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Developer(s) Takahashi Naoki
Initial release September 6, 1999; 16 years ago (1999-09-06)[1]
Stable release 3.03 (final version) / September 12, 2015; 4 months ago (2015-09-12)
Development status Active
Operating system Windows
Type Game engine (visual novel)
License Freeware
Website nscripter.com

NScripter is a visual novel engine[2][3] written by Naoki Takahashi. Due to its simplicity and its liberal license (while it is not open-source software, royalty-free commercial use is permitted), it quickly became popular in Japan, and was used for a number of high-profile commercial and dōjin titles, such as HaniHani and Tsukihime.[4]

Clones and forks[edit]

The original NScripter is closed-source and only available for Windows. A number of cross-platform clones have been written.


KScripter is Flash-based scripting engine that was inspired by NScripter but uses ActionScript and SWF.[5][6][7]


Developer(s) Ogapee
Initial release February 6, 2002; 14 years ago (2002-02-06)[8]
Stable release 20150820 / August 20, 2015; 5 months ago (2015-08-20)
Development status Active
Written in C++
Operating system Android, iOS, Linux, OS X, Windows, Windows CE
Platform GP2X, iPhone, iPod, Pandora, PSP, Zaurus
Type Game engine (visual novel)
License GNU GPL
Website onscripter.osdn.jp/onscripter.html

The best-known[9] NScripter clone is the free and open-source software implementation, ONScripter. Its popularity among the visual novel localisation community is attributed to the ease of modifying the engine to support languages other than Japanese.[9] It strives to maintain compatibility with visual novels designed for NScripter.[10]

ONScripter is based on the Simple Directmedia Layer (SDL) library, and can thus be used to run NScripter games on platforms supported by SDL, such as OS X, Linux, PSP and the iPod.


ONScripter-EN is a branch of ONScripter that is maintained separately by the English-language community, for convenience and for ease of introducing enhancements that are suited to the community. For example, ONScripter-EN supports switching between English and Japanese in-game, whilst language support in ONScripter must be determined at compile-time. Also, to better manage the build system which was deemed cumbersome, build requirements have been tightened, limiting out-of-the-box building to POSIX-conformant platforms only.

This engine has been used in a number of translations, such as the English versions of Narcissu and Tsukihime.


PONScripter (abbreviation for "Proportional-OnScripter") is a fork of ONScripter-EN. Its stated goal is to provide an easy porting target for translation projects, with emphasis on Western languages.[10] PONScripter has made heavy modifications to the ONScripter-EN base code, and is deliberately backwards-incompatible.

PONScripter was originally maintained by Peter "Haeleth" Jolly. Since September 2009, it is maintained by Mion of Sonozaki Futago-tachi, the Higurashi no Naku Koro ni translation group.[11]

Unlike ONScripter, PONScripter natively supports UTF-8 encoded script files, as well as a larger set of font types (such as proportional fonts, non-TrueType fonts, and non-Latin fonts), which makes it possible to translate most NScripter-based visual novels into any language other than English (for example, Cyrillic text is improperly displayed in ONScripter, and may crash the game).

Another feature introduced by PONScripter is text formatting, such as bolding, italicising, underlining, striking out, colouring, size changing, and kerning.

WinKiller Studio, a Russian visual novel translation group, released Tokoyo no Hoshizora and Natsu no Hi no Resonance translations powered by PONScripter, and the unofficial Saya no Uta port from its original Nitro+ Engine.

Known English-translated visual novels that use PONScripter are:


  1. ^ "高橋直樹のホームページ" (in Japanese). Archived from the original on 1999-10-11. 
  2. ^ Owada, Shigeru; Tokuhisa, Fumiaki (2012). "Kadecot: HTML5-based visual novels development system for smart homes" (PDF). IEEE 1st Global Conference on Consumer Electronics. GCCE'12. pp. 17–19. doi:10.1109/GCCE.2012.6379572. ISBN 978-1-4673-1500-5. 
  3. ^ Paul, Partha Sarathi; Goon, Surajit; Bhattacharya, Abhishek (2012). "History and Comparative Study of Modern Game Engines" (PDF). International Journal of Advanced Computer and Mathematical Sciences 3 (2): 245–249. ISSN 2230-9624. 
  4. ^ "VN/Eroge Script sizes". 
  5. ^ Kawakami, Masatoshi; Yasuda, Hiroshi; Sasaki, Ryoichi (2009). "情報セキュリティ教育のためのeラーニング教材作成システムELSECの開発" [Development of an e-Learning Content-Making System forInformation Security (ELSEC)]. コンピュータセキュリティシンポジウム2009 (CSS2009) 論文集. CSS'09 (in Japanese). Information Processing Society of Japan. pp. 1–6. 
  6. ^ Kawakami, Masatoshi; Yasuda, Hiroshi; Sasaki, Ryoichi (2010). "Development of an E-learning Content-Making System for Information Security (ELSEC) and its Application to Anti-phishing Education". International Conference on e-Education, e-Business, e-Management, and e-Learning. IC4E'10. pp. 7–11. doi:10.1109/IC4E.2010.63. ISBN 978-1-4244-5680-2. 
  7. ^ Kawakami, Masatoshi; Yasuda, Hiroshi; Sasaki, Ryoichi (March 2011). "情報セキュリティ教育のためのeラーニング教材作成システムELSECの開発と評価" [Development and Evaluation of an e-learning Content-making System for Information Security (ELSEC)]. 情報処理学会論文誌 (in Japanese) (Information Processing Society of Japan) 52 (3): 1266–1278. ISSN 1882-7764. 
  8. ^ "ONScripter のページ" (in Japanese). Archived from the original on 2003-09-07. 
  9. ^ a b README, ONScripter-EN source code, 20101010 release
  10. ^ a b README, PONScripter source code, 20100502 release
  11. ^ Mion releases first alpha build. Checked 2009/09/26
  12. ^ A mini-demo powered by PONScripter was available at Haeleth's Narcissu Side 2nd page, currently removed.
  13. ^ Unofficial port incorporating TLWiki English localisation

External links[edit]

Outdated / inactive: