Diegetic Communication

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Player communicating within a game world's diegesis in a thematically appropriate way.

Players of games often enact actions in game worlds as well as engage in conversations with other players or game entities. Diegetic Communication occurs when players take part of conversations as inhabitants of those game worlds and do so without referring to things that do not belong to the specific game worlds.


Tabletop Roleplaying Games such as Dungeons & Dragons and the Storytelling System encourages players to roleplay by speaking as their characters but this is difficult to do consistency since players and game masters need to discuss rules sometimes. Massive Multiplayer versions such as Eve Online and World of Warcraft automate rules and most game masters' tasks but players may still need to talk to each other about rules and thereby cannot always use Diegetic Communication. Single-player Computer Roleplaying Games, e.g. Arcanum, the Dragon Age series, and the Witcher series, can avoid this through using dialogue systems where players.


Most games allow players to engage in non-diegetic communication simply because they can say whatever they want either face-to-face or due to the fact that the communication channels provided to them allows this type of communication as well.

Using the pattern

The design goal of Diegetic Communication is often not to make it the only form of communication in a game but to encourage it to the best possible level and ensure that different types of communication do not interfere with each other. Per its definition, Diegetic Communication is not compatible with Non-Diegetic Communication and designing for each is largely a case of minimizing the other of compartmentalizing them. Also given by its definition, Diegetic Communication is a way of affecting how players communicate through their Characters (since some diegetic entity must be doing the actual communicating in the diegesis). This typically means that Diegetic Communication and Reflective Communication can be problematic to combine since players must handle shifts between the two types of communication to not break Diegetic Consistency.

Communication Channels can both provide a medium for players to engage in Diegetic Communication, and by providing several players can more easily police themselves to keep specific ones reserved for Diegetic Communication. Dialogues is a special case of this where the game systems can ensure that all communication is diegetic.

Having Diegetic Communication is often seen as something that improves Roleplaying. Live Action Roleplaying typically requires talking between players, and having this as Diegetic Communication is in contrast seen as one of the main features of the gaming style. For this type of gaming Meta-Techniques such as Meta-Postures, Prompting Techniques, Substitute Actions exist which provide extra Communication Channels to players and can thereby keep normal conversation as Diegetic Communication.

Diegetic Aspects

Diegetic Communication is a Diegetic Pattern and designing for it is strongly related to designing for Diegetic Consistency. For games with Characters, Diegetic Communication may often mean ensuring In Character Conversations.


While having Diegetic Communication helps having Diegetic Consistency, it also helps having Thematic Consistency. Diegetic Communication can put a twist on Social Interaction but also limit it if players find doing the Diegetic Communication difficult or uncomfortable.


Can Instantiate

Diegetic Consistency, Live Action Roleplaying, Thematic Consistency

Can Modulate

Characters, Roleplaying, Social Interaction

Can Be Instantiated By

Communication Channels, Dialogues

In Character Conversations in games with Characters

Can Be Modulated By

Communication Channels

Meta-Techniques in games with Live Action Roleplaying

Possible Closure Effects


Potentially Conflicting With

Non-Diegetic Communication, Reflective Communication, Social Interaction


New pattern created in this wiki.