Nova is a popular website and role-playing platform, especially among Star Trek simulations, designed by Anondyne Productions. Nova manages your simulation's background information (e.g. starship specifications), crew data (e.g. manifests, bios), and creative content (e.g. posts); it provides interactive tools for game managers and players. For example, players can access the website through their own individual accounts and update their characters' biographies, write mission posts, personal logs, and news items, as well as send messages to crew mates.
This series of articles is a tutorial for Sixth Fleet players and game managers on how to use Nova.
- 1 Why Nova?
- 2 Simulations using Nova
- 3 Resources
- 4 Common Nova features
- 4.1 Navigation
- 4.2 Basic pages
- 4.3 Joining
- 4.4 Character-related pages
- 4.5 Missions, posts, etc.
- 4.6 Simulation detail pages
Role-playing should be fun and easy, but many aspiring game managers have realized that their website skills are too weak to design an attractive website that will hold potential recruits' attention. Moreover, once the website is up and running, the game manager has to spend hours posting and maintaining character biographies. To top it all off, the game itself operates on an email list that isn't associated with the website at all.
The nice people at Anodyne Productions decided to build a platform to make website management a little bit easier. Nova provides tools:
- The website comes with sleek skins.
- More advanced web developers can customize the website's look.
- Players have their own accounts and can manage their own character biographies.
- Players write posts, logs, and news items directly into the website.
- The website stores posts, logs, and news, and emails new content to the crew.
- And much more...
Simulations using Nova
Sixth Fleet simulations using the Nova platform include:
Common Nova features
Nova has three navigation tools.
- The main navigation menu is a horizontal menu bar usually situated below the main banner. It contains links to several critical pages, like the manifest.
- Each page has a vertical sub-navigation menu along the right margin, below the main menu. These menus contain links to related pages.
- Once loged in, players may have access to a dashboard that drops down from the top of the screen. The dashboard gives users quick access to various features.
The main page displays the name of the simulation and an introduction. In the example below, the introduction sets the theme of the simulation. Some simulations display latest news, mission posts, and personal logs on this page.
Nova's contact page is a simple form that emails your message to the game manager. You must usually include a name, email address, subject, and message.
Like most RPG websites, Nova websites have a credits page. The credits often include credits for the Nova platform itself, plus additional credits specific to the simulation.
The rules page is simply a text page outlining the rules of the game.
The applicant must provide a name, email address, password, and date of birth to create an account. Accounts are specific to the website. Players will need to create additional accounts if joining other simulations operating on a different instance of Nova.
The applicant must also provide the name of their character and the requested position. S/he should also provide as much information about the character as possible. The character info tab of the join form is highly customizable per sim, but it usually covers the basic character bio prompts.
Finally, the applicant clicks submit to send their request to the game manager.
The most fundamental page on any Star Trek simulation website is the crew manifest. Like any other sim website, Nova's manifest displays the character list with ranks, positions, and bio links.
Nova supports multiple manifests. For example, the USS Pegasus website has three manifests: USS Pegasus, Kovak Nor, and Miscellaneous. This allows the Pegasus to display characters stationed on its base of operations Kovak Nor and other miscellaneous characters. Some RPGs operate multiple simulations from a single instance of Nova with each sim having its own manifest.
Nova also provides filter options to help you navigate the various types of characters.
Select the Starfleet badge to the right of a character name to view his/her character page.
A character page is a traditional character biography enhanced. The page includes:
- A picture of the character, if one is available
- Links to the character's mission posts, personal logs, and awards
- Stats on the character's mission posts, personal logs, and news items
- The date and time of the character's last post
- The character's name, positions, and rank
- The character's biography
Missions, posts, etc.
Traditional PBeM RPGs use an email list to distribute mission posts, personal logs, out of character news, etc. YahooGroups and similar email list providers don't offer tools to organize and archive emails by mission. The Nova platform uses "Missions" to collect mission posts. The missions page displays current, upcoming, and completed missions. You can drill down into missions to see a description, posts, and a summary.
From the list of posts, you can select individual posts to read. To find out how to write a post, go to Help:Nova for players.
Some stories cross missions. Mission groups allows game managers to link missions. Missions may be linked because they occurred within a certain time period or because a plot threads the missions together, etc. Mission groups have descriptions, they can be part of other mission groups, and they link to various mission pages.
How many episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation started "Captains Log, Stardate..."? Sometimes, players need to express their character's thoughts and feelings in the first person. The personal log provides this venue.
On the personal logs page, select the title link to read a log. Logs are not specific to a mission. To find out how to write a log, go to Help:Nova for players.
Nova's news feature allows players to share out of character updates with the rest of the crew.
On the news page, use the category links at the top of the page to filter the items by category. Select the title link to read an item. To find out how to write a news item, go to Help:Nova for players.
Nova allows you to search mission posts, personal logs, news items, and wiki articles using the search page. Fill out the search form to use.
Since Nova manages players, characters, posts, etc., it's able to gather statistics.
Simulation detail pages
Many game managers like to build a rich gameplay environment with lots of details about the ship and universe. Nova helps game managers organize this information for the crew.
Starships and starbases have technical specifications with which its crew become intimately familiar. The specifications page allows game managers to post the specs for one ore more starships and starbases. The forms are customizable and may change from sim to sim. They may also include an image gallery, and this is often a good place for a MSD-style image.
Knowing where things are on the starship or starbase helps the crew write an internally consistent story and develop the setting over time. The deck listing page allows the game manager to record the locations of all of the ship's important features.
Select a link along the top of the screen to jump to the corresponding entry on the page.
Some players are visual people and like to use pictures to visualize what their characters are doing. Game managers can post descriptions and pictures of various areas of the starship or starbase on the tour page.
Departments and positions
The departments and positions page provides descriptions of each department on the starship or starbase. Select the show positions link to see the crew positions associated with that department.
Chain of command
The chain of command page displays characters in order of authority aboard the starship or starbase. Since most simulations don't maintain a complicated out-of-character chain of command beyond game manager and assistant game manager (and perhaps second assistant game manager), the chain of command page is often a reference tool for players when writing posts that may rely on the chain of command.
The crew awards page lists the awards that a crew member could receive with a description. Select the details link to view a list of characters that have earned the award.
The wiki button on the main navigation menu typically links out to a separate wiki page. In Sixth Fleet, this link typically points to a page within Memory Zeta.