Skyrim

File Front archiving in progress

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Back in the middle of 2015, FileFront.com quietly shut the doors to its various gaming hub sites (which were much like Nexus sites for game mods back in their hayday in the early to mid 2000s). Over the past few years File Front was extremely out-dated, slow or outright broken in many areas, lacking some TLC that it needed despite still having an active contingent of core users who still frequented their forums.

While File Front hadn’t really been updated properly in years with most games supported being released before 2010, it contained tens of thousands of files for lots of great (but now) old school games. While File Front had closed, GameFront.com, their parent site continued to operate. The Game Front site contained all the files previously located on their File Front properties, plus many many more. Unfortunately, the Game Front site was in even worse shape than the File Front sites were, making it an extremely poor archive of the File Front sites and absolutely horrible to navigate. Game Front file pages lacked any file images, poorly parsed file descriptions and no details about the author of the file.

Finally, Game Front announced they would be shutting their doors at the end of April, thus condemning hundreds of thousands of files to the void of the internet and all but removing any traces of tens of thousands of very old mods for some classic games from the internet forever. As a result of this announcement many people, sites and communities have been scrambling to save as many files as possible from the soon to be defunct Game Front community. Indeed, the best example I’ve found is at Gamefront.online, which seems to be an exact copy of the Game Front site before it went down, complete with downloadable files.

When we first heard about Game Front shutting its doors we knew that the files would be in safe hands inbetween an Archive.org team who were working on a full archive of Game Front, and members of the original Game Front community who were working on archiving the forums. However, the File Front sites, including their files, file images and category structure, were not going to see the light of day again in any reasonably usable format.

As a result, we’ve been working to save as many files from the File Front sites as possible and finding the best method to port them into our Nexus system. As File Front sites were largely like Nexus sites are now in terms of structure, we felt that focusing on the File Front files side of things would be in everyone’s best interest. The focus wasn’t just on not losing the files, but on saving the category structure, screenshots, file descriptions and author information that is actually what made the original File Front sites usable and easier to navigate for the games they supported.

With help over IRC from some of the archive team working on the Archive.org backup of Game Front and the help of certain original staffers from File Front and Game Front respectively we think we’ve managed to do that.

We’re currently working on importing our finished archive work from Game Front into our Nexus infrastructure, and some of the games and files are already available on the Nexus network for you to browse right now including the archived files for the original Star Wars: Battlefront, Supreme Commander and Unreal Tournament 3, among other games.

We don’t expect these sites to be popular or demanding on our servers, but I couldn’t sit and idly watch tens of thousands of mods for games I grew up with be lost to the internet forever. Games like Soldier of Fortune, Battlefield 1942, Unreal Tournament 2004, Return to Castle Wolfenstein and Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War that are long since past their prime, but are games I grew up playing and downloading mods from File Front for back in the day. I am extremely pleased to be able to archive these mods on the Nexus to keep them safe for the foreseeable the future.

Our archiving work continues, and will likely continue throughout the weekend and into next week at the current pace. If you have any problems or issues you’d like to report with the archive work please email us at [email protected] or use the usual reporting methods on the site if you’re a Nexus member.

244 comments

  1. phantompally76
    phantompally76
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    Everything about this stinks. The Nexus is currently on a crusade to thwart mod piracy on consoles.....yet the Nexus is now the largest OFFICIAL repository for pirated mods on the internet. And that's precisely what these are...stolen, pirated mods that have been uploaded without securing permission from the individual mods' authors. Just because you're saving them from oblivion doesn't give you the right to upload them here without the expressed permission of each and every author whose mods you have "preserved". "Act now and ask for forgiveness later" is massively hypocritical when you're currently barking at Bethesda to make decisive action on console piracy.

    Some of these FileFront authors will certainly be fine with their mods being on this site. But I know for a fact that many are not. Sure, they can contact you to have their mods removed, but the burden shouldn't fall on those mod authors to deal with that any more than Skyrim/FO4 authors should have to file DMCAs with Bethesda.net. You should have contacted them first.Then there is the matter of the thousands of mod authors who may never even know their files are on here at all. Stealing from someone without their knowledge is still stealing.

    This isn't about saving archaeology from the ravages of time. These files didn't have to be uploaded immediately upon acquisition.You could have very easily archived these files and spent time securing the necessary permissions from the content creators before you uploaded them. But that wouldn't generate any hits or ad revenue for the website, would it?

    You are delivering a hypocritical mixed message about mod piracy and authors' rights, and it is exceedingly damaging to the credibility of this site and this community. You simply cannot be opposed to mod piracy with one hand while actively engaging in mod piracy on your own website with the other. That is the very definition of hypocrisy.
    1. Dark0ne
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      I respect your opinion being different, but we fundamentally disagree with your interpretation. You've made it clear you won't be swung on this topic, and neither shall we.

      Stick to this thread or the other one, but if you continue to cross post your opinion around the various threads currently active then they will be moderated.
    2. axonis
      axonis
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      His point, however, raises another one you can't simply disagree and be done with. What about their permissions ?

      For example, I see that in nexusmods.com/starwarsbattlefront/mods/260 you're stating that "You are not allowed to upload this file to other sites under any circumstances". Who said that ? The original author or Nexusmods ?
    3. outlaw5067
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      I, for one, would be glad that you are saving these old mods. As a mod author in BF2, it would bring me joy in seeing my old work saved. Authors spend an untold amount of time developing their work for it to just get deleted.

      So, Rock On Guys!!!
    4. Iglix
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      While I agree that technicaly this is against rules... the moment where you have to say "technicaly" it ussualy means that it is not ideal answer.

