The epilogue to the 2012 Anniversary Edition of Skyrim Mod Sanctuary.
Thumbnail image for this video is courtesy of OrmrSnaethorsen.
Better Dialogue Controls
The fifth part of my look back at the first year of mods for Skyrim.
Thumbnail image for this video is 'Snow White and The Huntsman-ish' courtesy of graphiccore.
More Hotkeys Please SKSE BETA
Vampire Lords can Loot and Activate and Open the Map - With Werewolf Now
Better Vampires by Brehanin 5_4
Bat Travel Vampire Power for Dawnguard DLC
Vampire Predator Vision
Belua Sanguinare Revisited - Dynamic Vampires
Open and Lock Spells
Siege CrossBow Collection
One Handed Crossbow- Beta
Portal - Dynamically Placed Teleportation
Dwarven Dwemer Power Armor
Space Wiking Dwemer Exoskeleton
skyBirds - Airborne Perching Birds
Birds of Skyrim
Birds and Flocks
Brawl Bugs Patch - Plugins - Modder Resource
Skill Interface Retexture
aMidianBorn Leather Armor
aMidianBorn iron and banded armors
aMidianBorn steel armor
aMidianBorn steel plate armor
aMidianBorn Dwarven Armor
aMidianBorn Elven Armor
aMidianBorn Book of Silence
Dwemer Skyship fully flyable
Airship - Dev Aveza
Blaze Of Eventide
Nordic Ranger Outfit
Ritual Armor of Boethiah
Halls of Dovahndor
Hunters Cabin of Riverwood
If you keep up with gaming news at all you’re more than likely to have seen quite a lot of buzz over the past year in regards to Kickstarter and other crowd-funded projects.
These sites are platforms for people from all walks of life that allow creative people to come to us, ordinary people, and treat us like mini-investors. They pitch their ideas, (hopefully) showcase some of their work and talk about their current and past experience, explain what they aim to do and ask for you to “pledge” money in order to see the pitched product become a reality. You might be asking what the point is, and why this is relevant to modding sites. I’ll try and explain.
Over the past few years we’ve seen a lot of the publishers involved in publishing triple A titles (EA, Ubisoft, Activision and so on) becoming extremely closed in regards to the PC platform. Because of the prominence of the console market over the PC market in terms of game sales, and perhaps the ease of PC game piracy over console game piracy, a lot of publishers have stopped paying attention to the PC market and concentrated either completely on the console market (Halo, Gears of War, Killzone, etc.) or developed for the console first and then done some pretty terrible and obvious ports over to the PC platform later. Publisher or developer supported modding was starting to become something of a rarity reserved for those “gems” within the gaming community like Bethesda and Valve. It’s not that it was dying so much as most developers and publishers were phasing the idea of providing for a modding community out completely (hello EA/Bioware).
From my point of view, I think the PC gaming community was starting to feel a little forgotten about and the general consensus for a while has been that we think publishers like EA are run by corporate bigwigs who have absolutely no understanding of what a modding community is and the value of fostering, nurturing and promoting your modding community to the world. The inherent issue being you can easily put on to an accountant’s spreadsheet the cost of providing for your modding community with tools, support and knowledge bases in terms of how many man-hours the endeavour has taken up, but you can’t put on to an accountant’s spreadsheet the actual monetary worth of your modding community in terms of sales obtained from your modding community, the ongoing press received from the work your modding community produces (I’m still seeing plenty of articles about Skyrim on PC news websites even now, and it’s always to do with mods) and the goodwill produced for both the developer and publisher who are actively supporting their modding community. I do wonder how many people have bought Skyrim for the PC either because Bethesda came out early and said they’d be releasing modding tools, or because they’ve seen what awesome things people have been doing to their game either here at the Nexus, on the Workshop or out in the media. I bet it’s a lot, but there’s no way we can find a realistic figure. And herein lies the issue; when companies are run by accountants and investors who need to produce higher profits year-on-year they’re more concerned with dinging out as many games as possible than they are about their community or quality of service. If you tell these investors and accountants you can make your games modder friendly and release modding tools for your game, but it’s going to cost you X thousand dollars to do and delay the release of the game by one or two months is it likely they’re going to want to do this?
