I thought I’d jump on real quick and fire off a news update on the sites. As is my way, I’ll start off with some self-defensive history.
Roll-back to a few weeks ago and the one month XBox exclusivity on Dawnguard, the first Skyrim add-on/expansion/whatever you want to call it, was due to expire. Many expected Bethesda would release it for the PC there and then. But they didn’t. In fact, Pete Hines coyly came out and said “We have not announced Dawnguard for any other platform, nor given any timeline for any such news. If we have any news, i promise i'd tell you”. So Dawnguard was an unknown.
Around this time of the year I tend to take a trip to Zakynthos in Greece with old housemates and past university friends. I’ve done so for the past 4 years now, so when they said they were going again this year I left it to the last minute to decide if I would go. With Dawnguard’s release up in the air, I booked my tickets and went and had a merry old time (thanks for asking), with my middle finger in the air to Dawnguard until I returned. Then Dawnguard middle-fingered me back :(
Without so much of a whisper, Bethesda released Dawnguard on Steam 4 or 5 days ago and lots of people who’d moved on from Skyrim came back, and they were hungry to see what mods had been made in their absence. And that’s when the problems hit. Not only was I away on holiday, but we were literally half-way through rolling out our new download system, so it was a bit like Bethesda pulling our pants down in gym class without knowing we were going commando that day. No fault of their own, of course, it’s the wacky world of Bethesda PR and they’ll do things how they want, and I won’t begrudge them that. However it meant that we had a huge 30% influx in traffic smashing the hell out of our download and database servers whilst we were half way through bringing out a piece of non stress-tested new code. The servers went parp, I went parp, and I also got hit with a nice $5,000 bandwidth overage bill to boot as well. We pushed over 1200 TB of bandwidth last month. I had to look up what 1000 terabytes is. Apparently it’s a Petabyte. New Nexus record, anyway!
So it’s been all hands on deck since then. I returned home about 2 hours ago after a flight back through the night, on zero sleep, and I’ll get this fixed as soon as possible. I’ve responded to a lot of the emails (especially to premium members having problems) but please understand, I’ve got about 3,000 unread messages from the past 2 weeks so if you don’t get a response to your “Why doesn’t it work” email, it’s because I’ve got about 2,000 more of the same email from other people! I’ve just sent in a request for an additional 2 US file servers to lighten the load on these, increase the download speeds and hopefully stop any of the connectivity issues that have plagued the servers in the past 5 days. The coders are busy working on tweaking everything as best they can.
The new download system is taking a back seat for the time being until we can get things back to decent functionality again. I’ll cover what we’re doing in more detail soon, but in a nut-shell normal members are going to get download manager support but the total capped bandwidth will remain, premium members will be able to multi-thread their downloads and hopefully, if all goes to plan, maximise their full internet connection speed to download files much better than before. And NMM will do it all for you, if you use NMM.
Anyway, better get back to sorting all this mess out!
A few days ago we finished rolling our preliminary new index page, complete with feeds. Since then we’ve been carefully combing through the feedback that didn’t contain threats on our lives or the use of pitchforks, fire-lit torches or tinfoil hats and we’ve been gradually working to improve the features on offer. I thought, on day 3, I’d share some of the updates and improvements we’ve made since first rolling out the new index page and just let you know that we’re still working on it and taking on-board constructive feedback.
The change log up until now:
- Moved the Hot Files thumbnails from the right nav to underneath the large hot files image, where it was before. Expanded the width to take up the entire content area to ensure we can fit the new 6 hot files, up from the original 5
- Added left and right arrows that allow you to move the hot files image to the previous or next file in the list
- Removed the tool-tip to the right of the "Your feeds" heading and replaced it with a link to your feed preferences to make it more obvious you can actually manipulate the feeds to some extent
- Site news is now the default feed for people who haven't set a default
- You can now disable your activity feed on your profile within your preferences
- Increased the font size to make it more readable in most areas
- Large images posted in file news articles are now scaled down in the File news tab to ensure they don't take up too much space (this will not affect the actually news article itself)
- Fixed an issue with the file news article likes that meant you could like an article an unlimited amount of times
- Changed the Latest Files and Latest images so that they show three in a row, and 15 per page
- Entries in the Latest files and Latest Images now show how long it has been since the file has been added to the site
- The "more" button on the Latest Files and Latest Images tabs will now provide 15 more entries on the same page [note: we plan to update this so that it replaces the current 15 entries, rather than tacks another 15 on to the end. You'll then be able to scroll back and forth through the latest files and images without leaving the index]
If you haven’t already I’d recommend you go to your preferences where you will find options to manipulate your feeds a bit more to your liking, and change your default feed preference. Don’t care about the activity feeds? That’s fine, change your default feed to Site News, Latest Files or Latest Images, depending on what you come here for, and you’ll get that every time you land on the site.
