• 09 May 2013

    New Premium servers and more payment methods including paying by SMS/text message

    posted by Dark0ne Site News
    As you’re probably aware from the advertisements we’ve dotted around the sites and in NMM we offer a Premium Membership service to users who would like to support the sites and get a little something back in return. I regularly get asked if we have a donation button on the sites. I regularly respond that we don’t take donations at the moment because we consider Premium Membership to be the perfect donation as it allows you to get something back for your financial support; so if you do want to donate to the sites then Premium Membership is the way to go. Premium Memberships are really important to us, as noted in that blog post I keep linking, because we rely more on you guys to keep us going than we do on the ads on the site. I think that’s how it should be and that’s how I like it. It means you guys are more important to us than advertisers.

    In recent weeks we’ve added 2 more Premium-only file servers (servers only Premium Members can download from) to bring the total to 4 and last month we changed Supporter membership so that Supporters no longer see adverts on the sites. If you become a Premium Member you are automatically moved into the Supporter group for life when your Premium time expires. Supporter membership costs £1 (around $1.60) and 1 month of Premium Membership costs £2.49 (around $3.99).

    We’ve always only offered Pay Pal as a payment method for Premium Membership which has become a point of contention for some people who would like to support these sites but don’t like Pay Pal, don’t want to use Pay Pal or can’t use Pay Pal for whatever reason. I promised that if that ever changed and we offered more payment methods I would let you guys know in the site news so here I am to let you know that we’ve (finally!) got some more payment processors for Premium Membership.

    We’ve now added 2Checkout, a popular and well known payment processor to our list of payment processors which you can now use in place of Pay Pal for 1 month, 3 month, 6 month and 12 month memberships. Unfortunately 2Checkout weren’t big fans of the idea of a “Lifetime” membership for some reason so unfortunately we can’t offer 2Checkout as a payment method for that package. To pay via 2Checkout all you need to do is pick a package from the Premium Store and select “2Checkout” from the payment drop-down box. You’ll be redirected to 2Checkout for payment and then your membership should be applied within 10 minutes of payment being received.

    Similarly we’re also trialing a different payment processor called Fortumo who provide the ability to pay for 1 month of Premium Membership via SMS/text message from your mobile phone. We’re currently trialing this in a number of European countries including the UK, France and Germany as well as Australia. In total we can currently support 21 countries via this payment method. First of all let me apologise if your country isn’t currently accepted (including those of you in the US and Canada). Every country has different rules, regulations and max amounts that can be paid via phone and the countries we’re trialing are the ones that were easiest to conform with in our system or who actually allow you to pay enough to cover the cost of the membership. We’ve setup a special package in the Premium Store to pay via SMS which you can find here. If this is something that you would like to use but can’t because it’s not currently accepted in your country please let me know as it will help me in deciding whether I want to expand on this payment processor or not.

    I’ll finish by simply thanking, once again, those people who have helped to keep these sites running by becoming Premium Members. I really do mean it when I say these sites most definitely wouldn’t still be here without your support.
  • 08 May 2013

    NMM UI redesign mock ups for your consideration

    posted by Dark0ne Site News
    I thought I’d share with you some preliminary, non-final mock-ups that we’ve been working on with some professional web/graphic/software/UI designers over the past few weeks for the Nexus Mod Manager in the hopes of not only preparing you for the shock of the change but also to get some feedback.

    As I’ve said all the way through the life-span of NMM how NMM looks is most definitely not final. Before I will stick that coveted 1.0 version number on to the software that indicates it’s out of beta it will most definitely be going through a face-lift, and it’s going to be a face-lift that completely changes the look of the software from a “my first .NET coding project” look to a “yeah, this might be going somewhere” look.

    At the moment NMM isn’t the prettiest of software but it does pay homage to the grassroots of the software and that cliched “made by modders, for modders” look to it that suggests functionality and simplicity was more important to the author than snazzy superfluous graphics. However, going hand in hand with our current focus on shifting the Nexus from supporting a handful of games to supporting all games I’d like to work closer with some developers to integrate their games better into NMM right from the get-go. Fact is, it’s actually very easy for us to add support for most games in to NMM but (a) we don’t have Nexus sites for the game and (b) if you show a developer NMM, on first sight, it doesn’t give off the best impression. We’re in the process of sorting out (a) already, and now we’re in the process of sorting out (b) as well. Ergo what we really want to do is give NMM a face-lift that makes me happy, makes you happy and makes game developers happy to endorse it while, hopefully, improving the experience for everyone.

