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There are 10,000 Nova control bits (NCBs) available for your use in designing mission strings and controlling various aspects of the in-game universe. Control bits are accessed through two types of logical expressions, 'test' and 'set'.

(Note that the default scenario already uses many of the NCBs, so you should be careful that the ones you select do not overlap, or unpredictable results may ensue.)

Test expressions

These are Boolean expressions that are used to determine when something happens; for example, when a mission is to be offered, or when a particular ship should be made available for purchase. In general, if the logical expression defined in a given test expression field evaluates to be true (nonzero), the associated property will be activated (mission becomes available, ship appears, etc.).

A blank test expression will always evaluate as true.

The following terms and operators are supported: (capitalization doesn’t matter)

Bxxx Lookup the value of control bit xxx. Bits are numbered from b0 to b9999.

G Lookup the player’s gender- 1 if male, 0 if female

Oxxx Returns 1 if the player has at least one of outfit item ID xxx, 0 if not. (This considers any carried fighters that are currently deployed, but may be confused if there are multiple fighter bay weapons that launch the same ship type, or different outfits that grant the same fighter bay ammo.)

Exxx Returns 1 if the player has explored system ID xxx, 0 if not.

Pxxx Check if the game is registered ([P]aid for) … evaluates to 1 if the game is registered or is unregistered but less than xxx days have elapsed. Evaluates to 0 only if unregistered for more than xxx days. (Since plug-ins cannot be used in the unregistered game, this will be of little use to most developers.)

| Logical or operator: returns true if either parameter is true.

& Logical and operator: returns true if both parameters are true.

! Logical negation operator: returns true if both parameters are true.

() Parenthetical enclosure

Some examples:

‘b13 & (b15 | !b72)’ – Returns true if bits 13 and 15 are set, OR if bit 13 is set and bit 72 is clear

‘!(B42 | B53} & b103’ - Returns true if bits 42 and 53 are clear, and bit 103 is set

The & and | operators can compare only two parameters, and observe only a primitive order of operators. ‘b1 & b2 | b3’ will not work: instead you must use parentheses to make it ‘b1 & (b2 |b3)’ or ‘(b1 & b2)|b3’

Set expressions

These are simpler than the test expressions: basically, all you are doing here is listing what bits you want to be modified when the expression in a given field is invoked. This will happen when the player does something (completes a mission, buys an item, etc.) as defined by the other resources. The syntax of set expressions is best illustrated by an example:

b1 b2 !b3 ^b4

In this set expression, bits 1 and 2 will be set, bit 3 will be cleared, and bit 4 will be toggled to the opposite of whatever it was previously. No parentheses are supported for set expressions. If you leave a set expression blank, no control bits will be altered.

One other feature of the set expression is the ability to make random decisions. By specifying ‘R(<op1> <op2>)’, you can make Nova randomly pick one of the two possible choices and execute it, skipping the other one. For example:

b1 R(b2 !b3)

...this expression will set bit 1, and then *either* set bit 2 or clear bit 3, but not both at once. Which operation will be picked is completely random, which allows for the design of interesting mission strings that branch unpredictably.

There are also a number of other operators that allow you to do many interesting things:

Axxx – if mission ID xxx is currently active, abort it.

Fxxx – if mission ID xxx is currently active, cause it to fail.

Sxxx – start mission ID xxx automatically.

Gxxx – grant one of outfit item ID xxx to the player

Dxxx – remove (Delete) one out outfit item ID xxx from the player’s

Mxxx – move the player to system xxx. The player will be put on top of the first stellar in the system, or in the center of the system if no stellars exist there. Nxxx – move the player to system xxx. The player will remain at the same x/y coordinates, relative to the center of the system.

Cxxx – change the player’s ship to ship type (ID) xxx. The player will keep all of his previous outfit items and won’t be given any of the default weapons or items that come with ship type xxx.

Exxx – change the player’s ship to ship type (ID) xxx. The player will keep all of his previous outfit items and will ~also~ be given all of the default weapons and items that come with ship type xxx.

Hxxx – change the player’s ship to ship type (ID) xxx. The player will ~lose~ any nonpersistent outfit items he previously had, but will be given all of the default weapons and items that come with ship type xxx.

Kxxx – activate rank ID xxx.

Lxxx – deactivate rank ID xxx.

Pxxx – play sound with ID xxx.

Yxxx – destroy stellar ID xxx.

Uxxx – regenerate (Un-destroy) stellar ID xxx.

Qxxx – make the player immediately leave (absquatulate) whatever stellar he’s landed on and return to space, and show a message at the bottom of the screen. The message is randomly selected from the STR# resource with ID xxx, and is parsed for mission text tags (e.g. <PSN> and <PRK>) but not text-selection tags like those above (e.g. {G “he” “she”} ). See desc and misn resource descriptions for more examples.

Txxx – change the name (Title of the player’s ship to a string randomly selected from STR# resource ID xxx. The previous ship name will be substituted for any ‘*’ characters which are encountered in the new string.

Xxxx – make system ID xxx be explored.

Nova Modding
Nova Mods PlugPackARPIA2Anathema
Tools for Plugin Creation Mac: MissionComputerResEdit
Windows: EVNEWRezEditor
Bugs Patch NotesDithering Bug
Guides Nova BibleWindows Plugin Conversion TutorialNova Control Bits
Total Conversions Major Completed: Polycon EV (2002), Escape Velocity, Escape Velocity Override, Ashen Galaxy, Colosseum
Minor Completed: EVN Paintball, Miners, Teacup
Blank Slate: Absolute Minimum
Aborted Yet Released: Acheron, Starfleet Adventures
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