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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.
Most of you may have seen that hideous Legendary Edition cover that has been floating around the net lately. Well, now the real thing is on its way. Bethesda announced it about an hour ago, and it is set to be released June 4th in the US and June 7th in Europe. The price will be set to:
Consoles: $59.99 US / £39.99 / €49.99 / $69.99 AUD
PC: $59.99 US / £29.99 / €39.99 / $49.99 AUD
The Legendary edition will include all DLCs (Hearthfire, Dawnguard, and Dragonborn), as well as the latest version of the game.
Now, the bad news is that they have said that update 1.9 will be employed for the Legendary Edition, which "kind of" confirms that they will not be making any more updates to the game.
Microsoft spokesman Larry Hryb has announced that the third generation Xbox, codenamed Durango, will be unveiled on 21 May.QUOTEOn Tuesday May 21st, we’ll mark the beginning of a new generation of games, TV and entertainment. On that day, we’ll be holding a special press event on the Xbox campus and we invite you to join us via the live global stream that will be available on Xbox LIVE and Xbox.com. If you are in the US or Canada, you can also watch the broadcast on Spike TV.
On that day, we’ll share our vision for Xbox, and give you a real taste of the future. Then, 19-days later at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) in Los Angeles, we’ll continue the conversation and showcase our full lineup of blockbuster games.
We are thrilled to pull back the curtain and reveal what we’ve been working on.
Kotaku and IGN have previously reported that sources say that Durango is scheduled for a release in October/November of this year.
What does this mean for Fallout (and future Elderscrolls games)? It's practically confirmation that Fallout 4, which is likely to be the game that Bethesda Game Studios has switched to working on is being developed for the new Xbox and Playstation 4 (announced earlier this year). According to Kotaku's sources the new Xbox is intended to be 6 times more powerful than the current Xbox 360. Fallout 4 and the next Elderscrolls game should receive graphical improvements on top of what has already been seen from Skyrim.
As Microsoft plans to demonstrate a line up of new games developed for the new Xbox at the E3 Entertainment expo it's possible that Fallout 4 could be announced as early as June this year, although this is far from certain.
UPDATE 5:05 PM GMT:
In a tweet, Pete Hines had this to say about the cover of the "Legendary Edition":QUOTEthat is hideous
Take from that what you will, but that cover is most definitely not legit.--------
Eurogamer is reporting that a Polish retailer, Ultima, has listed Skyrim: Legendary Edition, which will contain the core game as well as all three game add-on packs, for sale with a release date of 7 June. It is currently unconfirmed by Bethesda Softworks.
Eurogamer reports that the PC version is listed for sale at 139.90 zł which works out to £29 and US$44. The Xbox 360 and PS3 versions are 169.90 zł or about £35 and US$54.
Oblivion, Fallout 3 and Fallout New Vegas all had similar bundle packs, referred to as Game of the Year editions.
Bethesda Softworks hasn't commented at this stage but we will update the news when they do.
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 has been one and a half year since the release of Skyrim, and though there will still be minor updates coming down the road, Bethesda Game Studios have decided that it is time to move on with the main bulk of the team. And for those wondering, in a tweet, Pete Hines confirmed that there will not be any more DLCs for Skyrim at all. We can practically say that Fallout 4 was announced today, unless they have changed their release strategy, and TES VI is in the making (doubtful).
Thank you, Bethesda, for a wonderful game!QUOTESkyrim has been a labor of love for us since we started designing it in 2006. We never imagined it would become the phenomenon it has. And that is because of you, the fans. It was all of you who made it a success. We can’t thank you enough for embracing the game, spreading the word, and making it your own.
For the last year and a half we’ve been working on new content for Skyrim; from the game updates, Creation Kit, Steam Workshop, Kinect support, to DLCs. Parts of our team have also been in pre-production on our next major project, and that game is at the point where it requires the studio’s full attention to make it our biggest and best work yet.
Even though we’re moving on, we’ll still have minor updates to Skyrim as needed. We’ve invested so much of ourselves into Skyrim and will never truly say goodbye to it.
We loved hearing your stories, your in-game triumphs, and your suggestions. One thing stuck out to us through those emails, letters, and postings. And that is – video games matter. They’re as important to you as they are to us. It’s not just about entertainment, it’s about your time. And you chose to spend it with our game.
Thank you again for all your support. We hope you stay engaged in the gaming community here and elsewhere. Keep spreading the word. Games are the world’s best entertainment because they can do what other forms cannot – fill you with the wonder of exploration and the pride of accomplishment. We look forward to sharing our next adventure with you.
Until next time,
Bethesda Game Studios
UPDATE: I see a lot of people asking about the "Redguard DLC". It was a rumor, and a false one at that. This has been confirmed by Pete Hines already. Yes, they did trademark Redguard back in 2012, but that was to renew it to protect it.
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.
If you are one of those who are thinking "Bah! The design in ESO is nothing like an Elder Scrolls game should have!", then you might want to reconsider... Just look at that Ogrim!
And in other (belated) news... have you checked your e-mail lately? The second batch of beta invitations for ESO was sent out yesterday and today (unless today is not yet today, and they still haven't sent them out..! please please please!)
Oh, and while we're at it, if you haven't checked out the latest "Ask Us Anything", you might want to read it - it has some interesting info.
I realize some of you may not know what an Ogrim really is, and why it is in ESO (Shame on you!), so here is one from Morrowind:
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