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AMA with Robin Scott (DarkOne) Transcript


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TheTokenGeek

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Robin
: Alright, itís eight oíclock and weíre English. So punctuality is important to us. So letís get this show on the road.

Paul: Theyíre on mute. Over to you?

Robin: So the point of this AMA, ask me anything, is literally just to give you a forum to talk to me and I will try to answer your questions as best I can. Or as many of them as I can. Itís kind of just like a tester; weíre testing out various different features on the site. Trying to engage more with the community. Trying to get more stuff on the site that isnít just automatically put on the site by people adding stuff themselves ala Facebook. And, so weíre just using me pretty much as a guinea pig for potential future interviews that we could do with other people within the community.

So, with that said letís get on to some questions.

Who wants to give me some questions?

Paul: Do you want to go with someÖ So the first one was from Thalassa. And she said with the games like Skyrim special edition and with the massive mods such as Enderal, do you see the new Nexus putting their own pages on that? So sections specifically for Enderal and sections specifically for Skyrim, the special edition.

Robin: So, itís a complicated matter. Same for Enderal as it is for the Skyrim, enhanced edition, or whatever theyíre flipping calling it, that a lot of the mods for the current Skyrim mods on the site - 40,000 of them or so - are gonna work with the extended edition just like they do with Enderal, and some of them arenít. And so itís one of those things where I think weíre gonna have to play it by ear. And naturally Bethesda arenít going to have to give us a heads up because of the unique way in which Bethesda handle their public relations which is, fucking shit. AndÖsoÖright now, ideally weíd like to just have it as a separate category. But if it turns out that more than ten percent of mods are not compatible Ė is that the right way around? I want ninety percent of the mods from original Skyrim to be compatible Ė so do the math. If it turns out that a lot of the mods basically arenít compatible with the extended edition, then we will have to make a separate game for it. Having said that, itís just playing it by ear, and weíll just keep you posted the closer we get. But I think basically we know as much as you do on that one, because BethesdaÖand yeah, weíll keep you posted. Not that Thalassa is listening.

Paul: Itís alright, Iíll type it all out. The next one was, is Nexus Mod Manager going to get a new UI?


Robin: Yes, it is! And hopefully sooner rather than later.

Weíve got a lot going on at the moment. Both as you know with the site redesign, and with Nexus mod managers as well, weíreÖthis is kind of like a transition year for us. Up until now a lot of our time Ė pretty much all our time was spent just trying to keep the sites running. Making it financially stable as well as physically stable. Getting the right server architecture in, content distribution network, the database cluster, and we finally got to the point now where weíre not being woken up at 3am at least fifty percent of the nights that we go to sleep. And thatís really awesome, but unfortunately whatís happened is that we have a lot of technical debt to pick up on. So up until now weíve been jamming things in, trying to fix bugs willy nilly without really having any sort of order to it. And now we need to go back and reorganise things and the same thingís happening with the Nexus Mod Manager.

So we definitely are going to be giving the Nexus Mod Manager a face lift. Weíve got quite a lot of big news happening in that regard actually with Nexus Mod Manager, weíre just getting our bearings and weíre gonna, weíre gonna put up a big news post relatively soon. As soon as we got something to show for it.

Next.

Paul: Now you can pick some of the questions out as well that people are asking. Howís England?

Robin: (deep sigh) Cloudy, wet, with the occasional bit of sunshine. We donít have any hurricanes. We donít have any big insects. We donít have any big spiders. So all in all Iíd say that weíre quidís in. Which means weíre on a positive.

Paul: Favourite lunch?

Robin: Oh, dear Lord! Tuna Nicoise!

Paul: Oh crikey days... Okay, where do you see the business in five years and what are your plans for expansion in five years? Thanks, Ben.

authors note: Ben is a friend of ours from Computer Gaming events, LANS, Board Gaming etc.

Robin: Thank you, Benjamin. Five years. Thatís a long time.

A lot of our focus at the moment is trying to diversify away from just Bethesda games. Not least because it makes sense for the continuation of the sites if we donít put all our eggs in one basket, but also because Ė I think itís clear to everyone Ė that Bethesda are an interesting company who maybe put their own interest above their own community which doesnít always align with how I feel a business should be.

So, we would very much like to push out into other areas. And I donít just mean modding wise, but gaming related in lots of different areas. Iíve got plenty of plans. A few of them are in motion. A few of them arenít, but none of them are really ready to talk about yet. So, yeah weíre aware of the situation weíre in. And plans are being made to at least try to alleviate some of the problems we have with being so Bethesda focused. Which isnít really a focus that we have so much as the focus thatís been given to us by the community because - you know - Bethesda modding is extremely popular, So, yeah, weíre diversifying basically.

Paul: Did you ever expect Nexus to get such a large community? Not just mod makers but all the users and the frequent forums and discord?

Robin: No. No, not a chance Ė I mean, I started these sites when I was fourteen-years-old and it was literally a community website for Morrowind. We had a lot of information about the game before the game was released that was just available on the site. We had a cool little feature which was called the Seer counsel which was various ďexpertsĒ within the community who were experts in a particular area whether it was stealth, or modding or magicians or anything like that who would answer questions on the forums if people needed questions answered. So itís a lot more of a Ė just like a general forum and information site. And it was never expected to get this big. It used a YAB forum (yet another bulletin forum) and that was 2001 and itís come a long way. And this, every year just requires learning new things to keep up with the massively changing landscape of the sites. So I definitely didnít expect any of this, but itís always a nice surprise.

Paul: Have you thought about running any contests with prizes to draw in new users via social media?


Robin: I have thought of that and Iíve always thought of going one further and seeing if we could monetise modding a little bit from our own funds. Like, say, increase the cost of premium membership by 12.5 percent and and weíll put in 12.5 percent as well and give 25 percent of whatever people pay for premium each month towards mod authors. The inherent problem is that such a dodgy system Ė I say dodgy, itís not dodgy, but it could be seen as dodgy- would attract the attention of Bethesda in a negative way. And I think the same would happen if we had a monthly competition, or bi-monthly, or biannual competition which had substantial prizes in it. So it is something I would be interested in doing, but we need to talk to Bethesda about it, and I hate to talk to Bethesda about these things because every time you ask them a question youíre opening up Pandoraís box; you donít know what answer youíre going to get. So I have, but itís a touchy subject.