    It’s my hope that you’ll look at these mock-ups and think “Wow, it’s changed, but actually, a lot of the stuff is in the same place, it just looks different”. I want you to be able to open it up and not spend minutes trying to find features you used to be able to find easily out of habit. In all honesty the current NMM design is horrible in this regard for new-comers and has heavy “mystery meat” UI elements that mean you don’t have a clue what a button does until you press it and find out. Of course, you’re used to where everything is in NMM now, and hopefully with this new UI you won’t be doing too much (or any searching) to find the functions you use in the current UI.

    I’m sharing these mock-ups with you to not only show you what we’ve come up with so far but also to get your opinion. Unfortunately opinions on massive changes like this can sometimes be extremely dividing and it can be very tough for me to sift through the honest, proper critiques, criticisms and feedback that I really want to pay attention to and the “haters gonna hate, being bitter about change for the sake of being bitter” category of person who’s just going to dote on hate just because they’re that kind of person. So if or when you provide feedback on the mock-ups please try to take that into consideration, for my sake. Are you providing valuable, useful feedback that I can use or are you just a hater with nothing worthwhile to say? Show enough hate and I will just hide your comment as it’ll be unhelpful to the process and clutter up the feedback I actually want to be looking at. You can dislike it, but you’ve got to give good reasons why. How would you change it? What would you do when “don’t change a thing” isn’t an option?

    We also want to try and maintain as much roll-back functionality as possible with NMM. We provide users with a large number of our previous versions that you can roll-back to at any time if you don’t like what we’ve done. We don’t stop you from doing that like most others out there, but if you stick to older versions and avoid getting used to new versions then you are going to miss out on new functionality, bug fixes and the like. That’s completely your choice.

    So without further ado here are the mock-ups. Remember these are preliminary, unfinished, and things like wording (and spelling mistakes) are most definitely not final.

    Loading splash screen

    Game detection screen

    Installed mods screen

    Download manager

    Plugin manager

    Settings window

  • 07 May 2013

    Interview with Edge magazine

    posted by Dark0ne Site News
    Back in January when I blogged about money and running these sites a lot of people expressed an interest in what I’d written and surprise at how I ran things and how I think. This in turn surprised me; I didn’t think many people would be very interested, it’s only me. Similarly a few online publications got in contact to set up interviews with me on the topic, something I’m more than happy to oblige with. While I only ended up doing one interview as the interest seemed to die down the results have been summarized, quite heavily, in to an article on the Edge magazine website.

    I’m an extremely opinionated person and very happy to be extremely open and candid both online and offline with how I express myself. I’m always really happy to be myself and tell people exactly what I think irrespective of whether I’m right or wrong or broaching difficult and controversial subjects, because I hate insincerity. As far as I’m concerned you should say what you mean and mean what you say, while trying to remain respectful. It doesn’t always work out like that, but hey, I try. I don’t want the image of me to be some corporate bigwig who only says things that I think will appease others and broaden my appeal to the masses, I want to be myself and if people don’t like that then so what!? We were never going to get along anyway. I’m not here to be everyone’s best friend, I’m here because I want to run a good modding community that really helps and supports modding. Sometimes the two don’t go hand-in-hand, and it wasn’t a particularly hard lesson for me to learn.

    In the few interviews I’ve done they always start out formal; question, answer, question, answer and then just end up with us talking for a good hour or so about anything and everything under the sun to do with games. Mainly because I just cannot stick to one subject and have to go off on tangents as issues get raised (my teachers in school diagnosed me with “verbal diarrhea”). This interview was no exception, and I enjoyed it just for the great chat. And I’m always open to do more.

    A couple of years ago I ran a little fun night with the Amnesia: The Dark Descent demo on Mumble. Around 30 of us got in to the voice comms and played through the demo together while having a good chat and laugh together. It had a nice sense of community to it and I know the people who took part enjoyed it. It also gave members a chance to chat to me openly and ask me questions which I answered back freely. I’d like to start up something similar, but honestly, time just isn’t on my side these days. It’s not the turning up that’s the problem, it’s the organising it. I’ll try my best to get something like this done soon, and if you have any ideas on what we can do, fire away.
  • 07 May 2013

    Download history functionality on file comments for mod authors

    posted by Dark0ne Site News
    We’ve updated the sites today with what will probably be the last new feature we add to the sites for a little while as we focus fully on expanding the Nexus sites to support all PC games which I mentioned in my recent blog piece.

    Today’s update has added a new link titled “Download history” to file comments which is displayed next to the post date information for mod authors on their own file page comment areas. When the author of the file clicks this link they’ll be able to see your download history for that file (and only that file), which will display the file version you downloaded and when you downloaded it.

    You might be asking why, and what’s the point? There’s a few good reasons why it would be handy for a mod author to see your download history for their file.

