bug fixes, test them on our end and then push them out into the public domain to be tested by you. We don’t have a QA department. We don’t have a huge team of programmers working on NMM and we don’t have a computer farm we can send our new builds to as test beds that test every function in every operating system/program variation going. We release updates out into the public domain so that you people become our testers, because we can’t afford them ourselves. You are our QA department. That’s the whole point of this beta and that’s why we still call NMM a beta, because we rely on you. Seeing some of the horrific responses and opinions of people who were affected by the bugs in version 0.44 I can’t help but feel some of you either don’t know what software being in open beta means, or you’ve been spoilt by the recent trends in MMO games where “beta” really means “demo”. No, when we say beta, we mean beta, and we release new builds out to be tested and get valuable feedback on.
If you’re someone who relies on NMM and doesn’t want to test new builds and you just want it to work, then it’s reeeeeeeeeeeally simple (so simple I don’t understand how it’s a problem at all): don’t update NMM until you’re confident (from reading feedback in comment threads/the forums) that the newest versions are stable to use. If you think NMM is perfect exactly how it is and you don’t want anything more from it at all; why are you bothering to update at all? You can still carry on using old versions of NMM all the way back to version 0.34 (and before then if you don’t download/check for new mod versions in NMM), and we only forced an update with version 0.34.0 because we changed our login and downloading system that prevented old versions from working. If you aren’t downloading NMM to help us beta test it and provide us with meaningful feedback then it’s completely your prerogative when and how you update it. What we’re not going to do is change our releasing methods to hold your hand for you, into a Linux style system of “bleeding edge”, “current”, “release” and “stable” during the beta. Once we bring NMM out of beta we’ll probably do this; and incentivise people to be testers for us, but not now, not while we’re in beta. So the onus is completely on you, the user, on when you update NMM. We need testers, and we value your feedback on bugs and features in the program. We don’t particularly value your feedback on how you think we should have “better QA”. You’re our QA. But if you’d like to pay me the £100k or so to hire on some QA testers then by all means, I’ll tell you where you can mail the cheque.
While I can’t assure you that all our releases will be completely bug free, I can assure you that when bugs are found we document and work on them in order of highest priority as quickly as possible.
If you’re reading this from a Nexus site then you’re reading it from our updated design. Before I go into explaining a few of the changes just a quick note that we’ve changed our imagemap, so if some images look out of place or things look like they’re in the wrong place you might want to refresh your browser cache for the site. Easiest way to do this is to press CTRL+F5 (a hard refresh). If that doesn’t fix it then try again. And again. If it’s still broken after that it’s either us, or not “broken” and you just think it looks wrong.
As promised I’ve made some changes to the layout that aren’t too different from the original. So, far from being an overhaul, it’s more an update to the original design. Right now we’ve made changes to the headers of all the Nexus sites and to the file page layout. We’ve got a few more page layout changes in the works, and next will be the category/search result page, but right now lets run through the current changes.
As mentioned the header has changed. The search, messages, notifications and account options are all accessible from the top bar now and we’ve removed the need for the originally (relatively garish) coloured bar, thus saving a few pixels in height in the process. Clicking the search button will produce a bubble box for you to do a quick search, and we’ve also made it more obvious that we have an advanced search as well. One thing that really surprises me from doing the internet rounds is that lots of people still don’t know we have an advanced search feature to really drill-down into what you’re looking for.
We’ve changed our logo area a bit; each site is labelled as Nexus Mods and the name of the game is listed below it. This is going to fit in to our future plans a bit more, so this change is more a change for the future rather than a necessary change right now. The normal navigation is still in-tact from the original design, no changes there, so you shouldn’t get lost.
The file page changes are slightly more substantial.
Probably the most notable change we’ve made is adding a file header background image that mod authors can create themselves through the site interface, to bring some more colour and variance from other mod pages out there. Something that makes your page look more unique from others. As is our way, creating a file header for your pages is completely optional, so if you don’t like them on your file pages you don’t need to do anything, you can stick with the default look (or you can play around with the system, then delete it if you don’t like the look).