So how does this relate to crowd-funded games through Kickstarter and other pledge platforms? By crowdfunding their game, Indie developers who use Kickstarter are able to cut out the middleman, the publisher. This means that they become far more answerable to you, the gamer, and a lot less answerable to “the man”. In an effort to win your support and get you to pledge they’re going to do everything they can to make YOU happy, rather than doing everything they can to make their big-wig investors and corporate publishers happy. They don’t need to be told by the accountants and investors that they can’t make their games modder friendly because it’ll take too much time or too much money. Instead, they’re aware that you, the gamer, wants the game to be moddable and it’s possible that in doing this, more people are likely to pledge to support the game. And that’s what they want; enough money to make the game they’ve dreamed about doing.
This ability to cut out the middleman bigwig investors and publishers is causing a mini-revolution within the PC gaming community. Originally if you were a developer looking to make a game you would have had to have gone to big investors or publishing houses where they dictate the terms of the deal and what can and cannot be done. For example; you may not know this but Obsidian received absolutely no royalties on Fallout: New Vegas, such was their deal with Bethesda. It was a straight cash transaction. So the fact New Vegas continues to sell well is irrelevant; Obsidian don’t see a piece of any money you pay for New Vegas now, only the original straight transaction Bethesda paid Obsidian. And that’s not uncommon at all, because when you’re a developer with no money but a great idea, the company investing the money not only controls what happens to that idea, but they also own the idea too, irrespective of the work you’ve put into it. That’s the business world, and that’s how it’s been for a very long time. But that doesn’t mean that can’t change.
Kickstarter et al aren’t just opening up the possibilities for modding, but also for the games themselves. When was the last time you saw a big space combat or space sim game get released? I can’t really think of one since Freelancer was released over 9 years ago in 2003. That’s ridiculous. Space sims are awesome. Why haven’t any more been made? The reason is the bigwig investors and publishers don’t think there’s a big enough market for them. Funny, then, that huge space sim project Star Citizen just finished their crowdfunding process where they raised $6.7million from players like you or me. Clearly these bigwigs don’t really have a clue about what gamers really want at all. I highly doubt most are gamers at all.
Now crowd-funded games aren’t without their pitfalls. Just like games that investors and publishers invest in, crowd-funded games are still susceptible to failing at any time. Perhaps the developers didn’t budget properly or thought they could make the game with $100,000 but they actually needed twice that. Perhaps something catastrophic happened at the workplace or they find out what they said they could do wasn’t possible at all. Like any investment there are risks, and if you’re going to use your own hard-earned money to invest in these projects you do need to remind yourself that it’s an investment, not a pre-order. There haven’t been any major failures yet, as far as I know, but when there is one (and there will be one!) I think there’s a potential for the house of cards to come falling down on the crowdfunding new dawn.
Similarly I’ve been less than impressed with some crowd funding projects that have been announced recently that have been extremely half assed. It makes a mockery of the process and takes for granted the fact that many people want this to work. If you go to some angel investors and pitch your idea to them they’re going to want to see that you’ve committed your own time and resources into working on the idea yourself. Perhaps with a prototype, or at least with some early work on the engine and the mechanics of the game. It annoys me, alot, that I’ve seen Kickstarter projects (some of which have big industry names behind them) who have come to pledgers with an idea and absolutely no work done. “Hi, I’ve got a great idea for a game and you’ll know me from this game, so please pledge to me so I can make it”. No no no no no no no. If you want my money you’ve got to show me you’re going to work for it. I don’t care if you made some of the best games of the 80s or 90s, if you want people to pledge you go to every effort to show people you’ve worked on this project, you’ve stayed up days without sleep and your Kickstarter page shows that you’re putting every effort into making this game work. After I donated to Star Citizen I practically got spammed by them; they’d email every day with project updates, even after they were fully funded, explaining what would be happening, what the money would be used for, showing off new concept art, in-game videos, interviews with the developers and everything in between. That’s classy. “I’m some guy you might have heard of from this popular series of games, here’s a picture I drew in 5 minutes, please pledge to me”. How about no. Don’t take the piss, and don’t get suckered into these projects unless you’re a huge fan boy.
