Just two mods for you in this video, but they are definately worth checking out.
Thumbnail image for this video is 'Spriggan Gone Evil' courtesy of andreamkall.
Download links for reviewed mods:
Armor of Intrigue
Mod preview videos:
Skylight 11 (Skyrim Mod Preview) : Spell Crafting for Skyrim
Skylight 12 (Skyrim Mod Preview) : SkyUI v4
I’m about ready to throw a load of paper in the air, scream from my balcony window, set fire to some underwear and go on holiday to sunny Mexico for a couple of weeks and pretend I don’t run these sites. Dark0ne? Nope, no idea who that is (and what a stupid name). Don’t worry, I won’t though. The girl can’t get time off work and I promised I’d house someone next weekend. Alright, alright, I wouldn’t do that to you.
So what’s going on at the moment? SHITE, that’s what! Where to start? Since our failed attempt at setting up the MySQL Cluster last Thursday and Friday we reverted back to our old setup. Naturally the weekend was bad, as they have been for the past month or two, then during last week things went back to being fine, and then, again, this weekend, it was awful. 502 errors, 504 errors, I’m sure you know what I’m talking about. I’ve had enough of that, I’m sure you have too. It may be frustrating for you, it’s freaking debilitating for me.
There’s various issues right now that have reared their ugly head and require immediate remedying. Remember when Skyrim first came out and we were struggling under all the load? The sheer amount of people wanting mods was crushing us. Back then we were getting around 6 million page views a day. If you do the math that’s around 69 page views a second. Typically traffic is meant to go down over 20 months, but nope, we’re still pushing around 5.2 million page views a day, or 60 page views a second. Of course, we’ve made loads of optimisations since those days, but there’s also a big difference between back then and right now; back then our database was tiny. It didn’t have 30,000 files, or 300 million downloads in the database. Searching a database of 300 million rows for your user ID is, naturally, going to take a lot longer than searching a database of 1 million rows for the same user ID. So while traffic has gone down, slightly, our database has grown by many, many, MANY orders of magnitude which has slowed things down. It’s made our jobs difficult as we constantly work between new features, tweaking the servers, the new cluster setup and what not. Frankly, it’s a pissing nightmare and our jobs right now are most definitely not fun. They haven’t been for quite some time.
This is what the Cluster setup was meant to fix for us not only by providing us with a hell of a lot more power for us to make use of but to also make the concept of increasing that power whenever needed that much easier. Instead of trying to eek out every last drop of performance from the servers with config/ini tweaks we could simply buy a new server, tack it on to our cluster and hey presto, we just increased the power available to us by X amount, quickly, easily, efficiently, freeing up time for us to work on making the sites better, rather than simply making the sites work.
I’ve been on the lookout for someone who knows what they’re doing to help us out with our cluster setup. Unfortunately the MySQL Cluster experts, certified in the job, cost an astronomical amount of money to hire on. I got quoted $200/hour from 3 separate companies. If you consider it takes around 12 hours to import our forum database in to the cluster, that’s $2,400 just to do that one simple task. I imagine it’ll need at least 50-60 hours spent on it, and $10,000 is quite an expense. Even then there’s no guarantee it will be completed within that timeframe and I can’t write a blank cheque. The cluster is our salvation and our future, we just need it to work!
Today Skyrim Nexus was absolutely awful, 502 and 504 errors galore. The reason? One of our software licenses decided to think it had expired, when it hadn’t (due to expire in 2014) and brought down the server with it. cpnginx, take a bow, you’re freaking badly made! We’ve got that fixed again and now we’re diagnosing yet another issue.
Our database isn’t the only thing that has grown in size over the past 2 years; the number of people using the Nexus Mod Manager has as well. We’ve just passed the 2 million unique users mark for NMM, and, similar to issues we had 6 months or so back, we’re having to tweak things again to be able to cope with the demand. We’ve actually turned off the NMM web services this evening to run some tests. Getting a “file does not exist” or “server unreachable” error when trying to download through NMM? Sorry, that’s us. Also, sorry we can’t give you a better error message than “file does not exist” when, actually, it does exist, the services are just down. That’s just stupid. I’ll get that put in to the next version of NMM so that when we take down the services for whatever reason you’re informed properly instead of thinking something is actually broken and come to the forums looking for blood. We’ve found that turning off the NMM services makes Skyrim Nexus more than good to browse; I was able to click through 20 search result pages in a minute, a freaking enigma in this Nexus day and age. If we turn the services back on everything slows down to a crawl again. Safe to say NMM is causing problems for the sites, so we’ll be looking into that as soon as possible as well. I’m going to leave the NMM services off until we go to sleep tonight in a couple of hours time. Browse Skyrim Nexus, isn’t it better? Isn’t it MUCH BETTER? That’s what we want it to be like all the time.
