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Visual Novel Script

Visual Novel Script, short for VNS, is a universal scripting language created with the goal of creating a language that allows visual novel developers to write once and compile everywhere, across different platforms, game libraries, and programming languages.

VNS provides a number of features that make it easy to create visual novels, such as:

  • A simple and easy-to-learn syntax
  • Support for branching dialogue and choices
  • Support for music and sound effects

Unlike Ren'py, writing visual novel script is more like writing a story instead of a program, and the developers also have the choice to create their own implementation.

How it started:

The development of the VNS can be traced all the way back to the initial stages of Linpg's development. During this period, the team faced the challenge of finding an efficient method to store the dialogue. Each conversation required the storage of multiple variables, including the narrator, the actual dialogue content, associated character images, ambient background music, and various other components:

Ultimately, the team opted for a design inspired by doubly linked list, but implemented using dictionary (HashMap for Java forks). This approach not only facilitated easier access to the data but also streamlined the saving process, enabling compatibility with formats like JSON or YAML. This method preserved readability while efficiently managing the dialogue. Today, the current system closely resembles our initial design, with only a few subtle refinements:

compiler: ...
      background_image: bg1.jpg
      background_music: bgm1.mp3
      - alice.png
      - Hello
      narrator: Alice
        target: ~01
        type: default
      previous: null
      background_image: bg1.jpg
      background_music: bgm1.mp3
      - alice.png
      - Can you hear me?
      narrator: Alice
        target: ~02
        type: default
      previous: head
id: 1
language: English

Although the overall data is easy to read, it is somewhat inconvenient to write. We came up with a dedicated dialogue editor to resolve the issue, but it's still a bit of a hassle. That is the reason why we begin to inquire about the possibility of simplifying the process.

Would it be possible to make it feel like we're writing the dialogue in a Microsoft Word document? Thus, VNS is born.


Here is a simple example of a VNS script:



[display]character1.png character2.png

- Hello my name is Mabel!
- How are you doing today!


- Hi Mabel! I'm doing well, thanks for asking.

This script would display the background image bg1.png and the character images character1.png and character2.png. Mabel would then say "Hello my name is Mabel!" and "How are you doing today!". Next, character1.png would be hidden and Dipper would say "Hi Mabel! I'm doing well, thanks for asking." Finally, the script would end.


VNS is licensed under LGPL(GNU Lesser General Public License)-2.1-or-later.