the visual novel database

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Adding/Editing a Release

1. When to add a release

A 'release' is a product - either physical or digital - containing (parts of) the visual novel. This excludes soundtracks, drama CDs, fandisks, and other products that do not contain the visual novel itself.

All releases should be added separately. For example, a limited, regular and download edition shouldn't be combined into one release, even if they share the release date and contents. For games sold in physical format, separate releases can be distinguished by their JAN/UPC/EAN number.

Major updates should be added as a new release instead of editing the existing one. What can be considered a "major update" is a bit subjective, but some changes that require a new entry are mostly new platforms and new languages. Other updates can be added in the notes field, but the release date should remain unchanged.

For compilations and bundles where some information differs for each included visual novel, such as compilations containing games from different developers or having different animations, engine, etc. leave those fields empty or mark them as "unknown" as appropriate. In some rare cases, for example if the information between those VNs is vastly different or if affects many different fields, it may be better to split those releases into different entries.

2. General info

Language
What language is this release? Use the language that the majority of the game is in.
Machine Translation
Should be checked if automated programs, such as AI tools, were used to implement support for this language, either partially or fully. Should be checked even if the translation has been edited by a human. Should NOT be checked if the translation was entirely done by humans, even when its quality happens to be worse than machine translation. Translations based on another machine translation are also considered MTL, even if automated programs haven't been used.
Title
Once a language has been selected, the title field will appear. Multiple titles can be added, one for each language the release has been published in. If the title is not in the Latin alphabet, add its romanization in the second field that appears.
For any title present in the main VN entry, the field in releases entries will be automatically filled with that information whenever a new language is added. If the field is left empty, it defaults to the same name as the main title.
If the release includes the language that the VN's script has been originally authored in, that language should be flagged as the "main title". Otherwise, if multiple languages are available, the publisher's primary language should be preferred.
Official
Use this checkbox to indicate if the release is official (made or sanctioned by the original developer) or unofficial. Note that this official flag is in relation to the visual novel that the release is linked to, so even if the VN is an unofficial fanfic in some franchise, the release itself can still be official.
Patch
Use this checkbox to indicate that the release is a (translation) patch, used to patch an other release.
Freeware
Check if this box if the game is downloadable (or otherwise distributed) at no cost.
Contains erotic scenes

Not all 18+ titles have erotic content and not all sub-18+ titles are free of it, hence the presence of a checkmark which signals that the game contains erotic content. See below for what constitutes erotic content.
Age rating
The minimum official age rating for the release. On most releases, this is specified on the packaging or on product web pages. For indie or doujin projects, this is usually a recommended age stated by a developer or publisher.
Release date
For commercial games, the sale date. For all others, the date on which the release was first available. If it was posted on a website, the date on which the post was public.
Notes
Anything miscellaneous and useful. Generally, extras, progress information and other useful links go here. If dates are being added in this field, use the standard ISO format (YYYY-MM-DD : Year-Month-Day).

2.1. Erotic content

Considered to be erotic scenes

Not considered to be erotic scenes

  • Nudity without sex, where the character genitals are censored by covering them with light beams, the characters are posing strategically to hide the genitals, or they are covered with objects
    Example 1
    Example 2
    Example 3

  • Bare breasts in the absence of actual sex scenes
    NSFW example

  • Full nudity, where the genitals are poorly detailed or completely absent ("Barbie Doll anatomy"), in the absence of actual sex scenes. Examples:
    Poorly defined genitals
    Barbie Doll anatomy

3. Format

Platform
The platforms that the product was released for. Does not include emulated platforms (e.g. Playstation 2 games on Playstation 3) or WINE. "DVD Player" and "Blue-Ray Player" refers to games playable as a normal DVD Video (DVDPG) or Blue-ray Video (BD PG or Blu-ray Game) and should not be confused with the DVD or Blue-Ray as a medium.
Engine
The game engine used for this release. A predefined list of common engines is available but if the used engine is not listed, it is possible to select Other and fill out a different engine name. Please only provide the name of the engine, not its version. When providing an engine that is not in the list, please first check the database for other releases with the same engine, so that all releases use a consistent name for that engine.
Resolution
Primary/native screen resolution of the game.
Voiced
Indicates whether this release includes voice acting in the VN/ADV parts of the game. Fully voiced indicates that all characters (usually excluding the protagonist and some minor characters) are voiced in all scenes. Only ero scenes voiced speaks for itself, and Partially voiced should be used when there is some voice acting, but only for the main characters or only in some scenes.
Censoring
Whether erotic graphics are censored with mosaic or other optical censoring. If the release contains erotic content but doesn't have erotic graphics, leave this as unknown.

