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Adding/Editing a Visual Novel

1. What can be added to the database

For a game to qualify for inclusion in the database, it must meet one of the following two requirements:

  • Visual Novels that have the following characteristics:

    • Choices are the only allowed (but optional) form of interactivity. There are no other gameplay elements (including stats-based gameplay in dating/raising sims). Mini-games and simple mechanics, such as map-movenent, are only allowed when they play a very minimal role - at least 99% of the title should be made of pure reading.

    • The story is told employing one of the known Visual Novel presentation methods such as ADV, NVL and their variations.

  • Visual Novel / Game hybrids that have the following characteristics:

    • The game consistently uses the novel narrative for telling its story. Examples include describing visuals, events, character actions or thoughts.
      This point is ESSENTIAL - dialogues, no matter how extensive, are a characteristic of such game genres as RPGs, adventure games, dating simulations, etc., NOT of visual novels.

    • The story is told employing one of the known Visual Novel presentation methods such as ADV, NVL and their variations, consistently and for a significant length - at least 50% of the game should be made of pure, VN-style reading.

    • The storytelling segments should continue uninterrupted for a significant amount of time. The game should refrain from interrupting the reading and prompting the player to interact with the environment too frequently, lest the interactive elements overshadow the novel-like narrative. Depending on the presentation and the narrative techniques, some visual novels can be more prone to interrupt the narrative than others. Ultimately, if a game belongs in the database will be determined by examining the game as a whole, rather than just the sum of its parts.

    • Grandfather Clause: Old school adventure games that serve as precursors to visual novels as a genre are in the database due to their historical value, and thus are exempt from some of the defining characteristics of a modern visual novel. There are already plenty of such exceptions in the database, so further additions are unlikely, and would fall solely on the decisions of moderators.

Note: In some special cases, a game may be added even if it does not strictly adhere to the above points. However, this is the decision of the moderators. Do not add a game yourself expecting it to be an exception to the above rules.

See also the list of special games.