As I said, we’re still very much working on this and appreciate the constructive (with emphasis on constructive) feedback we’ve been receiving.
It’s been a while since I provided you all with an update on our activities so I thought I’d fire off a “quick” news article on what we’ve got rolling out soon, and in to the future.
We’ve been working like badgers since rolling out the new code on Skyim Nexus to get everything refined and optimised for the new code base and to eradicate the slow-downs that have plagued the site and forums over the past few weeks. We think we might have sussed it out now, and we hope that 502 errors and 15 second page loads are now going to be a thing of the past (until we break it again with more code!). If you think we haven’t sussed it, let me know.
One thing that people said was high on their priority list on Nexus sites was more exposure for mods that have been on the site for a while. One of the ways I thought we could get more exposure for mods was by using the very driving force of this community, that would be you (by the way), to show what’s popular at the moment. What I’m really talking about is quasi-social networking features so you can see what your friends are talking about, what they like at the moment and so on and so forth.
We’ve already rolled these features out on to Fallout 3 Nexus, Dragon Age Nexus, Neverwinter Nexus and Mount & Blade Nexus and more sites will follow soon. At the moment the features are at a base level, and we hope to expand upon them over the coming months. So don’t be disheartened if you think it’s rather limited at the moment, we’ll continue to develop it based on your feedback.
We’ve changed the front pages of these sites to show “feeds” that you can pick from. You have a feed for activity on your tracked files, a feed to show what your friends have been up to recently and also a new feed for “File news”...
One thing we wanted to allow mod authors to do was get the word out on new features they have added to their mods, or perhaps send out a pre-emptive heads up about what’s being worked on at the moment (much like this news post). With that in mind we’ve added an “Articles” features to all files in the database.
If you’re a mod author you will be able to write news articles for your files, and these will show in a new tab on your file pages, and will also show up in the “File news” tab on the front of the site. So if you’ve got something new you’d like to mention about your mod or if you want to ask your users questions and get feedback then you can write up a news article for everyone to see. Each article has its own forum thread, so your article comments are kept separate from the rest of your file. You can write these articles by clicking on the “Articles” link from your mod management page.
To prevent authors from “spamming” the front page file news feed with news posts for the same files only one article will show from your file within a 48 hour period. So if you write 3 articles within the space of a few hours, only one will show on the news feed on the front page.
You can start writing articles right now on sites that have already had these social features added to them.
Nexus Mod Manager
We’re getting close to having 750,000 unique users of the Nexus Mod Manager and today we released version 0.18.8 of NMM, which contained a few bug fixes, including a fix for the scripting issues.
We’re currently working on two new major features for NMM that have been begged for since we released the program last November; categories and profiling. Categories will enable you to organise your mod lists better, placing mods in to your own categories or allowing NMM to manage your categories for you based on the category the mod is in on the site. Profiling will enable you to create specific load customisations for your gaming; so Profile 1 might contain Mods A, B and C while Profile 2 might contain Mods B, C, X, Y and Z. When you start the game you can choose which profile to load.
Downloading and uploading
We’re working on overhauling both our current manual and NMM downloading system to be much better, faster, more efficient and more stable. I’ll talk about what we’ll be rolling out in the not too distant future, but rest assured that we are looking at it. We’re also looking in to making our uploads resumable so you can stop and start your mod uploads and restart from where you left off if your computer or browser crashes or your internet drops.
So that’s just a glimpse at what we’re working on at the moment. Over the next couple of weeks the social network features should be rolled out to all the sites and you can begin to test them out and see what needs improving.