3.1. Media

CD
CD-ROM, typically 700MB.
DVD
DVD5, typically 4.5GB, or DVD9, typically 9GB. DVDPG games are DVD.
GD-ROM
Dreamcast games are normally GD disks.
Blu-ray
Blu-ray Disk, typically 30-60GB+. Requires a Blu-ray Drive. Playstation 3, Playstation 4 and Playstation 5 are normally Blu-ray.
Floppy
5 1/4" or 3 3/4", no greater than 1.44MB.
Cassette tape
Any magnetic tapes cartridge (also called "cartridge tape") and magnetic tape cassettes. Commonly used by early models of personal computers (IBM, Commodore, Apple II, ZX spectrum, among many others).
Cartridge
Compare with Memory Cards (below). Read-only. Famicom (NES), Super Nintendo (SNES), Game Boy Advanced (GBA), Nintendo DS and 3DS, Playstation Vita and Nintendo Switch use cartridges.
Memory Card
Any SD (Secure Digital) Card variant or MMC variant, Compact Flash or "USB Sticks". The Main difference between this and Cartridge (above) is that Memory Cards are re-writable (RW).
UMD
Universal Media Disk, typically 2.2GB. Playstation Portable uses this format.
Nintendo Optical Disk
Non-CD or DVD optical disks used by various Nintendo consoles.
Internet Download
Anything without a physical box, i.e. obtained by downloading it over a network. Includes all browser games played through a website.
Download Card
A package or card containing a serial code or URL that can be used to download the game from the internet.
Other
Any format not considered to be any of these mentioned should take this media. However, it should not be used liberally and it's inclusion may need to be justified, usually in the notes field.

3.2. Animation

Effects such as zooming, shaking and sprite translations are not to be considered animation. Same with lip sync and eyes blinking as it is handled in the last section. Animation must appear in the reading sections of the game, gameplay sections (if they exist), main title, options menu, UI, and Character Profiles are not to be considered.

Animation can be indicated in five separate sections, based on the types of content (story scenes or erotic scenes, the latter is only available if the release has been marked as containing erotic scenes) and the medium in which the animation appears. There are three media:

Character sprites
A character sprite is a cutout character presented on the foreground of either a background CG (BCG) (in which it is not embedded), or more rarely, nothing. It can come with a "sub background" e.g. furniture, but the whole is independent from the background CG. When in doubt, extracting the game assets can help in determining if a certain image is a CG or a background with a sprite.
For the purpose of flagging animations, the character Side Portraits some VNs display at the side of the textbox should be treated the same as character sprites, even if no traditional character sprites appear in the game.
It can happen that a character sprite, while being on the foreground, is embedded in the background by having their feet on the floor while matching the perspective, but either the same sprite is used in a different BCG or the BCG replaces it with different ones.
If the character sprite animation consists solely of lip and/or eye movements while the rest of the body/face remains static, then this section should be marked as "No animation" and the "Character lip movement and/or eye blink" checkbox (below) should be checked instead.
Character sprites in erotic scenes must match the guidelines on erotic content to exist.
CGs
CG are illustrations which cannot be decomposed into character sprites (as defined above) and BCG.
They can take up the whole screen (Cross†Channel), some part of it (Grisaia no Kajitsu), or overlap another CG (Kemomimi Harem Vacation).
Example from Katie's Corruption: observe the difference between character sprites on a BG versus a CG with characters embedded into it.
In the case where animation is involved, each frame must be separately considered CG.
Cutscenes
A cutscene is a non interactive animated sequence that breaks the continuity of the game.
Breaking the continuity means interrupting the flow of the scenes in a significant way. This means that if a game is entirely animated, even if you consistently lose control of the animation, it will not be considered a cutscene. Think of cutscenes as isolated non interactive animated sequences that pop up suddenly.
Keep in mind that opening/ending videos should not be considered cutscenes, nor are Interactive Movies or releases with "locked automode" if they have any kind of text presentation (like DVD Player and Blue-ray Player releases, among others) unless they have well delimited scenes that interrupt the regular text-based storytelling.
Example of games featuring cutscenes are