And finally I received some “good news” last week, depending on how you want to view it. When our file servers were hacked a few months ago and some downloads were serving malware instead of mods we put in extensive work to not only “harden” the servers but add a ridiculous amount of monitoring to the servers. If you so much as look at our servers in a funny way we’ll be notified about everything we can possibly know about you. NSA, eat your heart out. A couple of weeks ago we were made aware of some breaches to two of our servers again. We were notified automatically and immediately about the breach and took the servers down within 5 minutes of finding out. We spent a ridiculous amount of time trying to work out how the hacker(s) had gained access to our servers. When we exhausted every option we got in contact with the provider for the servers. Turns out we wasted about 100 hours of our time as the breach was in their systems, and not ours. I cannot tell you much about the topic as it’s under investigation with the FBI, but the attack is thought to originate from the Ukraine and it was specifically targeted at the Nexus and one other site/network at the provider. This, frankly, was a relief for us. Not because we were hacked, of course, but because it wasn’t “our fault”. There was nothing we could have done, or added to the servers, to prevent this attack other than not use this ISP altogether. This ISP has been good to us over many years, we had no reason to doubt their competence and they are a major international player on the world stage. The fact the hacks came through this ISP have meant we can sit back and let them stretch the full force of their contacts at the FBI and local crime authorities, rather than us trying to flex our petty influence. This tells me a couple of things: (1) these people targeted us specifically but (2) they couldn’t hack our servers, so they instead hacked our ISP instead to get to us (3) we know when something bad has happened and can act very quickly to prevent anything reaching you (4) our ISP acts fast to rectify the problem on their end. It’s not exactly a happy story, but it was a relief for me at least.
Before I sign off let me just say this. We know there are problems with the performance on the site. It’s very hard to miss. I appreciate all the people letting me know about the problems through various mediums; the forums, support tickets, email, etc.. A few people get pissed off that I don’t respond every day to the posts on the forums on the topic. The inherent problem is that when I respond, or even make a news post like this one, it gets buried within 5 posts and you get Joe Blogs coming along who couldn’t be bothered to check the news or read all the posts in the thread asking the exact same question for the exact same problem, normally across 5 or 6 different threads. This is annoying, and if I spent my time responding to every single post like this I’d have no time for anything else. So understand I most definitely know about these issues and silence from me doesn’t mean I’m disinterested, silence means we know about the problem, we’re working to fix it, and I’ll let you know as soon as I know more about the problem myself.
PS. You CAN still use NMM even without being able to login. Click the "Offline" button and you have access to all your mods. You can even install mods, you just need to use the manual approach (and NMM supports dragging and dropping).
ENB mods have been around since the start of Skyrim and yet several people have not tried them because they either don't know what they do, or are nervous about installing them. So I have started a new video series aimed at exploring the world of Skyrim ENB mods. In this, the first video of the series, I look at a popular classic, 'Sharpshooters Extreme Graphics ENB', and discuss what you get, and the price you pay to get it.
For an overview of the aims of this series see this video.
Watch the installation video for this mod here.
Download link for mod:
Sharpshooters Extreme Graphics ENB
The SkyUI mod may be the most endorsed mod in Nexus history, but they keep on making it better. Here is a quick preview of a new feature that is coming soon in version four.
Thumbnail is 'Adventuring' courtesy of andreamkill.
Download link for mod:
After 2 days and no sleep (Axel has been up since the early hours of Thursday morning), we’re back to fully operational. With a heavy heart I also have to report that we couldn’t get our clustering setup to work properly. While the past 2 days of limited service haven’t been for nothing as we’ve learnt that we can’t do it without professional help it does mean that we’re still running on the old setup which is disheartening to say the least.
Things should be back up and operational again (as though nothing has changed), and while I’m sorry for the downtime and inconvenience caused I’m sure you can understand our wish to try and attempt doing this on our own rather than forking out the thousands of pounds that will now be necessary to get this looked into by a professional database consultant on our behalf.
We tried and we failed so now we have to move on and hope that we can rely on some certified engineers to do the work for us.
Thanks, as always, for your patience during this time.
It seems like an age ago that I was here writing about our plans for stability through server clustering. It was a long time ago, a much longer time than I was anticipating or hoping, but we’re as ready as we’ll ever be to roll it out.
