Submissions open from 2021-03-01 06:00:00 to 2021-04-03 05:00:00
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What is NaNoRenO?

NaNoRenO is an annual month-long game jam in which developers are challenged to make a visual novel from start to finish. It was originally inspired by the more famous NaNoWriMo (National Novelist Writer's Month, which takes place in November). There're no restrictions on content or genre.

See a list of previously released NaNoRenO games here! See a compilation of previous years and threads here. Previous itch jam pages: 2015 | 2016 | 2017 | 2018 | 2019 | 2020+

This year's NaNoRenO illustration is by Rimuu.

Do I have to sign up anywhere to participate?

No, you do not have to sign up to participate in NaNoRenO, but you will probably get more out of the experience by joining communities and sharing the journey with fellow participants. Places you might find others:

  • Forums:
    • Lemmasoft  - A sort of catch-all hub for players and developers alike. Give/get feedback, find team members, and discuss all things dev-related.
    • This jam page - A collection of resources, and a great chance to meet your fellow jammers!
  • Discord:
    • Ren'py - Whether you're a beginner with no idea where to start or an expert trying to do something new and tricky, stop by to talk about the Ren'py visual novel engine.
    • Devtalk+ - An enthusiastic community of VN devs designed to share knowledge and experiences with each other.

Is there a prize or any sort of judging?

There is no prize or judging in NaNoRenO. The event is a challenge that the developers set for themselves and the prize is the magnificent sense of gratification you get after finishing your game. Completion is its own reward.

Is this a team thing, or am I supposed to do it on my own?

Whichever you like! You can seek out a team or go it solo.

Where can I find a team?

Lemmasoft Recruitment Forums

Jam Community

#NaNoRenO2021 on twitter and #NaNoRenO on twitter

Why should I participate in NaNoRenO?

Sometimes we need a fire lit under our butts. It's hard enough to get through making a game from start to finish without a time limit, let alone with just a month to get through everything. Having a deadline will motivate you, help you prioritize your time, let you work on a project you know should be finished by a certain point, and let you explore something outside of what you usually do. It's the same reason developers participate in game jams: a bit of fun with some time management thrown in. If you've had a visual novel idea lurking at the back of your head forever but never had the kick to go explore it—do it now!

(mostly taken from this post)

The most recent phrasing of the NaNoRenO rules:

  • Takes place during the month of March.
  • Final visual novel must be finished on or before April first. The jam deadline is slightly longer to allow for internet outages or other emergencies that prevent you from uploading your finished visual novel.
  • You can only begin actual production of your game in March.
  • Allowed before NaNoRenO begins:
    • Brainstorming
    • Plot Outlining
    • Sketches that do not lead to direct production of assets
    • Team Building
  • Not Allowed until NaNoRenO begins:
    • Sketches of sprites, CGs, backgrounds, or anything else that leads to production of assets
    • Writing or coding any portion of the game
    • Production of assets to be used in the game
  • Use of Creative Commons material is okay.
  • There are no "winners" here. Everyone who manages to release their game has completed NaNoRenO!
  • You may release a buggy version of your game by the deadline and fix it up later or release a demo for NaNoRenO.
  • While other game elements may be present, the final piece should be largely identified as a "visual novel."

I've never made a visual novel before!

How to Start Making Visual Novels

A beginner's guide to using Ren'py

I don't know where to start!

Want feedback on a work in progress?

Ren'py not your thing?

Want some free Creative Commons assets?

What if I'm working on a VN already? Can I use that for NaNoRenO?

Not exactly, but we do have a tag for that! IntRenAiMo is a concurrent jam for projects that started before March (or are planned to finish much later). Devs use the month to sprint alongside everyone else. Basically, if you started something already and you want to join other devs for the month, you can use this tag so people know you didn't do it in a month. #intrenaimo

But what does NaNoRenO even stand for?

interNAtional visual NOvel (that could be RENai but it doesn't have to be) writing mOnth

Really?

It's complicated.