With that little rant out of the way, I do want to quickly promote two great projects that are currently in the late stages of their crowdfunding that I think are worth your time. Both have had some great work done on them already, so you know they’re serious, and both developers have come out in support of modding for their games:
Maia is a game by an indie developer and can most easily be described as Dungeon Keeper mixed with Theme Hospital on an alien planet. Popular YouTuber TotalBiscuit has even covered it in one of his videos because he wanted to ensure it got funded, so if you’re interested in finding out more, and why to pledge, then take a look at his video. Maia has actually just reached its funding goal, but more money will mean a better game, and it will mean you’ll probably get the game for cheaper than if you wait for release.
Secondly, Sui Generis is an extremely ambitious project that it claims is “Grand Theft Auto meets Morrowind in an original open world RPG.” The developers have made their own engine from the ground up and they’re currently struggling with reaching their funding target with 5 days to go. The video for the project won me over, and the engine seems to be extremely deep.
Both the developers of these projects have come out in support of a modding community for the games, and I think it’s important, as a modding community, to support them back in whatever way I can. This blog piece is one of those ways.
We are going to be announcing support and rolling out Nexus sites for three video games that have either been funded already on Kickstarter or are about to be funded on Kickstarter. One of them you know is Project Eternity, being developed by Obsidian, which is awesome. While the games aren’t going to be out for months, or even years, I’d like to pledge my support not only financially (that’s personal finance, not Nexus finances by the way!), but by giving them the backing of this community and offering whatever services I can to ensure they make their games as modder friendly as possible. And what’s even cooler is that these guys want that. They want to make use of this community’s various talents, sometimes to help in making their games, and other times to provide consultation on how to make their games as modder friendly as possible. And that’s really, really cool. I’m actively seeking to work with, partner with or just plain help any developers, Kickstarter/crowd-funded or not, who are willing to come to this community and ask for our advice on how they can make their games more modder friendly.
And that’s why I’m all in favour of the current crowdfunding phenomenon; because stuff like this would never happen when the bigwigs are in charge except in very rare occurrences. The crowd funding approach brings developers closer to the players, rather than alienating them by snuggling them up to the demands of the publishers. My thinking is the closer developers are to the needs and wants of the players then the more we’ll be listened to. And that’s good for us, the players.
As I'm completely blind to Steam at the moment while playing Planetside 2 I was unaware Steam were going through their Autumn sale. Now, as far as I can tell Steam have a sale on every day of every year (not that that's a particularly bad thing) and they remind me a lot of those stores that have "closing down sales" only to still be around a year later, so I become a bit blind to the sales on offer. Anyway; Nexus user SeraphTC kindly let me know of the sale was going on and, quite awesomely, you can pick up pretty much every game that we support in this current sale at great discounts. Here are the prices at time of writing:
X-Com: Enemy Unknown £20.09 (-33%)
Mount & Blade £4.99 (-50%)
Mount & Blade Collection (all the games) £14.99 (-50%)
Dark Souls £20.09 (-33%)
Fallen Enchantress £16.74 (-33%)
Legend of Grimrock £5.99 (-50%)
Dragon Age Origins: Ultimate Edition £9.99 (-50%)
The Witcher: Enhanced Edition £1.74 (-75%)
The Witcher 2: Enhanced Edition £7.99 (-60%)
Fallout Collection (1&2&Tactics) £5.43 (-66%)
Fallout 3: Game of the Year £8.99 (-40%)
Fallout New Vegas: Ultimate Edition £17.99 (-40%)
Skyrim £23.44 (-33%)
Dawnguard £9.37 (-33%)
Hearthfire £2.33 (-33%)
Oblivion: Game of the Year £8.99 (-40%)
GoTY Deluxe £11.99 (-40%)
Morrowind: Game of the Year £7.79 (-40%)
The Witcher 1 and 2 together for under a tenner? The entire Mount & Blade collection for £14.99? New Nexus entries Fallen Enchantress, Dark Souls, Legend of Grimrock and XCOM all discounted by 33% or more? If you haven't got the games yet and you were teetering on the edge then now's your chance. You have until the 27th of November, or next Tuesday, to get in on these deals.
Part 4 of my look back at the first year of mods for Skyrim. This is a long episode covering 51 mods, so bring snacks.
Thumbnail image for this video is 'Frostbite Spider' courtesy of Sideshow95.