    One of the assets of Nexus functionality over Steam Workshop is the fact users have complete version control over the files they download. If a mod author releases an update that has a major bug in it then users can roll-back to a previous version or skip updating to the latest version until the mod author fixes the bug. This is in direct contrast to Steam Workshop where mod updates are applied automatically, without warning or a user choice, when a mod author uploads a new version.

    However, with complete version control for users also comes a typical issue: users reporting bugs on old versions (say v1.2) that were fixed in newer versions (say v1.4). Because the user is still using the old version the bug still exists for them. When reporting the bug the user (more often than not) might not report what version of the mod they’re using, so the mod author has to waste time getting to the bottom of whether the bug is still in their current version or whether the user is using an old version that has since been patched. This is something we’ve attempted to help fix with this feature.

    When a mod author can see your download history for their file they can quickly skip that “What version are you using?” step of communication and quickly provide you with feedback based on your download history. It’s hopefully going to save mod authors some time when trying to help you with your problems.

    Another good reason is in helping to prevent mod trolling. If someone is trolling a file page comment section about how the file doesn’t work or how it doesn’t do what it says the mod author can quickly check their download history for the file and see whether the user has actually even bothered to download the file at all. And my personal favourite, “I’ve been using this mod for over 3 weeks and it’s broken all my saves”, *checks the download history and finds they only downloaded the file 10 minutes ago*, yeah...

    To alleviate a few privacy fears let me just tell you that this feature does NOT give mod authors access to your complete download history for every file you’ve ever downloaded. Only the author of the file in question can see your download history, and only for THAT file. If I’ve released mod A and you post in the comment section for mod A I would not be able to see that you’ve downloaded mods B, C, D and E as well. When I broached this subject in the private mod author forums a relatively valid argument was raised that people don’t want their download histories to be public knowledge. However, having said that, if you’ve downloaded a nude mod, for example, and you didn’t want it to be public knowledge that you’d downloaded the file, you wouldn’t be posting in the comments section of the nude mod. By posting in the comments section of a nude mod you’ve already expressed your interest in said mod, and a mod author being shown your download history for that file isn’t going to make that interest any more or less obvious for the public.

    This update is now live on all the Nexus sites. I hope that the mod authors can put it to good use.
  • 03 May 2013

    Site updates and fixes

    posted by Dark0ne Site News
    Following on from last weeks update to the way file search and category results are displayed we’ve patched in a few fixes and added a few more features based on user feedback. Perhaps most important, and worthy of being outside of the bulleted list below is the fact we’ve coded in some rudimentary browser back button functionality to the AJAX on the site.

    The problem is thus; most browsers’ page history and back log are dictated by page reloads. Each time you visit or reload a new page it’s recorded in the browser history, and if you press the back button on your mouse/keyboard/browser you’ll go back to the last page you visited. Because we present a lot of the content on the site to you through AJAX, which is seamless and doesn’t require a page load, the browser’s history doesn’t record your button presses or remember what you were looking at before, and will instead take you back to the last page you visited. So if you search for “Weapons” in the file search, navigate to page 10, click on a mod you like the look of and then try to go back in your browser it’ll take you back to the default file search page, and not page 10 of your search for weapons. Of course, the simple fix for this is to just embrace tabbed browsing and simply open mods you’re interested in via a new tab (ctrl+click, middle-click or right-click a link and select “open in new tab”). It’s not a new concept, it’s been around for a very many years, but it seems quite a few people haven’t quite caught up with modern browsing methods yet and have complained about this to me.

    As such we’ve coded in some simple browser history fixes to the sites so that your browser will remember every link you click, AJAX or not, and take you back through every click and not just page reloads. Now if you browse pages 2, 3, 4 and 5 in a category and then click the back button your browser will take you back through those pages, rather than back to the start. Similarly if you’re on a file page and click the images tab, comments tab and files tab clicking the back button will take you back through the tabs you just clicked on.

    On top of that change we’ve also made quite a few fixes and updates. Here’s the current list of changes.

