About

During its time of greatest popularity, NScripter was one of the most widely-used visual novel scripting engines in existence. It was created and is still maintained by Naoki Takahashi -- this English support site is not affiliated with him in any way, shape, or form. NScripter had (and still has) several salient features that made it a popular choice with companies at the time:

For these reasons, NScripter became a very popular choice for even commercial groups to use -- which is how we saw flagship visual novel companies like Nekonekosoft and August Soft come to use NScripter almost exclusively for their games. That said, while the NScripter scripting language is fairly easy to learn, it still reads more like assembly language than anything high-level, and you pay the price of its power in the resultant complexity. Furthermore, NScripter itself has been essentially unmaintained since version 2.59, which was released in 2003. In the meantime, many companies began opting to either build their own engines (Purple Software's CVNS, for instance, or F&C's ADV32 -- which should not be confused with Key's AVG32). Finally, in recent years we have seen the rise of newer, easier-to-use open-source visual novel scripting engines like 吉里吉里/KAG, a modified form of which was used in the 2004 TYPE-MOON visual novel, Fate/stay night (as well as the scarily-named 2004 "Young Lady Aphrodisiac Rape ADV" by Art, NAIVE~Sex of Drugs~, but, um, that's another matter altogether). All this means that it is fairly rare to see a visual novel coming out on the market today that utilizies NScripter anymore -- but as noted on the Home page, there are still a few here and there.

Independently of all of this, in 2002 a Japanese programmer named Ogapee began developing an open-source clone/replacement for NScripter that was based on SDL, with the goal of enabling people who did not run Microsoft Windows (focusing on Linux at the very beginning) to run games that utilized NScripter. His product, ONScripter, has improved to the point now where it is quite possible to play most NScripter games -- albeit with some errata here and there -- on it. It was also ported to several different operating systems -- including Zaurus, Debian Linux, Red Hat Linux, NetBSD, FreeBSD, Mac OS X, and even the Sega Dreamcast by several volunteers. If you were to look through the ports listed above, though, you'd notice that most of them are woefully out of date as compared to the latest sources (which are, at the time of this writing, 20050820-exp). This has to do with the fact that building ONScripter isn't exactly the least time-consuming activity in the world, most likely.

As for the English-speaking fan localization community? 2002 saw the start of two very ambitious projects -- one by NewLifeAnime and another by Ayashii Gamesubs -- to localize, respectively, 銀色 (Gin'iro) and みずいろ (Mizuiro), two NScripter-driven games by the accaimed visual novel production studio, Nekonekosoft. Both of these projects ended up using two-byte latin characters (as NScripter does not accept one-byte character input), and neither of them were pursued to completion. In 2004, Chendo of Mirror Moon submitted a set of patches against vanilla ONScripter that enabled 1-byte character input and output via the creation of a new reserved character, the backquote: `. Utilizing these patches, the official NScripter SDK (which is freely available here), as well as nsaout (a program by alamone of Ayashii Gamesubs, written for his translation of みずいろ), insani released a proof-of-concept multiplatform fan localization of the Trial Edition of 月は東に日は西に~Operation Sanctuary~ (Hanihani) in June of 2005. In August of 2005, insani and Haeleth released a multiplatform localization of the doujin visual novel by stage-nana, Narcissu; this project marks the first ONScripter-based localization that was given official blessing by the original creators.

What does this all mean? That there are now enough tools available for English-speaking visual novel authors and fan localizers alike to create/translate NScripter-based games with as little pain as Japanese-speaking people might (which is to say, still a lot -- the scripting language is powerful, and it can be as complex as it is powerful). We offer a full translation of the NScripter command reference, as well as a repository of NScripter tools (the latest version of the official SDK with translated documentation among them) that we found necessary in our localization of the Trial Edition of 月は東に日は西に~Operation Sanctuary~ (Hanihani). There are currently plans to expand this website with short tutorials and script walkthroughs, but also recall that with the available tools, you can decompile any given finalized NScripter bytecode file (NSCRIPT.DAT) into its original text script, and you can see for yourself how people have used NScripter to implement functions and features.

FAQ

Are your builds of ONScripter official?

If by 'official' you mean 'vanilla', no. As of June 2005 (the 20050602 sources), vanilla ONScripter does not support fullscreen toggle in any operating system that is not using X11 as its windowing system; our 20050602 builds support fullscreen toggle on all operating systems that we are choosing to support. Our builds should be considered to have stable enhancements to vanilla ONScripter, and are generally as production-ready and as bug-free (or filled with bugs ...) as the main ONScripter trunk -- and many of our enhancements already have or will be integrated into the main trunk at a later time.

Which operating systems do you support?

At the time that this document was written, we supported Win32, x86 Linux, and Mac OS X. We may branch out into doing other builds if there's enough demand for them, but we expect that this covers a comfortably broad section of our potential target audience out there.

How about the Development/Translation Kit?

At the time that this document was written, we only had a Win32 package available. We may add ports to other operating systems -- most notably Mac OS X in time, but our energies are better spent in other places for now. Think: if you're going to be creating a game with NScripter, or translating an NScripter-based game, you'll most likely want to have a Windows release build at the end, along with whichever target platform is your primary. This is why we do not think that it is so devastating for the SDK elements to be Win32 only for the time being. That said, as stated above, there are plans to change that situation ...

Can you post news about our game/translation project?

No, you're mistaking this website for a news repository. If you wish to contribute content that has substance to it -- like an NScripter tutorial article, say, or a script walkthrough, et cetera, please feel free to get into contact with us. But we're not going to post news about translation groups whose work may never see the light of day.

I'd like to hack on ONScripter!

Then go ahead and do so. The sources are made available for a reason. If you end up making any interesting changes that would benefit the community at large, you should either get in touch with Ogapee directly, or you could alternatively contact us and have us integrate your work into our own builds (we'd also contact Ogapee regarding your work, giving you full credit, via this method).