Paul: Since itís an AMA Ė Have you ever tried hummus?


Robin: (laughs) Yep, I like red pepper hummus the best! With pita bread.

Paul: Okay, what is the financial state of Nexus? How are funds spent on upgrades, software updates, and site development? Is Nexus financially viable even if something unexpected were to happen to you?


Robin: Ooh, that's a couple of questions. Financially stable? Absolutely. Yes, it is. It's taken awhile to get there, but thankfully with sites of this size now... I mean, what are we now? Let's double check. Alexa, which you have to take with a pinch of salt, says weíre the 818th most popular site on the internet. Which has a lot of reputation to go with it. So it enables me to get some good advertising deals now which even up to two years ago I couldn't get. So it's not a massive deal. As far as finances go, the way that the site, the company - I call it the company because it's run as a company - is financed is that a certain amount has to be reached before weíll hire new staff. And that amount is what weíd need to be able to pay staff for an entire year before we even begin hiring them. Which is important to me because I'm not going to hire someone on who I canít afford to hire for at least a year.

As far as hardware goes, weíve got a very good deal going on with the people over at Krystal Hosting, Krystal.co.uk. That's a company that I help set up when I was 15, 16. I subsequently sold my shares, but theyíre still friends and Tom, whoís MrMason on the Nexus, is our head programmer now who came from Krystal. They know what they're doing. They're very good at giving me mates rates. So it's helped out alot with running the sites. There was an extra question there as well. I can't remember what was the third part of that...

Paul: How muchÖhow are funds spent on upgradesÖIt just says how are funds spent on upgrades, software updates and site development? Is Nexus viable if something were to happen to you?


Robin: So the funds... it's kind of my jobÖ one of my jobs is to try and notice where things are lacking on the sites and try and plug those holes. Over the past year weíve hired three new staff. One of them was SirSalami. Whoís the community manager. That was really needed because up until then I was doing all of the community management and that wasn't much. And we really needed someone dedicated to that. And it's become clear in the year that he's been working that we actually need a second person for this job. So what we really need is an internal community manager. Someone who is good at handling the people weíve already got on the site and an external community manager. Somebody who can be an ambassador for our site on the internet and the wider web. So that's the next hiring that we're going to be doing.

The other two we got was Tom who I mentioned from Krystal. Heís head of programming on the website. The inherent problem we had was thatÖI stopped programming in 2011 when we first hired our first employee, which is AxelDominator. Since then heís been smashing it out with code that reads like French to me and I donít speak French. So I havenít been touching the code. So weíve now got three programmers on the website. Weíve got three programmers on the Nexus Mod Manager side. And people are coming to me asking me quite technical questions and wanting answers which Ė while I could give Ė requires me to do extensive research just to be able to keep up to point. And it made a lot more sense to hire on someone who could answer those questions in my stead very well. So thatís what weíve done on the web development side. So basically, the way the funds are spent - to get back to the original point - is theyíre spent as and when needed. And as I said the external community manager role is a role that weíre currently saving up for and as soon as weíve got enough money for it weíll, weíll get them, and weíll do it.

I think that answers everything.

Paul: Thereís a question by Manga who Iím waiting for him to reiterate. But going on from that, what effect do YouTubers have on Nexus Mods?


Robin: Let me log into our stats and Iíll let you know. Basically, not much. So Iíll just log in to the analytics and if you give me two minutes Iíll be able to answer that question accurately.

Paul: Iím guessing with things like that as well, does Gopher and YouTubers who promote the Nexus bring some of their subscribers? Do you see a lot of things from that?

Robin: Right. So according to our analytics - YouTube - links from YouTube, so letís just go with links from YouTube to begin with. I know thatís not a proper mark on if they are good for us or not. They donít even rank in our top fifty links in. So in terms of them sending traffic from linking in their description and what not theyíre not in the top fifty. Bearing in mind that, funnily enough Loverslab is in the top twenty which is always quite funny. Redditís massive. Facebookís massive. Skyrim and Skyrim gems and the STEP project, theyíre massive, but YouTube Ė links from YouTube videos do not feature massively for us in terms of traffic. What they do do is obviously raise awareness and I imagine a lot of the people who are watching those videos probably donít use the direct links, but in their own time will come to Nexus or do a Google search for those mods. So itís not an accurate marker but in terms of our Ė what we can quantify YouTube isnít massive for us.

Paul: What is your favourite vehicle?

Robin: What? For me to get from A to B?

Paul: It just says what is your favourite vehicle? So interpret that as you wish.

Robin: I like fighter jets, but if itís a vehicle Iíll actually own that will be a car. I donít like motorbikes at all because theyíre just death wagons. Iíve lost a few friends to motorbikes so they can go fuck themselves. And, cars Ė cars are the way.

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authors note: Maverick agrees

Paul: Okay, where did the name Nexus come from? And what is your favourite food?


Robin: Nexus came from a thesaurus. When I was trying to look up different wordsÖthesaurus.com is a great website to use when youíre looking for a domain name or a name of a brand that explains what you want, but a bit differently. And Nexus Ė I knew that...I honestly knew what the word Nexus was, but it wasnít until I saw it on the thesaurus site and thought, oh that works. Itís got an X in it as well, which Americans love. Anything with an x or a zÖzedÖzeeÖno, no, you guys are zed. Yep, so it had an X in it so Americans would love it, and itís a little bit different. So thatís how I ended up with Nexus.

Paul: Have you ever thought of funding the site through micro-payments, like the brave micropayment system or other methods? Brave looks to be a bitcoin micropayment system.


