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Thought I would fill you all in on some different events and thoughts and ideas I've had recently. I've been in a few boring 2 hour lectures recently so have had the time to scribble down some notes!
First of all the Image Share feature of the site is almost complete. I just need to do the rating system, comment system and make some aesthetic tweaks and then it'll be ready for release. As I mentioned when TES Nexus launched I could not save the images from TESSource in time and the image database will be completely empty. The Image Share feature was relatively new to TESSource when it went down, it was up for around 2 months in which time users uploaded around 3,000 images to the site. Hopefully the new Image Share should fill up again relatively quickly.
Next, I have decided to allow users to choose between having the navigation all on the right, as it is by default, or on the left and right in a more traditional format. I know I said I wouldn't but I have decided to go against my word and do it, pending any technical reason I can think of to not do it. As long as I can code it so that it doesn't require me to edit two stylesheets/files when I want to make general changes (i.e. only having to edit the CSS file) then it shall happen. This option will be available from the preferences section in your member area when it is ready.
I changed my mind after a couple of weeks on my new Business Studies course. I transferred from Computer Science to Business Studies this new univeristy year so I could focus on a course that would provide real benefits to my business and provide me with the practical thinking required to further it. So now I have an extra year at uni (2 years computer science, 2 years business studies) but I think the practical implications of this new course will become largely apparent over the coming years. It's time to focus on generating the sites and features that people really want. Up until now I have been running my sites my own way; only doing things that I've actually wanted to do. Thankfully for you folks, for the most part, what I wanted to do went hand-in-hand with what you wanted. Now it's time to bite the bullet and take a more conservative business approach: what do people want? Is it practical? Lets do it.
With that in mind LHammonds will be getting his way sometime soon too. I'll be linking file comments to the TESNexus database so authors can order their files based on the last comment date of the files. So you'll be able to see at a glance which of your files has new comments and which haven't.
As I've mentioned previously a UK file server is in the pipe, I just need to be mindful of my cashflow. Typically I receive advertising money 30 - 90 days after the end of the month for that particular month (so money generated in January won't be seen until March, April or even May) so I need to sit on my hands and watch that bank account. But once I'm sure it's all kosher I'll get onto ordering that UK file server.
Premium members will also see a return of the file and author tracking, but probably with a slightly different twist. The new system will be favourite files and favourite authors. As before you will be able to keep tabs on updates to your favourite files and any uploads made by your favourite authors and receive updates either via email or direct access to the site. Similarly sooner, rather than later, you'll have access to your download history for the past year again. So never fear premium members, you haven't been forgotten!
Phew! Time to hop into bed. I need to read pages 1 - 50 of my marketing text book and get up for a 10am tutorial tomorrow (that's early for a student).
Astute regulars to the site will have noticed the advanced file search page has just been launched for general use. You can now search for files in the database that relate to a number of different criteria, including words in the file name, description, author name and uploader name, as well as by the number of downloads, the file size, the upload date and last update of the file.
Hopefully people will find this a powerful tool to help find specific mods in the database. Minimal testing done so consider this a beta launch. Got another 9am lecture tomorrow but wanted to get this out there before I hit the sack -- my old Computer Science lecturers would hate me for doing this. Ho hum.
This one is for all the people who do not like the blocked listing of files on the category/search pages and for the Premium members out there.
There is now a preferences section within the member area that will enable you to edit a few particulars relating to the site. As a premium member you can edit how many files you see on category listings and within search results (from between 10 and 50). Similarly premium members can choose how many comments they see on each page (from between 10 and 50).
All members have the option to edit how they view file listings. The two options are "block mode", which is the site default. The other option is "flat mode", which was the default of TESSource. Flat mode lists files vertically rather than side-by-side. Many people expressed a wish to return to this format while many expressed their like for the new side-by-side approach. So I've split it down the middle and left the decision to you!
Go to your preferences area now to change how you use the site.
Ok, I hope this worked! Today I have reinstated the original TESSource supporters (the people who paid to help the site/for the benefits) as Premium Members on TESNexus with their original time, plus 28 more days. This (obviously) only applies to those people who were still have Supporter time remaining on TESSource when it went down.
It should all work, so please let me know if it doesn't!
Well I've finally got the internet setup in my house. A nice 20mbit line to help when downloading mods! It's good to see the site is much more stable, and as far as I know, it hasn't crashed once in the last week! Woo.
I'm actually heading back home this weekend to welcome back a friend who has been down-under (that's Australia) for the past 6 months, but I thought I'd chime in on various matters so people don't think I have forgotten about them.
First of all thank you for all your feedback via emails, forum posts and personal messages. I can assure you I have read them all but you probably won't be getting a reply. I've had about 2,000 non-spam emails since TESNexus was launched and it'll be impossible to reply to them all. However some of the regular feedback will be addressed in this news article, so keep reading!
Next, thank you to all the people who have paid to become premium members. Your support is what is keeping the site running at the moment and will help to pay for new file servers. Advertising is now up on the site, but the way the advertising market works means I won't see money from that for atleast 45 days. The people who paid to become Supporters of TESSource will become premium members (obviously at no charge) but it will take time for me to transfer all the details into the new Premium Member system. So hang tight, you'll get your money's worth, and any lost time shall be added on.