To create a file header you need to go to your file images and click the background image icon underneath the image you’d like to use. You’ll be taken to a page where you can crop the image you’ve selected (much like you might crop your profile image on a social networking site like Facebook) and see how it’ll look on your page before you decide on whether you want to use it or not.
In the same vein we’ve also produced a similar tool that allows you to create your own hot file images for the site to use. Up until now the site has automatically generated these images and it’s been a bit hit and miss. Sometimes it produces a great hot files image, other times it produces an image of..the sky...or the sea...or a head...and it’s not so great. Now it’s all on you. If you think this feature is redundant for you because all your files were released a while ago and are no longer eligible for the hot files system then think again. We’re bringing in a “Feature file” system for the new category page. This system will show a random file from the category you’re viewing that changes every 10 minutes. Every file with a hot file image is eligible for the Featured File system, and we’ll rotate properly so every file gets equal time and exposure. We’ll also let you know how many times your file has been featured on a category, just for your own peace of mind. So creating a hot file image on your old files is highly recommended if you’d like some added exposure in the not too distant future.
We’ve moved the buttons to download the file, endorse it, vote for it and donate to the author to the top right in prominent green colours. We’ve also added a big “Track” button as well, as lots of people didn’t know we had a file tracking system. Clicking the vote, endorse and track buttons will make them turn orange (if it was successful), so you know when your vote, endorsement or track action has worked. They’ll remain orange when you revisit file pages, so you know at an easy glance whether you’ve already endorsed or tracked a file or not.
We’ve added some text below the “Action” buttons which should make it more obvious what each one does without being a mystery meat navigation that you can’t intuitively work out without hovering over the tiny icons. Similarly we’ve increased the size of the file tabs themselves and added a description at the top of each tab, once again to make it more obvious what each tab is for.
And that’s it!
If you think something isn’t looking right or working properly then feel free to let me know. I’ve tested the site in the latest versions of IE, Fire Fox and Chrome, but can’t account for every variation.
We’ve snuck the latest version of the Nexus Mod Manager out the door late this evening pushing us into version 0.44. This latest version contains a number of bug fixes along with a new ReadMe management feature and the new improved controls for the “old view” NMM mode, the same that the category view uses.
The ReadMe manager parses all your mods for text, rtf, doc and HTML documents and provides them as a list for you to open straight from NMM by right-clicking a mod and highlighting the “Open ReadMe file” element, making it quick and easy to view the ReadMe’s for your mods. Unfortunately this feature highlights a worrying trend for me; a lot of the mods I have installed do not have a readme included in the archive with the mod. This is bad form, mod authors. You should always try and include a readme with your mods containing at least a description of the mod, the author name, any credits, your license information and, if you’re looking for feedback, a preferred contact method (whether it’s a link to a forum thread, your email address, a username on a forum people can PM, etc.). Any sort of identifying ReadMe is better than none.
Now that the non-category mode for NMM has the updated control system you can do some of the cool stuff that originally only the category-view could, like clicking the columns and sorting them by ascending and descending. Why is this handy? One example would be when you install a new mod and then can’t find it. Go into non-category view and sort the column by install date descending. Now you can see your mod list based on when you installed your mods.
A number of bug fixes have also been implemented into this build. You can find the full changelog here.
On the site front we’ve added a number of bug fixes for the sticky posts and nested commenting. You can now properly edit your replies without seeing the additional HTML that makes the forum posts a bit more understandable as replies. Mod authors replying to comments in their own mod threads now have the proper coloured borders that make their posts more noticeable and prominent. Replies are now ordered by date ascending to make a more logical and readable thread of replies and mod authors can now lock their sticky posts so they don’t get spammed by off-topic replies.
We’ve added an additional 2 servers in the Salt Lake City area, bringing our total for file servers up to 12 plus 2 premium file servers.
We’re very close to releasing an update to the Nexus site design which will begin with an update to the site header and file pages. Mod authors, you can find a mockup of the new page layout in this private thread. These aren’t massive, extensive visual changes. Much like you can still tell Microsoft Word is Microsoft Word whether you’re using the 2000, XP, 2007 or later versions, you’ll still recognise the sites.