Realistic Lighting With Customization
HD Textures DLC Fix
Shadow Striping Fix
A Better Whiterun - City Under Construction - BETA
ULTRA REALISTIC WORLD LIGHTING for Skryim BETA
Lanterns of Skyrim - Around Cities
Lanterns of Skyrim - Bridges
Expanded Winterhold Destruction Ruins
UFO - Ultimate Follower Overhaul
Follower Trap Safety
Move it Dammit for NPC Companions and Followers
CLARALUX - More and Brighter Lights
Skyrim Monster Mod
Skyrim Monster Mod Replacers - Lore Friendly and Others
SkyTEST - Realistic Animals and Predators
Conjure Rideable Ethereal Horse Spell
Sabre Gear Backpack
Bandolier - Bags and Pouches
Spectral Horde - Summon spectral horses for you and your followers
Reapers The Dark Tower
Acquisitive Soul Gems
Skeleton Demonic Horse
Shredded Triss Armor
Phenderix Magic Evolved - 271 New Spells
Space Wiking Dwemer Exoskeleton
Dwemer Goggles and Scouter
Dwarven Condenser - Animated Steam Staff
Project Reality - Climates Of Tamriel - Weather - Lighting
Birds of skyrim
More Village Animals
83Willows 101BugsHD Butterfly Dragonfly Luna-Moth Torchbug
Conjurable Chest and Crafting Furniture Spells
Summon Skeletal Horde
Recruit More Blades - SkyHavenTempleEnhanced
My Home Is Your Home - a mod for followers
Sky Haven Teleporter
We’ve almost finished the overhaul of our moderation system tools and functionality and with it brings some changes to our moderation ethos and practises. To further explain these changes to you I’ve written up this document that explains the new tools we’ll be able to utilise and how this is going to affect things. As usual, it’s a big one so if you’re interested go put the kettle on.
Our moderating ethos has always followed a concept of being strict but fair. It comes from my feeling that when you click that “I agree” button to our terms of service when you register your account, and once again if you post any comments or upload any files or images “I agree” means “I read the rules and understand that if I break them it’s more than likely I’ll be banned”. Ergo, in my humble opinion, if you get banned because you didn’t know that admitting you pirate all your games was a bannable offense (I’m sorry, but what idiot admits doing this publicly anyway?), or you didn’t know swearing at other members and calling them names would get you instantly banned then it’s no one’s fault except your own.
As far as I’m concerned we’ve got quite a few rules but they’re really not hard to follow at all. So if you break the rules you either didn’t read them (your fault), or you read them, you knew the rules and you still broke them (your fault), or you read them and didn't understand them (could be our fault for not being clear enough, but more likely your fault considering 4.7 million other members haven't struggled with it!) or your personal beliefs and philosophies on what you should be allowed to get away with on the internet are so far withdrawn from mine that this was never going to work (which begs the question of why you agreed to join and interact on the site in the first place). We implemented an unban appeal system a year or so back. Around 75% of these unban requests are members who’ve been banned who use the excuse “I didn’t know doing
would get me instantly banned, why wasn’t I warned first?”. It’s quite common for people to somehow blame us for their breaking of the rules. Don’t ask me how that works, I haven’t got the faintest idea. Very, very few contain an apology in them. It’s obviously our fault that they got banned, and not their fault at all!
Having said that, we’ve got quite a lot of rules, and some of them are more severe than others. Admitting to piracy? That’s always going to be an instantly bannable offense. We buy our games, we expect you to do the same, and the developers of the games we support wouldn’t support us back if we openly helped people who weren’t buying their games. Going off on an insult filled rant at mod authors? Instantly bannable as well. But what about the more minor offenses? Stuff like asking users for endorsements or donations in file descriptions? This is a rule that is regularly broken by mod authors, but it’s not exactly as severe as telling a mod author where they can shove all their work in a hate-filled rant. Up until now our moderating system has been very black or white and it’s been extremely hard to warn people when they’re breaking our rules. Our new system is all about changing that.
Most importantly I want to start by saying that this new system relies heavily on making our moderating actions as transparent as possible to the public. At the moment we have a sort of half-assed approach to giving evidence in the public strike and ban threads. It’s not uncommon to see “
banned, file troll” with a link to a reference post that only the staff can see. That’s not going to be good enough for me any more. We’re going to publish almost everything, and this is going to be done by us quoting the offending material within the ban notice for the public to see.
Banning a user for admitting to piracy? We’ll quote where he’s admitted to it within the ban notice (if he’s linking to a bad site we’ll obviously censor the link).