2. General info

Titles
Multiple titles can be added, one for each language the visual novel has been published in. If the title is not in the Latin alphabet, add its romanization in the second field that appears.
The language that the VN's script has been originally authored in should be flagged as the "main title".
The titles must correspond to an existing release. Titles that are not attributed to a certain release should be included as aliases instead.
Unofficial titles from fan translation releases are permitted, but the "official title" should then be unchecked. Only a single title can be added per language. If multiple titles are available, prefer the first official title if there is one, even if a unofficial translation is released first, or fall back to the most commonly used fan translation.
In cases where separate translations exist for the original version of the game and its remake, use the title that corresponds to the original edition, even if it is an unofficial translation, regardless of when it was released.
If an official source (stores, official websites, etc.) consistently includes a romaji title alongside the main title (like in G-senjou no Maou and Saya no Uta), both titles should be considered as a single unit.
Edition clarifiers, like "remastered", "complete", "plus", "renewal", "package" and other similar ones shouldn't be considered as part of the main VN title, only as subtitles for a specific release. In other words, if only a certain edition (like a remaster or remake) has a translation or localization in any language, only the main title should be listed as a VN title. Any other clarifier or addition goes to the release entry. This usually corresponds to the first complete release or, in cases where there isn't one, the most recent partial and/or trial release.
Aliases
Visual novels can be known under several names, use this field to add any aliases and acronyms used around the net. Official titles of releases should not be added here, as these are already listed in the releases.
Description
Short description of the main story.
Development
status
Finished - Used when the VN has been released as a "complete" game. The developer could still be working on future expansions and upgrades, but at least a "1.0"-like release is (or has been) available.
In development - Used for unreleased or unfinished VNs that are still awaiting a full release.
Cancelled - Used for unreleased or unfinished VNs that are unlikely to get a full release in the future. Sometimes developers state that they have halted development, but in many cases this is less clear cut. If there hasn't been any communication from the developer about the VN for over two years, it is often safe to assume it's been silently cancelled. Likewise if all official information about the game has disappeared for at least two months (i.e. official website dead, store pages gone, etc).
Length
Very rough estimate of the time required to finish all endings of the visual novel. To determine the length of a game, it's often better to ignore this time indication and instead compare it with other games you've played. It's all relative, after all.
The length field should remain empty for "work in progress" visual novels with only trial/partial releases, as it's hard to judge the length of an unfinished work, and the developers are wont to overestimate the length of their games. The exception is granted when the further development of the VN is abandoned, and the trial/partial is all that has been released.
External links
Links to external resources about this visual novel. To get the URLs, go to the sites (Wikidata or Renai.us), search for a page about the game, and determine the ID or name of that page to fill out in the text boxes.
For Renai.us links, the ID is located at the end of the url (e.g. for Ripples the ID is ripples).
A VNStat link will automatically appear after 20 votes has been made or after the Wikidata ID field has been filled.
For Wikidata links, the ID is located at the end of the url and after the title of an entry (called items). They always start with the letter Q followed by a numeric value (e.g. for Saya no Uta, the Wikidata ID is Q890707). Once a Wikidata ID has been added, the database will automatically fetch some additional links based on the information present on that item. This process can take from a few seconds to several hours, but not more than a day. Currently, the websites added with this method are: Wikipedia (English), Wikipedia (Japanese), MobyGames, GameFAQs, IGDB, IndieDB, HowLongToBeat, VGMdb, Anime Characters Database (ICDB) and PC Gaming Wiki
Note that the database will show all links present on a Wikidata item, making it possible to have multiple links of any website in a single entry. (e.g. 7 GameFAQs links on STEINS;GATE).
Related anime
Some visual novels (e.g. Clannad and Utawarerumono) have anime adaptions, and some visual novels were adapted from an anime series. Use this field to specify these related anime for the visual novel.
Anime should be specified using AniDB IDs. To add an anime, just search for it on AniDB and add the numeric ID of the entry (found in the aid=xxx part of the URL) to the edit field. Multiple IDs should be separated with a whitespace.
If the visual novel already has a relation with an other visual novel, and both games have an anime adaption, the same anime does not have to be added to both games. For example, Da Capo has two anime adaptions (837, 2832), and Da Capo II as well. (5419, 5652) But the relations for Da Capo II do not have to be added to Da Capo and vice versa - the internal visual novel relations will take care of that.
After submitting a new AniDB ID, VNDB will automatically fetch information about the anime and will present that on the site. This action can take a few minutes to - in the worst case - hours. In that time you will see the ID of the anime, but not the title and links to AnimeNFO and Anime News Network. It is not possible to manually add this information, this will be fetched automatically!

3. Staff & Cast

It's possible to link VN entries to staff entries in the staff and cast tabs.

In both tabs, staff aliases can be selected by searching for their romanized or original names. If the name is not in the database yet, you need to add it first.

3.1. Staff

The staff tab lists the people or groups involved in the creation of the visual novel. The following roles can be used:

  • Scenario
  • Character design
  • Composer
  • Director: Only for people involved in the game's creation. Translation or group leaders shouldn't be added as director.
  • Artist
  • Vocals: Vocals used in the music. Not to be used for voice actors of characters, these should be listed under cast instead.
  • Translator
  • Editor: Any text editor who worked during the original production or a translation. Image editors should be added as "staff".
  • Quality Assurance: Any staff that worked as QA analysts, debuggers, proofreaders or testers.
  • Staff: Used for any additional minor roles, use the "notes" field to indicate the staff's involvement.

A few guidelines:

  • Use the "notes" field to indicate the exact role if the selected role category is too broad.
  • If someone performed several jobs, add multiple entries with different major roles.
  • Do not add crowdfunders/patrons/subscribers as staff even if they are thanked in the credits.

3.2. Cast

The cast tab lists the voice actors for each character. This tab is only available when characters have been linked to the visual novel.

3.3. Editions

Staff can be grouped into separate editions. You can create a new edition if someone worked on a specific release not related to the original one and for translators/localization groups or individuals. These can be set as official or unofficial and have their own language flag.