      At the same time, simple fact is that you took mods from diferent site and uploaded them on nexus without asking their owners.

      You can have any excuse you want, it does not change that taking mod of someone else and reuploading it without permision is not allowed by your own rules (which stands for reason)

      Can you please explain how was this "preservation" act different from uploading mod from modder who deleted his works "in name of preservation"?

      It seems rather unfair expecting from mod owners to have awareness of your own actions concering their mods.

      As consumer I absolutely love your move. Just week ago I reinstalled C&C Generals ZH (quite suprised that my CDs worked and that patches were still availible) and was very happy to find out that many mods for this game were preserved.

      But if I take away my personal interest in this (ie wanting mods for my games) it seems overally unfair.

      I am convinced that there was no ill intent with this act but it still was bit of screw up. Even though loosing thousands of mods may seem as harsh price, who are you to determine that those mods must exist no matter what their owners may or may not want?
      If their authors would want those mods availible, they is nothing that would stop them from reuploading them by themselve.
      If they are abandoned, what gives you right to adopt them without permision?

      Honestly you will probably reach similiar conclusion as me about this situation that best course of action would be to leave files uploaded, put out some public apology for your well meaned yet controversial actions where you will put furhter explanations and details and after few months almost nobody will care anymore.
    5. JAS54
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      Stuff it, bud.
  2. Jackforce982
    Jackforce982
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    Really appreciate you saving these precious mods from being lost forever, and making them available to the public, while still giving mod authors an opportunity to reclaim credit.
  3. jeyjs
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    but i thought that without the mod authors permission, thats stealing according to nexus rules. dose that mean the rules have changed and we can take mods that are abandoned without asking the no longer around original author first? like take the mod, fix its issues, bugs and add features to keep the mod alive if we give credit to the original author?.
    1. Xephyr117
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      Well shit. You're right.
    2. Zaldiir
      Zaldiir
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      No. This was about preservation of mods. Without this effort, those mods would possibly be lost forever. And that is something different entirely.
    3. Craddle
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      He may refer to the notice at the bottom of each archived mod "If you wish to claim this file as your own [..]".

      Without violating the respective copyrights (whatever applies here) only the original author will be able to do that (unless explicitly stated otherwise). I'm wondering however, how the nexusstaff plans to ensure that he or she is the original author if someone tries to claim a mod.
    4. barnardm71
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      Don't be a douche...
    5. koriandersES
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      Stealing an artifact from someone else's home and selling it under your name is theft.

      Saving an artifact from certain destruction and putting it in a museum is preservation.

      This is kind of like... tomb raiding, which is acceptable for historical and preservatorial purposes in my opinion.

      If the mod authors don't want to, for some reason, compromise in the face of armageddon and would rather see their work disappear, I'm sure they can have their mods removed from preservation if they just ask.
    6. MrAwesome54
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      Yup, I agree. I don't think that paleontologists ask the dinosaurs if they could take their bones, hmm? I'm glad Nexus is saving mods for those classic games, it's not like you could find them anywhere else. Most of the mod authors have probably long forgotten their mod even existed, and even if not, if i recall Gamefront wasn't exactly supplied the author's email or anything for contact.
    7. CaptainScruffy
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      Don't folks still "Brand" their work with a bit of unused code here or there that just says: "Yo this is mine," in so many words?...
  4. CaptainScruffy
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    Wow! Battlefield 1942! That brings back memories! There are some great emulators out there for DOS (I like DOS Box,) I play a few old Avalon Hill software titles like Third Reich, and Wooden Ships & Iron Men to name a few. Thanks you for all your effort. I'm sure a lot of people put a lot of time and effort into creating these mods and to see something just drop into the bit bucket is upsetting to me. I have an even more extensive collection of boxed tabletop wargames from all the old companies. I've been gaming since early 70s when I started high school - you know BC (Before Computers!
  5. DawnMS
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    I think it's great you guys are doing this, nice job ... always better safe than sorry and i'm sure you guys are more than willing to hear any individual modder's input on their individual mods. Just my two cents
  6. kekov228
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    Всем привет
  7. nurmi90
    nurmi90
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    My forum account just says "Sorry, you don't have permission for that!" and I cant access anywhere, not even my own account whats logged in.

    My email is getting old subscription messages what I'd like to just unsubscribe ..help.
    1. nurmi90
      nurmi90
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      Bump.
      #iStruggle
  8. irishlad101
    irishlad101
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    thanks Dark0ne, i used to own copy of bridge commander about 2 years ago and i had it heavily modded. the computer that i had all my mods on had a fatal flaw which ruined my computer and destroyed all my data. i sold my disc about 3 months after that. now i bought another disc containing bridge commander and i about had a heart attack after i found out file front was shutdown. i thought it was game over no more modded ships and stuff besides kobayashi mod until i found nexus. I hope that this website wont just be for rescued mods but will be a place that will bring in new mods and modder's.
  9. skyrimhitsta
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    Superb work, hopefully you will also incorporate Dungeon Siege 1 and 2 mods, Diablo, Diablo 2 mods, among other's, and W40k dawn of war soulstorm is alive and well, plenty of superb mods, and it is not past it's prime. Maybe you even get Sudden Strike series mods, Secret weapons of the Luftwaffe mods, Mech Commander and Mechwarrior, Starsiege, Eartsiege, European Air Warmods, . Be well and a great work for the old player's.
  10. grodofraggins
    grodofraggins
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    This is absolutely tremendous and completely necessary. The Unreal engine was my first experience with creating 3D environments and thus my first modding experience. GameFront closing was a shock to me and more power to the Nexus for saving years of hard work.

    Thank you,
    GrodoFraggins