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NetworkVariable is the way data can be synchronized between peers in abstracted ways. The data can be custom containers and complex structures such as inventory structs.

By default, the MLAPI comes with three different containers. NetworkList, NetworkDictionary and NetworkVariable. The NetworkVariable container is built to store simple data types such as floats and ints. The List and Dictionary implementations are wrappers around the .NET equivalents. They are event-driven and have a list of events to be synced. The default implementations come with flexibility in terms of settings. Containers can be setup to sync Client To Server, Server To Client, or Bidirectional. It can also be set to target specific clients using custom delegates.

Since the NetworkVariable container is a wrapper container around the value, the value has be accessed using the .Value property.


The NetworkVariable, NetworkList and NetworkDictionary implementations are primarily designed as samples showing how to create INetworkVariable structures. The NetworkVariable container is however considered production ready for simple types.


You must remember to add the NetworkObject component to the game object to which your script belongs.

To create your own NetworkVariable container, simply create a class with the INetworkVariable interface and declare it as a field of a NetworkBehaviour. To learn how to write your own containers for more complex structures, see the NetworkVariable implementation. To learn how to do custom delta encoding on complex structures. See the NetworkDictionary and NetworkList implementations.


By default NetworkVariable and its subclasses can only be written to by the server (NetworkVariablePermission.ServerOnly). To change that set the permission to the desired value during initialization:

private NetworkVariable<float> myFloat = new NetworkVariable<float>(new NetworkVariableSettings {WritePermission = NetworkVariablePermission.OwnerOnly}, 5);

For example:

private NetworkVariable<float> myFloat = new NetworkVariable<float>(5.0f);
void MyUpdate()
myFloat.Value += 30;
void ListenChanges()
myFloat.OnValueChanged += valueChanged;
void valueChanged(float prevF, float newF){
Debug.Log("myFloat went from " + prevF + " to " + newF);

Single Sync Values#

If you want values to be synced only once (at spawn), the built-in container's send rate can be set to a negative value.


Since the NetworkVariable class is a generic, editor serialization is NOT supported, it is only available through editor scripts for viewing the values. To get proper serialization, a clone of the NetworkVariable implementation has to be done for each type you wish to use. For example, NetworkVariableInt where you replace all the usages of T with int.

The MLAPI provides a few default serializable implementations of the NetworkVariable, they are called NetworkVariable<T> where T is the type.

Example NetworkVariable and NetworkStart#

The following example uses network replication variables and detects the change in a unit's health and notifies the client. You can perform a NetworkStart Start or Awake to subscribe the OnValueChanged of the health variable, then unsubscribe OnDestroy. The example exposes a NetworkVariable to other classes so that they can hook into Health's OnValueChange delegate or event, since m_Health is a private field.

using MLAPI;
using MLAPI.NetworkVariable;
using UnityEngine;
namespace DefaultNamespace
public class HealthComponent : NetworkBehaviour
private NetworkVariableInt m_Health = new NetworkVariableInt(100);
public NetworkVariableInt Health => m_Health;
void OnEnable()
// Subscribe for when Health value changes
// This usually gets triggered when the server modifies that variable
// and is later replicated down to clients
Health.OnValueChanged += OnHealthChanged;
void OnDisable()
Health.OnValueChanged -= OnHealthChanged;
void OnHealthChanged(int oldValue, int newValue)
// Update UI, if this a client instance and it's the owner of the object
if (IsOwner && IsClient)
// TODO: Update UI code?
Debug.LogFormat("{0} has {1} health!",, m_Health.Value);
public void TakeDamage(int amount)
// Health should be modified server-side only
if(!IsServer) return;
Health.Value -= amount;
// TODO: You can play a VFX/SFX here if needed
if (Health.Value <= 0)
Health.Value = 0;