    • [Feature] Mod authors can now write out an explanation for why they’ve hidden their mod page from view which can be seen by users trying to access their file page, rather than the default “This file page has been hidden by the author” message
    • [Feature] Changed the way you can add change logs for your file by providing the option of using one large text area for easy copy and pasting of content from a pre-written change log or readme file
    • [Feature] Added the ability to sort by name to the list of sort by filters
    • [Feature] Files marked “adult-only” will now feature on category/search result pages in the “Feature files” section if the user has adult-only content turned on. You won’t see adult-only files in the featured images if it’s turned off or you’re not logged in
    • [Feature] Banned members are now informed of why they were banned when trying to login and provided with a link to our rules and unban request form, rather than just being told they’re banned with no explanation
    • [Fix] Removed the links to “Advanced search” as the advanced search options are now incorporated in to the new search page as standard
    • [Fix] Changed the way hot files/featured images works so that cropping your image doesn’t also crop the thumbnail for that image. This fix is not retrospective, so if you have an image thumbnail that has been cropped you’ll have to delete it and re-upload it
    • [Fix] Trimmed all file page names that started with a space which was making the alphabetical sorting look odd. You can no longer add a space to the start of your file name
    • [Fix] Fixed the search button so it once again automatically selects the textfield rather than requiring you to do another mouse click
    • [Fix] Fixed an issue with the pagination not working on searches done with more than 1 word
    • [Fix] Tracked files tab on the front page is now working again
    • [Fix] Fixed an issue with the site news archive pagination not working past the first page
    • [Fix] Fixed an issue when clicking the “Download (Manual)” button on file pages highlighting the “Articles” tab rather than the “Files” tab if the author has written articles for the file

  • 26 April 2013

    Category and search results page update

    posted by Dark0ne Site News
    Today we’ve rolled out an update to the category and search results page on all the Nexus sites and I’m quite excited about it. I think it’s really good, ergo if you don’t like it I’m going to be upset. So like it. Or else.

    The general premise for this update was to have a single page from which you could find all the content people have added to the site quickly, easily, and seamlessly without the need for excessive page reloads or jumping between category selections, search pages, tag searches and so on. Now it’s all centralised in to one page with the ability to customise what you see and how you see things extremely quickly.

    Lets start from the top of the new page and work our way down; beginning with featured files. Featured files are why, as a mod author, even if you don’t think your file has any chance of becoming a “hot file” (or it’s past the time cut off for your file to be eligible) you should still create a hot file image for your files. Every 10 minutes every category will get a new “Featured file”. It looks a lot like the hot files on the front page of the Nexus sites but the difference is every file is eligible to be a featured file. Our server-side script will iterate through all the files in your file category to ensure that every file has absolutely equal exposure; your file cannot be a featured file again until all the other files in its category have also been featured. And only files that have a featured image created for them are eligible to be selected, so if you haven’t setup a featured image for your files yet you need to do so by going to your images and creating a “hot file” image. This isn’t the same as a “background” image, so if you don’t like the background image system or don’t want to use it then the two are separate; you can have one without the other.

    There are infact two “featured file” lists; one for the category your file is in and one for the “all categories” selection which shows when the user is browsing all the files on the site. So that means your file gets the chance to be featured two times per rotation of the file database.

    As a user if you’re not a massive fan of the featured file system or if you don’t use it and would rather gain some more height space for your mod browsing then you can click the green “Hide features” tab button which will hide the features section for you. If you’re logged in then the site will remember your preference so if you leave the page and come back later the featured file section will still be hidden. If you’d like to see the featured file again all you need to do is click the “Show features” button and back it comes. And once again, the site remembers your choice.

    We also understand that you might like to see some of the files that were recently featured on the site that you missed and that’s what the “Recent features” button is for. Click it and you’ll be taken to a page that shows you the past 20 files that were featured in this category, so just over 3 hours of featured file backlog you can catch up on per category.

    Moving on you’ll notice we’ve split content between “Files”, “File news” and “File images”. The files tab contains information specific to files. Your bread and butter file search results.

    The file news tab will display news articles that authors have written for their files. We added the articles system to files about 10 months or so ago and it’s been used well by mod authors. Not only does it allow you to keep your users updated with your progress, thoughts and opinions and gain valuable feedback but it’s also a great way to increase exposure for your files. We’ll no doubt revisit the system in the not too distant future so you can subscribe to your favourite mod authors and be kept up-to-date with what they’re writing about. So I’d recommend making use of this system wherever possible.

    The file images tab is an additional feature we’ve added to the sites that allows you to browse mod image galleries without having to go to the mod page itself. Click a mod in the file images tab and you’ll be presented with a pop-out box with a slide-show gallery script so you can scroll through all the images that have been uploaded for the file. If you’re one of those mod users who likes to look at mods before you read about them and download them then this feature is for you.

    Whether you’re on the file tab, file news tab or the file images tab the results you see are all affected by the filters you choose to the right of the results. If you’re currently looking at files in the Armour category, if you switch to the file news or file images tabs you’ll only see news or images for files in that category.

    When browsing your file results you’ll notice that we’ve gone back to providing you with two ways of showing you results; block view and flat view. Nexus veterans will remember that before we updated our site design we originally had these two separate views but changed to flat view so that we could focus our time more easily on supporting one format. Now we’ve got two dedicated web programmers for the sites we can go back to supporting both methods, and the method you choose is totally up to you. You can quickly change the view mode by clicking the green “View” tab. Just like the “hide features” button the site will remember your viewing preference if you’re logged in. We’ve also upped the number of results per page from 10 to 30 to better fill the space made available through these changes.