Robin: Oh yeah, weíd like to accept bitcoin. Weíd like to accept any financial way that you can pay, financially, that we can. Unfortunately, weíre quite limited in our eCommerce solution which is a simple package for our forum at the moment. Itís definitely, definitely on our list of things we need to change including forums, the registration process, the member database, and pretty much everything on the site needs to be updated, to be honest. But the eCommerce solution needs a massive overhaul. Weíd love to be able to accept anything and everything that involves paying money. So, yeah thatís definitely on the cards.

Paul: Okay, how far along are you guys on your redesign? When do you plan on deploying things out on the site? Do you guys plan on migrating Ė oh you just answered that Ė to use the IPB software anytime soon?


Robin: The redesign is stumbling at the moment. Not because itís difficult, so much is the fact that Ė one of the things I was talking about is the technical debt earlier. If you just joined us, to give you the short version, this year is a bit of a transition year for us where we are having to go back though our logic code and then update it. Make sure that itís working properly.

The sites were designed to be made by a single person and now weíve got four or five people working on them. They need to be redesigned to accommodate more people which takes time.

So itís literally just a matter of time. Weíre grinding through it. We obviously want to get this out as soon as flipping possible because our current design is obviously very dated and something that Iíve noticed personally from dealing with the No Man's Sky modding community is that weíre struggling to compete with other websites online simply because weíre using a dated look, even though these new sites are using WordPress skins which take ten minutes to set up, people would rather use a WordPress site than the Nexus if theyíve never been to Nexus just because it looks a bit dated. So the redesign is definitely foremost in our mind right now. But I canít give you an actual time because I have no flipping idea. If I knew, Iíd tell you.

Paul: Okay, Mangas asked a question that Iím trying to get my head around. Iím not sure if youíve seen it. Can you see it, Robin?

Robin: Sorry, where?

Paul: Itís 8:17, itís, Iíll read it and you can... Itís will Nexus Mods control ads for revenue income? A game publisher will upload an ad or video to the Nexus, and the Nexus staff will approve that ad. Then when the site goes to download a mod they can watch or see an ad which can capture clicks and impressions. That way you make money and return stats to outside game publishers. You can sell that up to, like, 5k clicks, bundles, or impressions etc. etc.

Robin: In short, no, because no one would use it. The advertising industry is abso-fucking-lutely horrible. Absolutely horrible. Itís an evil that unfortunately I have to be involved with for the time being, but if I could get rid of it I flipping well would tomorrow because they are Ė itís so backwards. Horrible to try to deal with, but if we had a manual advertising system then no one would use it. And if they did use it, it would be for pittance, and it wouldnít fund the site. So unfortunately itís a necessary evil, but if I can find any way to avoid that evil I will.

Paul: Whatís the best film youíve seen this year and why is it Independence Day?


Robin: I guess that was Ben! I assume that was Ben! That was an awful film! I absolutely hated that film. It was an insult to two hours of my life which I will never get back. Whatís the best film Iíve watched this year? I really liked that Captain America film. It was absolutely brilliant. I did watch The Big Short earlier on in the year and really enjoyed that. Yeah, Iím going to just give you that.

Robin: Actually, someone said Warcraft. I remember going into it thinking that it was going to be absolutely horrible. I came out thinking that it was really average. So if you think itís going to be awful and it turns out to be average, then itís good.

Paul: Iím going to ask a question. Whoís your favourite film star?

Robin: I donít really have one. I honestly donít. I love Brad Pitt films and if it has to be a woman I used to love Claire Forlani, but we never really see her anymore. So I donít know, I honestly donít know.

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Paul: You said you were going to try and spread out into the games and not stay just on mods. Can you explain this a bit more?


Robin: No.

Paul: Will the old chat ever be fixed?

Robin: No, it wonít because it uses really bad software from Invision Board who have decided that they probably donít ever want to update it. So the old chat is the old chat, itís going to stay the old chat and it wonít be updated unless they update it.

Paul: Can the redesign be an option, or will we just have to accept it?

Robin: You will accept it. We will be running it side by side for probably a couple of months. So youíll be able to switch between the old and the new pretty much with one click. And weíre hoping that obviously people will transition over quickly and learn the new way; learn the new system and realise that it is absolutely a hell of a lot better, which it is. And as much as people are gonna say that it isnít better I absolutely guarantee you it is and if you think it isnít then youíre a little bit silly.

But after those couple of months once weíre absolutely satisfied that the new design is working bug free the old design will be decommissioned. If youíre gonna ask why. Then the obvious reason is that maintaining two different forks of a web design is not efficient for a very small development team. And when we want to add new features we donít want to be cramming it into the old site which is already ridiculously bloated. So thatís a few good reasons.

Paul: Someoneís commented they never thought theyíd hear the man in the suit drop the f-bomb.


Robin: Fuckity fuck fuck fuck cunt!

Paul: What did you enjoy more then? Independence Day or Ghostbusters? And how do you rank the old ones?


Robin: I didnít watch Ghostbusters because I just knew Iíd be upset. I really like the original Independence Day and I really like the original Ghostbusters. Theyíre classics of the time. Theyíre obviously not brilliant films, but what makes them brilliant is how corny they are. The new films are just horribly insulting. And that kind of fits into what weíre seeing in American cinema in the moment which is itís two hours of non-stop explosions, action, no respite, no character development. Just non-stop action and itís just an insult to my brain.

Paul: Have you migrated to full devox architecture and with containerisation and micro services with a CDN download migration? I was hoping that it would be a signal that you are moving forward with a cloud based solution.

Robin: Iím just reaching for my gun because that made me want to kill myself. I honestly have no idea what youíre talking about because this kind of, like, fits in well with that I was saying earlier about hiring on people that can hit a technical level that I lost about five years ago and havenít ever found again because Iíve been too busy doing other sides of the business. I imagine if we asked Tom that heíd probably be able to give you a very good answer. But I actually have no clue what you said, so sorry I canít help you.

Paul: Weíll bring Tom into another one. Charmander, Squirtle, or Bulbasaur?


Robin: Charmander, I reckon.

Paul: What are some of your hobbies?