Lastly we’ve changed the Supporter membership, as promised, so that Supporters no longer see ads on the site. I’ve been working hard looking into alternative payment platforms besides Pay Pal for those people who have a chip on their shoulder (or who can’t actually use Pay Pal due to locational difficulties) but after lots of extensive searching I can tell you one thing; there’s a reason why Pay Pal are so dominant. They make it so easy; they don’t expect you to jump through ridiculous bureaucratic hoops just to be accepted or have ridiculous rules and their system integrates perfectly with almost everything out there, including our system. While some alternatives are out of reach simply because they’re not open to EU residents yet (Stripe) unfortunately some have ridiculous stipulations. Take for example Google Checkout, who have stipulated in their rules that you must use their payment button to direct people to their payment process. Our system isn’t designed to work with custom buttons so right now, we can’t use Google Checkout/Wallet. Pants on head stupid rules that serve absolutely no purpose. We’re looking at several payment gateways, but all of them will require extensive time to make them work with our system, which is time spent away from actually working on the sites. It would be a lot easier if you people would just used Pay Pal (if you can), but hell, I can’t force you!
I’ll be sure to keep you updated on the payment gateway front if and or when I have any further news.
Things have been flying by a bit recently and we’ve been boshing out so many small fixes, tweaks and features left right and centre I’m almost struggling to keep up. So here’s a run-down of some of the recent changes we’ve implemented on the sites and in NMM.
I’ve been wanting to get this functionality implemented on the sites for a long while now but there was no point getting it done until we upgraded the forums (which was done within the last fortnight). Nested commenting allows users to reply to comments made on the sites and have those comments and replies grouped together for easy viewing.
Before nested commenting everyone’s comments were shown in a linear progression, one above the other, ordered by the date and time the comment was posted. It meant if you asked a question on a file page at 10am and the author (or anyone) couldn’t answer that question until 5pm, there could have been any number of comments (sometimes even hundreds) made on the file page in between the time you posted and the time a reply could be posted. That made finding the answer to your question very hard. Now, you can reply to the comments people make, and because they’re grouped together you’ll easily be able to see if anyone has replied to the comments you’ve made.
We’ve only provided one level of replying to comments. So comments only get nested (and indented) once. You can’t reply to a reply and have that reply indented further. Hopefully that makes sense. So you can’t have these crazy nested reply chains like you can on a site like reddit. It gets a bit messy!
Author’s sticky post
Something I know authors need help with is increasing awareness to their users about various things from incompatibilities, common issues, install instructions and what not. The inherent problem with the internet is there’s a percentage of users who seem to suffer from a form of attention deficit disorder and can’t spend the time reading the file description, readmes, FAQs and author warnings in big glaring multi-coloured fonts before they try to install a mod. If they can’t get it to work they then go to the comments section, completely by-passing everything the author has written on the topic in various locations and start asking for help. That’s REALLY frustrating if you’re a mod author. Unfortunately there’s not much you or we can do about that. If someone is really that dumb that they don’t read anything before asking for help then no amount of warnings, pop-up notifications and forced reading will solve the issue (much like our terms of service agreement boxes, or the big glaring boxes in the image share telling people not to upload nude images).
However, we’ll try to help with this issue in whatever way we can, and to that end we’ve introduced a “sticky post” system that allows file authors to sticky a single post in their comment thread. The post goes to the top of the comment section, where it is “stuck” there on every comment page, with a red border and a notification that it’s a sticky post from the author.
As an author this has some practical uses. Are you aware there’s a bug in your latest version that you’re working hard to fix? Maybe some major incompatibilities? People keep on bringing up the same issues that aren’t actually issues with your mod? Sticky a post to the top of your comments to let users know they don’t need to spam your comment section with bug reports about it. I’m sure you’ll still get bug reports from those previously mentioned users who DO NOT READ before they act (RAGE!) but hopefully you’ll be able to catch a few more people with such a notification that should help to reduce the load.
Something I’ve noticed from my time using the PC Gamer website, where they have nested commenting, is that the comment at the top of an article can often be used by people to talk about things completely unrelated to the original post. While we haven’t coded in a system to “lock” your sticky post (so people can’t reply to it with unrelated stuff) if it becomes obvious that it’s needed, we’ll do it. I’ll await mod author feedback for that one.