For each section, you can indicate whether the content and medium exists and whether they are animated. If a section is animated, you can select the type(s) of animation being employed and its frequency. Available animation types are:

Hand drawn
Also known as frame-by-frame, 2D animation, traditional animation or cel animation. Every frame of animation is drawn independently of each other (typically, of course, only the part of the frame that is animated is redrawn). You can see this type of animation being used by most 2D anime.
Visual novels that use pixel art sprites and are animated by hand are also included in this category.
Big hint: if the animation doesn't use Flat Tints Only, it has a good chance of not being hand drawn but vectorial animation. Hand drawn animation is relatively rare in visual novels.
Examples:
Vectorial
Vectorial animation is made animating a pre-existing illustration using various post-processing techniques, often with the help of software such as E-mote, Live2D or Adobe After Effects. The illustration is manipulated in various ways to simulate movement, such as deforming and/or stretching parts, cutting and moving around other parts, etc.
One thing that gives away vectorial animation is that the movement is not natural and the illustration stretched. It may give a 3D feels even though the original illustration is in 2D.
If software is used to generate a complete 3D model out of a 2D illustration, flag the animation as 3D instead.
Examples:
3D
Animation using computer-rendered 3D models. Some 3D animations apply post-processing to make it appear in the same style as hand drawn animation (e.g. by using cell shading), but these should still be flagged as 3D.
Examples:
Live action
This type of animation uses video recordings featuring real actors or real-life scenery.
Examples:

Character lip movement and/or eye blink: This checkbox should be set if character sprites have lip and/or eye movement. Any kind of lip movement should be counted, with no bearing if the animation is in sync with all, some or none of the given text lines or voices. If characters have more animation than just lip and/or eye movement, then both this checkbox should be set and the character animation section should be filled out.

Background effects: A background is a picture representing the surroundings, the scenery, the context. It doesn't take part in the story's action. It can be made of several parts animated separately to give an illusion of relief, depth. Most of the time, character sprites are put in front of them. Backgrounds are independent from CG and character sprites and can have their own animation, the background effects option is here to cover such cases. Examples:

If the visual novel is composed entirely of CGs (as is common for 3DCG games), Character lip movement and/or eye blink and Background effects should be set to "Unknown or N/A". In case the CG characters have facial animation, treat those as CG animations instead.

3.3. DRM

Some releases have DRM (Digital Rights Management or, more accurately, Restrictions Management) in order to combat piracy and restrict copying. If a release does not have any form DRM, the "DRM-free" option should be added. If a release does have DRM, the specific implementation of DRM should be added.

DRM should not be applied to soundtracks, drama CDs, fandisks, and other products that do not contain the visual novel itself. These can be mentioned in the release notes.

For digital releases it is common that different online shops have different types of DRM for the same release. In these cases, each type of DRM should be added and the notes field should indicate to which shop(s) that DRM applies.

When a particular DRM implementation is not already available in the list, a new one may be added. The following fields should then be filled out:

Disc check
The CD/DVD/media must be inserted into the computer for the game to start.
CD-key
A serial number or code must be input during installation from the game media. This code is typically found on the packaging or the manual.
Online activation
An internet connection is required during installation in order to activate the game.
Activation limit
Typically used with online activation. The game can only be installed a limited number of times, or be installed on a limited number of devices at a time.
Account-based
An online account is required in order to install or run the game.
Always online
An active internet connection is required in order play this game, not just during installation.
Cloud gaming
The game assets are streamed over the internet instead of being stored locally on the player's computer. Implies "Always online".
Physical
The game comes with a physical item that you need to keep around in order to run or advance the game. This is only rarely used for old retro games.
Description
Short description of the DRM implementation, can be used to describe its origin, how it is commonly applied and, when available, link to an official support page describing how to use it.

