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File Front archiving in progress


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#1
Dark0ne

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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.

#2
LordTrekie

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Oh, nice, Armada 2 files will live again! (I hope).

Question though, if we're Nexus users, and perhaps had mods on those sites, will we be able to claim ownership of the files and update/modify them like we can normally?

#3
MrGrymReaper

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In response to post #37972735.


Spoiler

I too have at least a couple of these namely the following:-

* Unreal Tournament 3 - Filefront has mods for this title but were only hosted there!
* Unreal Tournament 2004 - Filefront has mods for this title but were only hosted there!
* Return to Castle Wolfenstein - Also supported mods using Quake 3 based engine.
* Star Wars: Knights Of The Old Republic 1 & 2 - Also could use mods but possibly unofficially (may need checking).
* Star Trek: Elite Force 1 & 2 - It also supported mods using a modified Quake 3 Team Arena engine. Same also for this title about FileFront only mod hosting.


@Dark0ne - Please don't forget the Return to Castle Wolfenstein - Enemy Territory and the mods made for it.

Edited by MrGrymReaper, 20 May 2016 - 03:59 PM.


#4
Dark0ne

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In response to post #37973010.


Spoiler

Absolutely. If you send an email to [email protected] we'll get it sorted for you.

#5
MrGrymReaper

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In response to post #37973010. #37973215 is also a reply to the same post.


Spoiler

Does that mean we may see some fixes for any long standing bugs in FileFront mods?

#6
CreeperLava

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That is awesome, thank you very much for saving this data. I'm pretty sure there were a bunch of Morrowind mods there, too. I wish the same thing had been done with planetelderscrolls :/ (mw.modhistory.com has a lot of them backed up, but probably not all).

Would it be doable to transfer them to the Nexus ? It is much easier to navigate nexus than modhistory, plus modhistory doesn't come up in google searches (not indexed, I believe).

Edited by CreeperLava, 20 May 2016 - 04:00 PM.


#7
JimboUK

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Fantastic work, it would be such a shame to see all that work lost forever, it reminds me of the hundreds of Morrowind mods that are lost forever thanks to various hosts closing down.

Edited by jim_uk, 20 May 2016 - 11:09 PM.


#8
Brigand231

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Another demonstration that the Nexus has heart and actually cares about modding, not just any potential gain.

#9
HellKnightX88

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That's very kind of you guys, thank you!

#10
beardofsocrates

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I remember all the Empire at War mods I downloaded from there years ago. Glad to see something is done to retain all of their work! =)




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