• 22 November 2015

    Nexus Mods now has 10 million registered members

    posted by Dark0ne Site News
    It is with great pleasure and pride that I can announce that Nexus Mods now has over 10 million registered members, of which over 4.2 million of those have been active on the sites in the past year. Not bad for a 14 year old site!

    While our new member sign up stats have remained pleasantly constant since the release of Skyrim, the recent release of Fallout 4 has catapulted the registrations over the past week to ground-breaking levels and sped up our rise to 10 million members in short order. In a typical week before Fallout 4 was released we would see 25,000 new members joining the sites. Last week we saw over 65,000 new members join the site. Demand for Fallout 4 is, obviously, quite high right now.

    For a recap, we hit the one million member milestone back in May 2009, followed by the 2.5 million member milestone in October 2011 and the 5 million member milestone in January 2013, which means that we've doubled our membership every 2 years for the past 6 years.

    I can only thank all of you for the continued support you provide to the network and for your understanding over the years when things have been tough. I'd also like to thank the staff, both on the technical side (programmers) and the social side (moderation team) who have not only been the behind the scenes heroes of this community, but who have dedicated countless unpaid hours, of their own volition and without complaint (even the programmers, who are on a salary), often in the early hours of the morning, to keep this network afloat. Not because they have to or because it's expected of them, but because they actually want to.

    I'm extremely proud of what we have built here and, narcissism notwithstanding, I believe Nexus Mods to be a relatively unique "diamond in the rough" on the internet. While other owners of networks of our size (or smaller) have needed (or wanted) to seek venture capitalism or outside investors, with outside interests, to help support, develop or even expand their sites, Nexus Mods remains completely investor and outside interest free. We really live and die on the wants and needs of the community we aim to support. We grow and expand when the times are good, and we consolidate and trim when the times are bad. So when I say Nexus Mods is run by gamers, for gamers, the cliché actually rings true, for once. When we cease to be of use to the community, or when someone comes along that can do things better than us, we'll no doubt have to reconsider our position. And really, that's how I think it should be.

    This network was founded at a time when the situation in the Morrowind modding community was dire, so my motto when first focusing on hosting mods and ever since has been "to provide a stable and reliable source for mods". With the launch of Fallout 4 we've seen unprecedented (lol, cliché) levels of traffic on the network, smashing our previous records. And yet we've not seen anywhere (seriously, absolutely nowhere near) the issues we had with Skyrim's launch and the subsequent months after. As a result, I'm ridiculously happy right now as I sit watching the Google Analytics once again creep over the 8,000 page views a minute mark, and I frantically sit refreshing the site looking for any sign of slowdowns and server instability. There isn't any of note. And for that reason, I'm proud. Finally, I'm making good on that motto. Finally, we've done it.

    How did we get here?

    A brief (and relatively dull) history of time...

    Nexus Mods evolved from humble beginnings.

    At the age of 14, in early 2001, I was bouncing on a trampoline in my best friend's garden on an early summer's day when he told me about a game I'd never heard of. That game was Daggerfall. It sounded amazing. He went on to tell me about the new game that was being developed to follow on from Daggerfall. It was called Morrowind. After much research and young excitement at the prospect of the game we both decided we'd develop our web and graphic design skills, and give ourselves a project over the summer months, by building a website ready for Morrowind's launch. The aim of the site was to provide lots of information about the game for like-minded fans and to build a fun community around it.

    Over the course of many months we learnt about building and hosting a website, and released it to the world in August of 2001. That site was called Morrowind Chronicles.

    We were even lucky to have some contact with Pete Hines, then head of PR at Bethesda, who was kind enough to send us an early copy of the Construction Set to play around with before the game's release.

    Morrowind released in 2002 to critical acclaim, and around it, a substantial but not altogether as huge (by contemporary standards) modding community formed around the game. The focal point for the modding community at the time was Morrowind Summit, which was run by a great guy called Dalin under the Game Spy network brand. At the time, we had no intention of hosting mods and simply focused on a fun little community we'd built of a few hundred users who came to our forums to talk about Morrowind.

    Later in to 2002 myself and many users of the forums, on the back of hype and hysteria over the recent release of The Fellowship of the Ring and the impending release of The Two Towers, decided to begin work on a total conversion mod for Morrowind based in the Lord of the Rings universe (but with a storyline unrelated to the films or the books). The mod was labelled The Middle Earth Mod for Morrowind, or MEMod for short, which was homed on the Morrowind Chronicles forums, which increased interest and membership on the forums considerably.

    The Morrowind modding community went through a turbulent time throughout 2002 and into 2003. While Morrowind Summit, with its corporate backing, formed the backbone of the modding community, there were several other centralised sites providing mod hosting and support, typically with slightly more (or different) functionality than was offered on Morrowind Summit. It became common practise for mod authors to use more than one site to promote and share their work but, unfortunately, the internet was still reeling from the burst of the dotcom bubble and bandwidth costs were ridiculously high. Running a file hosting service back in those days was a very expensive business that needed (comparatively, for a free service) large initial capital and a strong return on advertising income to be able to get anywhere near break-even to pay the costs. Because of the dotcom bust, advertising revenue was at an all-time low. Bandwidth costs ridiculously high, advertising rates at an all-time low. It was an awful combination.