    And lastly we come to the new search, sorting and filtering options that allow you to drill-down into the database to find exactly what you’re looking for. Situated to the right of the file results are all the options you’ll need to find what you want, including the ability to search by file name, words in the description, author/upload name and sort your results by all the previously available parameters plus one more; the random parameter. Much asked for over the years the “Random” sort by filter will show you a random selection of mods using the other variables you’ve selected. So you can search for random armour mods that have images uploaded and aren’t tagged as skimpy or anime. Easily. Click the button again and you’ll get another random set of mods.

    We’ve included quick attribute filters for files that have images uploaded, files that are considered NMM compatible (because the author hasn’t turned off the NMM compatibility switch for his files) and adult files, and because everything is done seamlessly through AJAX rather than new page calls you can quickly turn these features off and on without a page reload. The filters you select will be saved as you move between categories and even into search results so you don’t have to constantly click the same filters each time you run a search.

    Finally, we’ve also added the three main saved preferences in to your member area preferences section so you can edit them at any time; these preferences are whether you want to see featured files, your default view between flat or block mode and the default sort by order for any file searches or categories you view (e.g. most endorsed first, or most recent first).

    As per my recent blog post this new page will form the backbone of a centralised Nexus and our attempts to make finding mods as easy as possible. We’ll add an extra parameter to the filters on this page for the game you want to be browsing making it be extremely easy to look through, for example, the latest New Vegas mods and then quickly jump to see the latest Fallout 3 mods without having to go through a load of different mouse clicks to get there.

    We’ve tried our hardest to optimise the code as well as we can to get the best server performance out of it but we’re not going to know how it’ll affect performance for sure until we actually put this live on the sites and see what effect it has. The worry is, because everything is done without page reloads it makes it very easy for you to press a lot of things quickly and send lots of requests to the server. We don’t know how the servers will hold-up until we actually apply the code so we’ll be monitoring how the servers cope throughout the weekend and if things get bad and we think it’s because of this new code we’ll revert back and wait until we’ve transitioned over to the new database cluster. Once again, I’m told that’s any day now. Either way you’ll have some time to try it out and let us know what you think.
  • 19 April 2013

    Downtime today

    posted by Dark0ne Site News
    Hi folks,

    Just wanted to drop a quick notice that we're aware that some people have been experiencing down-time on the sites today with error messages saying the sites don't exist. Just wanted to let you know it's not you, it's us. We've been moving servers around recently and reshuffling our name servers and it seems to have gone a bit pear-shaped.

    There's nothing you can do (unless you're comfortable with hosts files, which I won't get in to now) except wait and let time heal the wounds. The sites aren't down. Nothing's been lost. And once your ISP reconnects with our name servers and updates itself you'll be back in action.

    Sorry about the problems and hope to see you here soon.
  • 13 April 2013

    BLOG PIECE: supporting modding in totality

    posted by Dark0ne Game News
    It’s been a couple of months since my last blog piece where I updated you all on what we had planned for this year, focusing a lot on stability and a new server clustering setup. We’re now quite close to rolling this out so I’ll talk a little bit more about that and then talk about what we’re working towards.

    The past couple of weekends have been a bit tough on the servers partly because we’re continuing to tack on new functionality and partly because traffic is still at an all time high. Our solution to this problem which I discussed in detail in the last blog piece focused on completely changing our server architecture to form a database cluster; the idea that you can “link” multiple servers together to make a (for all intents and purposes) single massive database monster that can handle everything you throw at it. If you need to add more power you just add more servers to the cluster, so the potential is practically limitless. We’re almost ready to roll this out which will obviously require a bit of scheduled down-time which we’ll inform you of before taking the sites down for the maintenance. The hope is that everything goes smoothly and when it all comes back up everything is running like a boss. Do things like that ever happen in the real world? Not normally. But hey, here’s to hoping.

    While we wait for the final touches to be finished on our database cluster we’ve optimised the sites a bit more today. We’re hoping you’ll not notice those regular weekend slowdowns we get as much as before. It’s our absolute hope that when the cluster is fully set up and rolled out it’s going to solve our site slowdown issues for good, so it’s a really important step for us as we look to improve on the Nexus further.

    So what’s the plan for the rest of this year? I know I’ve mentioned this already countless times but when I first started the Nexus sites (and the Source sites before that) I had some important principle tenets that were my aim and focus for running the sites; to create as useful and trouble-free resource as possible for modders that would stand the test of time and not be bottle-necked by bureaucracy or any one person, like me. I think we’re almost at this point now.

