posted by Dark0neWith the worst of the fallout from the recent site changes now behind us and things improving in the long run we’re back to working on improving the site functionality and expanding the network. While I’m trying to hold back on releasing new Nexus sites until our centralisation is done when I’ll never have to worry about launching a Nexus site in the same conventional way again, I’ve delayed the launch of these sites for quite some time so I can no longer wait.
Towards the beginning of July I was contacted by the folks over at Torn Banner Studios to see if I might be willing to provide a centralised location to host mods for Chivalry Medieval Warfare which is always an honour. I’ve obviously delayed the release of the site until I’m confident that things are stable again since our server moves and now that they are I’m happy to announce the release of Chivalry Medieval Warfare Nexus.
Torn Banner released their SDK for the game not too long ago which has opened up the potential for lots of new custom content and maps. Lots of stuff is already released and being worked on via their forums. The previous month I’d bought Chivalry and had a good playthrough of it so I was more than interested in helping out. For those who don’t know Chivalry Medieval Warfare is a popular first-person multiplayer game that pits two teams of knights, archers, men-at-arms and vanguards against each other in various map locations with various different objectives to complete. The teams are red and blue, hence the red and blue colour scheme to the site! If you like your combat up close and personal with swords and polearms then Chivalry will be for you.
There’s already several maps available to download for the game and I hope to see a lot more in the coming months.
Not wanting to stop there I’ve received an unprecedented number of requests to release a site to help support the Shadowrun Returns community. Shadowrun Returns was one of the first high-profile video game success stories to come from Kickstarter when it received over 400% of the funding that was initially requested and the game was launched towards the end of July to much fanfare.
While I’ve yet to play the game I’m very much aware that it’s a game that is going to rely on and thrive upon custom content and indeed most of the game has been built to revolve around the custom content that the user base is working on. It launched with a fully functioning editor that most people have commented is very easy to use along with Steam Workshop support. Initially I wasn’t too bothered in releasing a Nexus site for the game considering the direct integration with Steam Workshop right from the start but unfortunately the integration has had a number of teething issues that are yet to be resolved making things tough for some mod authors. So why not release a Nexus site to help spread the teething issue load? We can teeth together.
Shadowrun Returns Nexus is now up, launched and already being populated with work from the community.
The latest version of the ENB mod comes with new memory management code that may help with performance and stability, but what about people who dont use the ENB mod? Well a new mod called ENBoost allows you to use the new features of this mod without the graphical changes, and in this video I take alook at it and see what benefits I can get from it.
CTD and Memory patch ENBoost
We successfully completed the move of our databases over to a new centralised cluster yesterday with the final site, Fallout 3 Nexus, moved in the afternoon. Moving the databases off the same servers that actually serve the site’s pages has freed up resources on the servers that can go towards handling more concurrent connections and as such I’m hoping you’re finding the browsing experience on the sites this weekend, especially on Skyrim Nexus, are much more satisfactory.
There are currently a few known bugs on the sites that we’ll be working on sorting over the next week. You do not need to report these errors to us as we already know about them:
- Problems with people either being unable to login or being unable to stay logged in through page loads. Generally what happens is you enter your username and password, click the submit button, the main page loads but you’re still not logged in. No error messages are shown. We’re not sure why this isn’t working for some people while it’s working for the majority but we’ll look in to fixing that first.
- People have reported the file servers sometimes report themselves as being overloaded or “struggling” despite other people downloading the same file perfectly fine. Assumed that any NMM downloading errors are of a similar ilk for the same people (e.g. if manually downloading fails so does downloading through NMM).
- Issues with the Image Share not posting images and linking to the correct forum topics.
If you’re experiencing a problem that’s not on that list then by all means report it.
While I’m very pleased that the cluster has worked out well I’m still not happy. I want to be in a position where there’s not one single point of failure for the sites so if a server goes down the sites still run perfectly. I also want to be in a position where increasing capacity is as simple as buying new servers. The old system wasn’t that simple, and I want a system that is that simple. Right now we’re serving about 700 concurrent connections/second to the sites (not the file servers, they do loads more than that) and we’re hitting that limit regularly. I want to be able to serve twice that much. We’ve spent over £33,000 ($50,000) on the database cluster and I’ve now outlayed a further £18,000 ($28,000) on several static content servers that will serve all the images and static pages and a further £40,000 ($61,000) on moving all our page serving in to a specially developed cloud server system utilising 48 CPU cores and 192GB or RAM across 6 virtual servers, load balanced by two extra virtual servers to ensure redundancy. On top of that we’ve got to continue paying the billls on the old servers until everything is moved over, so we’re essentially paying double the amount it normally costs to keep things going from a hardware standpoint. Don’t get me started on bandwidth or the file servers where we’ve got another 3 file servers on order at the moment. When you wonder where the Premium Membership money goes; this is where it goes.
I’m happy with how things have gone so far and I’m looking forward to a point where we can stop dealing with making the sites run properly and get on with making the sites better and expanding the network. Frankly, if I were to have another year like this current one I’d seriously consider throwing in the towel. So fingers very much crossed.
Alexander Velicky has released Falskaar, a content heavy new land and quest mod set on an island of the same name. It's available right here exclusively on Skyrim Nexus.
The mod was designed to be as complete as a Bethesda Game Studios developed game add-on, and it's pretty damn impressive considering that Alex primarily designed and created the mod himself (albeit with a lot of help for the sound, testing, and working through bugs). Alex explained to Gamasutra that he is looking to apply for a position with Bethesda Game Studios.QUOTE"Falskaar was my full-time job," he says, noting that he worked around 8 hours each weekday, along with some overtime during evenings and weekend. "I put an average of 40-70 hours a week into the mod."
Velicky lives with his dad, who he says was "very supportive, allowing me to live here without paying rent or having to pay for food/bills, so I was able to work full time without getting a job of any sort."
The idea was that instead of going to design school, Velicky would cut out the middle man and directly gain experience with video game design by creating his own masterpiece.
"I made this mod partially because I love game design and it was incredibly fun to do, but also because I wanted to impress Bethesda Game Studios,"he explains. "I think they make a very unique type of game, and are one of the best game design companies out there."
The team at Bethesda has offered the 19-year-old advice over the last year or two, although he hasn't yet heard anything as-of-yet regarding a possible job following Falskaar development wrap-up.
According to the mod description the new content adds new land equal to 2 Skyrim holds, between 20-30 hours of play, 9 main quests and 17 side quests, new items, new spells, voice acting with over 30 voices, and a complete soundtrack of 40 minutes of music composed by Adamm Khuevrr.
You can download the mod and soundtrack from the mod page here.
posted by Dark0neThere is going to be some down-time on all Nexus sites and the forums this week as we work to move our databases over to our new cluster setup. Each site needs to be taken offline while a “dump” of the database can be created, transferred to the cluster and then imported in to the cluster database setup. The sites obviously have to go offline during this process so no new content is lost between the time when we make the dump and the time until the import process is fully completed.
The total down time will depend entirely on the site being transferred at the time. The forums, Skyrim, both Fallout sites and Oblivion are going to take longer than the other sites as they have a lot more content to transfer over. The forums and Skyrim should take 4 hours each while the other sites might take less time. Either way you’ll know when the transfer is happening as the site will be taken offline, with a message to that effect, during the process.
It’s my utmost hope (and no doubt yours too) that, through this transfer to our cluster, the reliability issues with the servers is going to be a thing of the past. For good. If all goes to plan this weekend should be the last weekend of stability issues for the Nexus and we can move on to doing what we actually want to do; making the service better for everyone and expanding our reach to all games so anyone can use the Nexus for modding if they so wish. We’ll also be far more DDoS proof due to the distributed nature of our own server setup that will mean we can shift load between many different servers ensuring any attack will have to split the botnet being used considerably in order to cause any down time.
I’ll hold off on thanking you for your patience during this trying time until we can confirm that this is going to be the solution to all our problems but our initial testing has been very positive, so now it’s time to take the plunge and hope for the best.
Down time starts tomorrow (Monday) morning, starting with the forums.
If you’ve followed the news on the network over the past 6 months you’ll know we’ve been working extensively on our server architecture backend to resolve all the stability issues. Down-time, 502 errors, 503 errors, slow-downs, posts going missing when you click submit, they’re all a part of a range of issues that we’ve been working to fix through a lot of hard work and expense. We know we can’t expand and start supporting more games until we sort out this very frustrating issue.
We think we’re almost ready. Again. We’re currently running a test on the forums right now that’s going well, and we’re much further ahead than we were before. We’re planning to run a test on Skyrim Nexus from around 4pm GMT. This will involve putting the site in to “read-only” mode and switching over the site to use our test database. How will this affect things during the test?
- You will not be able to make any new posts on comments anywhere on the site
- You will not be able to publish new files
- Some posts and topics will be missing as our test database is around 24 hours old; any posts made in the past 24 hours will not show during this time (but they have NOT been lost!)
We plan to run this test after 4pm GMT, but might delay it a bit later in to the afternoon/evening. You’ll still be able to browse the site and download files, just the commenting system will be affected. We expect to run the test for 30 mins before restoring things back to how they normally are.
Hopefully salvation is just around the corner.
We've been no strangers to bog-standard DoS attacks and thousands-strong botnet DDoS attacks over the past 12 years. Any given week we'll be DoS'd, just most of the time you won't notice it because systems are in place to prevent such attacks. Every once in a while, though, someone with a rather large botnet or someone using more sophisticated techniques comes along that either requires us to adapt or just to weather it out. All I know is, it's been 12 years, we've survived countless DDoS attacks, and the sites aren't going anywhere.
Going hand-in-hand with that is the fact school holidays have begun which means kids have more time to waste. I used to enjoy playing football, cricket, skating and trampolining in my summer holidays but I guess some kids like to run bot nets instead. The why isn't really important (and I have no idea as to the why). All I know is that it's happening right now on the servers and we're doing what we can to alleviate the problem as best we can.
There's not much you can do on your end to fix this exact problem. There is, however, something you can do to help the general DDoS plague and that's to not be one of the millions of dolts out there browsing the internet without an anti-virus and firewall running as a bare minimum. Botnets form because "hackers" have gained access to insecure systems. The more insecure systems they control, the more powerful their botnet becomes. Typically gamers are more clued in than most in this regard, but still, I know some of you will be reading this without any anti-virus installed on your PC and to you I'll simply say this; you are a part of the problem. You're not the problem, but you're a part of it in the same way you're a part of the problem during an epidemic if you sneeze without covering your mouth with your hand or don't wash your hands after going to the toilet. You're in that group of people. You aren't the virus but you help to spread it through your lack of action. So get on to fixing it if you haven't already, or at least please don't complain to me about the sites being down if you're in that group.
A blunt news post, I know, but in all truth I treat DDoS attacks with utter emotional disregard. Not that we're not trying our hardest to solve the issue, but frankly, there's no point getting upset about it. Some idiot is DDoS'ing us and cowering behind the internet's anonymity, we've had no contact from said individual(s), it'll end when it ends or when we find a way to block it and there's no point getting upset about it.
In this video I was looking for a more performance friendly ENB mod and after trying quite a few I finally settled on RealVision ENB (performance version).
Installation video that covers this mod can be found here.
For an overview of the aims of this series see this video.
Download link for mod:
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