As a part of the original announcement I did say that we’d probably have some substantial downtime as we moved the site databases over to our new architecture. That downtime (perhaps one of a few planned downtimes) will be tomorrow. All day tomorrow in fact.
All is not lost, however. It’s not going to be a total downtime of all the sites, but rather this downtime will simply be for the forums. You might now be saying “ooooh that’s fine, I don’t use the forums”. You probably do use the forums, you just don’t know it, as the forums are used for file commenting, new user registrations and uploading new mods to the site. So during this downtime not only will you not be able to use the forums themselves, but you won’t be able to post new comments/topics, add new mods to any Nexus site or create a new account. You will still be able to browse the Nexus sites for mods and download as normal.
We’re expecting this downtime to start around about 10am GMT tomorrow and last all day, and then we’ll likely be spending most of Friday fixing problems that might arise and tweaking everything for performance. So it could be a rocky few days coming up, but the long term benefits should outweigh the short-term inconveniences.
Once the forums are working on the cluster we’ll be moving the larger Nexus sites over. Our smaller sites are already using the cluster (anything with less files than Dragon Age/Fallout 3). These sites might require some downtime but we’ll inform you before any work is scheduled to start.
Skyrim Mod Sanctuary 68 : Throwing Weapons, Gladiator Armor - Spartacus, and New Animation - Power Thrust
Ever wanted to throw weapons, fight like an infamous gladiator or just stab people viciously with a pointy thing? This video might well be for you.
Thumbnail image for this video is "Dragon in the Mist" courtesy of symplexity.
Download links for reviewed mods:
Throwing Weapons - Death From Afar
Throwing Weapons Redux - Beta
Gladiator Armor - Spartacus
New Animation - Power Thrust
Mod preview videos:
Skyrim Heart Rate
One of the most customizable armor mods ever made, a great selection of weapons, and a mod that will help immerse yourself in the game.
Thumbnail image for this video is courtesy of ZeroKing.
Download links for reviewed mods:
Warrior Within Swords
Mod preview videos:
Imaginator - MCMenu
Sound Propagation and Footsteps Sounds Overhaul
We came across a bug today that meant when users downloaded files through NMM the download was not being counted as a “Unique download” but it did add to the “Total downloads” counter. For those who don’t know, unique downloads are counted once per user, per file, per page. So if you download the same file 10 times it adds 10 to the total downloads counter but only 1 to the unique downloads counter. It’s a more accurate way of seeing the true number of unique individuals who have downloaded your files.
We’ve been able to run a script to recount all the unique download counters and I think some of you will be pleasantly surprised how high your unique download counters have jumped (I’ve seen some that have doubled, or even tripled, in count).
This bug only affected files with NMM enabled and those who downloaded the files through NMM.
CDProjektRed committed to releasing a powerful toolkit for The Witcher 2 some time ago and it’s been in a closed beta for many months now, but today the lid is off and the kit is out there for everyone to use.
It’s really exciting for a great game like The Witcher 2 and it’s modding community to be strongly supported by the developers, and it’s a great breath of fresh air for a triple A game developer to care so much about it, and it bodes really well for The Witcher 3. That’s why I care about supporting CDProjekt as much as possible in whatever way I can and getting the word out there to any of you who might be interested; The Witcher 2 modding just got a whole lot better.
There are already a lot of mods available on our Witcher Nexus site for you to download and use. This release of the Redkit will open the modding doors to much wider modding possibilities including epic quest lines, new locations and everything in between so keep your eyes peeled as many mod authors in the closed beta have been working on some great projects for many months now. I’m sure we’ll be hearing from them in due course.
In the coming months as we work towards our goal of supporting mods for all games we will be splitting any sites that have more than 1 game supported (for example Witcher Nexus, which supports TW1 and TW2) into separate sites for each game. This should help increase ease of use for people looking for specific mods for specific games.
We’ve also been working behind the scenes to make NMM compatible with the new Witcher 2 mods that will have been created by the Redkit. While we’re confident we’ve got it right we’re going to wait a day or two until we can test a few of the new creations uploaded to the site before we give it the all clear and release that functionality to you. If you’re a mod author wondering how you should package up your files to work in NMM I’m told all you need to do is place your files in the root of the archive you create, e.g. don’t create a folder for your mod, like placing all your files in a folder called “My first mod”. Just put it all in the root directory.
To download the Redkit and find all the information you need on how to get started with it head on over to the Redkit site CDProjekt have setup.
In the meantime you can take a look at the trailer CDProjekt released for the Redkit, with perhaps the most high-octane music I’ve ever heard used to show case mod tools!
Jump to page