Special graphics

From VNDev Wiki

A variety of special graphics can be used by visual novel developers. These graphics are distinct from sprites and CGs and often are used for artistic effect at a notable point in the story.

Chapter Cards

A chapter card, eyecatch, or bumper is (most commonly) an image or (uncommonly) short animation sequence used to designate a transition between chapters or acts. (Different from a simple scene transition.) Usually used to give the reader a moment to stew over the end of an important scene and anticipate the next.

For games that don't have chapters, it may be used instead to indicate a player has transitioned from the common route to a specific character's route. When used to indicate a route change, its purpose is to inform the reader which route they're on and in that case almost always include a picture of the route's character or something related to the character.

A note on the terms: "Chapter card" is probably the most accurate way to refer to it if its a still image with some sort of indication of the chapter or route on it. "Eyecatch" is probably the term you'd want to use for either a still image or animation sequence if there is no designation of a specific chapter/route. (It comes from the Japanese aikyatchi, which are the sequences around a commercial break which may or may not be animated.) "Bumper" is the Western term for a generally animated sequence that surrounds a commercial break.

Character Splashes

A character splash is a sort of introduction sequence for a (generally important) character, almost always displaying their name/alias in text beside either their sprite or a unique piece of character art and pausing, playing a short animation, or requiring a click from the player before continuing the scene. Character splashes may also have other information (ex: age, occupation, role/relation; etc) in the display and/or other graphical elements besides the character art that are usually repeated for each new character introduced. Often similar to a cut-in.

Games that feature character splashes:

End Slates

An end slate is special image at the end of a game's route, usually representative of the route's ending mood or the route's overall theme. The image is usually shown after all of the route's text has finished and often is accompanied by the name of the ending. Typically, these images are completely unique (not recycled assets) and not CGs but more simple/iconic or chibi.

Games that feature end slates:

Opening/Ending Videos

Opening videos are typically like anime opening credits and are often used in place of promotional videos. They introduce the player to the characters and the world and are often played before sending the player to the title screen. Not to be confused with an opening cutscene, which are usually used as a quick, flashy replacement for a prologue.

Ending videos are like the ending credits for an anime and are generally route-specific or character-specific, usually displaying route/character-specific CGs collected during the game as the credits roll and special ending music is playing. Ending videos may also take the place of epilogues.

In general, opening/ending videos are not expected (especially of small or indie projects), but often give a favorable impression.


A cutscene is a non-interactive sequence of the game, usually using a movie file to play an animation, a slideshow of events, or an event CG with camera movement to simulate animation.

Scrolling Text

Scrolling text (also known as a crawl, roll, or ticker) is an effect where text is animated to move on its own without player involvement. In general, a "crawl" is scrolling text used at the opening of a story that acts as a prologue (ex: Star Wars opening crawl), a "roll" is used at the end for credits (ex: the end of nearly every movie), and a "ticker" is a horizontal scroll of text at the bottom of the screen to display information not necessarily directly connected to whatever else is happening on screen (ex: the text crawl bars on a news network). Usually, VNs won't use an opening crawl as it's better to let players read through a prologue at their own pace, but it may be worth considering if it fits your theme. (ex: a parody of the Star Wars opening crawl may work well for your game if it's a quirky space opera or a comedy/parody.)