SyncLists Overview

SyncLists are array based lists similar to C# List<T> that synchronize their contents from the server to the clients.

A SyncList can contain items of the following types:

  • Basic type (byte, int, float, string, UInt64, etc)
  • Built-in Unity math type (Vector3, Quaternion, etc)
  • NetworkIdentity
  • GameObject with a NetworkIdentity component attached.
  • Structure with any of the above

Differences with HLAPI

HLAPI also supports SyncLists, but we have made redesigned them to better suit our needs. Some of the key differences include:

  • In HLAPI, SyncLists were synchornized immediatelly when they changed. If you add 10 elements, that means 10 separate messages. Mirror synchronizes synclists with the syncvars. The 10 elements and other syncvars are batched together into a single message. Mirror also respects the sync interval when synchronizing lists.

  • In HLAPI if you want a list of structs, you have to use SyncListStruct<MyStructure>, we changed it to just SyncList<MyStructure>

  • In HLAPI the Callback is a delegate. In Mirror we changed it to an event, so that you can add many subscribers.

  • In HLAPI the Callback tells you the operation and index. In Mirror, the callback also receives an item. We made this change so that we could tell what item was removed.

Usage

Create a class that derives from SyncList for your specific type. This is necesary because Mirror will add methods to that class with the weaver. Then add a SyncList field to your NetworkBehaviour class. For example:


public struct Item
{
    public string name;
    public int amount;
    public Color32 color;
}

class SyncListItem : SyncList<Item> {}

class Player : NetworkBehaviour {

    SyncListItem inventory;

    public int coins = 100;

    [Command]
    public void CmdPurchase(string itemName)
    {
        if (coins > 10)
        {
            coins -= 10;
            Item item = new Item 
            {
                name = "Sword",
                amount = 3,
                color = new Color32(125,125,125);
            };

            // during next synchronization,  all clients will see the item
            inventory.Add(item)
        }
    }

}

There are some ready made SyncLists you can use:

  • SyncListString
  • SyncListFloat
  • SyncListInt
  • SyncListUInt
  • SyncListBool

You can also detect when a synclist changes in the client or server. This is useful for refreshing your character when you add equipment or determining when you need to update your database. Subscribe to the Callback event typically during Start, OnClientStart or OnServerStart for that. Note that by the time you subscribe, the list will already be initialized, so you will not get a call for the initial data, only updates.

class Player : NetworkBehaviour {

    SyncListItem inventory;

    // this will add the delegates on both server and client.
    // Use OnStartClient instead if you just want the client to act upon updates
    void Start()
    {
        inventory.Callback += OnInventoryUpdated;
    }

    void OnInventoryUpdated(SyncListItem.Operation op, int index, Item item)
    {
        switch (op) 
        {
            case SyncListItem.Operation.OP_ADD:
                // index is where it got added in the list
                // item is the new item
                break;
            case SyncListItem.Operation.OP_CLEAR:
                // list got cleared
                break;
            case SyncListItem.Operation.OP_INSERT:
                // index is where it got added in the list
                // item is the new item
                break;
            case SyncListItem.Operation.OP_REMOVE:
                // index is where it got removed in the list
                // item is the item that was removed
                break;
            case SyncListItem.Operation.OP_REMOVEAT:
                // index is where it got removed in the list
                // item is the item that was removed
                break;
            case SyncListItem.Operation.OP_SET:
                // index is the index of the item that was updated
                // item is the previous item
                break;
            case SyncListItem.Operation.OP_DIRTY:
                // index is the index of the item that was updated
                // item is the previous item
                break;
        }
    }
}

By default, SyncList uses a List to store it’s data. If you want to use a different list implementation, add a constructor and pass the list implementation to the parent constructor. For example:

class SyncListItem : SyncList<Item> 
{
    public SyncListItem() : base(new MyIList<Item>()) {}
}