    Subsequently, several of the major mod hosting sites at the time (Morrowind Files, with its cloudy PHPNuke setup, being the most prominent) struggled and ultimately failed, taking with them countless mods. Sites popped up quickly to replace them, only to fail over the same issues, with more mods being lost each time it happened. It was a sorry situation.

    In late 2002, Morrowind Chronicles had a keen and active community of a few thousand regular posters on the forums so I decided to set up a mod hosting solution as a side-project, called Morrowind Mod Library. It was a completely separate site to Morrowind Chronicles and I ran the two side-by-side.

    I, too, struggled to keep things afloat.

    While I'd accounted for some things, bandwidth was only getting more expensive and it wasn't long before changes needed to be made. I had a short stint being (very graciously) hosted on the GameSpy network servers with help from Dalin, but the level of bureaucracy was high and the convoluted methods to get simple things done were stifling. I moved to the UGO network (don't these names bring back some memories!?).

    While this was happening I had helped set up my first company, with three friends (including the friend who had helped me with Morrowind Chronicles), that focused on web design and, a bit later, web hosting. While I focused my efforts on the gaming side of things, Krystal, as it was called, was building up a reputation and a network of their own. The friend who had helped me develop Morrowind Chronicles had stopped working on the site 6 months or so after the site's launch in August of 2001 so he could focus on Krystal, so I was on my own from then on.

    After a year or so on the UGO network, I moved over to Krystal servers that were graciously being provided by my friends at the company I had helped found. With the security that Krystal provided I was able to focus more time on the sites and less time trying to keep them up.

    Through my ordeals trying to run a free hobby site in that very expensive time on the internet I setup a second company, Gaming Source, with the help of my friends at Krystal, that would provide free hosting to other gaming related fansites who were suffering from the same problems I had. I offered help to some of my favourite gaming sites that I knew were being run independently and at a cost to the owner and many agreed to use the service. By 2005 I was hosting 80 gaming fan sites across a broad spectrum of games that saw us become a major network practically overnight. We were serving 2.5 million unique users and 80 million pageviews a month. Slightly before this apex, back in 2004, Morrowind Chronicles and Morrowind Mod Library were consolidated into one site that was named Morrowind Source, to be a branded site for Gaming Source.

    I continued to teach myself PHP and MySQL in the hopes of finally being able to do away with "off-the-shelf" file database scripts from the internet and building a completely custom coded file database that would be highly focused on mod hosting. By the time of Oblivion's release in 2006, the new file hosting system I'd written had gone live and the site was renamed to The Elder Scrolls Source (TESSource). It quickly became a direct "competitor" to Game Spy's dominant Planet Elder Scrolls site (or PES, formally Morrowind Summit), mainly because the TESSource system had an instantaneous mod uploading and publishing system, much like today, while PES was still requiring manual approval of all mods added to the database by a staff member.

    The community's opinion was divided. While many didn't like the idea of another modding site being used over PES, and questioned what the point was when a huge corporate behemoth like Game Spy, with the backing of NewsCorp, would "out live any independent site and be around for ever" (considering Morrowind modding's past, it wasn't an altogether rude or inappropriate assessment), TESSource continued to gain traction. Typically, the community welcomed having an additional, reliable, mod host that could provide something different from PES. Both had their merits, and after the amount of Morrowind mods lost to hosts failing, it became a widely accepted and appreciated practise to use both sites for file hosting.

    Ultimately, I relinquished my role in Gaming Source in 2007 so that I could focus on my university education and other business projects. This soured relations with my friends at Krystal, but we were able to come to an amicable conclusion (with my deep thanks). To this day I maintain close ties with Krystal. Not only was it the first company I helped to found, but they've gone from success to success themselves. They currently host the Nexus's entire database cluster and our entire cloud VM system and we are, as far as I'm aware, their biggest customers to date. Their generosity and desire and wish to tackle the difficult tasks that the Nexus presents has been a major factor in the smooth operation of the sites, and they've often been awake at 3am with us trying to help us diagnose problems and issues without complaint or demands for money. I know of no other hosting company, and I have extensive experience in this area, that would go to the lengths they have to see their customers satisfied. So consider them officially endorsed by us here at Nexus Mods.

    Despite dropping my role at Gaming Source and focusing on other things, my love for a site that had gotten me into web design, graphic design and the internet in general saw me desperate to continue TESSource and not see it fail. Because of the split, TESSource was renamed first to TESDB on a temporary basis, and then to TESNexus, and funded by myself to the sum of £10,000 while the site could get back on its feet. And get back on its feet it did.

    The rest, as they say, is history.
  • 06 November 2015

    Fallout 4 Nexus Site Launched

    posted by SirSalami Game News

    In anticipation of next week’s launch, we’ve opened the doors to the Fallout 4 Nexus Site today!  Starting now, you can begin posting to the new Nexus Fallout 4 forum.

    Fallout 4 Image Sharing and Mod Pages are also functional in preparation for next week. We don’t expect the file sharing features to be used until then, so please refrain from posting content prematurely. Also please remember, if you decide to post spoilers in the forum, make sure that you are labeling them appropriately. This includes “leaked” content.

    Even though Bethesda announced that Fallout 4 mods will only be supported officially sometime next year, it’s possible that certain aspects of the engine will be open to modification at launch. For instance, texture replacers for Skyrim were possible day-one. We’re hoping that this will be the case for Fallout 4 as well but haven’t been able to confirm this with Bethesda as of yet. We’ll just have to wait and see.