Robin: Video games. Yep, video games are massive. Board games come Ė oh, I donít actually know whether I prefer board games or video games. Obviously video games I can play every night whereas board games require I get friends over which isnít hard, but you donít normally get someone over every night to play board games. So board games and video games. I play a lot of board games. What else do I do Paul??? Do I do anything?

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Paul: Eat nice food?


Robin: Yeah, I do eat out a lot. Thatís true. I go to the cinema quite a bit although I donít watch crap films. YeahÖ

Paul: Itís basically board games and video games.


Robin: Yeah, it really is.

Paul: What is the meaning of cheese?

Robin: Cheddar.

Paul: Okay, and if you had to choose wine or cheese.


Robin: That is the worldís worst choice, because they go so well together. Donít, this is upsetting me, I would probablyÖ(deep sigh) ...but wine is my favourite drink as well...aah - I would pick cheese because Iím not a massive drinker. Iím not a casual drinker. Having said that, I did have a glass of wine with steak tonight, but thatís with steak. But I donít drink that much, and I eat a lot of cheese so, yeah, I would keep cheese.

Paul: What colour underpants are you wearing?

Robin: Letís check. Yeah I am wearing them today. Black.

Paul: Is the site update CSS based instead of sprite sheet based?


Robin: Yeah, weíre doing away with the image maps. They did my nut in something chronic, but they were so popular, say, about five or six years ago. So, yeah, CSS based, yeah, Paul, is it?

Paul: Yeah, totally

Paul: Nationality of South African. Thoughts?

Robin: I donít even know what that question is.

Paul: Somebody is South African. Your thoughts on South Africans.

Robin: (South African accent) Diplomatic immunity.

Paul: Can they have a Halo channel on the Nexus page since Halo 5 is coming out on Windows 10 in just a couple of days?

Robin: Yeah, but probably not. Halo Forge seems interesting should we say, but I think itís going the same way as SnapMap for Doom. So itís going to be hosted on its own servers. There isnít going to be much room for playing around. But the Halo communityís absolutely mental. The modding that they managed to get out of that game when there were no tools available is exemplary. Just absolutely brilliant.

I played Halo for the PC when it first came out. What was that Ė I was 18 at the time. So 12 years ago. And it was a brilliant game. Absolutely loved it. And I was absolutely staggered to find that people are still playing it now. Albeit heavily modded with their own web server browsers and stuff. But I would like to help out that community more if I can. Simply because they do such amazing work. The inherent problem is that a lot of the stuff they do isnít necessarily legal. And that obviously puts us into hot water being such a big site.

So, yeah, I would like to help and I will be looking into it, but thereís only so much I can do with this site.

Paul: What do you think of Game of Thrones?

Robin: I think itís brilliant. I think itís absolutely brilliant. I tried to read the books. I got about four books in and it just Ė it just went on and on and on and I - itís one of only books that I ever stopped reading because I got bored. But the TV series I absolutely love.

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Paul: How do you keep yourself motivated?

Robin: I think it helps working with people you actually like. It really helps, the fact that you can work from home once you get into the right sort of routine. I was the sort of guy when I was at university, or college, or high school, or secondary school that when it came to course work and things like that and when it came to revision for exams I canít cram it. I need to do an hour on, an hour off. And thatís kind of how I work as well. I work for an hour or two and then I play a game for an hour or two. I work for an hour or two and then I play a game for an hour or two. Or Iíd go out and do things. And that really works for me. A nine-to-five job Ė if I ever had to get a nine-to-five I might be screwed. But itís a lot easier to motivate yourself when you enjoy what you do, when you can play a lot of video games, when you can talk to quite a lot of cool people, when you can work with some people you enjoy working with even if they can be dicks sometimes. And, yeah, motivation isnít a problem for me.

Paul: Okay, what do you feel are the key changes for an effective go-to market strategy for Nexus as it moves into a stronger competition with major corporations a íla Bethesda?

Robin: Can you Ė just tell me where that was so I can read it because I lost my head.

Robin: Ah, Iíve got it, Iíve got itÖ

Robin: What do you feel are the key changesÖ I feel like this is an essay question. What do you feel are the key changes for an effective go-to market strategy for Nexus? I donít know what that is. Iím not going to lie, I did do a business study course and graduated, but I donít know what that is. As it moves into stronger competition with major corporations, reasonably Bethesda.net?

How I advertise and get my name out there? Itís a tough one, weíre obviously in a Ė as Iíve been saying on the forums, if the last generation Ė the last decade Ė was the decade of DLC, which is the decade where game developers decided to finally rinse players for all theyíre worth and give up on some sort of Ė valuing their players and just rinsing them, then this generation is gonna be the generation of UGC which is what theyíre calling it, which we all know as mods. UGC stands for User Generated Content.

Sites like Facebook, Myspace before that, and even Nexus Mods to a very big degree have proven that if you provide people with the correct tools then the users of a product can increase the value of a product almost infinitely Ė indefinitely. And they are now going to be clamouring to monetise that. Which is really only natural because itís a way for them to make money for doing very little in the grand scheme of things. They need to provide the tools. You guys do the rest.

That obviously presents a big barrier for a site like Nexus Mods which one, canít monetise legally and two, probably wouldnít monetise even if it could. I mean, I would like to monetise it. I would like to help out Mod authors as much as possible because I definitely think that is right to do so. It absolutely is right to do so. But I probably wouldnít do it on Nexus Mods so I probably would make another site for it and link it to the member database.

But how is the Nexus gonna do it? I definitely have my ideas. It definitely involves diversifying. It definitely involves focusing more on the indie game scene. It focuses on promoting what is good about open modding as opposed to closed modding which is what Steam workshop is. And ideally itís kind of what the role of our external community manager, which I was mentioning earlier, is going to be all about. About being an ambassador to the site on other boards to help us get the word out that Nexus Mods isnít just for Bethesda games and it isnít just for nude mods because at the end of the day only five percent of the mods on the site are adult content anyway. It isnít just strict moderating cause it hasnít been like that for five years now even though weíve still got that reputation.

