unity3d Singletons in Unity MonoBehaviour & ScriptableObject based Singleton Class


Most Singleton examples use MonoBehaviour as the base class. The main disadvantage is that this Singleton class only lives during run time. This has some drawbacks:

  • There is no way of directly editing the singleton fields other than changing the code.
  • No way to store a reference to other assets on the Singleton.
  • No way of setting the singleton as the destination of a Unity UI event. I end up using what i call "Proxy Components" that its sole propose is to have 1 line methods that call "GameManager.Instance.SomeGlobalMethod()".

As noted on the remarks there are implementations that try to solve this using ScriptableObjects as base class but lose the run time benefits of the MonoBehaviour. This implementation solves this problems by using a ScriptableObject as a base class and an associated MonoBehavior during run time:

  • It is an asset so its properties can be updated on the editor like any other Unity asset.
  • It plays nicely with the Unity serialization process.
  • Is possible to assign references on the singleton to other assets from the editor (dependencies are injected through the editor).
  • Unity events can directly call methods on the Singleton.
  • Can call it from anywhere in the codebase using "SingletonClassName.Instance"
  • Has access to run time MonoBehaviour events and methods like: Update, Awake, Start, FixedUpdate, StartCoroutine, etc.
 * Better Singleton by David Darias
 * Use as you like - credit where due would be appreciated :D
 * Licence: WTFPL V2, Dec 2014
 * Tested on Unity v5.6.0 (should work on earlier versions)
 * 03/02/2017 - v1.1 
 * **********************************************************/

using System;
using UnityEngine;
using SingletonScriptableObjectNamespace;

public class SingletonScriptableObject<T> : SingletonScriptableObjectNamespace.BehaviourScriptableObject where T : SingletonScriptableObjectNamespace.BehaviourScriptableObject
    //Private reference to the scriptable object
    private static T _instance;
    private static bool _instantiated;
    public static T Instance
            if (_instantiated) return _instance;
            var singletonName = typeof(T).Name;
            //Look for the singleton on the resources folder
            var assets = Resources.LoadAll<T>("");
            if (assets.Length > 1) Debug.LogError("Found multiple " + singletonName + "s on the resources folder. It is a Singleton ScriptableObject, there should only be one.");
            if (assets.Length == 0)
                _instance = CreateInstance<T>();
                Debug.LogError("Could not find a " + singletonName + " on the resources folder. It was created at runtime, therefore it will not be visible on the assets folder and it will not persist.");
            else _instance = assets[0];
            _instantiated = true;
            //Create a new game object to use as proxy for all the MonoBehaviour methods
            var baseObject = new GameObject(singletonName);
            //Deactivate it before adding the proxy component. This avoids the execution of the Awake method when the the proxy component is added.
            //Add the proxy, set the instance as the parent and move to DontDestroyOnLoad scene
            SingletonScriptableObjectNamespace.BehaviourProxy proxy = baseObject.AddComponent<SingletonScriptableObjectNamespace.BehaviourProxy>();
            proxy.Parent = _instance;
            Behaviour = proxy;
            //Activate the proxy. This will trigger the MonoBehaviourAwake. 
            return _instance;
    //Use this reference to call MonoBehaviour specific methods (for example StartCoroutine)
    protected static MonoBehaviour Behaviour;
    public static void BuildSingletonInstance() { SingletonScriptableObjectNamespace.BehaviourScriptableObject i = Instance; }
    private void OnDestroy(){ _instantiated = false; }

// Helper classes for the SingletonScriptableObject
namespace SingletonScriptableObjectNamespace
    //Empty custom editor to have cleaner UI on the editor.
    using UnityEditor;
    public class BehaviourProxyEditor : Editor
        public override void OnInspectorGUI(){}
    public class BehaviourProxy : MonoBehaviour
        public IBehaviour Parent;

        public void Awake() { if (Parent != null) Parent.MonoBehaviourAwake(); }
        public void Start() { if (Parent != null) Parent.Start(); }
        public void Update() { if (Parent != null) Parent.Update(); }
        public void FixedUpdate() { if (Parent != null) Parent.FixedUpdate(); }

    public interface IBehaviour
        void MonoBehaviourAwake();
        void Start();
        void Update();
        void FixedUpdate();

    public class BehaviourScriptableObject : ScriptableObject, IBehaviour
        public void Awake() { ScriptableObjectAwake(); }
        public virtual void ScriptableObjectAwake() { }
        public virtual void MonoBehaviourAwake() { }
        public virtual void Start() { }
        public virtual void Update() { }
        public virtual void FixedUpdate() { }

Here there is an example GameManager singleton class using the SingletonScriptableObject (with a lot of comments):

using System;
using System.Collections;
using System.Collections.Generic;
using UnityEngine;

//this attribute is optional but recommended. It will allow the creation of the singleton via the asset menu.
//the singleton asset should be on the Resources folder.
[CreateAssetMenu(fileName = "GameManager", menuName = "Game Manager", order = 0)]
public class GameManager : SingletonScriptableObject<GameManager> {

    //any properties as usual
    public int Lives;
    public int Points;

    //optional (but recommended)
    //this method will run before the first scene is loaded. Initializing the singleton here
    //will allow it to be ready before any other GameObjects on every scene and will
    //will prevent the "initialization on first usage". 
    public static void BeforeSceneLoad() { BuildSingletonInstance(); }

    //will run when the Singleton Scriptable Object is first created on the assets. 
    //Usually this happens on edit mode, not runtime. (the override keyword is mandatory for this to work)
    public override void ScriptableObjectAwake(){
        Debug.Log(GetType().Name + " created." );

    //will run when the associated MonoBehavioir awakes. (the override keyword is mandatory for this to work)
    public override void MonoBehaviourAwake(){
        Debug.Log(GetType().Name + " behaviour awake." );

        //A coroutine example:
        //Singleton Objects do not have coroutines.
        //if you need to use coroutines use the atached MonoBehaviour

    //any methods as usual
    private IEnumerator SimpleCoroutine(){
            Debug.Log(GetType().Name + " coroutine step." );
            yield return new WaitForSeconds(3);

    //Classic runtime Update method (the override keyword is mandatory for this to work).
    public override void Update(){


    //Classic runtime FixedUpdate method (the override keyword is mandatory for this to work).
    public override void FixedUpdate(){


*  Notes:
*  - Remember that you have to create the singleton asset on edit mode before using it. You have to put it on the Resources folder and of course it should be only one. 
*  - Like other Unity Singleton this one is accessible anywhere in your code using the "Instance" property i.e: GameManager.Instance