    Hardware Updates

    Like any good wasteland survivalists, we’ve been doing a lot of preparation for the big day. Enhancements to our server hardware have been implemented, including doubling our available memory and increasing our SSD storage capacity almost ten-fold (7.5x) on our database clusters.

    Though we expect that these enhancements will help to see us through the Fallout 4 launch, it’s impossible to know what the demands on our services will be until then. However, these changes have indeed shown improvements regarding content distribution given our current load, during internal stress tests.


    In Other News

    Robin, Paul and Phill have been working diligently with the focus-group, compositing and gathering feedback regarding our site redesign while I’ve been focused on analyzing and restructuring our terms and policies. Both of these projects are quite large in scope and because they directly affect your experience with us, we are all ensuring that we are doing our due diligence making sure that everything is done with proper care.


    So, enjoy the new Fallout 4 Nexus Site. We're hoping that this makes the wait to get back to the wasteland just a bit more bearable… :)

    Have a good weekend!

    - Dave "SirSalami" Talamas
  • 28 October 2015

    Focus group full!

    posted by BlindJudge Site News

    Well that certainly didn’t take long! Thank you to all those that have emailed in with regards to joining the closed focus group. Your enthusiasm and willingness to help out the Nexus is amazing and as I keep repeating, I’m glad to be working with such an awesome community.

    I’ll be sending those that will be involved an email this week with information on what is going to happen next and how to get involved with the discussion. If after reading through, you still feel that you want to be a part then just respond following the instructions and we’ll get started.

    To those that haven’t made it in this time, there will be plenty more opportunity to have your say and to see what’s happening. I’m going to try and keep posts coming on a regular basis with an update on current proceedings, where we are at and what is upcoming. I always welcome feedback no matter what the subject, so please feel free to PM or email me with anything that you have

    Thanks again

  • 21 October 2015

    Where are we at with the redesign?

    posted by BlindJudge Site News

    Hey, it's been a while so thought I should better let all you good folks know what's happening in regards to our site redesign.

    We started off with all of the survey results which I covered in a previous post. These turned up a lot of interesting and useful ideas, some pet peeves and lots of suggestions for the future. There was definitely plenty to go through and we thank every single one of the current 26,577 people for all the time and effort that you put into these.

    Next up was finding a suitable UX/UI Designer to help with the translation of all this data and begin to think about how people interact with the site. We posted up the role a while back and got a large number of very suitable applicants, I went through each and every one that led me to eventually get a short list that I could liaise with Robin on. Due to the ability of the people in this list we needed some way of seeing their vision so we asked for them to produce a quick sketch of how they could see the front page of the Nexus. We once again got some incredible results, but one person stood out due to the detail that they put into their submission - that person is Phill Collins.

    Phill has joined us on a contract basis to help shape the Nexus. His role is to make things more modern, more intuitive, more powerful and he brought with him a ton of experience to do exactly that.

    He has hit the ground running and has bombarded both Robin and I with a ton of questions, ideas and suggestions. Phill took it upon himself to complete the unenviable task of reading through all of the survey results and once he’d done that he went over some of the different pages within the site (roughly 36 of them) with a fine tooth comb and made several hundred comments asking for reasons things had been done a certain way and offering advice left, right and centre.

    To say this is the beginning of an exciting time is (to me anyway) an understatement.

    So what’s next I hear you ask?

    Well we’re still in the discovery and concept part of a UCD, this means that we are working out how everyone uses the site, what they use it for and how they navigate. With the amount of users that we have and the possible navigation flows this is a fairly long procedure as people use the site for all manner of reasons. For some it is primarily a social community and their first port of call is the forums, whereas for others they come on to find the latest mods, others may be here to look at images or videos and some may be here to try and find some golden nugget of a mod buried deep down within the site. We are looking at process flows to see how we can bring all of this to the surface with just a few clicks.

    We need to look at the site from all angles and from all eyes, so we create what are known as personas. Imagine the character creation section of Skyrim and all the various possibilities of person you can choose, each one having a very different range of skills and abilities, history and beliefs. Well, there you have it! We create ‘people’ from different ages, backgrounds, livelihoods etc. and with that we begin to see what they use the site for. We then look at the site from this users perspective, making comments and approaching each page with a different mentality. This will hopefully allow us to see the site differently and approach pages for various reasons.

    Competitors are another major part of the redesign. We need to look at lots of other gaming sites and see what we think they are doing right and where they too could be improved. You can learn a lot from other sites and I find myself navigating other sites purely to see how it all fits together. Within the survey, one of the questions was “Please enter one of your favourite websites in terms of look and functionality”, this has proven useful to see where people believe a good user experience and interface lies.

    So we’re onto wireframes and design, which is where we would like to begin thinking about introducing our focus group. The idea being that these people will be the first to see the wireframes, mockups and process flows etc for the site and offer feedback. I would like people who are able to offer constructive criticism and who want to shape the face of the Nexus. edit: 28 Oct 15 -  The focus group is now full!. I’m going to limit this to 25 people at first - this might not sound like a lot, but when you need to go through all the submitted comments it certainly is time consuming. This may or may not expand in the future but for now it will be a random pick from the emails I receive.

    Cheers all

  • 30 September 2015

    Hello Nexus!

    posted by SirSalami Site News
    Thank you Robin, for the warm welcome! I'm Dave, your new Community Manager humbly reporting for duty!

