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Just to let you know there is going to be some down-time early tomorrow morning around 8am GMT (which is 3am EST) as all the blades we currently used are moved and reconfigured in the data center. The hope is that this down-time will not last more than 30 minutes, but bearing in mind sods law, I'd gamble on it being closer to an hour.
You'll probably have connection issues and/or MySQL errors during this time.
Fingers crossed all goes to plan!
So we're just about 2 weeks in to Skyrim's global launch and Skyrim Nexus has reached over 1,000 mods available for download, which is pretty damn impressive without an available SDK! And for you nit-pickers out there, I deliberately waited until we surpassed the threshold of uploaded save games, so that's 1,000 actual mods and game files, not including save games.
I just wanted to post up a little something about what I, and the sites, have been through these past two weeks. Not least because I don't want you to think I've been sat on my backside rubbing my hands at some sick traffic figures!
To say that I wasn't really ready for the influx of traffic Skyrim Nexus received was a bit of an understatement, despite my 12 months of planning! The last benchmark I had to go off of was the launch of Fallout: New Vegas and the subsequent launch of New Vegas Nexus, which at it's peak received just over 200,000 unique visitors a day. So I applied some logic to these figures and thought an extra 50% (so 300,000 UV) on those figures, perhaps 75% (350,000 UV) would be a logical top figure. But no, Bethesda out-did themselves, and we've been pushing more than 550,000 unique visitors a day (and some 4million+ page views a day) since the game's launch. That's over 6 unique visitors a second (and 46 page views a second). And that's just Skyrim Nexus, not including the other sites. This traffic not only causes massive server load issues (and we're using some real powerful servers) but bandwidth issues too. The Nexus sites alone are pushing over 600mbit/second at the moment. The file servers are pushing 1Gbit. So put the two together and the network is pushing some 1.6Gbits of traffic a second (that's 205 Megabytes of bandwidth a second). So if you're wondering why the sites have been a bit slow at times, that's why.
After many sleepless nights I believe Axel and I (Axel is the site coder who's cooking up some seriously cool stuff for you all to enjoy very soon) have tweaked things in to a pretty stable state. You might be unlucky and hit a little blip here and there, but overall, things should be much more bearable now despite the traffic being pretty constant this past week. We're just now in the process of setting up a static content server with a nice, sexy, unmetered gigabit connection so we can continue to serve this stupid amount of bandwidth without it having a negative effect on the site load performance (and my wallet).
People criticised me when I put those video ads up on the downloads last year. I hope now you can at least partially acknowledge my foresight on the matter, being aware that Skyrim was coming out and that I would need the funds to pay for the ridiculous bandwidth and server bills. A note on those ads; they'll be coming off the other Nexus sites (they aren't on Skyrim Nexus) within a couple of weeks. These ads brought in much needed funds to pay for an upgrade in the site infrastructure. Prior to the release of Skyrim I had bought 2 additional super powerful servers to augment the 4 we were already using. And I've bought another 2 since then to handle and spread the load more. Folks in the EU will be getting a brand new file server by the start of December to download from, so stay tuned on that.
Over the last two weeks I also announced our work on the Nexus Mod Manager which is in Open Beta. The feedback you've all been providing has been invaluable, and I especially want to thank the vast majority of you who read-up on how we'd like bugs to be reported and have provided us with some good, detailed, bug reports. I cannot tell you how much easier it makes it for us when your bug reports are done properly! We're taking on all your advice, feedback and bug reports and working hard to get fixes out as quickly as possible. So if you're experiencing issues with one version, give it a couple of days and check back, more than likely if you've reported your problem it should be fixed in that time. There's a long way still to go on NMM and we've got lots in-store for you. Some great news on collaboration with another piece of well-known software as well, but I'll save that for another news post and another time..!
Looking on in to the new year I think I'm going to have to hire some new help pretty soon. These 18 hour days working on some sites that aren't my real job aren't really making me too happy! Hiring another dedicated web programmer and a dedicated software programmer will allow me to focus on the things that I at least kind of know, which will be acting as a community manager (and accountant, and server technician, and moderator...etc.) for you all. These sites have held up well on my code over the past 10 years, but my word I'm looking forward to moving over to Axel's stuff.
