1. Core Concepts
  2. Seamless substitution

Core Concepts

Seamless substitution

Learn about how you can tell Nova to use a different version of a file instead of what's in the Nova core.

The term "seamless substitution" sounds scarier than it actually is. In a nutshell, this is how Nova looks for files. Instead of always pulling files out of the Nova core, Nova looks in a few different locations before looking in the core for a file. If Nova finds a file named the same as the one it's looking for somewhere other than the Nova core, it'll use the first file it finds.

A system like this is integral to allowing games to modify Nova's core behavior and presentation. This is especially important since editing core Nova files runs the risk of having customizations wiped out when a Nova update is applied.

Where Nova will look

For each type of file below, Nova will try to find that type of file in the specified locations and in the specified order.

Ajax (asynchronous views)

  • application/views/{current_skin}/{section}/ajax
  • application/views/_base_override/{section}/ajax
  • nova/modules/core/views/_base/{section}/ajax

Asset images

  • application/assets

Combadge images

  • application/views/{current_skin}/{section}/images
  • application/assets/common/{genre}/images
  • nova/modules/core/views/_base/{section}/images


  • application/views/_base_override/emails/{type}
  • nova/modules/core/views/_base/emails/{type}


  • application/views/{current_skin}/{section}/images
  • application/views/_base_override/{section}/images
  • nova/modules/core/views/_base/{section}/images


  • application/views/{current_skin}/{section}/js
  • application/views/_base_override/{section}/js
  • nova/modules/core/views/_base/{section}/js

Rank images

  • application/assets/common/{genre}/ranks/{set}


  • application/views/{current_skin}/{section}/pages
  • application/views/_base_override/{section}/pages
  • nova/modules/core/views/_base/{section}/pages

How to use a different file

Leveraging seamless substitution is simple: add the file you want to use (with the same name as Nova uses in the core) at a location higher in the corresponding list above than the Nova core location.

For example, if you wanted to replace the clock icon used in the admin section, you would simply add your new clock.png image at the following location:


When you refresh a page with that image, you'll see your new image instead of what Nova uses in the core.

Base override vs skin

The _base_override directory should be used if you want to replace a file across the entire system, regardless of skin. This is the simplest and quickest way to replace an image or file with your own version.

If you're a skin developer and want only your skin to have a different version of an image or file, you can add the necessary file structure to your skin and put the file(s) there. Whenever your skin is in use, Nova will use the version of the file(s) found in your skin instead of what's in the Nova core.