    If I were to pass away tomorrow (touch-wood and all that jazz) these sites would continue to run in the form of the 4 other programmers working here. Sure, there’d be a ruckus, but the legacy should continue as they have access to much of what goes on behind the scenes. Moving away from this morbid subject, why am I bringing it up? I think the final remaining bottleneck is that of the games we support. In order to support another game for modding a bottleneck forms while I have to go through the process of setting up a new Nexus site. Why don’t we support modding in its entirety for any and all games that people want to mod? Well there’s lots of good reasons and I’ve always wanted to focus on games I know and like because it’s been important to tailor solutions specific to games themselves, rather than diluting our services to try and accommodate a broader spectrum of games. However what I’m finding is that we’re in the start of a little renaissance period for modding that has gone hand-in-hand with the recent prevalence of indie game development that has meant more great games are being released more often, the Kickstarter revolution that has helped to fund this, the launch of Steam Workshop that has helped to spread the word about modding and increase it’s popularity among people who were originally averse to the idea of modding and the decline of the “Triple-A” gaming market, where modding had been abandoned and replaced by lacklustre DLC to eek out more money from gamers.

    While we’ve been focusing on these Triple-A games that support modding (that come along once in a blue moon) there have been lots of indie, or “smaller” games passing us by that have provided modding support but have often lacked a decent place to host their content. We’re talking about games that would have a small modding community that maybe produces 50 - 200 mods. The problem isn’t that I don’t want to take the time to make Nexus sites for these games, the problem is that I’m struggling to keep up with the market.

    I don’t want to support modding for specific games. I want to support modding. Period. While Steam Workshop has been great at demystifying modding as some obscure past-time and brought modding to the masses I personally think it’s taking modding in a troubling direction by essentially DRMifying mods. In order to download a mod from Steam Workshop, currently, you need to have bought the game on Steam or have access to a Steam key for the game and install the game via Steam, essentially negating the whole point of wanting a DRM-free copy of the game (by all means please correct me if this is no longer the case). This would be like changing the Nexus so that you could only download and install mods from the site if you used the Nexus Mod Manager. We certainly would never go down that route. And the annoying thing is that the solution is quite simple for Steam Workshop; they just need to offer a manual download button. Will they do it? I’ve no idea. And the problem with the modding community right now is that there’s not much choice out there in terms of general modding sites. We’ve got moddb.com, and what a great resource that has been and still is and, thinking about it, they’re the only major site out there that I know of that provides a modding solution to any and all games. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; modding should be all about choice. It’s your choice what you mod and it should be your choice where and how you choose to get and distribute your mods with others. Choice is exactly what is needed and I want to position the Nexus so that it becomes one of those choices, and I can’t do that if I have to cherry pick the games we will and won’t support.

    So what’s the plan? First things first if you only care about modding one of the games we already support then for you things aren’t going to change past what we would have done before irrespective of supporting other games. Skyrim/Oblivion/Fallout/Witcher/etc. Nexus will still exist and look and act just as before. We’ve got design updates in the pipeline but these were always going to come along anyway, irrespective of this plan. So yes, if you don’t care about us supporting other games then for you, “phew”, nothing is going to change. So what will change? Essentially we’re going to be centralising our offering on to nexusmods.com, where we’ll support modding for any and all games. It’s actually quite a simple change; when you go to add a mod you’ll be able to choose the game your mod is for. If the game isn’t in our database, you can add it, and then add a mod for that file, so you’ll be able to add mods for games that we didn’t originally support.

    This will create a new, generic Nexus site for the game you just added. It’ll look and feel like Skyrim/Oblivion/Fallout Nexus, but it just won’t have an updated template and will use the same standard colour set and generic background. From NexusMods.com you’ll be able to drill-down in to all the files we support across every Nexus site and every game. This will go hand-in-hand with our new category and search pages that we’ll be rolling out in the next fortnight that I think you guys are really going to like just because it puts so much more at your fingertips to really get to what you want quickly from a single page. But let me just reiterate; the experience you get from the Nexus sites we currently have won’t be changing, or moving. This is about providing support for more (or all) games, and adding to our catalogue, not changing our back catalogue.