Original edition:

The default edition present in all visual novel entries. This is where the VN's script is originally written, which means that the language of a original edition always corresponds with what language the VN's main title is. There are VNs which the first complete release is actually a translation release (e.g. Dragonia). In this case, always treat them as a translation release and add a new edition.

In most cases, the "original edition" represents the first complete release of a VN entry. If there isn't a complete release, use the most recent partial/trial release instead. For specific cases, refer to the following points:

  • For VNs with only partial releases (as it could be the case for works released in episodic format, for example Rewrite: Oka-ken Katsudou Kiroku Gaiden and Dare mo Shiranai Sora e no Namida), all staff who worked on any of those releases should be credited under "original edition".

  • For ongoing or cancelled projects, or works that have been updated over time, every staff who took part on the project should be credited under "original edition". In other words, do not create new editions for each version or compilation of any given work.

  • For VN entries that have multiple releases on the same date of its "original edition" (for example Ever17), new editions can be created for each specific releases, but the staff who worked on all of them should still be credited under "original edition".

  • A new edition can be created for staff who only worked on a trial version, but were not involved in the full release.

  • Do not create a new edition or add duplicate roles if the same staff worked on every release and had the same role in each one of them. New editions should only be created for staff who where not involved in the original edition, had a different role or worked under a different name or pseudonym.

  • Do not create a new edition for uncredited staff. They should go under the respective editions they worked on.

Unofficial editions:

For database consistency, any edition should be marked as unofficial if the related release entry is also marked as unofficial.

If the same staff worked on more than one release and had the same role in all of them (as it could be the case for remasters or retranslations), only a single edition should be created for those releases.

Do not add new editions for unofficial TBA releases or unreleased projects unless the author distributed a partial release. The same rule applies for the creation of staff entries.

Translations:

Translations and localizations should have their own edition, one for each language, no matter if they were done by an individual, a group or a company. This includes translations made by the original developers or if the VN is released in multiple languages at launch or added in updates or patches. If the same people were involved in several translations and had the same role in all of them, only a single edition should be created. An exception should be made if changes on staff or roles were made between translations. In those cases, every project should have their own edition and all members involved should be credited accordingly (even if there would be any duplicates).

For machine translations, a staff edition may only be created if the machine's output has been edited by a human. In that case the editor can be noted under the staff and the edition title should have the "(MTL)" suffix to be consistent with the related release entries' MTL flag. Unedited MTL should not have any staff credited in the database.

Edition name:

As a standard, we decided on a formatting when making a new section for edition. The naming is divided into two categories: primary and secondary name.

Primary name
A short name for the edition. It should be taken from main difference between the edition in question and the original. It could be a platform, translation, release name (e.g. "Reflection Blue edition" can be used for Summer Pockets's complete edition), or anything that differentiate the editions.
Secondary name
Used to tell the difference between the edition in question and with other releases beside the original. Only add when needed.

Examples of before and after adding secondary names.

  • Primary name: Remake edition, Console edition, AwesomeGuy's translation.
  • Secondary name: Remake English edition, Console remake edition, AwesomeGuy's translation (based on remake edition).

For translation, always prefer "translation" as its clarifier, so the name would look like "[publisher's name]'s translation". Specific language name doesn't need to be included. If the original developer/publisher made the translation themselves, use this formatting instead: [language] edition.

Don't add new section if a release is the same edition with another (i.e. no staff's role change or new staff addition). If needed, merge and rename an existing edition instead, e.g. "WorldProject & WaveSoft's translation", "Mobile, Switch, & PS4 edition".

For capitalization, use the standard English sentence capitalization rule, meaning only the first letter of the sentence, a language name, etc. should be capitalized. For producer and staff names, the original capitalization should be kept as is.

4. Image

Every visual novel should have an image, preferably one of the official cover art of one of the releases. In some cases, especially with doujin games, if there is no official cover art available, a general image from the game's homepage or a screenshot of the game itself could be used instead.

Images can be uploaded in JPEG or PNG format, and should not be larger than 10 MiB. All images larger than 256x400px will automatically be resized to fit on the page.

Images should be flagged accordingly.