If you're going to take away one thing from this wall-of-text, it's this (aka. TL;DR:). It's been one hell of a ride these past 2 weeks and I'm glad we're all still here. I hope to continue to do good by you all for a long time to come. And watch this space, because super cool things are on the horizon.
Screenshots courtesy of PPSH-41
This Tumblr post has been tumbling its way around the web recently, and concerns one intrepid explorer's forays beyond the borders of Skyrim's lands with the use of the game's trusty "noclip" mode.
What is interesting about Skyrim is that, rather than a few square miles of LOD surrounded by infinite water, as has been the case in previous games, Bethesda seem to have included the landmass files for the province of Morrowind, Cyrodiil and even more.
The blog post contains photographs and documentation showing the process the author undertook, but what is exciting for modders is that much of the work of generating the heightmaps and landscape for other provinces, a time-consuming and painful job, has already been done for them. Some have speculated that the files are in preparation for expansive DLC, or just to provide sightseers with a glimpse of something distant from the peak of Throat Of The World. Whatever the case, once the Construction Set is released, modders will waste no time filling this empty land.
To conduct your own expedition, open the console and type "tcl" to range beyond the invisible walls of Skyrim's east and south.
Pete Hines announced on Twitter (and Nick Breckon announced on the official forums) that the next Skyrim update/patch is on the way. The update has been submitted to Sony and Microsoft for certification and "PC [is] coming too."
The current estimate is that the patch will be available the week after Thanksgiving (November 24th), meaning somewhere around the end of November or start of December.
No details yet on what, specifically, the patch will address or fix.
Another apology to make first guys. We hit a bit of a rough patch for an hour or so this evening with the Skyrim server. Every day we're hitting new traffic highs (525,000 unique visitors and 4 million page views today!) which means we're having to constantly adapt to the demands placed on the servers, continually optimising queries and config files and goodness knows what else. Thankfully we found the cause of today's issue relatively quickly and the server has been running sweet and sound since then. So hopefully we're good until tomorrow when another ridiculous amount of people come in search of Skyrim mods! I'm only getting about 3 hours sleep a night at the moment, so I'm going to need to take a holiday when this is all over!
On to happier news and Kaburke has just informed me he's put up version 0.12.6 of the which will contain more fixes and tweaks for users of the software.
And something really cool, Nexus user Gopher has added a really great introductory video to YouTube that brilliantly explains what NMM is, what it does, how it works and why you should be using it. It's brilliantly done and I'd recommend it if you're new to the modding scene here, don't understand why you'd need NMM or are just completely clueless! Thanks Gopher.
We have just released the latest update to the Nexus Mod Manager, 0.12.3. This is a bug fix patch that should help to resolve some of the problems that users have been experiencing so far.
If you load NMM (and can get to the mod management screen) then NMM will automatically tell you there's a new version and offer to download it for you. Simply follow the setup process and NMM will be updated. If you haven't been able to access NMM up until now, or you haven't got it at all, head on over to our to grab the latest version.
I'd like to thank all the people who have posted up bug reports in our bug tracker so far. Not just for bothering to let us know, but for providing us with exactly the feedback we asked for so we could resolve your issues (e.g. the crashdump files!). It's great when we can rely on lots of users to provide us with useful feedback, and the more useful the feedback, the more quickly we can patch bugs and get working on new functionality.
Here's the bug fixes for version 0.12.3:
- Crash when activating Skyrim ArchiveInvalidation (here)
- Crash when a URL in a mod is not in a recognized format (here)
- Crash when a game executable is missing.
- Crash when a file being downloaded does not exist.
- Downloads not starting when the download button on the Nexus sites is used.
- Crash when the download button on the Nexus sites is used. (here)
- Crash in Windows 8. (here)
- Crash when Install Info and Mods folders are chosen to be in a UAC protected folder. (here)
It is with great excitement that I am happy to announce that the Nexus Mod Manager (NMM) has entered open beta and is now .