    This change will enable mod authors to add mods for any and all games that support modding. I regularly get asked by mod authors from various other games we don’t support (to name but a few of the more popular requests; Minecraft, GTA, STALKER, Sins of a Solar Empire, Crusader Kings 2, Torchlight 2, the list goes on..) whether they can upload their mods to the Nexus. They can’t, because we don’t support the game. The idea isn’t to swamp places and detract from communities, but to offer mod authors who like the Nexus format and like how we operate to share their work via the Nexus itself. Don’t like Steam Workshop? Use ModDB and the Nexus. Don’t like ModDB? Use the Nexus or Steam Workshop. Don’t like the Nexus? Use ModDB and Steam Workshop. Don’t like any of them or want to share with as many people as possible? Make your own site or use one of the many community sites already on offer. It’s all about choice, and you should all be able to have that choice and not be limited to one site alone. I’ve no idea if opening up the Nexus to all games is an option that’s going to be used by mod authors or not. It could take off massively or it could not be used at all and really, that’s not the point.I just want that choice to be there.

    On top of this change we’re also going to open up the possibility on all sites to create your own file categories for your files. When you pick the category for your mod you can pick from a pre-set list. Your mod will go into this category to begin with, just like it does right now, but you can also suggest a category that isn’t currently listed for your file that fits it better. If we agree with the category then we’ll add it to the database and your file will be automatically moved into this category once it’s approved. You’ll also be presented a list of categories that others have suggested to pick from; so if we see that 50 files have been added for a suggested category then we know right away that yes, that category is probably worth approving.

    The subject of supporting modding in general has been on my mind for a long time now and it’s been one of the major driving forces for wanting to get this database cluster setup and running smoothly. I can’t in good conscious begin supporting modding for a multitude of new games with the sites performing as sluggishly as they have; it’d be a kick in the teeth to the people who’ve supported us for a long time and I wouldn’t want you to feel as though I’m abandoning the roots of the Nexus to go tread in new territory. No, we get things working perfectly, confident that we can transition into this next step without screwing up everything we’ve worked on before.

    And to placate the moderating fears and appease those mod authors who’ve been demanding this for a while now it’s likely with this change that we’ll provide mod authors with full comment moderation tools for their mods. I think at that point the gates are open and we’ll have to change our policy to ensure both the sanity of the moderation team and the sanity of the mod authors.

    For me the Nexus up to now has been about supporting the communities I know and love. I’ll continue to do this, and I’ll continue to keep my eye out for games that I’d love to focus support towards. Opening up Nexus Mods to all games is going to be an “as-is” service. We’ll provide the tools and the services “as-is”, but will continue to offer that more focused and specialised service for those Nexus sites we’ve fully committed to supporting. And by analysing the new games that are being added to the database I’ll be able to see at a glance if there’s any games that we can make a full-fledged Nexus site for (i.e. a site with it’s own custom template, colour scheme and background, as it is right now with the current Nexus sites). So if (as an example) 100 Minecraft mods get added to the database then yes, it’d probably be worth spending the extra time on my end to give those folks a custom look to their Nexus site.

    It’s our aim then to open up the Nexus fully with an API for web designers and a software hook for developers, all offered free of charge. Think of a service like Skyrim G.E.M.S.; they’d be able to plug in to our API and retrieve information about all the mods they have in their database straight from the Nexus without the need to program a scraper or manually enter data. On the software side we want to provide hooks and API data to game developers so that they can present and provide mods to gamers from within the games themselves; including being able to download the mod straight from our servers to their games. We’d happily allow that. We wouldn’t look to charge for this service at all (either to gamers or the game developers); we think modding should be open and free to everyone and I want to run these sites on good-will; it’ll cost us a lot of money to provide free downloads to everyone, but I think what goes around, comes around. If you offer a good service that people appreciate then donations (in the form of Premium Membership from users) and top-ups from game developers who appreciate that offering those millions of downloads last month probably cost us a lot of money so they might want to consider helping out with a donation will be more than enough. Running on good-will rather than private investment and money-grabbing has worked well for us so far, and there’s no reason it won’t going forward as well.

    This change isn’t imminent. We’ve got a few things we want to get out of the way first before we look into this but you can consider this a statement of intent. This is what we’re working towards. This is what we want to do, and we’ll try our hardest to not only make it a reality, but a reality that works well and for the good of the gaming community.

  • 28 March 2013

    More commenting options for mod authors

    posted by Dark0ne Site News
    An extremely underused feature on the Nexus file pages is the “Discussions” tab, which allows authors and users (provided the author allows it) to create different threads for different parts of conversation to do with the file. When you have a large mod that gets hundreds of new messages a day it can often be difficult to keep up with what’s going on within your single comment topic. Bug reports, feedback, suggestions, troubleshooting and general chit-chat get all mixed up in a big soup of one large mega thread where anything and everything is spoken about and large amounts of cross-talking takes place. With discussions you can create separate threads for these issues and then, hopefully, people will use the thread most relevant to what they want to talk about on your file.

