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Commands that allow players to display purely emotional actions for their characters.

Games lets player affect the game state through actions. However, in some games players want to be able to do other actions which while they do not affect the game state let them express emotions of their characters. Emotes provides this possibility to players by letting them type what they want their characters to do in a command line prompt, and this is then presented to all other players that are nearby.

Wikipedia has an entry for Emotes[1].


Emotes are used in MUDs and Massively Multiplayer Online Roleplaying Games. In MUD2 they are evoked through the command "act" while [[DragonMud] uses ":", Kingdoms and BatMUD both simply have the command "emote". For example, typing “: jumps around.” when playing as the PC named Bilbo would give nearby players the message “Bilbo jumps around.” Having graphical representations, Emotes in Massively Multiplayer Online Roleplaying Games are sometimes augmented with specific non-gameplay actions that avatars can enact; For example, World of Warcraft lets players write freeform Emotes by typing “/e” in the chat window but also allows players' avatars to perform dances if “/dance” is entered into the console window.

Using the pattern

Emotes is an option for Command Line Systems and Illocutionary Interfaces to help players provide purely emotional expressions for their Characters, i.e. Emotes provide actions for players that do not affect the game state. This means that they are not necessary for games with Unmediated Social Interaction.

Two basic forms of Emotes exist: freeform and specific. The first lets players type any kind of action to be presented to others while the other provides a list of specific actions that can be performed. The two can be combined but this makes most sense in Massively Multiplayer Online Roleplaying Games where Avatars can then enact these actions, this however requires creating specific animations and sounds for each allowed action.

Freeform Emotes can be used to trick other players if they are truly freeform. For this reason, Emotes may be limited in some form. An example of this is prefixing all Emotes with the player's Handle so that emoting "is looking happy." while playing as a Character with the name (and Handle) "Rollo" will let other players' see "Rollo is looking happy."

Allowing the use of Mules in a game lets players automate the execution of Emotes.

Diegetic Aspects

Freeform Emotes risks breaking Diegetic and Thematic Consistency as players can insert anything they wish into the game world.

Interface Aspects

Emotes is an Interface Pattern.


Emotes is a way of modifying Chat Channels. They provide players with the possibility of Creative Control - especially the freeform version - regarding their Enactment of Characters, and by extension let them show that they are Roleplaying. When used with Avatars, it can help create Emotional Attachment to these.

Social Interaction arise from using Emotes since the expression of Characters' emotions by their players can be seen as a form of such interaction.


Can Instantiate

Creative Control, Enactment, Roleplaying, Social Interaction

with Avatars

Emotional Attachment

Can Modulate

Avatars, Characters, Command Line Systems, Chat Channels, Illocutionary Interfaces

Can Be Instantiated By


Can Be Modulated By

Handles, Mules

Possible Closure Effects


Potentially Conflicting With

Diegetic Consistency, Thematic Consistency


New pattern created in this wiki.


  1. Wikipedia entry for "Emote".