This jam is now over. It ran from 2023-03-01 06:00:00 to 2023-04-03 05:00:00. View 161 entries

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*. All visual novels submitted for NaNoRenO must have been made exclusively in the month of March.

See a list of previously released NaNoRenO games here! Previous itch jam pages: 2015 | 2016 | 2017 | 2018 | 2019 | 2020+ | 2021 | 2022

This year's NaNoRenO illustration is by Kimiyoto.

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.
  • Any premade assets used must be publicly available (either free or paid) on or before the first day of NaNoRenO.
  • AI-generated assets are only allowed if you own the training data. (e.g. Photoshop's content-aware fill, training an entirely separate instance of AI on exclusively your work, using ML to remix art with permission from the artist, etc.) Systems in which the training data is not owned by the dev (ChatGPT, Midjourney, Stable Diffusion, and similar) are not allowed at this time.
  • 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!

๐Ÿ“ How to Start Making Visual Novels

โ–ถ๏ธ How to Survive NaNoRenO!

๐Ÿ“š VNDev Wiki

๐Ÿ“’ A beginner's guide to using Ren'py

๐Ÿ“‘ Looking for an engine to use?

๐Ÿ“‘ Want feedback on a work in progress?

๐Ÿ“‘ Want some free Creative Commons assets?

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 Rercuitment Forums

Jam Community

#NaNoRenO2023 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)

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 However, you may only submit a game to this jam if it was made exclusively during the designated NaNoRenO month.

But what does NaNoRenO even stand for?

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


It's complicated.