    I'm a lifelong mod enthusiast. Starting with ZZT as a kid, I’ve been fascinated with modding both as a consumable and as a creative outlet. I've had the privilege of dabbling with many game engines and interacting with the communities they inevitably spawn. From Doom to GTA V, if it's moddable, I've probably played it. Though as I'm sure some of you can relate with, I sometimes get so caught up installing add-ons that I forget to play the games! Ah, such is the life of a modder. Mods not only extend the life of our games, they allow us to personalize our experience and share our enthusiasm with others.

    I view the Nexus, and I know Robin agrees, not as a mod repository but as a community. This is a testament not of the modding scene itself, but to the camaraderie you have shown in creating something bigger than the sum of it's parts, the Nexus. If you take a look at the network statistics offered at the bottom of the homepage, you'll be reminded of how strong your numbers are. Due to your efforts as modders, authors, and enthusiasts, the Nexus is well respected and you all deserve representation!

    Supporting Robin and Paul, I'll likely be involved in many aspects of the operation working directly along with you the community to help ensure that we are catering to your needs. My focus will be ensuring that you are all well represented and will serve as a direct line of communication between you and the rest of the team here at the Nexus. Of course, that's not to say that Robin will be involved any less with the community! I'll simply be appending my involvement to his own.

    Additionally, part of my job will be keeping an eye on the modding scene and the gaming industry in general. From indies to triple-a titles, I'll be evangelizing the Nexus amongst mod authors and their fans who may not already be part of the Nexus, bringing even more talent to your growing network. Of course your support with this will always be appreciated.

    Going forward along with changes to the website design that are planned, I will be bringing new flavors of content that will highlight things going on here at the Nexus. Though the form these offerings will take is yet to be determined, I would like to provide them on a fairly regular basis. Perhaps something like short articles, user and mod author spotlights, videos, contests, and more. While I do have plenty of ideas, I look forward to hearing about your interests and will be very open to any content submitted by the community.

    Though I've been an active user of the Nexus for quite a while as both a user and mod author, I owe it to you all to more intimately understand the community you have built. So initially with the help of the moderators, I'll be spending a lot of time simply trying to get to know you all better and understanding how things work around here. If you’re so inclined, you can always feel free to contact me personally via email with your questions, comments, thoughts, suggestions, complaints, or whatever! And of course, I'll be hanging out in the forums and the chat room often so feel free to stop by and heckle the new guy ;).

    So, thank you all so very much for having me. I hope to serve you well!

    Dave "SirSalami" Talamas
  • 30 September 2015

    Introducing our new Community Manager

    posted by Dark0ne Game News
    Back at the beginning of March I announced a job opening on the sites for a new Community Manager role. Putting a friendly face on the sites from someone who could dedicate all their time to bettering the community, within the community, has been long over-due and now, almost 7 months later, the position has finally been filled.

    It's taken a long time due to, in no small part, the sheer number of people who applied for the position. After only a few weeks I took down the job listing after receiving over 400 applications, many of them absolutely excellent candidates for the position. Over the course of many months I read through all the applications, followed up on many of them, had chats with some people and gradually whittled down the short list.

    Much like Highlander, there can be only one (but please, don't think that killing our new Community Manager will give you the power!), and today I'm happy to introduce Dave, our new Community Manager, aka SirSalami.

    Dave's role focuses almost entirely on the community. And I know that sounds odd, because surely everyone working here focuses on the community, but I mean it more literally. While the site programmers or NMM programmers work on tools and functionality for you all to use, Dave's main focus is on conversing with the community on a daily basis, listening to people's issues or complaints and passing that feedback on to us. Essentially, Dave will be the central point of contact for members who need to get into contact with us. He'll become the eyes and the ears of the Nexus, helping us to enact change and reform parts of the site or community that are crying out for attention. He'll head up our moderation team, providing the moderator's with much needed direction and support and providing them with a proper, dedicated individual they can truly rely upon. He'll also be the face of the Nexus abroad, in other communities, where we might need a friendly face to help people who have any questions or issues with the Nexus.

    For me, personally, Dave's list of skills fit the requirements for the job perfectly. In fact, he was almost a little too over qualified for the position, having experience with and a background in a number of programming languages as well as prior experience working for an indie developer in a similar role to his role now. He's a perfect fit for the small team of us working on the Nexus sites and I'm looking forward to seeing the positive change he can bring to the sites and community.

    I'm going to leave the rest for Dave, who'll be writing a news post following this one introducing himself to the community. But from myself and the rest of the Nexus team we wish Dave a very hearty welcome. We can't wait to see what he can do.
  • 09 September 2015

    Why we can't use Patreon, and talking about donations and doing more to support mod authors

    posted by Dark0ne Site News
    It's been just over 4 months since the paid modding fiasco failed and Valve stopped the sale of mods on the Skyrim Workshop. I'm not here to beat the dead horse on what happened then, but I am here to talk about one of the major fall out points (pun not intended) from that situation, specifically, donations to mod authors.

    During the time when paid modding was active, and in the aftermath, two things became very clear; a lot of users on the Nexus didn't know it was even possible to donate money to their favourite mod authors, and the amount of money donated to mod authors was so negligible it bordered on the pointless for almost all mod authors (we're talking a couple of dollars over the course of a 2 year period, even for some of the "big" mods...). We want to try and fix that, to get the word out more about completely voluntary donations while maintaining a certain degree of conformity and professionalism for mod pages.