NMM is the product of 11 months of work creating a simple yet feature rich tool that everyone can use to download, install and manage their modifications for the games the Nexus sites support. It is the successor to OBMM and FOMM so if you're a user of either then you'll want to move over to NMM to gain continued support and features. We currently have support for Skyrim, Oblivion, Fallout 3 and New Vegas and the Nexus sites have been updated with new "Download with manager" buttons on file pages on these sites.
When you have NMM installed you will be able to click these buttons to instantly start file downloads (no ads, by the way!). Another click when the download is finished will install the mod. You can start as many file downloads as you want and NMM comes with full download pausing and resuming, so even if you exit the program the next time you start NMM it will resume your unfinished downloads from where they left off.
NMM is the successor to OBMM and FOMM, created by the programmer who took over from Timeslip, Kaburke.
Using the Nexus Mod Manager is completely optional, you don't have to install it to get mods from us, and your modding experience can remain exactly the same if you so wish.
I want to remind you that this is an open beta test which means that NMM is not a finished product. In all likelihood it will never be a finished product as we'll be constantly working on it to add new features and additional game support but right now, NMM is at it's "core" stage. That means we've added in all the important functionality that you need to download, install and manage your mods and we're at around the same level as OBMM and FOMM were, but we're in a much stronger position to really push on and make an even more awesome mod manager for you. We'll be adding in lots more over the coming weeks and months. This open beta is designed to allow you, the users of the program, to provide us with important feedback when it comes to any bugs or crashes you come across when using NMM. If the program doesn't work for you and you don't tell us, we can't fix it. So it's really important you provide us with the information we need if you come across any bugs or errors!
There's lots more information available on NMM, including information on the project, how and where to post bug reports and how you can help us with the development on NMM in our project subforums. It all uses the same user account as your Nexus user account so don't worry about that!
NMM is completely open source software. That means we're releasing all the code to the program so that you, or anyone, can look at what we have done. It's released under a copy-left GPL license that means you can help us to develop NMM, or you can create programs that work or integrate with it if you wish.
We are a modding community and we wouldn't be here if it wasn't for people sharing their work with others, be it the game developers sharing their toolsets with us, programmers sharing their utilities or mod authors sharing their work. Without people sharing their knowledge with others we would have nothing, and that's why releasing our code as open source is important to us. It means that:
- You can trust that what you're installing has no hidden files, no spyware, no adware and nothing nefarious
- You can modify and use the source code in whatever way you wish, so long as it adheres to the GPL license
- You can help us with the development of NMM through our SourceForge page, or create your own tools and utilities that work in conjunction with NMM
- Rather than only having a small team of closed developers working on the program, anyone and everyone can help contribute with their own skills and ideas
- NMM is a community-driven project based on sharing knowledge with others, rather than coveting it and using it to turn a profit
If you come across other sites and programs that do something similar to NMM, ask the authors why they haven't made it open source yet.
Boris Voronstov, the developer of the ENB Series; which adds graphical enhancements to several games, has been updated with some support for Skyrim. Currently it looks like he has added some SSAO effects, and offers some advice on memory management changes through the INI files to help smooth out gameplay.
Head on over to the ENBDev website to check it out.
Update: Thanks to tapioks for pointing out that the SSAO and other effects are not in the current version available for download. The author has only posted images of the coming effects and the current download only has some minor and general tweaks and fixes.
So we're in to day 3 of Skyrim's release and I think it's pretty safe to say that Skyrim has been a resounding success for Bethesda. A massive success.
And in spite of a lack of modding tools at this time the modding community has got off to its usual quick start with over 100 mods already in our database.
With the success of Skyrim also comes the masses of people looking for Skyrim mods, and Skyrim Nexus has already far surpassed our previous traffic record of 202,000 unique visitors in a day set by New Vegas Nexus, as yesterday's total reached 234,000 unique visitors (and 1.7 million page views). That's a massive amount of traffic and the server is currently trying to keep up with the 430 requests per second being made to it. We had a little blip this morning when a database table became corrupted causing a massive backlog of processes, but this problem has now been fixed.
Sundays are notoriously the biggest traffic days of the week for websites and with Skyrim's launch only a couple of days ago the traffic today is probably going to set a new record. Thankfully, I'm here all day to monitor the traffic and try to make the process as smooth as possible for all of you. If you do experience slowdowns, please be patient, because rest assured I'm screaming at 5 or 6 SSH terminals trying to work out what the problem is.
