I'm Robin from the Nexus sites and I'm the one who's been talking to Janus about this stuff. I had a word with Janus after noticing this thread and he said it was fine for me to come and answer any questions people might have and try and shrug off any "ZOMG they're monsters!!!" chat.
I enjoyed playing the original Mount & Blade, and I loved Warband A LOT once I found out I could "be my own king", in a way, but I never really took interest in the modding scene at that time due to other commitments, mainly university. I've finished university now, though, and find I've a lot more time to devote to various projects and, of course, gaming! I'm enjoying With Fire and Sword but, I won't lie, I think I prefer Warband right now. I'm hoping for a few WF&S mods to come out to change that :)
First of all I'm not looking to do a hostile takeover or anything like that! Many of the users in the Nexus community have expressed a desire for me to create a Nexus site for the Mount & Blade series; they've been asking me for years but as I said I haven't dabbled too much in the M&B modding community so far, and I never make a site for a game that I'm not actually playing extensively and enjoying. A site will never succeed and give the community the support they deserve if you don't actually care about it.
Naturally the first person I went to speak to was Janus, the go to person for lots of stuff in this community. I was really impressed with his work and also with TaleWorlds, who have been supporting the Repository with the server for the site. It's brilliant to see a game developer care that much about their modding community. I wish other developers were the same.
We've spoken about a few things but haven't spoken much, so there isn't masses of stuff going on behind your backs or anything. One thing mentioned was a merger and collaboration. I say collaboration because it would be my absolute hope that Janus would carry on being central to the site and maybe even help develop the functionality of the site(s). I know he has a lot of experience in web programming and I'd love to work with him.
I'm going to cover a few points that have been brought up in this thread in a bulleted list for easy reference:
- Ads. The Nexus does have ads.
I've told Janus that the video ads (that play before downloading a file) would not be on any Nexus site for M&B. The video ads are currently on the others sites because Skyrim is on the horizon and it's going to need it's own servers. I'm also saving up for a couple more file servers in some different locations around the world for better download speeds and redundancy. All of this costs money! If I'm going to do things I like to do it right. I was a partner in a major UK web host for many years and I get great rates from these folks now; so the servers are powerful and well maintained, I'm paying for an enterprise level backup solution so if the worst did happen everything would be safe, and so on.
- You need to register to download files over 2MB. There's two reasons for this; one negative, one positive.
The negative is that requiring registration is a good security feature; it allows me to properly stop file/bandwidth leeching and route out malicious users of the system very easily. I've had people deliberately download the same 300MB files thousands of times to try and bring down my bandwidth, I've had people use malicious download managers that try to download files using 500 sessions (which is tantamount to DoS'ing the server!) and having to be logged in really does help to prevent this sort of stuff.
The positive is that it encourages interaction in the community and enables various features that wouldn't be possible without the user being logged in. For example all your download history is saved, so if you reinstall one of your games a year later you can look back and see which mods you downloaded and endorsed. It means they're probably worth downloading and installing again!
- There is a file size limit of 300MB, but no limit on how many files you can upload for an individual file entry. I also coded a multipart system 6 months ago that lets you split your large files in to multipart files using WinRAR or 7zip. Once uploaded all the parts will be grouped together for easy downloading and unzipping. It's generally something that the dial-up users prefer; nothing more annoying than spending 24 hours downloading 1GB files only for your connection to drop and having to start over. Same with uploading.
It's something I can look at if it's a big deal but I don't think I've had any feedback on that particular issue for a long time now.
- I noticed someone mentioned the search system on the Nexus. In case you hadn't noticed we do have an advanced search system* as well as a tagging system complete with a tag search and tag filters in file categories for a better drill-down of what you are looking for. It's actually something a lot of users appreciate on the Nexus. *I'd link to them but I haven't been active enough on these forums to post links yet :(
2. You can actually get help from Janus, if necessary.
3. Updating files and performing maintenance is a cinch.
4. No barriers to entry for new files, once you're a trusted user; no lengthy waiting period.
5. Good integration with community.
6. Small files have hardly any wait time.
7. No barriers to entry for newbies.
All of this applies to the Nexus too :)
There's no wait time on file uploads; as soon as you upload a file it's live for others to use (though you can set it hidden if you don't want anyone seeing it until you're ready). And anyone who is registered can upload a file. Similarly you can manage every aspect of your file entry yourself, without having to get help or approval from an admin or moderator. No waiting around for approval. Instant uploads, instant edits, instant deletes. It was one of my main driving aims when I coded the Nexus; no admin bottlenecks. You've spent months making your masterpiece and you don't want to have to wait 24 hours for an admin to click a button to make it live!
- We're not invisible corporate nobodies (when I say "we" I mean myself and the moderation team) that you never see or hear from in the community. Indeed any modder who wants my MSN or AIM can have it if they want. Lots of people add me and get in contact when they have questions or concerns :)
We've all been active in the community for years, and still are. All the moderation team are modders themselves. They know how to mod, they know the good, the bad, and the ugly and they know what it is to be a mod author. Similarly any M&B Nexus site would be staffed by people from this community, not a load of people you've never seen before. And I'm hoping Janus would be at the forefront of that, if he wanted to be.
- All of the Nexus is custom-coded by me. The code is absolutely, no doubt about it, bona fide terrible (!!), but it works. And it works well. What this means is that when people come to me and say "I think you need to change this" or "I think you should add that" then I can literally update the code, upload it and there it is. No waiting around for some bureaucratic chain of command to give me the go ahead, taking months in the process; no waiting for the coder or designer to finish whatever other project they're working on. It's just me.
I'm not using some off-the-shelf software I don't understand and can't modify or improve, it's mine. It means the Nexus is constantly being updated and improved based on feedback from users and mod authors within the community. It's an extremely important aspect of the sites for me.
The Repository is a good site. It does exactly what it sets out to do and does it well. However it's no frills; it's plain and it's simple. And some people like that and I wouldn't begrudge them it.
The Nexus is a community in and of itself, 2.2 million members and counting (2,000 new members a day). I don't want the sites to be no frills, I want frills. Lots of frills! I want to promote the games and the mods people spend so much time making. I want top lists and hot files, files of the month and to promote the new up-and-coming content. I want to run modding competitions and spread the word of how awesome modding is like a crazed evangelical! But most of all I want sites that are extremely functional for everybody involved. Indeed the sites are so functional that it's one of the biggest criticisms I read about the sites, that they've just got too many options for mod authors! I'd argue that the sites can be as simple or as complex as you want them to be :)
I'm here if you have any questions you want to ask me, but I'll try and stay out of it unless asked anything or unless I see anything that isn't true.
I hope I haven't come off like some bumbling, rambling idiot!