NScripter is a visual novel engine written by Naoki Takahashi. Due to its simplicity and its liberal license (while it is not open source, 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.

Clones and forks

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


The best-known[1] NScripter clone is the free 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.[1] It strives to maintain compatibility with visual novels designed for NScripter.[2]

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 Mac OS X, Linux, Dreamcast, PlayStation Portable and the Apple 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.

Proportional ONScripter

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.[2] 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.[3]

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:


External links

  • Takahashi's Web: Official NScripter website (Japanese)
  • The ONScripter Page: New Ogapee's website at SourceForge (Japanese)
  • Uncle Mion's ONScripter Corner: Current active developer for ONScripter-EN and PONScripter
  • Сustom PONScriper & ONScripter-ANSI builds by WKS (Russian)

Outdated / inactive:

  • Wayback Machine (archived December 13, 2007) (Japanese)
  • Haeleth's ONScripter-En development site
  • Insani's English support site for NScripter/ONScripter
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