This weekend was always going to be extremely busy, and over the coming weeks we'll see traffic simmer down in to a more respectable and more manageable amount. Congratulations to all the modders who have managed to get their work published so far, and a big congratulations to Bethesda for their great work on Skyrim. If you don't like it there's something wrong with you.
Well, Skyrim is now released in America; and many new sites have been able to post reviews of the game.
GameSpot is very impressed with Skyrim, giving it a 9.0/10 rating for their review despite saying that it has many technical glitches and bugs.QUOTEThe province of Skyrim might be frigid, but the role-playing game that takes place within it burns with a fire few games possess. In The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, you take up arms against dragons, and your encounters with them are invariably exciting--yet depending on where your adventure takes you, such battles may not even represent the pinnacle of your experience. A side quest that starts as a momentary distraction may turn into a full-fledged tale that could form the entirety of a less ambitious game. Yes, Skyrim is another enormous fantasy RPG from a developer that specializes in them, and it could suck up hundreds of hours of your time as you inspect each nook and crevasse for the secrets to be found within. If you know Bethesda Softworks' previous games, you might be unsurprised that Skyrim is not a land without blemish, but rather harbors any number of technical glitches and frustrating idiosyncrasies that tear open the icy veil that blankets the land. Many of them are ones Elder Scrolls fans will probably see coming, but they're ultimately a low price to pay for the wonders of a game this sprawling and enthralling. Prepare for many sleepless nights to come.
IGN is also extremely impressed with Skyrim, giving it a 9.5/10 on their scale.QUOTEIt's difficult to ever feel completely satisfied with a play session of Skyrim. There's always one more pressing quest, one more unexplored tract of land, one more skill to increase, one more butterfly to catch. It's a mesmerizing game that draws you into an finely crafted fictional space packed with content that consistently surprises. The changes made since Oblivion are many, and result in a more focused and sensible style of play, where the effects of every decision are easily seen. Featuring the same kind of thrilling freedom of choice The Elder Scrolls series is known for along with beautiful visuals and a stirring soundtrack, playing Skyrim is a rare kind of intensely personal, deeply rewarding experience, and one of the best role-playing games yet produced.
PC Gamer is very happy with the game, despite mentioning a few specific bugs and the fact that “the interface isn’t well adapted to PC: it sometimes ignores the position of your cursor in menus.”QUOTEThe games we normally call open worlds – the locked off cities and level-restricted grinding grounds – don’t compare to this. While everyone else is faffing around with how to control and restrict the player, Bethesda just put a country in a box. It’s the best open world game I’ve ever played, the most liberating RPG I’ve ever played, and one of my favourite places in this or any other world.
In case I’m not getting it across, this is a thumbs-up.
Giant Bomb gives Skyrim a full 5 stars, calling it “unmissable.”QUOTEHow is it that after 60 hours of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, the first thing I want to do when I finish writing this review is play more Skyrim? It's simply because, like Bethesda's Elder Scrolls and Fallout games before it, Skyrim offers a fantasy world so rich and expansive that to describe other games in those terms after playing this one would just feel hollow. The sheer amount of content packed into the game is a true marvel of video game production; it's even more marvelous that all of it is so well executed that you want to see and do everything, and better still that you're free to play it all in whatever way you want. Unsurprisingly, Skyrim isn't perfect in a technical sense, but it gets close enough to fulfilling the potential of this specific role-playing format that the experience it offers is absolutely essential.
Wrapping up this review roundup, Bit-Gamer gives Skyrim a 95/100 score.QUOTEEven the parts that shouldn’t make sense in Skyrim aren’t worth worrying about: those well-tended braziers in abandoned caves, for example. It’s like watching Star Wars and genuinely thinking, ‘what about those poor Death Star construction workers?’ You’re missing the point: Skyrim is a huge and engaging world to explore and it treats you with great moments, from your first dragon encounter to finally being able to craft dwarven armour.
Keep checking back here for more reviews as time passes and more reviewers get their hands on Skyrim.
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