We are in the final stages of rolling out our new codebase on all the Nexus sites and the only site left to be converted is Skyrim Nexus. We’ve been converting each Nexus site one at a time and then tweaking and updating the code to reflect any performance issues that have occurred. Due to the sheer amount of traffic that Skyrim Nexus still receives we’re being extra careful and ensuring we’ve optimised all the code as much as possible (based on our observations from the sites we’ve already converted) before doing the final conversion. So stay tuned on that one.
Back when I did my State of the Union video at the end of February I mentioned that the three priority features we’d be working on at the Nexus after the conversion would be:
- Content filtering that enabled you to hide any content that you’re not interested in. If you have absolutely no interest in anime, skimpy outfits, nudity, unbalanced content or mods that aren’t lore-friendly (to name but a few of the regular dislikes) then you should be able to remove these mods from view on the sites as much as feasibly possible.
- Improving the visibility of mods and ensuring that mods can still be found among all the clutter after the first few days of release.
- Improved and enhanced moderation features so we don’t have to have such a black (you’re banned) and white (you’re not banned) method of moderation.
I’m happy to report that the first of those features, the content filtering, has been completed for all sites except Skyrim (which will be supported once we convert Skyrim Nexus!).
The new Blocked Tags page will list a number of tags that you can use to filter content out on the site. Unlike past attempts at doing this, this newest version will filter mods out across all the features on the site including the hot files, category view, search results, top 100 lists and so on. Because we don’t want you to completely debilitate yourself using the new blocking features, we’ve added in the ability to see exactly what it is you’re blocking when browsing categories and search results. The easiest way to test this functionality is to block the “English” language tag and then do a blank search. You’ll see that a new information box displays above your results:QUOTEYour search has produced 20503 results. 6702 results have been omitted due to content filtering. You can repeat the search including those results.
So the content filtering will let you know exactly how many files have been filtered by your filtering preferences and even allow you to repeat your search (or browsing) showing all the previously omitted results, without changing your preferences.
Obviously, because the content filtering system is using our tag system then content filtering is only as good as the tags that have been applied to files in the first place. The site can’t filter out an anime mod if the anime tag isn’t being used. To that end I’ve worked on rearranging a lot of the current tags so they’re more accessible while adding some more content classification tags on some of the more regularly complained about content, including: anime, lore-friendly, not safe for work, nudity, sexy/skimpy, translation and saved games. As some of these tags are new it’s up to us, you, and mod authors to begin adding these new tags to these files.
To further help in this process we’ve added a new page to the “Files” drop-down menu on all converted sites labelled Files without tags. This page will list every file that has absolutely no tags at all.
To remind people of the tagging procedure, anyone and everyone can tag files on the site as long as they’re logged in. You can tag files by going to a file page and clicking the “Tags” tab (it’s the pencil icon) and using the green up or red down arrows next to each tag label. If you’re a mod author you can instantly tag your files. If you’re not the author of the file then you can recommend tags in the same way, using the green and red arrows, but it will take 3 recommendations from 3 separate users for the tag to become “confirmed” for the file. A “confirmed” tag will mean that mod can be searched for or blocked based on the tag. Mod authors automatically confirm their tags without the need for any other users to recommend the tag.
If everyone browsing the sites spent 10 minutes of their time to go through the Files without tags page and tagged a few files then all the features that rely on the tagging system would be a lot more powerful. I don’t want anyone coming to me complaining that the tag system isn’t powerful enough if they have “Files tagged: 0” in their profile. We’re all in this together, folks!
My hope is that this new content filtering is going to alleviate a lot of the complaints about seeing content that you’re not interested in. If you don’t like anime mods, block the content and you’ll never ever have to see it again. If you see an anime mod that hasn’t been tagged as such, do the right thing and tag it yourself, ensuring that you don’t go off on a crusade in the comments section while you’re at it.
We’ll continue to tweak the content filtering and tagging system as necessary, and if you have any recommendations or bug reports then feel free to air them.
We’ve got lots of really cool stuff in the works at the moment for both the sites and for NMM but I think I’ve said enough for now, so check up on the news soon as I provide an update on the other stuff.
