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Year in review and looking forward


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#1
Dark0ne

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A belated Merry Christmas and a happy new year to everybody!

We've been quiet in our news section recently as we've been busily working away on the site redesign and Vortex development, but the new year brings the perfect chance to update you on what happened last year and what we're working on in 2018.


2017 in numbers

We welcomed 1,612,142 new users to Nexus Mods in 2017, or to put it another way, a new member joined Nexus Mods every 20 seconds. We now support mods for 493 different games, up 80 on 2016. In that time users have uploaded 27,891 new mods to the site and all of you have downloaded 601,609,165 files between you, which means that 19 new downloads were started on Nexus Mods every second of 2017.

While traffic on the site has declined slightly on 2016's figures due to the initial buzz of Fallout 4's release dying down, you're all downloading way more than you used to, up 22% on last year's 491,161,244 downloads.


We got an office

Starting 2017 I was becoming unhappy with the remote working conditions at Nexus Mods. Since I hired the first staffer back in 2011, every position has been remote and we've had employees living in England, Scotland, Italy, Germany and the United States. However, it's become increasingly evident over the years that no matter what software or hardware companies bring out to bridge the gap between office workers and remote workers, nothing, and I mean nothing, replaces the sheer efficiency (and comradery) of individuals working in the same room together towards a common goal.

So while most companies try and open themselves up more to remote and flexible working, I decided to go the complete opposite direction and in May 2017, we setup a Nexus Mods office that myself, an existing member of staff and two new site programmers would be the first to fill.

From time to time Tom, our head of Programming and Paul, director of content, would come down and work a few days in the office as well.

I was dubious about the changes at first as this would be the first time in my life I'd be working in an office rather than from home, but any doubts I had quickly left me and I'm extremely happy with how the office has panned out.

Now I know it was the right thing to do, I'm about to put pen to paper on a new office that will be the Nexus Mods staff home for the next few years. Any new staff positions we fill will, most likely, be office based from our home here in Exeter in the UK.


Staff changes

We've welcomed some new faces this year and said goodbye to some long-standing staff as well.

As already mentioned, back in May we brought in two new site programmers working from the office and in November we welcomed Kit, our designer, to fill a brand new role in the team.

We've said goodbye to Fabio and Luca, who were the team behind the Nexus Mod Manager, as we look to consolidate as many staff positions as possible into the new office environment. Paul, whose absence you might have noticed from our news section in recent months, has also moved on to new pastures. We wish them all the best.


The site redesign

In November we pushed out our new site redesign, first as a public beta for testing and feedback, and just recently, into a full launch. The old design can still be accessed from http://old.nexusmods.com but will soon be switched off.

We're very happy with it, not just how it looks and works, but also the underlying changes made to the framework and logic make it far more efficient for a team of programmers (which is what we have now) to work on it.

Naturally, the redesign has had a polarizing effect, and indeed, in 16 years of running these sites I haven't launched a redesign without it doing just that. I'm not sure any established site does. But nevertheless, we've received a treasure trove of feedback from which we can work from, some very helpful, some not so helpful and some plain rude, but we know how to filter the helpful feedback from the rude stuff and just get on with it, and that's what we're doing.

With help from users reporting bugs on our GitHub tracker, we've squashed hundreds of bugs and refined several areas of the site from the original design already. We'll continue to iterate on it moving forward based on the feedback being provided.

The old design will go down soon. While many users have asked for us to keep the old design up, it's simply not feasible as our code base moves further and further away from it. We can neither afford to continue paying for the old hardware the old design is on, nor can we afford to maintain code/design parity with any new and future functionality we add moving forward. It's not cut out for the amount of data we're having to store now, nor is it cut out for a larger team of programmers to work on it. It's simply put, not fit for purpose any more and separating the design from the logic would be a futile task for us.


Vortex

Allllllllmoooooost there.

I had a little play around with Tannin's latest version yesterday and I'm really happy with how it's looking, how it's working, and all the exciting things we'll be able to do with it looking into the future.

It's touch and go whether we're going to hit that January deadline, but if we don't, it'll simply be for polish and fixing any last minute bugs the focus group bring up. We'll update you once we know for sure and if we can't hit January, we'll release some pictures and more information to tide you over.


Social media

Some of you don't care for social media, but a lot of us do and use it regularly. We brought Terrorfox onto the team back in 2016 to spearhead our external focus, past the Nexus Mods community, and as a part of those efforts, he's created a thriving social media presence for Nexus Mods.

On both Facebook and Twitter, Terrorfox releases a steady stream of popular mods and hidden gems you might never have seen or heard of before every couple of hours, that are all available on Nexus Mods. Mixed in with a few retweets or shout-outs to what mod authors are doing and talking about around social media, I can honestly say that it's a rather nice way of being informed about new mods in the community and what's being talked about on social media.

No clickbait here, just straight up "here's a mod, here's what it does, check it out". If that's of interest to you, give us a follow or a like so you can keep up to date with what's being posted there.


Looking forward to 2018 on the website

We've got a fight on our hands in 2018.

Our work on the redesign over these past two years has revealed some looming future issues in our backend that we need to rectify. Nexus Mods has obviously grown at an astounding rate since we first built the new framework for the site in 2011 and our needs back then were very different to our present needs.

You need only look at the download figures quoted above, which are increasing at an almost alarming rate, to understand the data sets we're talking about. In 28 months our download database alone has doubled in size (which means that our users have downloaded more since September 2015 than they did from June 2005, when our records in their current form began, to August 2015). Now, with 2.4 billion downloads in our system that we rely on for a number of different features on the site, we're in "big data" realms and we need to work hard and fast to accommodate this.

