This is a list of visual novel engines.

Digital Novel Markup Language

Digital Novel Markup Language (DNML) is one of the first scripting language game engines for creating visual novels, also known as interactive fiction games. DNML was developed using C++ by a Japanese programmer known by their Internet name, Karin. The initial release was in 1998. The programming structure is similar to HTML, which made it easy to produce dōjin games. DNML was succeeded by software like NScripter, KiriKiri and Ren'Py.[1]

There have been various attempts to create a more modern DNML interpreter. However the only known successful project is DNML Midori,[2] a full reimplantation of DNML that has several features of its own. While it is free to use, it is not open source. As of 2021, it was last updated in 2019 and development seems to be concluded.


"KiriKiri" redirects here. For other uses, see Kirikiri (disambiguation).

Initial release1998
Stable release
2.32 rev.2 / October 26, 2010; 10 years ago (2010-10-26)[3]
Operating systemWindows
Available inC++
TypeGame engine (visual novel)

KiriKiri (吉里吉里) is a scripting engine[4][5] by Japanese developer "w.dee", initially released in 1998. It is almost exclusively used with the KAG (KiriKiri Adventure Game System) framework as a visual novel engine.[6] Usually, the package of the two components is regarded as the whole engine, and referenced with major version numbers. Thus, the current version is called KiriKiri2/KAG3. It is available under the GNU General Public License, though commercial licenses can be acquired if somebody wishes to expand the software without disclosing the changes.

KiriKiri is often used as a more modern and expandable replacement of the older NScripter engine.[7][8][5] It has been used in both dōjin and commercial visual novels, the most well known of which are TYPE-MOON's Fate/stay night and Fate/hollow ataraxia. Another notable visual novel that is known to be implemented using this engine is 1999 Christmas Eve (1999クリスマスイブ). The Nekopara game series, available on Steam, also uses a modified version of Kirikiri.[9]

For KiriKiri2 and Kirikiri Z's implementation of KAG there is a module called 鱧天 (Hamotem).[10] which provides a myriad of plugins and a ready made template to build games on. As TyranoBuilder is to TyranoScript, there are several programs which create a graphical editor on top of the KAG script. The most well known of these is NVLMaker,[11] which also has a cloud platform.[12]

Due to a lack of updates since October 2010, from 2013 onward the code has been forked and continued as Kirikiri Z (吉里吉里Z).[13]


This article may be expanded with text translated from the corresponding article in French. (August 2021) Click [show] for important translation instructions. View a machine-translated version of the French article. Machine translation like DeepL or Google Translate is a useful starting point for translations, but translators must revise errors as necessary and confirm that the translation is accurate, rather than simply copy-pasting machine-translated text into the English Wikipedia. Consider adding a topic to this template: there are already 4,181 articles in the main category, and specifying|topic= will aid in categorization. Do not translate text that appears unreliable or low-quality. If possible, verify the text with references provided in the foreign-language article. You must provide copyright attribution in the edit summary accompanying your translation by providing an interlanguage link to the source of your translation. A model attribution edit summary Content in this edit is translated from the existing French Wikipedia article at [[:fr:NScripter]]; see its history for attribution. You should also add the template ((Translated|fr|NScripter)) to the talk page. For more guidance, see Wikipedia:Translation.
Developer(s)Takahashi Naoki
Initial releaseSeptember 6, 1999; 22 years ago (1999-09-06)[14]
Final release
final version / February 23, 2018; 3 years ago (2018-02-23)[15]
Operating systemWindows
TypeGame engine (visual novel)
Original author(s)Ogapee
Developer(s)Studio O.G.A.
Initial releaseFebruary 6, 2002; 19 years ago (2002-02-06)
Stable release
20191022 / October 22, 2019; 22 months ago (2019-10-22)
Written inC++
EngineSimple DirectMedia Layer
Operating systemWindows, Linux, macOS, Android, iOS
Platformx86, ARM, Zaurus
TypeGame engine (visual novel)

NScripter is a visual novel engine[4] 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.[8]