    Before paid modding the donation system was very simple. Mod authors put their Pay Pal email address into their Nexus site preferences and decided whether to turn on a donation button on their file and profile pages. The donation button is in the top-right hand corner of the file page, where the Download, Track and Endorse buttons are also placed. Lots of users missed this.

    Accompanying that were a strict set of rules in our terms of service that state, categorically, that mod authors cannot, under any circumstances, ask for or even mention donations anywhere on the site. The main reason for this rule was quite simple; as it stands right now a lot of mod authors already fail to describe what their mod actually does anywhere near the top of their file descriptions. In between huge images, change logs, the latest news about their files/their life/their cats, what they will and won't provide support on and so on and so forth, it's sometimes extremely difficult to find an actual description of the author's mod. What I didn't want was mod authors asking for/demanding donations and giving running commentaries of their donor lists within their file descriptions and sticky comment sections, further muddying what should be an easy to read and understand section of a mod author's file page.

    Similarly, we didn't want situations where mod authors withheld functionality that was only for people who donated, or started doing "updates for cash". The idea that the author will update their mod when the donation amount reaches a specific threshold. That's not what the Nexus is about and if mod authors did want to do that they could do that elsewhere. But not here.

    This is something we, the people working on the Nexus, can help with by providing mod authors a dedicated area on their file pages to talk about donations. A nice widget or box somewhere on their file page, prominent, but not overbearing and instantly in the user's face, where the mod author can talk about their donations, track and thank their donors and explain what they'll use it for. But right now, with the current design, we just don't have the room to accommodate that. We could make another tab on the file page for donations, but would it be used? Would it really? It's something we'll be working on for our site redesign, but that's not going to be out for a good while yet.

    The Nexus has a lot of users who "skirt the rules" already, sitting in a grey area where they know it's a bit naughty, but it's not going to get them into any trouble. I feel if we relaxed the rules on talking about donations, without giving authors a dedicated area to talk about them, then we'd increase our moderator workload substantially, as well as the ensuing drama when we have to make judgement calls on whether what's been written about donations does or doesn't break our ToS. And for that reason, right now, our rules remain the same on soliciting donations.

    During and after the paid modding fiasco we altered our donation system slightly. Mod authors can now choose to show users who've already downloaded their file a small pop-up box before they try to download another file on the page. This box informs the user about donations and asks them whether they'd like to donate. The idea being, if you've already downloaded one of the files on a file page and go to download it again, it's likely the reason you're downloading one of the other files on the page is because you're downloading an update to the mod, or an optional file, and you actually liked/use the mod in your game. Similarly, the author can choose to show the same pop-up box when someone chooses to endorse the mod. Once again, the idea being that if you endorse a mod, you like the mod, are you're more likely to actually donate to the author because of that.

    Like the donation button, these options are completely voluntary and the mod author can choose to enable, one, two, three or none of the options at the same time.

    The inherent problem with the current system is, simply, that it's limited in its scope when compared to platforms like Patreon or Flattr. These platforms are specifically designed for exactly what I'm talking about in this post. From the ground up, they make it fast and easy to donate to your favourite creative people and give them financial support if you so choose. In short, they'd be perfect to implement into the Nexus.

    And I'd love to. I mean that. It'd take all the hassle out of us making our own donation systems and we could pass it on to tried and tested platforms that work brilliantly already.

    But I can't.

    After paid modding failed miserably, donations were talked about a lot both publically and in our private mod author forums. Lots of brainstorming occured on how we could get the word out better. A lot of people agreed (some didn't, mind you!) that systems like Patreon and Flattr would be perfect. I said I would be more than happy to implement them into the Nexus, provided that Bethesda would be OK with the idea and wouldn't send their legion of lawyers after us.

    Anyone who reads the gaming news will know, Bethesda's lawyers are trigger happy as f'. In recent years they've sued Mojang, of Minecraft fame, over the use of the name "Scrolls". They've sued Interplay, originally owners of the Fallout IP, over the use of Fallout. They've sued an indie dev for trying to use the game name "Fallout Fortress". And they've sued the Oculus Rift people over the use of "trade secrets". They clearly like using lawyers. I'd rather not lose this entire site over mod author donations.

    I encouraged mod authors who were interested in Flattr and/or Patreon to contact Bethesda about the topic and get their take on it. Initial reports back were not good or positive and the general consensus was that Bethesda had said no. The topic was laid to rest.

    Then, a few of months back, a site called "Sprked" cropped up, looking to become a Patreon style platform specifically designed for modding and activities of a similar ilk. They began contacting and messaging a lot of mod authors on the Nexus about using their site, but didn't send a message to me about it. I sent them a message asking them to stop doing it immediately. Not only was it spammy, but if mod authors attempted to mention using the service on the Nexus they'd have received a warning, as it would have been seen as soliciting donations. I explained the situation to the person I spoke to at Sprked, that Bethesda seemingly didn't want such a system implemented, but I told them I'd contact Bethesda personally to get to the bottom of it.

    So I got in contact with GStaff, the community manager over at Bethesda, to get to the bottom of the issue once and for all. I'll quote the messages I sent to GStaff on the topic, so you can see what I said, but I won't quote GStaff, out of respect, as I have not asked for or had his permission to do so.

    Hi Matt,

    I hope you're well.

    I wanted to give you a heads up on a new site that's just launched called Sprked. It's basically a Kickstarter/Patreon monetisation site tailored specifically for mods. It features Bethesda games, images and IP quite prominently.