So weíve definitely got some hurdles to climb. We know what those hurdles are. We got some ideas about how weíre gonna do it. But we probably wonít share too much right now in this first chat. Next?

Paul: Do you think the Bethesda game modding is so popular now because of the reused engine?

Robin: Oh, absolutely! I think it really helps Ė I was looking at it the other day because someone was being a dick in the comments on another website so I wanted to look at the stats. And there were ten thousand mods out for Skyrim before they even released the tool set. Now there is no way we would have had ten thousand mods out for Skyrim unless people already knew how to mod the engine.

And people cry out a lot for a new engine for the Bethesda games. They say theyíre being lazy and so on and so forth, but itís a, itís done in quantity Ė if they were to redo a game with a new engine then whoís to say it wouldnít end up being on IdTech6., or an engine which is a lot less moddable, or is only moddable in a way that Ė they much more directly control. If you think that they Ė theyíve been using a variation of the engine pretty much since Morrowind, if not Oblivion. Oblivion being ten years ago. Morrowind being fifteen years ago. They had absolutely no intention of monetising user made mods at the time nor do they have any intention of controlling it the way theyíre trying to control it now with Bethesda.net. If they go and make a new engine now you can be damn sure that theyíre going to be focusing a lot more on how they can control it. How they are gonna make sure that they direct mods in a certain way that suits them. And probably isnít for the greater good of what the modding community is now, which is a lot more free and open. So itís definitely a concern for me, and when people cry out for a new engine, I think itís one of those cases where ďbe careful what you wish forĒÖ

Paul: Okay, what is your absolute favourite movie?


Robin: I am an absolute sucker for Meet Joe Black. I absolutely love that film. I donít know why. I think I like things that handle life and death very well. Good film.

Paul: Okay, as consoles have come into play and competition from other sites, do you see more quality control of mods uploaded to the Nexus?

Robin: No. No, not really. Simply because itís not really our place to do quality control in that regard. Obviously weíll do quality control when it comes to viruses, mods that we know break the game, etc. etc. but my issue with quality control, especially on a free mod hosting site as opposed to a paid modding site is everyone starts somewhere. And Iím pretty sure most mod authors have made some pretty shit mods in their time and released them, or some mods that Ė when they look back they think ďoh my God, that was pretty crappyĒ and if we start trying to raise the bar with modding and only release mods and help mods that are of a certain standard and quality then you are raising the barrier to entry where there shouldnít be a barrier to entry. So itís important that we are free, open, and willing to accept every sort of mod and not be dicks about it basically.

Paul: Whatís your favourite cartoon?

Robin: Oh God, I havenít watched cartoons in a long time. I loved the X-Men cartoon though. Ooh. Ulysses! That was a great cartoon.

Paul: Not Archer?

Robin: No, Iím not really into Archer. As much as people try to liken me to Archer all the time. Iím really not into it.

Paul: If youíre one of the characters on the Red Dwarf, which one would you be?

Robin: That was a little bit before my time, Red Dwarf. Because heís the only one I can remember it would be Kryton. Iím pretty sure he was the robot with the weird hexagonal face.

Paul: Yeah. favourite console before 2006 and your favourite game for that console.

Robin: Obviously N64 and Golden Eye.

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Paul: Whatís your absolute favourite and absolute least favourite board game?


Robin: Itís got to be Game of Thrones, Paul. Paul and I play a lot of Game of Thrones when we meet up for board games with all of our friends and, it causes arguments. Itís brilliant because it lasts about three hours. Weíre normally drunk by the end of it. So when it gets to turn ten and everyone turns over their pieces and we realize we made a massive cock up, and, yeah, good times are had. Worst board game? To be honest, I donít play any shit board games, but Iím not really a fan of Monopoly anymore, so letís say Monopoly.

Paul: Have you played table top D&D before and would you be interested in playing a live D&D session if someone offered?


Robin: Iíve never played D&D. Iíve got a few friends that are playing D&D now, as well as friends that do it like the Star Wars RPG as well, and they seem like theyíre having fun. Mainly the reason why I havenít done it is because the people that do do it donít live anywhere near me. And Iím not going to drive three hours to play Star Wars RPG with people. So I probably would do it. Iíd give it a go. Iím not sure it would be my sort of thing, but Iíd be willing Ė Iíd be open to it.

Paul: Okay, have you ever made any mods yourself?

Robin: I did for Morrowind. I absolutely loved my ďBoots of Unblinding SpeedĒ because the ďBoots of Blinding SpeedĒ were a bit shit. Letís face it, because they made you blind. So, to be honest the problem with that was once I started making mods like that it was basically cheating and Iím the sort of guy that once you start cheating I canít stop in a game. So if I use God mode to get round a particular puzzle Ė which I cannot be assed to go through because I hate puzzles in video games Ė itís very hard for me to then turn off God mode again. So I have made mods. I try to stay clear of them because mods I make are the kind of quality life mods that I probably shouldnít use. So I tried my hand at No Manís Sky modding as well and that was ridiculous because I havenít used a hex editor since I was about fifteen. So, yeah, Iím not massive on modding myself. I donít really have much time for it and Iím a bit of a retard.

Paul: Has anyone at any time appreciated in a personal message or email to you saying what a great job you and the Nexus team do?


Robin: Thankfully we get quite a few of them and they outweigh the people calling me a cunt. So itís kind of quidsí in really. Yeah Ė it is nice to get those sort of emails. It does happen quite regularly: private messages, support tickets, those sorts of things. And a lot of people also feel the need to send something nice whenever I respond to something in their support ticket when they realise Iím manning a support desk. So, yeah we do get that quite a lot and itís very nice to get.

Paul: When does Nexus Mod Manager support for No Manís Sky come out?

Robin: <laughs> Who wrote that?

Paul: That was by Silent Mr. Dave.