The original NScripter is closed-source and only available for Windows. A number of cross-platform clones have been written, the best-known being ONScripter,[16] an example of free and open-source software implementation. Its popularity among the visual novel localisation community is attributed to the ease of modifying the engine to support languages other than Japanese.[16] It strives to maintain compatibility with visual novels designed for NScripter.[17] 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. 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.[17] 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.[18]

KScripter is a Flash-based scripting engine that was inspired by NScripter but uses ActionScript and SWF.[19][20][21]


NVList is an open source visual novel engine that runs on Windows, Mac OS, Linux, Android, and even online (through an applet). It is coded in the Java language, even though the scripts are written in Lua. It is being updated to this day on Github.[22] It has all the functionality required for a Visual Novel, and more. It has support for resolution scaling and switching, along with pixel and vertex shaders.[23]


Main article: Ren'Py

The Ren'Py Visual Novel Engine is a free software engine. Ren'Py is a portmanteau of ren'ai (恋愛), the Japanese word for 'love', a common element of games made using Ren'Py; and Python, the programming language that Ren'Py runs on. The easy to learn script language allows anyone to efficiently write large visual novels, while its Python scripting is enough for complex simulation games. Ren'Py has proved attractive to western hobbyists; over 1000 games use the Ren'Py engine, nearly all in English. Visual novels, kinetic novels, role-playing games, simulation games, and many other games can be made with Ren'py.[24][25]


Suika2 is a free and open source visual novel engine. It supports Windows, macOS and Web browsers.[26] Owing to the way it is written it is very easy to port off other platforms.[27] It is one of the Japanese visual novel engines that natively support English word wrapping. When compared to other engines it was very simple, however new effects and animations were introduced in version 2.7.4.[28] The engine can be downloaded from either its website or Github page.[29][30]


TyranoBuilder is a commercial visual novel engine that supports creating projects as web apps, as well as native app for Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS. Most of its functionality are available via its GUI, without resorting to scripting. It is based on TyranoScript, which is a free web focused engine that is in Japanese, although a partial English version exists. The syntax which both TyranoBuilder and TyranoScript use is very similar to the scripting language of KirKirki, although not as flexible. A unique feature of TyranoBuilder is its support for Live 2D, which most other engines lack.[31][32]


  1. ^ DNML website
  2. ^
  3. ^ "吉里吉里 変更点の詳細" (in Japanese). Archived from the original on 2016-03-19. Retrieved 2016-03-29.
  4. ^ a b 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.
  5. ^ a b Romppanen, Janne (April 2015). Visuaalisen novellin kehitystyökalut länsimaissa [Visual Novel Developer Tools in the Western World] (Bachelor's in Information Technology) (in Finnish). Karelia University of Applied Sciences. Retrieved 2020-05-19.
  6. ^ gutchie (2007). Kirikiri/KAG noberu gēmu seisaku nyuumon 吉里吉里/KAGノベルゲーム制作入門 [Kirikiri/KAG NovelGame Product Guide] (in Japanese). ISBN 978-4-7980-1659-7.
  7. ^ Blau, Tief (January 2013). "Habakiri–Play Your Kirikiri Games on Android".
  8. ^ a b "VN/Eroge Script sizes". Archived from the original on 2017-09-10. Retrieved 2020-03-16.
  9. ^ "Nekopara engine?". Retrieved 2016-03-29.
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^ Kirikiri Z GitHub
  14. ^ "高橋直樹のホームページ" (in Japanese). Archived from the original on 1999-10-11.
  15. ^ Takahashi Naoki. "". Retrieved 14 December 2018.
  16. ^ a b README, ONScripter-EN source code, 20101010 release
  17. ^ a b README, PONScripter source code, 20100502 release
  18. ^ "Mion releases first alpha build. Checked 2009/09/26". Archived from the original on 2010-07-26. Retrieved 2016-05-09.
  19. ^ 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.
  20. ^ 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.
  21. ^ 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.
  22. ^
  23. ^
  24. ^ "List of Ren'Py games".
  25. ^ QuickJump staff (24 November 2007). "Ren'Py Visual Novel Engine: make your own visual novel, dating sim". QuickJump. Retrieved 13 February 2013.
  26. ^ "Introducing a Game Engine Suika2".
  27. ^
  28. ^ "Suika2.7.4 Release Note".
  29. ^
  30. ^
  31. ^
  32. ^