    I know a user called contacted you after the Skyrim Workshop paid modding situation to ask if Patreon would be OK for mod authors. From what the mod authors had gathered you had indicated Bethesda would not be OK with such a system. Is this correct? I ask, as it's something we would have explored implementing in to the Nexus if you hadn't made it relatively clear to that you weren't OK with it. It's something we would not implement if Bethesda were not happy with the idea, especially if it would sour things between us, and because of this we haven't pursued the idea any further. It's also something we have actively prevented mod authors from advertising on their file pages on the Nexus, which has essentially "nipped it in the bud" as without our authorisation it's practically impossible for them to get the word out about it to their users.

    We have extremely strict/tight rules on mod authors asking for donations. Mod authors cannot specifically ask for donations in their file descriptions, they can't offer "perks" for donations and they can only use our generically written donation text, which links to a user's Pay Pal account. The Nexus never, ever, touches donation money. As such, we've informed the creators of Sprked that we will not allow them to contact mod authors about the service/advertise their service on the Nexus until we've heard back from you on the topic, simply because it's against our TOS for mod authors to advertise such services on their file pages at this time. That rule will not change unless you/Bethesda make it clear that such things would be deemed "OK".

    If you could shine a light on this rather precarious situation, I'd appreciate it.


    The response I received was one line long and informed me that it was something that Bethesda cannot support.

    Unfortunately, GStaff's answer didn't really answer my original question. I wasn't looking for Bethesda to support it, I was writing to make sure if the Nexus supported it, Bethesda wouldn't have a problem with it. I clarified the situation:

    Hi GStaff,

    Welcome back from what I assume was a busy week last week.

    Unfortunately this is something the mod authors are pushing me heavily for so I kind of need a little better wording on this one (sorry!). When you say "it's not something we can support" I don't know whether you mean it's just something Bethesda aren't going to support themselves, on their own sites/services (e.g. Bethesda.NET, the forums and Skyrim Workshop) or whether it's something which, if the Nexus did support it, Bethesda would be unhappy about/come after the Nexus either legally or with a blanket ban on Nexus related use?

    Sounds extreme, I know, but when Bethesda opened the Pandora's box that was paid modding all this other stuff came out with it and we, at the Nexus, are coming under pressure to do more to support mod authors from a donation stand-point when we're utterly unsure how far we can go without you, Bethesda, getting upset. Hence this message.

    Thanks for your time.

    GStaff's answer was to say that yes, it would be problematic if we were to pursue Patreon or Flattr-esque systems on the Nexus, and that was that.

    GStaff did not go into any further detail as to why it would be problematic if the Nexus used Patreon or Flattr and frankly, I didn't ask because I didn't want to push any further. You can speculate on the reasons yourselves. I imagine if they were pushed they'd likely quote the tried and tested "legal complications" with such an idea. Though why there'd be legal complications over Patreon/Flattr but not straight-up Pay Pal donations, which Bethesda signed off on personally when I asked them for permission to implement that system after Skyrim's release, I don't know.

    It's also been widely reported in the gaming press that Bethesda will be revisiting paid modding at some point after Fallout 4's release and I think we can all safely assume that they're going to be gearing towards such a system on their Bethesda.net site, which they've been talking about a lot as well. Such a system would effectively allow them to cut out Valve as the middleman, accommodate an interesting push in to console modding, and either ensure they can maximise their profit as much as possible, or allow Valve's original cut to go to the mod authors. I freaking hope they're going for the second of those two options. Irrespective, I've no idea if the fact they want to revisit paid modding in the not too distant future has any bearing on their decision to say no to Patreon or Flattr on the Nexus, but I think it's similarly possible.

    In light of the fact they've said no, I think what upsets me most, personally, is the seeming irony of Bethesda's stance on the topic of paid modding. They've said time and again that they believe mod authors should be allowed to be compensated for their work, but they forget to add their caveat to that statement; that they seemingly want mod authors to be compensated for their work, provided they can take a cut. And heck, I completely understand why they believe they deserve a cut. It's their game, their platform, from which mod authors would be making money. It's entirely reasonable for them to take a cut (how much of a cut is still open to debate, though!). What I don't appreciate is the fact they try and paint it like they're doing it for the mod authors out of the charity of their own hearts. It just seems really silly.

    As I said, this is something I really wanted to get behind for mod authors. It seemed so simple and easy to implement that it was a no brainer. But we can't, and for that, I'm sorry.

    I wanted to set the record straight on this topic as I still get contacted about it regularly even today. It was also mentioned a lot in our recent site survey that 25,000 users were kind enough to fill in, and I still see a lot of posts on other sites wondering why we haven't done more. The reason why we haven't done more is because our hands seem to be tied.

    If you have any ideas about how we can make donations more prominent and friendly to mod users while using a simple donation system over something more expansive, like Patreon and Flattr, then by all means get in contact or leave us a comment. We're all ears on trying to help out mod authors more, without the potential for getting sued to hell and back.
  • 03 August 2015

    UX / UI Designer needed

    posted by BlindJudge Game News
    If you have read my previous news post you will be aware that we are now looking to recruit a part-time User Experience / User Interface (UX/UI) Designer. This is integral to getting the redesign of the site correct and we need a professional to come onboard as soon as possible to help us!