(The DRM properties are based on PCGamingWiki)

If the same DRM software is used with different properties in different releases, a new DRM implementation should be added for each set of properties.

If the exact implementation of the DRM is unknown but its effect is known, one of the "(generic)" DRM options can be chosen instead, e.g. CD-key (generic).

If a DRM implementation has been phased out and an official patch has been made available to disable the DRM, then the release should be updated to have both the original DRM and the "DRM-free" type with a patch link in the notes. For digital releases, the entry should always reflect the latest DRM state.

After a new DRM implementation has been added through the release form, it can only be edited or updated by a moderator. Corrections can be suggested on the forums.

The following are not considered DRM:

  • Restrictions for accessing a store or website.
  • Restrictions for buying and/or acquiring a title or files.
  • Browser games that don't require extra steps to play besides an internet connection.
  • Microtransactions or monetization schemes.

4. External identifiers & links

JAN/UPC/EAN
The GTIN code of the product. Often called "JAN" for Japanese releases, "UPC" for USA and Canada and "EAN" for Europe. The system will automatically detect the type from the code and use the appropriate term on the release page.
This field is also used to automatically add a link to Play-Asia if the release is available there. This process may take a few hours.
Catalog number
Catalog number as assigned by the producer. Often used to identify releases on webshops, and can usually be found somewhere on the packaging of the product.
Official website
URL of the official homepage for this product. Note that, even though VNDB does not support piracy, it is allowed to link to a homepage or forum that does in the case it is the only official source of information for this release. If this website existed but it's not available anymore, an archived link can be used instead.
External links
URL of webshops and other sites that can be added besides the official website. A list of recognized sites is available in the edit form.

5. Database relations

5.1. Visual novels

The visual novels that this release (either partially or fully) covers.

How much is covered can be indicated in the type dropdown:

  • 'Complete' means that the release includes the full visual novel (potentially excluding bonus content or expansions that have been added in later releases).
  • 'Partial' releases have most of the game, but there are things still waiting to be released.
  • 'Trial' versions are heavily cut down and free releases so that you can experience a game before you buy it. Sometimes, trial versions are cut down for web transmission and do not completely represent the finished product.

In the case of a translation patch, the type should indicate whether it translates the full game (Complete), or just parts of it (Partial).

Notable points:

  • A release refers to the global status of the visual novel, so as a 'partial' release only has a part of the content, a full translation of a partial release would also be marked as a 'partial' for the same reason.
  • The type of an existing release should represent the existing status, and not a predicted future one. Hence an existing partial build would be marked as 'partial' even if there is an announced future complete release. The status should be changed once the release actually happens. This is typical for fan-translations and incremental cumulative game releases on crowdfunding platforms.

5.2. DLCs

DLC (Downloadable Content) is a game addon that requires the presence of the base game in order to install and play.

Some DLCs add new content to the existing story (e.g. new routes, post-game epilogues, etc.), while others are self-contained separate stories.

  • All DLCs should be marked as patches, as they require the base game to play them. Software that is erroneously labeled as DLC by the publisher, but does not require the base game to play shouldn't be treated as a DLC but rather as a normal release entry.
  • The DLCs that add content to the existing game should be put as releases under that game's VN entry and should be labeled 'partial'.
  • The DLCs that are self-contained stories should have their own VN entries instead and should be labeled 'complete'.
  • Uncensored patches should not be treated as DLCs, despite sometimes being labeled as such by the publisher. They should be put under the main VN entry and be labeled 'complete' if they restore all of the censored content, and 'partial' if only part of the censored content has been restored.

5.3. Producers

The companies/groups/individuals involved in the development or publishing of this release. Does not include distributors. The following roles can be selected:

Developer
The producer involved in the creation of the game itself, not necessarily of this specific release. Keep in mind that producers that have made modifications to a game but have not made the game itself should NOT be listed as developers.
Publisher
The producer responsible for publishing this specific release. The publisher may have made modifications to the game (e.g. translating all text or porting to a different platform), but was not involved in the creation process.
Both
When the release is developed and published by the same producer. This is often true for doujin games and the first releases of commercial games.