Banning or warning a user for trolling? We’ll quote the offending troll comment in the ban or warning notice. I don’t care if it contains swear words or personal attacks, lets get the facts out there.
Banning or warning someone for something they’ve done in the chat? We’ll quote the chat log within the public notice. I don’t care if it’s 10 pages long. If someone wants to read it all then let them!
Banning or warning someone for uploading work that doesn’t belong to them? We’ll quote pertinent parts of private conversations that lead to the admittance of wrongdoing, or quote from the file page description or file name to show and prove that this ban or warning was justified.
When you post on these sites you’re releasing publicly available information, so when we moderate based on your public posts and activities everything we do as moderators should also be as public as possible. Everything should have evidence publically available. The only exception to this new policy will be for Spam bots. I don’t mind seeing “
banned, spam bot” with no evidence. It would be unnecessary and counter-intuitive to quote a spambot for evidence.
Similarly we’re moving away from deleting comments entirely, thus removing the evidence, and moving towards “unapproving” or “hiding” offending comments. I want to keep a decent log of all offenses made and retain all evidence wherever possible. We’re currently setting up the file and image comments so that when we “delete” comments, really all we’re doing is hiding it on the forums and sites. As far you’re concerned the post is deleted but for us it remains as a source of evidence. Our evidence-keeping has been patchy at best in the past. We’ve got lots of evidence stored on some of the more high profile bans we’ve done (so that when they try to come back or lie about their “harsh treatment” here on other communities we can quote what they’ve done straight from their own original source comments and messages). We want to be able to do that for any and every offense, for our own piece of mind. It’s also great for self-moderation and those times when I’m personally called to review a moderator’s actions. With all the facts in front of me it makes it a lot easier to come to a decision without relying on other people’s testimonies.
Thus when we’re banning or warning people we can still provide reference links to the offending posts for staff eyes only, but the actual evidence will be in the public notice itself.
This matter of transparency is really important. Most people like evidence, people want evidence, and I think it will make our lives a lot easier in the long-run. So we’re going to evidence the hell out of you.
As a moderation team we’re not without our faults. We openly admit to getting things wrong. It doesn’t happen very often, but sometimes we, too, can be a little bit dumb. So our transparency and willingness to publicise other people’s faults will go hand-in-hand with our transparency and willingness to publicise our own faults. We’ve never shied away from admitting when we’ve been wrong and we’ll continue to ensure our public apologies are as open as the warning and ban threads themselves.
Notes, informal warnings, formal warnings and bans
We’ve now got a more indepth system for warning members and keeping track of their moderation history. Lets break it down:
- Notes are benign messages we can leave on the users moderation history for information purposes that all the other moderators can see as well. Examples where notes might be handy is if we’ve had a personal conversation with the member about permission to use someone else’s work. We can leave a note to say “Spoke to
on 11.11.11 and he provided proof that he has permission to upload ”. Or “Changed member name from to on 11.11.11”. Other moderators can then check a user’s note history first before they jump to any conclusions.
- Informal warnings are notifications we send to a member to warn them that they’re breaking the rules, or could potentially break the rules soon. We can use them to inform and warn members without it having the more serious and harsh repercussions of formal warnings or bans. Ideally informal warnings are best for warning members about what they’re doing when we know them to be otherwise good, helpful members, without it leaving a permanent bad and public mark on their moderation history. A good example of when we’ll use an informal warning is as a first warning for mod authors or image uploaders who ask for endorsements in their file descriptions. It’s a soft notification to let them know it’s against our rules and they should please stop. If they don’t stop, we’ll then issue a formal warning. If they still continue, we’ll issue a ban. Naturally if the offense is quite bad, even if it’s their first, we’ll be wanting to formally warn the member rather than informally warning them.
- Formal warnings are what our strikes are now. The difference is formal warnings can now be applied to people using the Nexus sites themselves as well and be backed up with easy to apply restrictions if necessary. When sending a formal warning a public, locked thread is automatically made on the forums which contains the information surrounding the warning. When issuing a formal warning we are provided with two text fields. One text field is for the public warning thread and it’s where we put all the evidence and pertinent information relating to the warning that we’d like the public to see. The other is just for communicating with the person we’re warning personally. No one will be able to see the information we put in this second text field except us, the moderation team, and the user themselves.