Latest version check box
The versioning system on the Nexus is far from complex, uniform or standardised. We let you guys version your mods however you like. Unfortunately sometimes this can lead to inconsistencies, especially with NMM where the latest version column checks the file version the user has installed against the file version shown on the file page (via the “edit attributes” page), not the file versions of your individually uploaded files. So if your file page says the latest version is v1.2 and your uploaded files have a file that’s v1.3, your latest file version is still v1.2.
While we want to visit the versioning system in more detail later, especially in regards to NMM, right now we’ve just added a quick and easy system for you to update your latest versions. We’ve added a checkbox when uploading your files that asks you if this is the latest version of your file. If you tick the box the latest file version information for your file will be updated with the content of the “file version” text field you’ve used in the upload form. Saves you going back and editing your attributes with your new version.
NMM drag n drop
Version 0.43.1 of NMM has added a small but useful feature for those people who still download their mods manually from the sites. You can now drag and drop files from your desktop into NMM directly, avoiding having to use the “add from file” functionality.
Right now this feature only works while in category mode. We’re working on updating the non-category view to use the same controller as the category view so it can make use of all the cool features the category view has, like being able to sort the columns, and the drag and drop functionality.
NMM bug fixes
Along with this feature update the latest version of NMM also contains some bug fixes. Here’s the change log:
*InstallLog didn't properly check for already present random mod keys (this will prevent the "An item with the same key has already been added" crash).
*Mod autoupdate check removing category info from mods, causing missing mods from categories.
*Uac check crashing with illegal folder paths.
*Scripted mod install failing when the installer tried to show a message to the user (throwing a Security exception).
*ProgressDialog bug causing mod update checks to fail.
*Illegal folder paths crashing the game scan process.
*The "move to category" ContextMenu didn't properly sort alphabetically.
*Prevents the user from settings Mods or Install Info folders equal to: HD root, game root, installed mods folder.
What we’re now working on
Moving on we’ve got lots of new features in the pipeline for both the sites and NMM.
Right now I’m working on some updates to the site’s design, which I’m sure will fill a lot of you with fear and dread. It’s not going to be a full redesign of the sites like we had last year at all. You’ll still recognise the sites, I promise. If you’re a mod author you can see my mock up for the file page redesign in the private mod author forums that I’ve appropriately titled “fixing things that aren’t broken”. I hope to do the changes progressively. So I’ll be changing the header about a bit to better manage the space. We’ll do that first. Then we might update the file pages. Then the category view. Then the site index. I don’t have plans for any other pages just yet.
The clever site coders are working on the bandwidth throttling system based on ads and endorsements that I brought up in my last blog post. They’re also working on a new feature for mod authors that’s going to let them pick and crop the images they want to use for their hot files and “feature image” on the new file page.
Our hot file system is quite unforgiving when it comes to picking and cropping the images it wants to use, and how it crops them, so we want a system where you can pick the image the site will use as it’s hot file image (if your file becomes a hot file) and also pick which area of the image gets cropped so it advertises your mod in its best light. This will be handy not just for people with popular mods because I also plan to use hot file images in the new category design, where we’re going to have a “featured” mod; a mod that is randomly picked from the category that will be advertised in the category for a set amount of time, and then sent to the back of the pile before it can be shown again as a feature mod. A form of banner advertising and rotation for mods, if you will.
On the NMM front we’re working on the aforementioned update to the non-category view, more bug fixing, better readme management and our initial work into creating a really easy to use mod packager for authors who want to ensure their mods work with NMM and, drum-roll, better scripting support as a part of it. We want to make it so that mod authors who don’t know how to script and don’t want to learn can still make some pretty neat installers that give their users more options when installing.
We’re aware there’s still some niggling issues with the forum upgrade for those people who use the forums. We’re aware of them (especially the VERY annoying bug that is causing edited posts to come up in garbled HTML at random), but some things are taking a higher priority right now. Word of advice that applies at any time; always copy and paste your long posts into notepad before posting a response.
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