Robin: It might be Obsidian writing for him. So weíve got a guy helping us along. Heís called ObsidianMinor. Heís doing a very good job. At the moment, weíve got pretty much everything we wanted to put into it, but the modding is changing so quickly that Ė we keep wanting to add more things to it, basically. Weíre getting a bit of feature creep, but weíre waiting on the ability to unpack and then repack files. Which someone else is working on so weíre kind of waiting on them at the moment. But itís being worked on. Itís been done pretty well. Iím quite happy with where itís going so yeah Ė yeah, weíll be hopefully not too long now because Iíd really like to get It out, as Iím sure Obsidian would and everyone else.

Paul: Years ago youíve talked of possibly making an adult Nexus for the questionable mods. Has anything changed?

Robin: Yeah, Iím not gonna do that. I canít remember what actually motivated me to want to do that. I think it was revolving around the Supporter image share. I was really not happy with what I was seeing in the image share on the site, which was basically just rule 34. It wasnít nice. It wasnít pretty and irrespective of whether we had an adult filter or not it was getting ridiculous. And I just didnít want to host it.

And I donít mind it Ė I donít mind if itís a bit like with the mods. Five percent of the mods we have are adult content. And adult content doesnít necessarily mean nudity. So Iím happy with the five percent ratio. Thatís good, thatís fine, thatís actually a minority. But the image share was actually a majority of what I would call porn. And not very nice porn either. And I just wasnít happy with it so I think thatís what sparked that conversation, but Iím now a lot more at peace with it so, no that wonít be happening anytime soon.

Paul: Do you think the quality of users has declined over the years as modding has gotten more popular? Were they always entitled and toxic?


Robin: Sorry mate, my mind went off into the wild. What was the question?

Paul: Do you think the quality of users has declined over the years as modern Ė bare with me a sec. Do you think the quality of users has declined over the years as modding has gotten more popular, or were they always entitled and toxic?

Robin: No, I donít think the quality has deteriorated. I just think thereís a lot more people now. I think if we were to put it as, say, a percentage of people I think itís the same percentage of people who cause the same amount of problems or lower the bar more than anything else. Itís just that when we first started with Morrowind there might have been fifty thousand people and now with Skyrim thereís five million people. So as far as percentages go thereís more people who are dicks, but thatís just because statically twenty-five percent of five million is a lot more than twenty-five percent of fifty thousand.

Paul: Whatís your favourite anime?


Robin: Oh God, I havenít watched an anime in years! What did I like back in the day? I absolutely loved all the flipping meccas. So, I loved Gundam Wing. I liked Rahxephon. I liked Ė I did watch Full Metal Alchemist, it wasnít great. What was the other one? That was Full Metal or something or other? I canít remember. The mecca ones I really liked. I wasnít a massive fan of the really popular mecca which I canít for the life of me remember now. Evangelion, thatís it. I kind of got a bit bored with anime once I got through my teenage years simply because the Japanese seem to have a fascination with having protagonists that are given extremely ridiculous powers they can save the world with, but they donít want to use their powers. And that just really pisses me off because I canít relate to it and if I had super powers I wouldnít be pussy about it and that annoys me. So, Japanese anime just kind of pisses me off a little bit.

Paul: Where do you see the site community in five years? I think you covered that briefly earlier, but Micalov just jumped on.

Robin: Yeah, we did cover that earlier, pretty much. Basically, to give you the short version it involves diversifying quite a lot more out of Bethesda. Diversifying not just to different games, but also diversifying what we offer. So I donít know what thatís going to entail just yet, but I have ideas. Iíve got lots of stuff in the pipeline which Iíd really like to tell you, but if I do then it all comes out and this isnít the right place to talk to you about it. So there are things that weíre working on, but Iím not going to talk about it right now.

Paul: Do you like No Manís Sky?

Robin: No.

Iíll give you a bit more on that actually. I kind of got ticked off because I wanted to just chill out and do some mining and on the very first planet I was on which was an acid planet which is always a fucking shit start. You know, you start mining something and within five seconds this bot comes along and starts shooting you. Itís not exactly the most chilled out environment for playing a game. So that kind of didnít win it over for me in the first five minutes. And then to find out that youíve been massively lied to, and it was a massive cash grab kind of plays into what really upsets me in the video game industry at the moment which is that Ė itís just absolutely ridiculous.

Game development companies have lost sight of the fact that players need to be entertained and donít want to be lied to when looking for a particular thing which doesnít seem to be fulfilled. So, yeah, No Manís Sky upset me.

Paul: Iíll go ask this one because this made me laugh. Marry, fuck and kill - DDProductions83, Hillary Clinton, or Trump.

Robin: Right. Iím sorry, Darren, but Iím looking at this from a logical point. Fuck Hillary because sheís a woman. Marry Trump because heís got a lot of money and I could use him to really further my goals, you know, in life. And that will involve having to kill you. So, DDProductions83 with the candlestick in the library.

Paul: What is your opinion of Tale of Two Wastelands? The banned mod that merges Fallout 3 and Fallout New Vegas?

Robin: What a brilliant mod. What a shame we canít host it, or couldnít host it. Iím not sure if thatís true anymore actually. Yeah, I canít remember there was two different mods that did that and one has been accepted now. I canít remember which one it is.

Paul: Will the Nexus Mod Manager ever support all the games on Nexus mods?

Robin: Oh, I hope so. That really is an aim. Thatís - you know, actually thatís a good answer for the five-year plan. We definitely want to be supporting as many games as possible. And weíre making changes to accommodate as many games as possible. I know that. And, yeah, we really want to make it to the point where when Ė you know Ė when weíve got a site thatís got more than thirty mods for it we just put support in because hopefully itís only going to take a day to add it anyway. So, yeah thatís definitely something.

Paul: Are you familiar with Agile and Scrum? And do you manage your Employees and Company following any guiding principles?


Robin: Iím assuming Agile and Scrum has something to do with coding. I remember you talking about Agile recently, Paul.

Paul: Yeah, we use the Agile method.

Robin: Okay, so we use Agile. I assume thatís because we like to be fast and on our feet and take one day at a time. I donít know.

Paul: It is.

Robin: Good. Iím glad Iím really on the ball with this one. And, what was the second part?

Paul: And do you manage your employees and company following any sort of principles?

