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.