5. Relations

Visual novel relations can be used to indicate what games are related to each other.

When adding a relation, the reverse relation will automatically be added to the other visual novel. E.g. if you add game x as a sequel to game y, then game y will automatically be added as a prequel to game x. You do not have to edit both games.

Only specify direct relations. If one game 1 is listed to have a relation with game 2, and game 2 has a relation with game 3, then game 3 does not have to be added as a relation to game 1. This may sound a bit confusing at first, but you will understand when you look at the relation graphs. When editing relations, always try to think about the relations between all related games - as shown in the graph - instead of only looking at the specific visual novel you're editing.

The "official" checkbox can be used to indicate whether relation is an official one or not. A relation is official if both games were published by the same brand, or at least the publisher of the earlier game has given permission to create the later game. In general: fandiscs and games of the same series are official, while fan fiction is not.

There is a static list of relations to choose from (as described below). As with many things, the relations between games can in reality be more complex than these options could describe. Simply choose the option you think is closest to describing the actual relation when you're not sure which one to choose.

Sequel
Continuation of the story. <=>Prequel.
Prequel
The story happens before the original story.<=>Sequel.
Same setting
Same universe, world, reality and timeline, but completely different characters. The definition of "setting" is not always easy to define, but usually it means that if places or items not existing in the real world described in one game also exist in the other game, you could use this relation.
Alternative version
Same setting, same characters, but the story is told differently.
Shares characters
Different story, but shares some characters.
Side story
The story takes place sometime during the parent storyline. <=>Parent story
Parent story
Opposite of Side story.
Same series
The games are part of the same series.
Fandisc
Fandisc.
Original game
The opposite of fandisc.

6. Screenshots

Each visual novel entry can have at most 10 screenshots. Screenshots can be uploaded in JPEG and PNG format. The uploaded screenshots are strictly moderated to follow the guidelines listed below. It is highly recommended to follow our instructions on creating good screenshots if you don't want your efforts to go to waste.

  • All images must be in the highest native resolution of the VN. The native resolution is the resolution for which the bitmap images are made. Any upscaling or downscaling, whether done by the game engine itself or by manually using an image editor, is not allowed! An exception to this rule is made for games that have no native resolution (e.g. using realtime 3D graphics instead). Moreover, for games whose native resolution exceeds 1080p, the images can be uploaded downscaled while preserving the aspect ratio (though the native resolution is still preferred, if the user has a capability to take such screenshots).
  • All images have to be screenshots of the game itself, this means that any window borders will have to be removed before uploading. We are neither interested in your heavily modified window borders nor in your awesome AGTH setup.
  • At least half of the images should be actual screenshots of the game. That is, they should include character sprites or some form of dialog or user interface. Plain event CG images without any text or interfaces are allowed to demonstrate the drawing style, but should not dominate over the other screenshots.
  • Uploading screenshots with erotic content is allowed, as long as the ratio of erotic/non-erotic screenshots is somewhat in line with the actual erotic/non-erotic ratio of the VN itself. For example, if a 10 hour VN has only 2 H-scenes of 10 minutes, it wouldn't be appropriate to upload more than 2 or 3 erotic images. On the other hand, if a VN is mostly about sex, it wouldn't make sense to upload only one erotic screenshot. It is advised - even for the sex-only games - to have at least one non-erotic screenshot.
  • Keep the spoilers to a minimum. It's impossible to upload screenshots that are completely devoid of spoilers, but it is possible to keep this to a minimum. I.e. screenshots early in the beginning of the VN are preferred, and shots later in the game are fine as long as they don't reveal any major information about the plot.
  • Images should flagged accordingly.
  • Screenshots have to be unmarked: they shouldn't contain any copyright information, website URL, or other text that's not present in the original screenshot. Some consoles or engines may automatically add a copyright marker to screenshots, only in these cases is it acceptable to upload screenshots with a copyright marker.
  • Screenshots should preferably be of the English or original (Japanese) releases. Other languages are allowed, but the number of images should be kept to a minimum.
  • Do not post different language versions of the same screenshot, this is not a comparison gallery.