A function included in the GECK version


ShowMessage is used to display messages to the player. The message itself is an editor object that contains all the data: display text, type of message, and buttons (if the message is a message box).


ShowMessage MessageID:ref var1:var var2:var ... var9:var Duration:int

The number of var parameters required is equal to the number of format specifiers in the specified message's content, up to a maximum of 9.


ShowMessage MyMessage

Shows MyMessage.

ShowMessage TimeScaleMessage TimeScale

Shows TimeScaleMessage, and inserts the value stored in TimeScale into it. In order for this to work, TimeScaleMessage must have the appropriate format specifier to display a floating point value.


  • This command replaces the "Message" and "MessageBox" functions of Oblivion and Morrowind.
  • Buttons are part of the Message form. If no buttons are specified on a MessageBox type message, a default "OK" button will be displayed.
  • Message Type on the Message determines whether we are displaying a "message" (upper right corner, single line of text, doesn't interrupt the game) or a "message box" (center of the screen, game stops until the player presses one of the buttons).
  • The optional parameters must be declared variables or globals. You cannot use constant values.
  • Variables can be inserted into the displayed text (see below). The message will fail to display if the wrong number of variables are passed into the ShowMessage call.
  • Variables cannot be inserted into a message box's buttons.
  • The "Duration" parameter doesn't actually do anything

Formatting messages

Variable parameters can be used in conjunction with a Message in order to insert variables into the displayed text.

  • Use the formatting notation below in the text of the Message.
  • The number of parameters called by ShowMessage must match the number of variables the message is expecting.

Formatting notation

%.2f - This means format the variable with 2 decimal places.

%.0f - This will format the variable with 0 decimal places, so is the normal choice for integers.

%5.0f - The number in front of the point specifies the minimum width of the number. In this case, there will always be enough space in front of the number for 5 digits:

Number    12 wins
Number  1234 wins

Formatting switches

The following formatting switches can be used in Messages. Put them in any sequence right after the '%'

Switch Function
+ Display + in front of positive numbers
<Space> Leave a leading space in front of positive numbers
- Use left-aligned formation instead of right alligned.
0 The filling-char used for formatting is '0' instead of ' '

Other Functions

%g - This usually works just like "%.0f", displaying 0 decimal places. When the number is 1000000 or larger, though, the game diplays it in scientific notation (1E+006)

%.3e - Shows numbers in scientific notation (123000 = 1.23E+005)

%% - Use this to display a percent-sign in the message

&sUActn... - Allows you to insert the key used for a given control, such as the Activate button, the Always Run button, or the Block button. See the sUActn article for the list of control codes.

FOSE Switches

%r - Prints a carriage return, ending the current line and starting at the next.

%n - Prints the name of the specified reference or object.

%i - Prints the formID of the specified reference or object. GOTCHA : if a refVar is passed which points to a ref not loaded in memory %i will print 00000000 even if the refVar is not empty.

%k - Prints the name of the key for the specified DirectInput scancode.

%c - Prints the specified component of the specified reference or object. Takes two arguments - a reference variable set to the spell or faction, and an index. Behaves differently depending on the passed reference:

  • Faction: Prints the nth male rank title
  • Magic Item: Prints the nth Magic Effect

%p - Displays a pronoun based on the gender of the object parameter:

  •  %po - objective (him, her, it)
  •  %pp - possessive (his, her, its)
  •  %ps - subjective (he, she, it)

%q - Prints a double quote character.

%a - Prints the character corresponding to the specified ASCII code. Passing codes for unprintable characters (such as 0) may have unpredictable (though occasionally useful) results. Passing the code for a percent sign will most likely crash the game as literal percent signs must come in pairs.

%v - Prints the actor value (i.e. an attribute or skill) associated with the passed actor value code.

%e - Provides a workaround for the script compiler's refusal to accept an empty string as a command argument.

  • Example:
SetName "" object    ; attempts to remove an object's name, but won't compile
SetName "%e" object  ; sets the name to an empty string

%{...%} - Conditionally displays or omits the bracketed portion of the format string based on a boolean value. Accepts a variable - if the value of the variable is zero, all text and parameters up to the matching right bracket will be ignored. Otherwise the bracketed text will be displayed.

  • Example (should be single-line, line-breaks added for Wiki)
MBoxEX "Doom comes%{ for you%}. What will you do?
|Dig a hole, hide
%{|Find someone, offer as sacrifice|Find someone, use as shield%}
|Enjoy your final 15 minutes" bDisplay bDisplay

If bDisplay is 0 this will print out

   Doom comes. What will you do?
   [Dig a hole, hide]
   [Enjoy your final 15 minutes]

If bDisplay is 1 this will print out

   Doom comes for you. What will you do?
   [Dig a hole, hide]
   [Find someone, offer as sacrifice]
   [Find someone, use as shield]
   [Enjoy your final 15 minutes]

See Also

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