Robin: Yes. Yeah, the principal is treat them like theyíre your friends and they get really upset. So treat them like shit and youíre golden. No! Well, actually, Paul, you can answer that one.

Paul: I love it, I met Robin and was best friendís with him before I joined the Nexus and I just joined in basically because I said I didnít like the look of the site and thought it looked shit. And Robin said do something about it then. So he brought me on, and Iíve loved it so far. And hope I continue to do so.

Robin: And how do you feel treated, Paul?

Paul: Oh youíre an absolute arse but erm, very relaxed. You take every day as it comes andÖ


Robin & Paul: (grumbled audio)

Robin: You get a little bit of banter. Quite a lot of us, we had a good meeting about four months ago over at my house and lots of alcohol was had and board games were played. And itís always nice to see the human side of the people youíre talking to via voice chat and text chat. And thereís some good banter. One of our Nexus Mod Manager programmers gets really upset because I never give him any positive encouragement. To be honest, itís because he always says somethingís going to take a week and it takes a month. So I donít understand why someone needs positive reinforcement with something like that. But, hey, Fabio hates it. Thereís another guy on the web development team, Tiziano, who always gets positive encouragement from me. So that fuels a nice bit of banter which I always like reading and fuelling myself. There isnít really an ethos that goes behind it. Iím not a good leader. Iím not a leader at all, but Iím the boss so at the end of the day they just have to do what I tell them to do. So.

Paul: Do you have any idea how old the youngest Ė how old the oldest Nexus users are? And what is the current average age?

Robin: Off the top of my head, no. I canít answer the youngest simply because if youíre younger than thirteen Ė which Iím sure weíve got some people younger than thirteen Ė then you shouldnít be on the site. And we do ban people if theyíre under thirteen. So I canít answer that one. But the old wise, I know weíve got some seventy-year-olds, and Iím not sure about any older, but Iím sure statistically with 11.6 million members weíve probably got an extremely diverse range with the eighteen to thirty-five being average.

Paul: Okay, and if things were different with you and you never created the Nexus and any prior sites what do you believe your life would be like instead, i.e. what would your career be now?


Robin: Iíd probably still be doing the website hosting with Krystal. I was a partner in that company and I had a twenty-five percent stake, so Iíd still be doing that. Krystalís doing really well as well, so before Nexus Mods, well, at the same time as Nexus Mods I also ran a video game company that was offering free website hosting in exchange for putting advertising on their site. And that was getting something like ninety million page views a month and that was back in 2007; 2006 Ė 2007. So letís just say I was doing more than okay before Nexus Mods took off and Nexus Mods isnít the only business I have my fingers in. Yeah that didnít come out right, but you know what I mean.

Paul: Will the Nexus redesign be done before 2047?


Robin: I hope so. Please let it end! Yes, it will be done before 2047. I just donít know when.

Paul: Do you enjoy watching rugby?


Robin: I absolutely do! We have a premiership team in Exeter, which is where I live. I probably go and see four or five games a year at Exeter. I donít really like Twickenham because itís an absolute ass to get into and ass to get out of, but I do like going to watch rugby. I prefer the internationals, but I think itís a superior sport to most other sports to be honest.

Paul: What are your thoughts on open source and do you have any plans for Nexus Mod Manager or any of your other software sites be on open source?

Robin: So Nexus Mod Manager is open source and has been from the very beginning. The mentality being that I personally think that mod authors should be more open with sharing their creations with other mod authors. And therefore it would be hypocritical to then create some software that facilitates modding which isnít open source as well. So, in a way we kind of had to make it open source, not that we didnít want to. Open source is brilliant. We wouldnít make the website open source for two reasons. One, security. Two, itís kind of a competition issue. But as far as Nexus Mod Manager being open source, abso-flippin-lutely and people have forked it and used it for their websites and we donít mind at all.

Paul: When is the IPO?

Robin: Never because I like owning the company 100 percent. If I had to answer to someone else I probably wouldnít be running the sites anymore.

Paul: Okay, you only got three minutesí left. Weíre getting there. If you could make a game, what kind of game would it be?


Robin: Thereís two types of games. I absolutely love multi-player games. Single player games arenít actually my forte. I know that might come as a shock to you considering the amount of single player games that we support on the site. But I play single player games for 50 hours to 100 hours and then I get bored and move on. Whereas multi-player games I think Iíve put about 300 hours into DOTA 2 and Iíll probably put about 300 Ė Iím sorry, 3,000 hours into DOTA 2 and probably a good 5,000 hours into the original DOTA. Iím playing Seven Days to Die with friends at the moment. Battlefield, I probably put a good 200 hours into each Battlefield iteration except Hardline since Battlefield II. So, multi-player game Iíd like to make, and Iíd also like to make a single player game which is completely open source, completely free, and completely open to modding and pay for it with a paid modding section.

Paul: What is your usual brand of cologne?

Robin: If I really have to wear it Iíd rather wear Cerruti 1881, or Iíll wear, whatís that one which is like the flipping French sailor? Jean Paul Gaultier.

Paul: <laughing> Sorry. Whatís your favourite beverage?

Robin: Wine. Red wine Ė red wine. It has to be a Malbec or a tempranillo.

Paul: Favourite cricket team?

Robin: Essex.

Paul: Will you give someone a job?


Robin: Depends what they do.

Paul: Do you work out?


Robin: No, I just eat well.

Paul: Do you watch Gamegrumps?

Robin: Whatís that?

Paul: I have no idea.

Robin: No.

Paul: Guess not. What time is it? Weíve got a few more questions. How tall are you?


Robin: Iím 5í10Ē and three quarters.

Paul: Rick and Morty, or Adventure Time?

Robin: Neither because I just donít watch cartoons anymore. Iím sorry.

Paul: Favourite colour?


Robin: Blue

Paul: Coffee or iced coffee?


Robin: Neither. I donít do caffeine.

Paul: Will you hire Darren for PR?


Robin: No, because I want my company to do well.

Paul: Will you explain the differences between biscuits and cookies?