As a result, a lot of our time is going to be spent completely rebuilding all the backend logic and framework, from the ground up, to move us into more of a big data mindset. It's very boring talk for people like you and me, but it has very serious implications for the future of Nexus Mods if we do nothing, or if we don't get it right.

It was our hope that we'd be able to rectify these issues as part of the redesign process but all it has done is highlight the need for a complete ground up rehaul of our systems. That doesn't mean a new redesign, or rather, it does, but a redesign of our databases, server infrastructure, framework and so on. Basically, the stuff you don't see but can sometimes "feel", like when the site is slow or unresponsive. Recently announced functionality like our Mod Author Donation System will form a part of these new systems.

As such, the work we've done on the redesign, which has already involved some significant refactoring of our code, has given us a little room to breathe while we work on some pretty big stuff into 2018 and beyond.

While a number of our programmers will be focusing on these efforts, a separate team are going to continue working their socks off iterating on our redesign and taking on the feedback we're getting from all of you.

We've still got some speed improvements to make that should make browsing the new site faster and Kit continues to push changes to the design based on the feedback she's reading on the forum and in the news comments. That's an ongoing process that is never truly going to end.


Looking forward to 2018 with Vortex

First, we've got to release it.

Vortex is obviously going to be released in an alpha state and we're only going to recommend people use it, to begin with, if they want to help us actually test the software and aren't shy about potential bugs or issues that might come from completely changing your mod management software. During this phase, if you're a 500+ mod load order person who has everything delicately sorted to perfection and don't want anything messing with that then you're likely not the right person for the initial release of Vortex unless you want to help us test getting it all ported over and working correctly in Vortex!

Tannin will be eagerly awaiting feedback and bug reports and will no doubt work hard to resolve them all as quickly as possible.

Naturally, we have no idea how long that process is going to take, but we're confident we've learnt from the mistakes of the past on this one and don't want to be in a perpetual alpha state!

Looking to the future, we've been keenly watching developments unfold in the community recently in regards to mod packs. It's something we've explored for Nexus Mods and NMM in the past, so much so that we were mere weeks away from launching a full fledged mod pack system before I mothballed it. If you're interested in how that came about, the technicalities behind it and the reason why it was mothballed I wrote a rather extensive breakdown on Reddit about it recently.

I've tentatively spoken with Tannin briefly on the subject and, while we've got a to-do list that's years in the making, mod packs are something we'll likely explore again in the not too distant future. Naturally, we'll consult with mod authors extensively about our plans and what feedback they have during the design and implementation stage.


In finishing

I want to send a big thank you to the often unsung heroes of this community, our moderation team, who diligently volunteer their time to help moderate these sites and deal, often times, with some sickeningly awful individuals on the internet. Without them, Nexus Mods wouldn't be Nexus Mods. I can sit here and talk about "big data" this and "Vortex" that, but all of that is utterly moot if the community collapses in on itself (or doesn't exist at all) due to idiots who just want to act like dicks and ruin it for everyone else.

Also, obviously, a thank you to the mod authors who continue to create and share their content on Nexus Mods, without whom all of this is similarly pointless!

I wish you all a great 2018.

#2
JimmyRJump

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Thanks for the update. Best wishes to everyone involved as well. Looking forward to the release of Vortex.

#3
fredlaus

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Thank you, Robin, I suddenly feel like I am one of the guys (author that is).

#4
JackLively

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This site is so useful. I really appreciate it, and all the hard work that goes into it. Thanks guys.

#5
AmaccurzerO

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In response to post #56679756.


Spoiler

Seconded ;)

#6
VaultBoyAM

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Vooooorteeeeex

I mean, Good luck in 2018!tex

#7
Augusta Calidia

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Thank you, Robin and team, for all your hard work and this wonderful NexusMods site.

#8
oblivionss

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Thank you very much, Nexus team!
I look forward to waiting until your programs are released.
I truly wish that Votex will open a new horizon for the mod management program. ^_^


#9
Crimsomrider

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May the Nexus live long and prosper! And thank you for what you have created and keep creating and all the people involved who keep improving and maintaining it!

I very much enjoyed the summary of the entire year, stats most of all. As for the old design, I can't wait for it to go away already as it is inevitable. Plus all those ghost notifications I have to hunt down on a daily basis from people who post from old design :D

I know I expressed my worries and thoughts about the new design and brought up all the things that should be improved back when it officially rolled out, but that is only because I care about this place that you people had created. Seeing continuous updates each day about the issues that were brought up is a pleasant sight and I thank you for listening to feedback. Only thing I wish that was tweaked is to be able to see the images without those black bars when we click on them, but all in all it came a long way since the launch day and I'm perfectly fine with it now.

But thank you for the Nexus. I'm curious to see and experience the Vortex as well ^^

As for the moderators, lets just say reading the banned section on the forums is something I do quite a lot as it is a very interesting read to me :D The amount of rude cases is astounding and I could not imagine dealing with such people so much on a daily basis, they truly have the nerves of steel. I'd probably flip out :D

Edited by Crimsomrider, 11 January 2018 - 04:37 PM.


#10
Zzyxzz

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Thanks for this beautiful website. There are still some things that i don't like. For example adding a changelog is pain when you have to scroll down all of your changelogs you have created... please move it to the top. I could delete all old changelogs, but this would take quite a lot of time and the issue is only delayed.

Nonetheless im happy with the site. It took some time to get used to it. As always... people will always complain, but a change was needed. The latest changes you have made, definitely made it better.

Im looking forward to the mod author System but it still gives me headaches... a very good idea i've read was, make it possible to buy those points and let people be able to donate them to others(but only when they have bought them or something like that, to avoid abuse) Also, you guys should talk about security improvements/authenfication options to avoid account theft. As we talk about money.




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