- Bans work much the same way as they did before. In addition we can choose to publish the user’s “moderation history stats”. This will enter the number of informal and formal warnings this member received before we banned them in to the public ban thread. This will help to inform people interested in the ban that this member received a number of warnings before they were eventually banned from the site altogether. The thinking being if we’ve given the member 5 informal warnings and 3 formal warnings already, and we’ve banned the user for something seemingly not worth banning for (e.g. the requesting endorsements example) people will see that, actually, this user has been given more than enough chances to be acquainted with our rules and should have known better.
Formal warnings can also be backed up with restrictions on the user’s account. Restrictions include blocking the user from adding or uploading any new files, preventing the use of the file tools altogether, preventing the downloading of files, forum and comment posting, image uploading, mod/image endorsing or preventing comments on a specific mod. These restrictions can either be “indefinite” or for a set number of days, after which the restrictions will be lifted from the account.
Informal warnings and formal warnings provide unavoidable notifications to users using the Nexus sites. These warnings are impossible to miss and completely lock-down the use of the Nexus sites until the user has confirmed they’ve seen the warning and agreed to our terms of service again. It doesn’t matter if we warn someone on Skyrim Nexus, if they try to use Fallout 3 Nexus they’ll still be locked out of the sites until they agree to the terms again. It does not, however, lock-down the forums. Warnings are applied almost instantly to an account and the user will see the warning without having to log out and log back in again. There can sometimes be a delay of about 30 seconds between warnings being applied and the warning block coming into effect on the user browsing the site due to our caching system.
A user’s complete moderation history can be seen by moderators, updated and changed via the “Moderation history” link on their profile. Similarly, users can see their own moderation history via their member area. Normal members cannot see each other’s moderation history, only their own.
On the topic of notes, moderators can also leave notes for specific files within the file database. Working exactly the same way as notes work for members, we can leave notes on files with any pertinent information. For example, we’ve had a situation recently where an author has been given permission to use assets from the game TERA in their mods. Leaving a note on the file(s) about this will ensure any moderators who weren’t aware of these permissions being granted are informed, thus preventing moderation overlap.
Moderator review mode
Moderator review mode is a lock-down placed on a file that prevents users from accessing the file while a moderator investigates a potential issue with the file in question. It also prevents the mod author from changing anything to do with the file. We added it to our moderation tools a couple of years ago because we found if we just set the file to hidden and contacted the mod author in question then there was a small percentage of mod authors who would “fix” the mod, remove any offending material and then feign innocence and ignorance of the matter (e.g. “Er, what are you talking about, my mod doesn’t use any music from Lord of the Rings!”). Honestly, this did happen, more often than you realise.
The problem with moderator review mode is it’s not very good at communicating to the mod author exactly what it is that’s wrong with the file (or image...yes, we can put images in the Image Share in to moderator review mode now too). We’ve updated the system to allow the moderator applying moderator review mode to leave a message to the mod author, via the file page itself, as to why the file has been locked down. We’re hoping this will reduce the amount of confusion there is when a file is initially locked down for investigation.
The wastebin is a new feature we coded to help us separate between mods that are in moderator review mode and seemingly awaiting further investigation from a moderator, and mods that have had a conclusive outcome to their investigation and have been removed. Up until now if we wanted to hold on to files as evidence we’ve kept the files in moderator review mode, even if we weren’t going to publically host the file. This has cluttered up the admin system as it’s hard to differentiate between files that are legitimately still under investigation and files that are literally being stored as evidence in case of future problems. The wastebin will now be our evidence archive, freeing up moderator review mode to just be used for those files that are still under investigation.
When we send a file or image to the wastebin it will be removed from the file or image database (as though it’s been deleted), and the pertinent information regarding the file or image (including the downloadable files, the file description and your reason for removing it) will be moved to our wastebin for archiving.
We’ve recently had a few cases of members creating dummy accounts that they’re using to endorse the files and images they’ve uploaded. It sounds stupid, I know, but people do actually do this. All moderators can now see all the IP addresses used to endorse files, the join date of the endorser and the system will quickly tell a moderator if there are multiple instances of the same IP address being used to endorse files and images.
Mod author comment moderation tools
All of the above features and etiquettes are live on the sites now. We’re now working on mod author comment moderation tools and hope to have some stuff live by the end of the week. This one’s quite a big topic, probably worthy of an entire news article all by itself, but I’ll try to be concise and explain our new stance on mod authors moderating their own comments.