Last month I posted some news that it was widely rumoured that Bethesda would be announcing the title their MMO department have been working on over the past 4 years in May some time. That announcement has come today from Bethesda via the Beth Blog and their long time announcement medium, Game Informer magazine.
Here's the blurb from the Beth Blog article:QUOTESince opening its doors in August of 2007, we haven’t been able to say much about happenings at ZeniMax Online Studios – until today. Announced just minutes ago, Game Informer’s June 2012 cover story is… The Elder Scrolls Online!
The magazine will be available to subscribers early next week and should arrive at GameStop stores shortly after that. You’ll also want to keep your eyes on GameInformer.com/ElderScrollsOnline. Today they put up the magazine cover, and you can expect more updates throughout the month.
We can expect to hear lots more about the game over the coming months. But perhaps the most obvious secret in the gaming industry is now out of the bag so we can all get on with it!
IGN has declared that the 'Madness Armour' featured in the Oblivion expansion The Shivering Isles is one of the 25 best armour sets in games.QUOTEThe Madness Armor is a heavy armor set that you get through taking on the Antipodean Hammer quest. Once you have enough Madness Ore bring it to Cutter at Cutter's Weapons in Bliss and she will make you a piece of the armor. Boots cost two pieces of ore, as do the helmet, shield and gauntlets. The greaves need three to be crafted, and the cuirass five.
The Madness Armor not only adds scarily good bonuses to your character it also looks, well, mad. There's a face with sharp teeth engraved into the breastplate, mini faces on the knees and a multi-eyed, pointy tooth face on the shield.
Oblivion Nexus is glad it doesn't have to make up lists like this to fill news posts.
Following on from today's news regarding the splitting up of TESNexus an update to NMM has been released, which puts it at version 0.17.1. This version has primarily been rolled out to provide support for Morrowind, the fifth game supported by NMM, and also contains a few bug fixes and dialogue box changes.
Incidentally a couple of weeks ago NMM rolled past the 500,000 unique downloads mark, just before its 5 month anniversary since going in to open beta. It's great to see over half a million users have now tried out NMM and we'll continue to roll out more updates and changes soon as we work towards getting NMM in to general release and out of open beta.
Over the past month we’ve been working on getting the first game, of the first Nexus site, supported within our Nexus Mod Manager. Morrowind was where it all started for the Nexus, and all the sites dating back before it to 2001 so getting Morrowind mods supported in NMM seemed the right and proper thing to do. To better accommodate this change, and also to finally reduce the clutter on the site, TESNexus has now been split in to two independent Nexus sites for Morrowind and Oblivion.
Having Morrowind and Oblivion mods together on one site has been like planting two trees too close together; both have fought for the light and gotten in the way of each other. By splitting the two sites the browsing experience for users looking for Morrowind and Oblivion mods should be that much better.
The split should have been as non-destructive as possible. Hopefully (and fingers crossed on this one!) all the Morrowind mods should now be found on Morrowind Nexus and all the Oblivion mods should be found on Oblivion Nexus, complete with all their files, images and comments. The only “casualty” is that the Image Share cannot be so easily split, so the Morrowind image share is currently completely bare. Hopefully that won’t be the case for long. The Oblivion Nexus image share has not lost any images.
NMM support for Morrowind should be rolled out very soon, hopefully within the next 24 hours so NMM will get a new update, which should also contain a couple of bug fixes. In the mean time you might find the “Download with Manager” buttons don’t work on Oblivion Nexus with the current NMM version. If that’s the case, please be patient and wait for the update which should fix this issue for you.
If you think I’ve missed anything or you’re noticing any bugs with the two sites please let me know. Happy modding!
Hopefully by now you're aware that we have a Mount & Blade Nexus for Mount & Blade mods. What you might not know is that there is currently a Mount & Blade sale on Steam with a whopping 75% discount. You can now purchase all three Mount & Blade games for a measly £6.25 (around $9.99).
If you've been putting off getting the games, or weren't interested before but now your purse can stretch to this super low price then head on over to the Steam sale to pick up this bargain. Then head on over to Mount & Blade Nexus to pick up some awesome mods for the series!