Robin: Biscuits will go Ė oh, hang on a minute. I canít remember which way around it goes. Either biscuits go stale when left out and cookies go soggy. Or vice versa.

Paul: Do you need glasses?


Robin: No. I had my eyes tested only a week ago because I got a headache from being on the computer too much and they said I have perfect vision. Yay, yay!

Paul: Do you have hair?

Robin: Yes, I do. If you watch some of Darrenís ďGet to Know your Mod AuthorĒ - monthly things - and Iím on them and you can have a look at me.

Paul: Favourite Mod Author and why is it Gopher?


Robin: Because heís been good to me. Heís a nice guy.

Paul: Favourite Mod Author and why is it Faded Signal.


Robin: Because he is also a guest name model in the monthly chats and he seems a nice guy.

Paul: Which way did you vote in Brexit?


Robin: I voted Brexit because a bit of financial pain for what you think is right is the right thing to do.

Paul: Do you believe in aliens?


Robin: I do believe in aliens. I donít believe theyíre visiting our world, but I think statistically itís a definite that they are out there somewhere.

Paul: Iím just going to keep throwing these out there for a couple of seconds. Favourite mod show?

Robin: Gophers

Paul: What is love?

Robin: Baby donít hurt me!

Paul: How did the universe start?

Robin: Big Bang

Paul: Chocolate or vanilla?

Robin: Chocolate

Paul: Are you building a game and what is it about?


Robin: It involves rolling a ball around to try and complete a puzzle and get to the end of the map. Weíre gonna sell it for about seven dollars. I donít think itís going to do very well, but at the end of the day what else am I gonna do?

Paul: Monkey or a bear?

Robin: A bear!

Paul: Do you like Marmite

Robin: Absolutely! I love Marmite.

Paul: What was before the Big Bang?

Robin: Another universe.

Paul: And I think that will do.

Robin: Yay.

Paul: Howís your voice?

Robin: Absolutely fine. Iíve just been monotone for an hour.

Paul: Good job. Everyoneís saying good job. Well Terrorfox is and heís chatting for everybody. Oh God! Why is Darude Sandstorm your favourite song? Thatís from Tom.

Robin: Because itís so easy to dance to.

Paul: There you go. Last one. I canít wait for that to be your wedding song, Tom. Tom just had a baby and heís going to ask Laura to marry him soon, I hope.


Robin: Yeah, thatís what Iíve heard.

Paul: And everyone on Nexus is invited to his weddings. Weddings, plural.

Robin: To see the bastard! Bastard! Bastard!

Paul: Can we stop talking because Iíve got to type this all up!


Robin: No, letís go for another hour.

Paul: No, Iím getting the fuck off. I want to go to bed. Iím hungry as well. Weíre having Nandos.


Robin: Captain Monotone needs to talk more.

Paul: Well you can talk to the people. Iím going to go now so I can go eat Nandos.

Robin: I canít keep track of Ė I canít talk and read!

Paul: Yes, you can. Everyoneís saying goodbye anyway. They said that Robinís really boring and theyíre gonna leave.

Robin: I hate everyone. I hate them.

Paul: They want twenty-three, they want twenty-three more hours of AMA.


Robin: Oh, for charity.

Paul: No.

Robin: Yes.

Robin: I understand that I talk extremely boringly, but I have no intention of starting a YouTube channel for this very reason. But I thank you for coming along. Hopefully I answered enough of your questions and I think Ė I think it was a success. So we might be doing this more often and maybe getting some more modders on to do AMAís every now and again. I think that would be great. Thank you guys.

Paul: Alright, letís wrap this up. Yes, this is recorded, I think Daveís recording it. Iím going to type it up and Daveís actually going to post the recording, I believe. Good night everybody.


#2
RagamuffinSkullman

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This AMA was lots of fun. ;D

Also, I was the one who made the comment about the man in the suit dropping an f-bomb. I almost spit my drink all over the monitor. xDDD

Edited by RagamuffinSkullman, 07 October 2016 - 12:45 AM.


#3
VanScythe

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That was as enlightening as it was entertaining. I agree about more AMA's. I think it'd be awesome to get a more personal peek into what some of the various other modders and big heads are like.

#4
AlassinSane

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In response to post #42741450.


Spoiler

What he said.

#5
DJSHAFT69

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Just got to say a little thing to Robin.

Man, I remember you when you were about 14 years old and running the old Morrowind mod site. I must say you have come a long way and done things for the ES community I never thought possible. I don't get on Nexus much these days, but I am more and more impressed every time I can get the chance.

Huge props, kudos and fishy sticks and ale for all the years you've been doing this for all of us. We would not be where we are without all that you and the other Nexus crew have done for us.

I love these AMA segments, just to see how much you have changed and developed over the years.

CHEERS MATE!

Edited by DJSHAFT69, 28 September 2016 - 06:22 PM.


#6
TheTokenGeek

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In response to post #42788680.


Spoiler

That's a cracking comment, cheers... It's always nice to hear this kind of feedback, Robin is on holiday at the moment but am pretty sure he will be chuffed to read this.

:D

#7
ElRizzo

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Quite a lengthy read, but totally worth it ! :) I would also love to see more AMAs of the staff or modders (loved the "Get to know your mod author" series by Darren, sadly he quit modding and that series :/ )

Keep up the fantastic work, you guys are awesome ! :)

#8
[email protected]

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i tried to read all of this but i couldnt get through it. i was assuming this would be a legitimate q&a with real world questions like "how do you feel about the immigration crisis in europe?" or "how do you feel about the brexit vote?"

never in a million years would i have given a spit about his favorite cartoon...

ask the hard questions! dont give clinton questions!!!

#9
klingongal

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Quite interesting...sorry I wasn't there to ask lots of pointless and/or embarrassing questions. Thanks for taking the time to have this AMA and I do look forward to more in the future!

#10
Agnot2006

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Every time I try to download anything today it take me to the Browse Our File Database Page!

Edited by Agnot2006, 04 October 2016 - 05:05 PM.





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