Ever since this site first started people have asked if they can be given the tools to moderate their own file comments. Not to ban people outright, but to be able to clean, prune and remove posts from their comments, especially troll comments. When YouTube released their tools that let video uploaders moderate their own comments these calls increased a bit, and then when Steam Workshop came out these calls increased more. I’ve always put this topic in front of you people, and more recently, in front of our recognised mod authors to see what the majority feel about this topic. Up until now the majority have always voted to keep the moderation squarely in the hands of the moderators. We experimented with the “comment rep” system that let the public decide which posts they liked and which posts they thought should be hidden, however this system had mixed results and could be used for trolling as much as it could be used for good. Recently, with the prevalence of the Steam Workshop system, more mod authors have liked being able to moderate their own comments and I think this freedom has now changed opinions. The argument is sound, take the pressure off our moderators and leave moderating to the mod authors themselves. However, I don’t want to do this. At least, not entirely.
In my opinion, the YouTube/Steam Workshop method is the method you use if you’re not too bothered about the community or etiquette you’re fostering or don’t want to rely too heavily on finding good moderators who can handle the task. It’s the easy way out. Some mod authors will moderate their files well, they’ll not be “delete happy” at comments that perhaps aren’t super super encouraging and they’ll welcome useful constructive criticism. Other mod authors will not, and they’ll delete anything that isn’t a resounding big thumbs up to the mod author. And then there are some “mod authors” who steal your work, upload it to the another site and then delete any comment that people leave saying that the mod is stolen. Not good. Thankfully the report functionality at the Workshop has gotten a lot better from the early days, so good job Bethesda and/or Valve.
You see, mod authors are great. Without them none of us would be here. But just like the moderation team mod authors are neither perfect or infallible. Most are mature, understanding, tolerant individuals who understand that there are always some bad apples in a community and will work with us to root them out and remove them without getting their knickers in a twist. Some mod authors, however, have a very thin skin and a weak backbone, some see negativity and criticism where none is being offered, some are more than just a little paranoid, and some have their heads so far up their...necks...that their ego is running the show now. We regularly have to deal with these mod authors and honestly, some of the stuff that gets rudely demanded of us and the threats we receive (even threats of calling in lawyers to remove comments someone else has left on their mod) is frankly astonishing. I do not want to be empowering these people.
What we’re going to do is trial a new system that is a cross between our system of reporting comments and letting the moderators handle it, and the YouTube/Steam Workshop system of allowing mod authors to moderate all their file comments themselves. I want to reiterate the “trial” aspect of this. We’re going to implement it and see how it goes. If it needs tweaking or reworking, we’ll do it, but if we think it’s not working, mod authors don’t like it or it becomes more hassle and incites more drama than it’s worth, we’ll remove it.
All recognised mod authors (those authors who have 1,000 unique downloads and are able to access the mod author private forums) will now be able to hide posts that have been made in their own file comments. When an author hides a comment the content of the post will be fully hidden (with no option to see the original content) and the text will be changed to read “The author of this file has requested this comment be checked by our moderation team and it is currently awaiting moderator review”. It will then be sent to a moderation pool. Moderators will be able to login to this page and see all the posts that have been hidden by mod authors and are awaiting review. At this point the moderation team will assess whether the mod author was justified in removing the comment.
If the moderator agrees that the post breaks our rules then it will be fully hidden from the file comment topic, never to be seen in public again. If the moderator goes one step further and decides that the hidden post was bad enough to warrant an informal warning, a formal warning or a ban then the post will be updated on the authors comment topic to read “This user was given an informal warning/formal warning/ban for this post”. Mod authors will be able to choose whether they want that information to be public (they can leave it there for all to see) or whether it’s hidden from public view. I know some mod authors will like the idea of showing that people have been warned or banned for trolling their threads as it will act as a warning to others. I also know some mod authors won’t like that idea, so we’re going to leave that one completely up to you.
On the flip-side, if a moderator looks at the post and decides that it does not break our terms of service then the post will be unhidden on the file comment page and it will be locked from the mod author being able to hide it again. I see potential drama in this setup as I know that some mod authors are going to end up throwing their toys out of the pram when they hide comments because they think the comment has broken the rules and we unhide them because we think they haven’t. Obviously our policy on this matter is going to be very simple: we get the last say. If you’re not ok with that, don’t turn comments on for your files. That’s been our policy for the past 11 years so it’s not going to change.