Colourwheel took home the gold in our FOTM contest here on TES Nexus with her LOD Project. I had the opportunity to interview her, and you can read this interview below. Be sure to vote this month to see your favorite author featured here on the site news. Congratulations, colourwheel!QUOTE
Q: So, colourwheel, tell us a bit about yourself. What are some of your hobbies besides gaming?
A: I enjoy watching movies and listening to music like most people. I've always need an outlet for creativity. I honestly don't even really play video games anymore, yet my life revolves around them. What started as a fun game to play like oblivion... it turned more into a hobby to create my own fantasy world, which has been an on going personal project for me for over 3 years now. I just tend to enjoy sharing bits and pieces of my fantasy world with the community.
Q: For those of us who don't know, what is your LOD project all about?
A: The object of the LOD project was originally my personal mod to improve the visualization of distant buildings without the huge loss of FPS. Over the years I have tried out over a dozen LOD mods for buildings and structures making my game very beautiful yet FPS drop was always so drastic It made game play too slow to practically use. Really AEVWD was the only mod that came close yet Really AEVWD would still extremely damage FPS on my system. So I started messing with the meshes from that mod to try to improve FPS. Eventually I just started from scratch taking the raw mesh files from the Oblivion BSA and stripping vertice counts to extremely low counts. This alone Improved FPS on my system back to record highs beyond even my own expectations.
Q: What was your inspiration for creating this mod?
A:There really wasn't much inspiration for me. This project was more of something i had to do for personal reasons. Mostly people who know or fans of my work in the community, know me for releasing female Clothing and armor mods with an edge of sex appeal.
Q: What are some of the challenges you've come across and how have you dealt with them?
A: Honestly This mod isn't even that great or hugely challenging. Anyone with enough 3D modeling skills can do the same. This project is more so time consumming than anything else working on reducing vertice counts on one mesh can take up to 15mins to hours... Eventually doing anything long enough you get into what i call a "modeling rhythm" where you open up a program like blender as many times as your computer can handle and edit mesh work up to half a dozen at the same time.
Q: What was your favorite part about creating the mod?
A: my favorite part about this mod was just finishing it. lol
Q: What are some of your favorite games besides Oblivion?
A: I love 8-bit Super mario bros for nintendo, The next tetris online edition,and online poker.
Q: How long has it taken you to get the mod to where it is now?
A: The mod in question, only took few days of work for me.
Q: Are you working on any other mods at the moment that you can tell us more about? Or do you have any new features planned for this mod?
A: I am always updating my older oblivion mods. Here is a list of a series of work I have released that follw the same trend. "Sexy" is not "sex" The idea is sexy appeal is adding sexy Walk (slow attractive walk for females by mur_zik), sexy Idles (hand on one hip), Sexy sitting (females sitting with legs crossed), and sexy talk idle (hand on one hip). Also Skimpy clothing and armor and making all females young, attractive and very human like in appearance.
Colourwheels Sexy Dark Brotherhood Sanctuary HGEC
Colourwheels Sexy Skyrim Outpost HGEC
Colourwheels Sexy Ayleid Shrine HGEC
Colourwheels Sexy Tavern HGEC
Colourwheels Sexy Oblivion Overhaul HGEC
As of right now I am editing my recently released mod.
Colourwheels Sexy Dwarven IronWoman Armor HGEC
Improving texture map and making the armor more detailed....
Also going to add eventually a light set and possibly new weapons too
Q: Do you have any advice for aspiring mod authors out there?
A: Not really. lol
Q: And finally, do you have anything else you'd like to say to our readers?
A: Yes I would like to say Hiya everyone! :D Thankyou everyone for voting for this file of the month and Thankyou Nexus :D. It made me very happy to see atleast one of my mods get FOTM, even though it is personally in my mind my least valuable and time consuming work i have ever shared with the community. Sadly what is popular amoung most isn't always an authors favorite or best. It's kinda funny to see a mod I worked on get FoTM when it didnt take much effort or time. I have over a dozen mods I have released in the past, some that have taken months to complete yet to never to see the light of popularity.
Thankyou yoba333 For this interview.
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