1. Getting Started
  2. Meet Nova

Getting Started

Meet Nova

An open-source content management system designed for managing and playing online text-based role-playing games.


Step-by-step guide to installing Nova on your server.

Core concepts

Learn about Nova and how to work with it.


Extend Nova with third-party or your own MODs.


Learn to skin Nova's design to fit your game.

Nova is a custom content management system that was designed from the ground up to help you manage and play online text-based role-playing games. It comes with all of the tools you need to manage your game and the flexibility to add to it as you need.

When it comes to building a website, there's no shortage of options.

  • Write your own HTML and CSS
  • Use a CMS or blogging platform like Wordpress or Drupal
  • Reach for an online site builder like Wix or Squarespace

While these approaches are all valid and offer a lot of tools for building your game's website, we believe Nova is the best choice because it was designed from the ground up for the things you'll need to manage and play your game.

The features you need

Immediately after you've finished Nova's install you'll find a wealth of features at your fingertips that put the management and enjoyment of your game front and center.

  • A robust story posting system
  • Helpful collaborative writing tools like post locking
  • Extensive character and user management tools
  • Valuable insights and statistics
  • Powerful developer tools
  • The ability for your players to manage their own accounts and characters
  • Highly dynamic forms that you can change however you'd like
  • Public-facing website for your game

These things can certainly be built with other options, but they'll require a lot of your time and effort to build and maintain.

Trusted for more than 15 years

2004... It was a dark time for online RPGs. Game Masters bore the brunt of the work and tedium for managing their games. On top of that, playing the game was a completely disconnected experience for players done through forums and email usergroups that (usually) lived on a totally different site.

2005... Enter the Simm Management System (SMS).

  • No longer were GMs required to write their own HTML and CSS to build their sites from scratch. Instead, SMS provided a pre-built website with a variety of skins to choose from.
  • No longer were GMs required to play a neverending game of whack-a-mole with players to keep character bios updated. Instead, SMS put the responsibility for updating a character's bio with their assigned user.
  • No longer were players required to jump between a website and a forum or email usergroup. Instead, SMS provided a unified interface for viewing, managing, and playing the game.

2010... With everyone comfortable with how SMS did things, we shook everything up with the release of Nova, a revolutionary update that brought more games into the fold and gave GMs even more features for managing their game.

  • No longer were GMs limited to only Star Trek genres. Instead, Nova provided games with the ability to use a wide range of genres for their games.
  • No longer were users limited to only playing a single character. Instead, Nova allowed users to have multiple characters and to post as any of their characters.
  • No longer were GMs limited to only the fields that we said they had to use. Instead, Nova introduced dynamic forms that gave precise control to GMs for the information they wanted to collect for character bios, specifications, and tour pages.
  • No longer did GMs have to install a separate wiki for their game. Instead, Nova included a lightweight wiki to allow GMs and players to create a database of information specific to their game.

Community familiarity

Today Nova is trusted by hundreds of games across the simming community. Players from around the world are familiar with how Nova works. No matter what modifications have been made on an individual game site, Nova is universal. This has created an environment where players can quickly get into a game and start contributing with little to no training or help.

On top of that, Nova is open-source software and built on top of CodeIgniter, a trusted framework for building dynamic websites. Due to its open-source nature developers have been able to create custom MODs, skins, and other features that many in the community rely on as much as the core system. Further, the Nova Add-ons Exchange has provided a streamlined avenue for discovering and downloading MODs and skins to customize sites to match the spirit and style of the game.

Who's this documentation for?

This documentation is a labor of love. At the start of 2021 we embarked on a mission to vastly improve Nova's documentation. Instead of trying to fix what existed already, we've started over and re-written it from scratch. In the process, we've focused on making sure there's something here for people of all experience and skill levels.

  • Writers - basic users are at the core of any game and will find the Guides a fantastic resource for understanding how to use many of Nova's features.
  • Game Masters - players who are managing a game for the first time (or the 10th time) will find the Getting Started section invaluable. This provides a wealth of information about installing, configuring, and updating Nova. Additionally, some of the guides include valuable administration information as well about many of Nova's features.
  • Skin Developers - there's never a shortage of people wanting to skin Nova and the Skins section provides a ton of great information about how to get started and how the different pieces of Nova's skinning system works.
  • MOD Developers - those more technically minded that want to tinker with how Nova works should study the Core Concepts and Modifications sections to understand the ins and outs of Nova's developer features.

The community


Get help, share tips, and interact with the community of creators and writers.


File issues, request features, and contribute to Nova.