6. Images

General rules:

  • Images must be uploaded in the highest possible quality. At the very minimum the characters, text and logo must be clearly visible or readable. Low quality images will be removed.
  • Images must not contain copyright marks, watermarks or any other kind of digital imprint, unless that is also present on the printed material.
  • Only upload official images. Fan-art or unofficial images are strongly discouraged. Official patches, DLC and translations can also have their own covers.
  • More than one cover for a single release is allowed if:
    • The release is distributed in multiple physical packages.
    • There are different covers available for several languages. In this case, the language field should be filled accordingly.
    • There are alternate or exclusive covers for a single release.
    • Different promotional covers are available. For example: different covers between digital stores.

6.1. Package covers (front and back):

Package covers must accurately represent the physical package artwork, including any markings such as age rating, compatible systems, company logo, etc, when those were printed on the package. Package art that has been cleaned up of such markings are considered "Digital promo art" instead.

Each physical release has its own cover. This means a single image marked as "Package cover (front)" or "Package cover (back)" should not be used in more than one release. However these same images can be used as "package contents" for other releases if the same package is included in a bundle or special edition.

Scans and official images are always preferred over photographs. If a photo is used, the image must follow the following rules:

  • Always remember to crop the picture so there is no background or furniture shown. If part of the cover is cropped because of this, it's very likely it's not in the correct angle and should not be uploaded.
  • Covers need to be aligned as straight as possible.
  • Small light reflections are allowed as long as it takes a very small portion of the image and keeps any text legible.
  • Images with other reflections, no matter how small, like hands or the camera, are not allowed.
  • Photos of the front or back case or box are allowed, but a picture of the cover alone is always preferred.
  • Photo manipulation is allowed to improve quality as long the image still accurately represents the package artwork.
  • Cover images must not contain stickers, bar codes, price tags or any other stuff added by a store or distributor that are not part of the original cover itself.

6.2. Package contents

  • A single image may have more than one or all additional contents, but it's preferred if each content is added separately.
  • For collectables, like figures or trading cards, a single image that shows all included content is preferred.
  • Images of both CD, DVD, etc. cases and their contents are allowed.
  • For manuals, magazines, art books, etc. only the cover is allowed; images of any page are not, unless it's an official image.
  • If the image includes CD keys, download codes or other identifiers that are unique to that particular product, these codes must be cencored with a white bar.
  • Do not add products that are never distributed with the release or which are sold separately.

Official images are always preferred over photographs. If a photo is used, the image must follow the following rules: - For items that are not covers, all images must have a plain background. - If each content is added separately, they need be aligned as straight as possible. - Small light reflections from the product(s) is allowed as long as it takes a very small portion of the image and does not make the text illegible and all character features are visible. - Images with other reflections, no matter how small it is, like hands or the camera, is not allowed. - Images of any product inside their cases, packages, etc. are allowed, but a picture of the contents or covers alone is preferred. - Images must not contain stickers, bar codes, price tags or any other stuff added by a store or distributor that are not part of the original product.

6.3. Digital promo art

This includes art that is used as header image or as the "cover" on the official website and any storefronts.

  • Images must not be edited in any way. This includes upscaling and downscaling.
  • Images must not have a border.
  • For visual novels in development, only the cover promoting the latest public version should be used.
  • Only add full images. Cropped images or images from small icons (like the ones from mobile stores) are not allowed.
  • For visual novels with only partial releases, only add the cover related to each individual release. Do not use promotional images of the whole game unless there's a complete release for that VN. Do not add a cover for partial releases that don't have official promotional art.
  • The same image can be used for superseded releases or releases that have been updated without a new cover.
  • In some rare cases, the same image can also be used for different editions, like censored and uncensored editions, but these cases should be the exception, not the norm, and only if the VN is being actively promoted with the same image for those editions. If it's not clear or if unsure that this is the case, do not add the same cover to more than one release.