We’ve put a lot of time and thought into this new system. For some the Nexus is too strict, for others, our zero-tolerance policy to trolls and general riff-raff has been one of the biggest draws to the site. Once again it falls into this category of not being able to please everyone and ultimately doing what I personally think is right for this network of sites.
We’ll continue to assess the functionality and practicality of our moderation techniques and make changes whenever necessary.
- Notes are benign messages we can leave on the users moderation history for information purposes that all the other moderators can see as well. Examples where notes might be handy is if we’ve had a personal conversation with the member about permission to use someone else’s work. We can leave a note to say “Spoke to
Part 3 of my look back at the first year of mods for Skyrim.
Thumbnail image for this video is 'Lord Necron' courtesy of yhwhwarrior.
WARZONES - Civil Unrest
Open Cities Skyrim
Cloaks of Skyrim
RCRN - Realistic Colors and Real Nights
A Thinner Compass
IMAGINATOR - Visual Control Device for Skyrim
Winter Is Coming - Cloaks
Lockpick graduation by Lilyu
3rd Person Animation Tweak - Run Forward with Bow
Casual bow animations
Proper Length Arrows
Closer Quivers and Longer Arrows
Arrowsmith - Reupload
Realistic Ragdolls and Force
Dwarven Mechanical Equipment
Moonpath to Elsweyr
Dovahkiin Relaxes Too
WATER - Water And Terrain Enhancement Redux
Omegared99 - Armor Compilation
Robed Steel Plate Armor
Fur Hoods HD
Dragon Priests Armor
I am happy to announce the release of a new Nexus site in to our modding network. Fallen Enchantress Nexus is now open with a number of community made modifications already available.
For those of you who don’t know (and I shamefully didn’t know until quite recently!), Fallen Enchantress is developed by Stardock of Galactic Civilizations and Sins of a Solar Empire fame. It’s a turn-based fantasy strategy RPG. Imagine Civilization strategy meets Heroes of Might and Magic levelling and combat and you’ll have a good idea of what this game is like. Frankly, Civilization and Heroes of Might and Magic are two of my favourite games and it’s likely I’ve sunk more time in to them than any of the Elder Scrolls or Fallout games, so when a Nexus member emailed me at the start of the week wondering if a Nexus site might be possible for Fallen Enchantress I was quite disappointed I’d never heard of it before. Having now played it for coming on 10 hours over the past few days I can safely say I really enjoy it, so I jumped on the official forums and got in contact with Stardock honcho “Frogboy” about the possibility of creating a Nexus site for the game. The idea was received well, so now we’re here.
Stardock are one of those developers who have always supported their modding communities well. Fallen Enchantress is no different and it has multiple different tools packaged in to the game itself for you to use and share with others. On top of that they have an established and experienced community of modders for their games which makes Fallen Enchantress and the Nexus a perfect fit. If you’re like me and have never heard of Fallen Enchantress then you can find out more information from the official site. The game retails for $39.99 (£24.99), so it’s not a bank buster either, and it retails on multiple sites including Steam.
I want to thank all the mod authors who have already uploaded their mods to Fallen Enchantress Nexus and I’m hoping we can work together to make the modding scene for Fallen Enchantress as big as possible.
Part 2 of my look back at the first year of mods for Skyrim.
Thumbnail image for this video is 'Before The Storm' courtesy of kaldaar.
RWT Realistic Water Textures
Realistic Lighting Without Post-Processing
Arrowsmith - Reupload
Better archery Eagle Eye perk
Mage-Friendly Dragon Priest Masks
Warmer Magic Lights
Staff of Magnus Improved
Staff of Magnus Absorb Fix
Deadly Spell Impacts
Midas Magic - Spells in Skyrim
Enhanced Distant Terrain
Skyrim HD - 2K Textures
Skyrim Flora Overhaul
PISE - Improved Skyrim Experience
Elven Armor retextured
Black Elven Armor and Weapons
BGM Glass and Elven Armour and Weapons
Mystic Elven Armor - HD
Better fitting Glass Helmet
Auto Unequip Arrows
Masters of Death - Rise of the Brotherhood
Static Mesh Improvement Mod
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