Nova 101

This guide isn’t really a guide, but an adapted version of the panel we gave during the Khitomer event in February ‘19. I thought it might be useful so I changed it into a guide. A lot of the subjects in this guide will be changed into a guide over time.

 We want to show you some amazing things that could improve your website and make things easier for you and your crew. We want to show you examples of what is possible with Nova that you probably didn’t know it could. If you want to know more about something let us know. We plan on writing ‘how to do’ guides so you can do these things yourself.

First, we’d like to show you some sections of Nova everyone is familiar with, but you probably aren’t using to its full potential. What we’ll show you now are ideas how you can improve you Nova website. 

Adding ranks and skins:

Most of us have added a new skin to our sites, which is fairly easy. We upload it to our application/views directory. However, with Nova 2 an extra step was added. Now, after you upload, you need to go to the skin catalog in your admin control panel.

Now, most times Nova will detect the new skin folder and give you the option to install it here. But, what do you do if it doesn’t? All you need to do is hit add skin. You put in the directory name then just add the sections and you’re done.

Ranks are just as easy. They are managed in the rank catalog. When you upload them, they need to be put into the ds9/ranks folder. In that folder you can have them in separate folders to help keep sets separate. After that go to your rank catalog and add the set.

Adding a new rank to your existing set you need to make sure you start at 0. For example, if I add a Cardassian Admiral I’d put the name, the rank number [ie 13 for this additional set] and set the ID number as 0. The system selects the image sample for each one-command, ops, etc-by using the image ID’d as 0.


Most CO’s that use Nova as their simming website know the manifest feature. I want to give you some ideas what you can do with the manifest. 

The first image is of my own sim. Many of you will recognize this screen because it’s similar to most other websites. Even though we have 6 different manifests. Below that we have a simple explanation about it. Langley Station has several different sections and to keep that all organized we decided to work with many different manifests. One for each part of the station. I’ve went with text only, but as my next example will show you can add way more to this view. 

This is the Merlin’s manifest. They added images for each different manifest, but also added an explanation of the different symbol they use on the manifest. This field allows for you to add coding so you can add images, links or a combination of those with text. 

Another neat modification you can do to the manifest is make custom symbols for PC/NPC/PNPC and LOA/ELOA. As you can see on both the manifest images. 


The next thing we really just wanted to touch on is the specs. while we all know how to add the specs for our sim, however, with nova you can add more than just the single specs for the ship.


The wiki section of Nova. Hated by some, loved by other, and some even ignore it. IF you know how to use it, it offers a great way to store all that extra information about you simming environment that doesn’t fit in the other sections of Nova. There would probably be enough material to teach about the wiki to fill a panel on its own, so I’m just going to show you different way of doing your wiki. Starting with the main page. 

These images show 4 different option of doing the main page of your wiki. You can choose a text only list of the pages divided in different sections (like Langley). You can do text and add a few images (or in case of the Fawkes link images). You can do different lists and put a image as a header for each subject. (like the Merlin) Or you can do images only, leading each image to a category. (Like the Alexander). Important to remember is that you have the option to use coding in your main page, which gives you a lot of options to create a page that works for your sim. That is also the case with the wiki pages itself. Below a few images of the wiki of Langley. 

You can use images in your page, lists (ordered or unordered), different header sizes and use bold, cursive and other text decorations. 

Mission Groups:

The next thing we want to look at are mission groups. We all do the missions however with mission groups you can organize missions into one place. The thing I’ve seen done is organizing them into seasons. From a visitor point of view this makes looking over the missions a bit easier.


Everyone is familiar with this deck listing. With a row for each deck and everything that is on that deck in a row. 

Then there is this way of doing you deck listing. Still per deck, but this time instead of everything in a row they have chosen put the items in a list. Obviously, this won’t work when you have a huge ship. Another thing you could add to your decklisting is make each item (or just some) clickable and link it directly to the tour item or wiki page. So that if someone is browsing the decklisting and they want more information about a item, they only have to click to read more about that item. 

Now there are those sims who are just huge. A decklisting in the style of the images before is almost impossible. I had this issue with Langley when we got started. How to create a decklisting that is easy to overview. And I’ve come up with the following. 

Instead of decks, I choose to go by sections of the station. And list the different decks or tiers per section. This is easier to navigate and once I get the tours finished, I will link the items to the specific tour item.

There is also another option I’ve once seen done (but couldn’t find a print screen of). That simulation had created a decklisting with a map included. It was a small ship with only a couple of decks but it looked really neat. 

Access Roles:

Access roles are probably the most useful thing in Nova. They offer a way to give different accesses to different people so they can help with different parts of the site. You could have a group that admins the wiki for example.

The above just is to show a few of the possible options. For me personally I give my department heads power user access, which allows them to help with admitting basic parts of the site and some logs.

Bio form:

Many are probably aware you can add bio fields to your bio form, or simply change the name of an existing one. But you can also create an entire new tab with multiple fields.

I’ve added a tab for station data. Security and Duty level are dropdown fields. There are a lot of option for you to expand the information on the bio page. Same goes for other sections of Nova. With most of the forms you can add your own fields.


The metadata is what shows up when you post a link, it usually says something about anodyne. This can help you set your sim apart by just having a quick blurb in there. The following is from the Merlin’s nova.php file. What you’ll see is a blurb about the sim [what shows when you paste a link in discord] as well as search engine terms.

Part 2 of this guide:

Below a list of some great mods created by some amazing people that will make your site easier to navigate around, easier for members to find stuff, or just makes it look even better. 

  1. PNPC Icons
  2. Rank color code
  3. Ship/Mission status
  4. Awards/rank pip in bio
  5. From PL to OOC Discussion
  6. Crew character pictures on manifest
  7. Sort by Timeline
  8. Info box
  9. CKEditor



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