    We've received a heck of a lot of feedback from the survey we ran and on top of that lots of members have been sending me personal messages about what they'd like to see changed on the sites. From the information I've received, I know that you are all very interested in being a part of this process. The Nexus community is one of the best (if not the best) online community I've ever had the pleasure of being a part of and the devotion to the site is incredible. Because we know there's a lot of people who feel passionately about this redesign process we thought we would post this position here first to see if we have any takers.

    Obviously we'd much rather work with a professional UX/UI designer who is already a part of this community. Someone from within the community will be much more attached to the project and have a deeper understanding of the requirements of the site as opposed to someone who's never used this site before.

    If you're a professional UX/UI designer and you're interested in working with us then please take a look at the below job posting.

    User Experience / User Interaction Designer

    We here at Nexus Mods are looking for a passionate and like minded individual to work with our small but very fun team to do lots of amazing things including talking about cats and beards, taking the piss out of the Nexus Mod Manager programmers and chatting about random rubbish on Skype. Oh, and we would also like you to be able to do some UX/UI stuff, too!

    This position is offered on a part-time, freelance contract basis. Fees can be discussed on a per-applicant basis, but this is, of course, a paying role as we're looking for a professional.

    Ideally we're looking for someone who has at least 2 years previous proven experience or who has a very strong portfolio from University, college or similar.

    We're looking for someone to:

    • Research and understand interaction design trends (those cool sliders, drop downs and things that make the site flow).
    • Analyze data given from the Nexus Mods community; including, but not limited to Surveys, Feedback Forms, Forums and PM's.
    • Consult closely with Robin and I regarding necessary functionality.
    • Have top notch design skills, attention to detail and an aptitude to do things off your own back.
    • Be able to create visual representations of sites using wireframes, process flows and visual design composites.
    • Have very strong written and verbal communication skills in English.

    It would be great, but not essential, if you lived in or around (or can travel to) the South East of England, to make it easier to converse face to face.

    The position will report directly to Robin and I.

    If you feel that you have the necessary qualifications, ability and drive then we would love to hear from you.  Please email me at paul.buttle@nexusmods.com and provide details of why you think you would be awesome for the role, a link to any portfolio you may have and also your Curriculum Vitae / Resume.

    Robin and I look forward to hearing from you.
  • 03 August 2015

    Survey Responses!

    posted by BlindJudge Site News
    The results are in!

    Well the results are in and I thank you for all the time, effort and input that went into completing the surveys. We had over 25,000 responses in a two and a half day period which took both Robin and I totally by surprise and just reinforced our belief in the passionate community we have here at NexusMods.

    I've put all the comments into two different documents and am now in the process of reading them, making notes and tallying the suggestions up so that we get an idea of what we can do to best improve the experience for you all.

    Like I said before, this process is open to the community. So for your information, these are the results of the survey:

    Male: 88%
    Female: 9%
    Rather not say: 4%

    18 - 24: 40%
    up to 17: 22%
    25 to 34: 19%
    35 to 44: 8%
    45 to 54: 5%
    Rather not say: 4%
    55 to 64: 2%
    65 to 74: 1%
    75+: 0%

    Daily: 49%
    Weekly: 36%
    Occasionally: 9%
    Monthly: 5%
    First Visit: 1%

    Usage (multiple answers possible):
    Mod User: 96%
    Browse Around: 20%
    Forum User: 9%
    Mod Author: 8%

    Uploading a Mod is Simple and Easy:
    Average: 7.77

    I like the look of the website:
    Average: 7.59

    Easy to Navigate:
    Average: 7.58

    Find what I want Quickly:
    Average 7.24

    Everything is clearly labelled:
    Average: 7.51

    Browsing Experience:
    Particular Mod, then browse around: 53%
    Browse for Hidden Gems: 44%
    Particular Mod, then leave: 3%

    Recommend to a friend:
    Average: 9.23!!  

    An average score of 9.23 out of 10 for recommending to a friend, now that is certainly a good thing to hear.  

    We also had an enormous amount of suggestions and feedback, 700+ pages to be precise and I’m actually going through all of it. Some people have gone into incredible detail:

    Better tracking of your own comments in various sections/mods, to see when/if someone replies. Better access to mods that are high quality, but haven't got too many downloads and/or endorsements. Many great mods are bogged down way back in the pages, with skimpy clothes and nudes clogging up the front pages.

    Many have been listing parts of the site and how they believe it should be changed. Others have blasted down ideas in bullet points including highlighting tagging, making the site more responsive and improving the site search functionality.

    It actually doesn't matter how you have given your feedback we are exceptionally grateful for all of it. I have received plenty of PMs too which I will reply to over the course of the next week. Things are pretty go, go, go at the moment but please be aware that I'll reply to everything eventually.

    I’ve also created another form incase you wanted to put forward any more feedback and suggestions throughout this process.  You can access that by clicking somewhere around here.

    We have picked the 5 winners of the Steam vouchers and will be contacting them via email in the next few days.

    So what's the next step? Well, we are looking at taking on a part-time User Experience / User Interface Designer to work with us on interpreting the information we gathered from the surveys, hopefully we can find a passionate person from within the Nexus community, but I will put out a separate post on this very shortly.

    Once we have managed to recruit someone to come on board we will begin the whole design process. To begin with this will involve analysing how people use the site, which parts of the site get looked at and how people interact. From that we'll find the areas that can be streamlined and made more intuitive, work out a process flow that people will not find too different from the norm and then begin with wireframes.  

