Lua Metatables Creation and usage of metatables


A metatable defines a set of operations which alter the behaviour of a lua object. A metatable is just an ordinary table, which is used in a special way.

local meta = { } -- create a table for use as metatable

-- a metatable can change the behaviour of many things
-- here we modify the 'tostring' operation:
-- this fields should be a function with one argument.
-- it gets called with the respective object and should return a string
meta.__tostring = function (object)
    return string.format("{ %d, %d }", object.x, object.y)

-- create an object
local point = { x = 13, y = -2 }
-- set the metatable
setmetatable(point, meta)

-- since 'print' calls 'tostring', we can use it directly:
print(point) -- prints '{ 13, -2 }'