There's plenty of work to do on the site. The site as it is now is simply a skeleton, a platform from which I can build and I have all sorts of feature plans and ideas.
First of all the file page will be getting a bit of a tweak along with the addition of some of the other features that were originally on TESSource like the "required files" and "mirrors" section. I'll be rearranging where all the boxes go so prepare for some changes.
Image uploads for files will be getting a facelift so you can upload up to 10 at once. Many people also
whinedexpressed an interest in there being more direct links between actions. So when you upload a new file, image, etc. it provides relevent links to revelent sections. That shall also be done.
Also on the books is the advanced search feature and tagging system that will enable you to search for files based on various different criteria. This one might take a while to accomplish but it will be available some time in the future.
Cash flow permitting I want to be getting a UK based file server for all the European users of the site (myself included!). If you want in on a UK based file server and haven't already paid to become a Premium Member then please consider it -- it'll mean it gets up faster!
There's also the image share feature that will be made available again for people to upload and share their screenshots and general pictures. To remind people, the database will be empty and will start with no images in it. Unfortunately this was one of the things lost in the transition from TESSource to TESNexus.
RSS feeds shall be made available for the site news, new files and updated files.
There are a few things that won't be happening. This includes moving the right nav (or part of the right nav) to the left and changing the colour scheme. People will just have to get used to it.
Lastly I wanted to address two regular issues I'm hearing about through email and on the forums. If some/all of the text boxes on the site are a light background with light text (so you cannot see what you're typing) then you need to take a look at the plugins you are using on your browser. People have reported that turning off certain plugins (like some auto-fill plugins) has fixed the issue. Obviously I haven't coded the textboxes to be unreadable, so take a look at your end! If you have registered for the site but have not received the validation email then login to the forums and click the "Resent Validation Email" in the top right. This will send the email again.
I'm sure I've forgotten lots of stuff but it's the thought that counts!
I moved my room 30 miles up the road to Exeter University to start my third of four years today. I will not have any internet in the house until at least Friday, but will be home again at the weekend anyway. Therefore I will be unable to reply to any of your emails (of which there are about 2,000!) or forum posts.
I think I have sorted the problem with the server giving the "IPS Driver Error" now, which is good, cause I didn't even sort that one on TESSource. See, progress!
Anyway, back to work soon.
When I was showcasing the site design on the official forums, before the launch of TESNexus, many people expressed their lack of appreciation for the header banner for the site (the one in the top left). Now, personally, I like it. I feel it suits the whole minimalist approach I took to the site design in the first place, following a "less flare, more functionality" approach to things. But hell, what do I know!
So this one is for all the budding graphic artists out there who think they can do better! You are invited to create a header banner for TESNexus, the winner (if there is going to be one!) will be picked by myself, and maybe Buddah, LHammonds and Povuholo. Your header banner will be used on the site, and your name mentioned in the footer blurb of the site (so I don't get blamed for creating it!).
The banner MUST follow these simple guidelines:
- Width: between 350px and 500px
- Height: 85px
- Morrowind/Oblivion related
- Must, obviously, fit into the current colour scheme/background seamlessly
- No animation, filesize kept as low as possible
You are welcome to use my header PSD.
Submissions should be uploaded to this news post's forum post (you can upload attachments via the forums) or sent to robin [_AT_] blacktreegaming [_DOT_] com
More than likely I won't be making any major edits to the site today. After working 8 days 9am - 9pm I'm taking today off, and catching up with some much needed gaming!
There are a few tweaks that need addressing, however. First off I've fixed an issue with the file servers not downloading the new files uploaded in the last 24 hours. A reminder to people that being the first downloader of a new file means you have to first wait for the file server to receive the file before you can download it. So if you see a white page for a while, don't worry, the file server is just downloading the file.
Righty, I'm about to head out the door for my first night out in a fortnight. But before I go I thought I'd just mention something quickly to people having trouble logging in:
You must make sure you use the tesnexus.com domain, and not the tessource.net or tesdb.com domains. The site will not log you in if you do not use the tesnexus.com domain.
Hope this helps some people. Have a good night!
The GOTY edition of Oblivion has shipped in North America today for both PC and XBox. Retailing at $50 for PC owners and $60 for XBox360 owners, the game features Oblivion, Knights of the Nine, Shivering Isles and the latest game update. Here's what Ashley Cheng at the Beth Blog has to say:QUOTEFor Oblivion’s GOTY implementation, we wanted to make the process easier - both for us and for our fans. We’ve been working on this version since late last year. The main challenge was figuring out how to include content from Xbox Live on a disk. We asked Microsoft to keep it as simple and intuitive as possible. We wanted the experience of playing Knights and Isles to be exactly the same whether you downloaded them off Xbox Live or purchased them on a disk. What Microsoft came up with was exactly what we needed.
When you open up GOTY for Xbox 360, you’ll see two disks. The first disk is the original game, Oblivion - in fact, its the same disk as what is currently at stores now. The second disk has Knights of the Nine, Shivering Isles, and Oblivion’s title update. When you insert the second disk, it asks to install the title update first. Afterwards, you have the choice of copying Knights and/or Isles onto your hard drive - as if you purchased them off Xbox Live. Once they are copied, you insert Oblivion and play. We also use this same functionality for the Shivering Isles for Xbox 360 retail disc.
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