    Once we have managed to produce the wireframes these will be shared with the community for feedback.

    These are fun times to be here at NexusMods and I'm looking forward to the next month immeasurably.
  • 23 July 2015

    A big "Hello" to the Community

    posted by BlindJudge Site News
    Hi all,

    If you’re reading this and you're wondering who I am then you might want to check out Robin's news post that briefly introduces me. But let me explain a little more about myself. Firstly, a big hello!

    Okay, so my name is Paul and I go under the forum name BlindJudge - which comes from one of my favourite looking wakeboard tricks and no, I can’t do it - yet!

    I’m a passionate gamer who enjoys pretty much any game going, my Steam collection is pretty vast (1100+ games at present) and contains everything from the latest blockbusters through to some lesser known but amazing gems of indie titles. Currently I’m playing games such as Battleblock Theatre, retreading my way through Skyrim (this time modded to the brim) and some of the old school games like the Homeworld remake.

    I've been brought in alongside Robin to work in a Content Director role. It's a wide and very varied role but will initially focus on improving how the staff work behind the scenes and working on a complete redesign of the Nexus Mods site. That might be a little worrying, for a new guy to come in and tell you he's heading up a redesign of the sites, but let me try and put your fears to rest.

    The Nexus site design is now a good 4-5 years old and it's starting to show its age. Not only that, but it's also splitting at the seams due to all the functionality that's been "tacked on" since the last site redesign was done. The current design wasn't developed with a lot of the new functionality that's been added since in mind, hence why some places can seem a bit cramped and it's often hard to find exactly what you want.

    As has always been the Nexus way, we want this process to be as transparent and open to the community as possible and we would love people to come forward every step of the way to offer their suggestions, thoughts and any input you deem could help us deliver to you the site that you deserve. We're not keeping this a secret and just springing it on you once it's ready. We're not working in private with a couple of "respected users". We want to get everyone's opinion every step of the way through to completion. This is your site and your community and you guys are best placed to tell us what you think is best for it - not us and not a few "carefully selected" individuals. We would like it to not only look nice but be exceptionally easy to navigate and easy to find exactly what you're looking for while highlighting not only the bigger mods but also the hidden gems people may have discovered. Importantly we'd also like to to be future proof for any new functionality we add to the sites in the future to avoid that "tacked on" look.

    We’ve already started collecting lots of behind the scenes data over the last month. Heatmaps have shown us where people are clicking and how many people scroll up and down the pages. Analytics are showing us where people are arriving from and which pages they are entering and how they're browsing between the various pages on the site. The next logical step for us is to get some really important information from you guys, the people who use the sites the most, on what you'd like to see from a new Nexus site design. To that end I've set up a quick survey, it only has 15 questions, which are mostly multiple choice and should (honestly!) only take 5 minutes to complete, unless you want to give us really detailed information (which we'd really like to read!).

    So if you don’t mind, please take our survey, the information you submit will be used to make the site better for you, after all! As an added incentive we’re going to pick 5 names at random from the completed surveys and each of those people will receive a $50 Steam Gift Card.

    I know, they are annoying and no one likes to fill in surveys - but the information that we can capture from you guys would be highly advantageous to all of us when it comes to a site wide redesign. We don’t want to just change things over and spring it on you in a “TA DA” kind of way, we would like it to be user driven and because of this, my posts will more than often be asking for help, input, or informing you where we are in the process - and it’s going to be a long process!

    So what is our timeline and when do we start?

    Well, as mentioned we’ve already started to collect important data behind the scenes and hope this will give us a good insight into what is currently working and not working on the site. There will be a few more bouts of research, such as the survey, so we predict this could last anywhere up to around 8 weeks. We’ll try and get wireframes drawn up and put out in the public eye to gauge reaction and see if anyone has anything they strongly agree or disagree with. Heck, if you feel that you can come up with any ideas or wireframes or even designs yourself then we would love to see them.

    Following the research and initial planning stages we’ll jump into the initial design stages which we will announce on the site. This is where we will be consulting the community and UI/UX experts to come up with design mockups for the site, using wireframes and feedback for the designs. These will once again be scrutinised and discussed, shown to the community and your comments will help further these. This should last around 8-10 weeks.

    We would love for the new site (the moment it reaches Beta) to be released alongside the current one like the Nexus did with the previous design. This means that people will be able to switch between the two designs, old and new, finding out what they like about the new site, but more importantly what they don’t. There will be a feedback form for you to report back anything straight to us. Every single one of these will be read by me and put into metrics to facilitate changes to the more disliked features or a bug tracker to get things fixed.

    It will be exciting times for us over the next few months as the site is developed and coded. It will be done in parallel with the existing site, so nothing will change on the existing NexusMods.com site and, as we said, we'll consult you guys, the users, throughout the entire process.

    Site launch day will be exciting, this will be the day when the site swaps over from what it is now to the new one. It will have been a long labour of love from not only the staff here, but also the community as a whole and something I am exceptionally excited to see happen.

    Once the new design is rolled out we are going to make sure that site updates and features are then released quickly, no getting stagnant as we want to evolve at the same pace as (or ahead of!) the gaming industry, quick to react to changes taking place in the gaming world. It will be a part of my job to move the site forward quickly ensuring that we stay ahead of the pack. Through listening to the wants and needs of the community I believe this is very possible.

    It’s nice to finally say hello and I’m looking forward to working with each and every one of you.