    I hope the new reply mechanics are helping you to keep up with the amount of cross-talking going on, but discussions are also there for mod authors to make use of that help to segregate their chats into more concise areas. Unfortunately because using the single comment topic is so ingrained in what people do on the Nexus sites a very large proportion of people completely ignore the discussions area, or worse, don’t know about it.

    I know lots of mod authors like having a single comment topic where everything is placed and nothing has changed for you folks. In fact if you don’t care about discussions you can stop reading now and get on with your merry business. But what we have done is provided some options when you make your file page for how you would like your comments to be setup. You can now choose to have a comment topic and no discussions area, a comment topic and a discussion area, just a discussions area and no comment topic, or no comments at all. How is this different you ask? Well before we didn’t let you have a discussion area without a comment topic as well; so you couldn’t force your users to use your discussion area and split your discussions up into more manageable chunks. The problem was then that everyone would just talk in the single comment topic and ignore the discussions. By turning off the single comment topic you can force people to use the discussions instead if you so wish.

    You can still choose whether you want to let users make their own topics or you can choose to setup your own topics and not allow others to make one, so you can control the flow of what people talk about more easily. You can also lock, sticky and delete any of your threads, providing you with even more control. Why is this helpful? Well, you can setup your threads so you have a “Bug Reports”, “Troubleshooting” and “Feedback” section and then direct people to the correct thread for the topic being discussed.

    If you want to remove your comment topic and make use of your discussion area on a mod you’ve already uploaded you’ll find a new setting in your file attributes page that lets you turn off your comment topic, essentially providing you with the same functionality.

    While we were hoping we could give each mod its own private forum category on the Nexus forums after further investigation and research we worked out we couldn’t do this as past around 5,000 forum categories things kind of die, and with over 90,000 files hosted on the sites now it won’t be possible to achieve.

    We’ll be taking a short break for easter now (happy easter) and then we’ll get back into the swing of things with a design update to the category and search result pages, NMM profiling and a move to our new database server cluster. Fingers crossed.
  • 21 March 2013

    NMM bug fix release and download hacking problems fixed

    posted by Dark0ne Site News
    We’ve released a bug fix edition of NMM, taking us to version 0.44.4. Here’s the change log:

    1. New Feature: The ReadMeManager now supports PDF files.
    2. Bugfix: ReadMe Manager preventing .txt files from being installed in mod folders. (This fixes the installation of mods like Fores New Idles)
    3. Bugfix: Rare crash while deleting a mod in CategoryView.
    4. Bugfix: Omod script interpreter.
    5. Bugfix: Users were able to set Mods and Install Info as the same folder.
    6. Bugfix: NMM crashing with a corrupt ReadMeManager.xml file.
    7. Bugfix: NMM using the wrong game path after a game rescan.
    8. Bugfix: LoadOrder export using the wrong plugin list.

    You can download the update through NMM or by downloading and installing manually through the NMM download page.

    Unfortunately earlier today we found out that some of our file servers had been hacked, replacing manual (not NMM) downloads with a malicious installer that contained malware. This hack was targeted as the hacker deliberately named the file “Nexus_Downloader.exe” to try and snag as many people as possible. While I haven’t tried to run it myself it seems to be a scam malware that sends the user to a fake FBI page informing the user they must pay must in order to unlock their system. To make it worse only 4 of the 20 main anti-virus programs people use flagged this as a virus. It’s obviously a relatively new one that most haven’t caught up with, and this might have caught a few of you off guard.

    As soon as we found out about the breach we had the servers down and patched up within minutes and we’ve been working today further hardening our servers and shutting down the method used by the hacker to gain access.

    There’s a few things to take away from this. First of all I’m sorry that this has happened to some of you. You clearly trust us to provide you with a safe and secure modding experience and we got caught with our pants on our heads. While this won’t help you now, can I give you some advice? Don’t trust anything, any site, or any person fully on the internet. Be suspicious of everything. If you’ve tried to download a fluffy sheep mod that says it’s 50mb in size for Skyrim and instead been given a file called “Nexus_Downloader.exe” that’s 100kb in size...be suspicious. We’d never do something like that, especially without letting you know first. These sorts of things can happen to any site out there (just look at the past hacking’s of Sony, Valve/Steam...even Bethesda got hacked) and having an anti-virus, firewall and malware protection won’t keep you 100% safe. Nothing will. But try and be perceptive and don’t let your guard down.

    We can’t guarantee your safety 100% when browsing and downloading from the Nexus. No other site can offer you that guarantee either. What I can guarantee you is that we work hard to try and make the experience as safe and secure as possible, and we work even harder when we know we’ve been breached, often without sleep.

    Never be afraid to report suspicious activity either by others or by the sites themselves on the forums or to the staff.