Global namespace/Basic functions

(Redirected from Function Dump/Core Functions)
< Global namespace

The functions listed below aren't in any specific library, but are global in the script's environment. These are general purpose functions that don't fit into any of the other categories.


assert (v [, message])

Issues an error when the value of its argument v is false (i.e., nil or false); otherwise, returns all its arguments. message is an error message; when absent, it defaults to "assertion failed!"

assert (false, "This is an error message")
Tue Oct 07 10:15:37 2008 - Cmd:1: This is an error message
Tue Oct 07 10:15:37 2008 - Cmd, line 1
Tue Oct 07 10:15:37 2008 - stack end
assert (false)
Tue Oct 07 10:14:18 2008 - Cmd:1: assertion failed! 
Tue Oct 07 10:14:18 2008 - Cmd, line 1
Tue Oct 07 10:14:18 2008 - stack end
assert (true)
No output


collectgarbage (opt [, arg])

This function is a generic interface to the garbage collector. It performs different functions according to its first argument, opt:

  • stop: stops the garbage collector.
  • restart: restarts the garbage collector.
  • collect: performs a full garbage-collection cycle.
  • count: returns the total memory in use by Lua (in Kbytes).
  • step: performs a garbage-collection step. The step "size" is controlled by arg (larger values mean more steps) in a non-specified way. If you want to control the step size you must experimentally tune the value of arg. Returns true if the step finished a collection cycle.
  • setpause: sets arg/100 as the new value for the pause of the collector.
  • setstepmul: sets arg/100 as the new value for the step multiplier of the collector.

Note that the only option that works is count. All of the others will error as an invalid option.

t = {}
for i = 0,20000 do
t = nil


dofile (filename)

Opens the named file and executes its contents as a chunk. When called without arguments, dofile executes the contents of the standard input (stdin). Returns all values returned by the chunk. In case of errors, dofile propagates the error to its caller (that is, dofile does not run in protected mode).

--File name: Hello.lua
--File contents: print("Hello World!")
Hello World!


error (message [, level])

Terminates the last protected function called and returns message as the error message. If the function containing the error is not called in a protected function (pcall), then the script which called the function will terminate.

The error function itself never returns and acts like a script error.

Usually, error adds some information about the error position at the beginning of the message. The level argument specifies how to get the error position. With level 1 (the default), the error position is where the error function was called. Level 2 points the error to where the function that called error was called; and so on. Passing a level 0 avoids the addition of error position information to the message.

error ("this is an error message")
Tue Oct 07 08:18:36 2008 - Cmd:1: this is an error message
Tue Oct 07 08:18:36 2008 - Cmd, line 1
Tue Oct 07 08:18:36 2008 - stack end


A table that is shared between all scripts in one instance of Roblox. Scripts can use this to share data, including functions, between them.


  • In online mode, scripts running in a LocalScript run on the player's computer, so they are in a separate instance of Roblox and can't share data with non-local scripts except by using objects such as IntValue.
  • In the past, this was the table that all the built-in functions were stored in, and it was possible to read values from it without writing "_G" in front. This is no longer the case.
--Script one:
_G.variable = "This a variable in _G."
--Script two:
while _G.variable == nil do wait() end --make sure that script one sets the variable before this one tries to read it
"This a variable in _G."

See also Global Functions.


gcinfo ()

Returns amount of dynamic memory in use. This is deprecated. Use collectgarbage ("count") instead.

print (gcinfo ())
a=collectgarbage ("count")


getfenv ([f])

Returns the current environment in use by the function. f can be a function or a number that specifies the function at that stack level: Level 1 is the function calling getfenv. If the given function is not a function, or if f is 0, getfenv returns the global environment. The default for f is 1. When using getfenv to get the current environment of a script, it will return the same table every time within the specific thread.

var1 = 7
var2 = 9
getfenv()["var3"] = 11
for i, v in pairs(getfenv()) do
    print(i, " = ", v)
script = Script
var1 = 7
var2 = 9
var3 = 11


getmetatable (object)

If object does not have a metatable, returns nil. Otherwise, if the object's metatable has a "__metatable" field, returns the associated value. Otherwise, returns the metatable of the given object.

t = {}
table: [hexadecimal memory address]


ipairs (t)

Returns three values: an iterator function, the table t, and 0, so that the construction

for i,v in ipairs(t) do

will iterate over the pairs (1,t[1]), (2,t[2]), ···, up to the first integer key absent from the table.

t = {'a', 'b', 'c', nil, 'd'}
for i,v in ipairs(t) do
    print(i, v)
1	a
2	b
3	c


load (func [, chunkname])

Loads a chunk using function func to get its pieces. Each call to func must return a string that concatenates with previous results. A return of nil (or no value) signals the end of the chunk.

If there are no errors, returns the compiled chunk as a function; otherwise, returns nil plus the error message. The environment of the returned function is the global environment.

chunkname is used as the chunk name for error messages and debug information.


loadfile ([filename])

Similar to load, but gets the chunk from file filename or from the standard input, if no file name is given.

--File name: file.lua
-- File contents: print("This is the contents of a file.")
f = loadfile("C:/file.lua")
This is the contents of a file.


Note: loadstring cannot be used from a LocalScript, however, it can be used from a Script if loadstring is enabled through the LoadStringEnabled property of ServerScriptService.

loadstring (string [, chunkname])

Similar to load, but gets the chunk from the given string. Loadstring returns a function if the string argument can be converted into a Lua function, otherwise it returns nil plus an error message.

Unlike standard Lua 5.1, ROBLOX Lua cannot load bytecode using loadstring.

To load and run a given string, use the idiom

a = 2
loadstring("b = 3")()		-- This loads the string to a function, and then calls that function.
a = 5
b = 1
change = loadstring("b = 2")


newproxy (boolean or proxy)

Undocumented feature of Lua.

Arguments: boolean - returned proxy has metatable or userdata - different proxy created with newproxy

Creates a blank userdata with an empty metatable, or with the metatable of another proxy. Note that, in ROBLOX, creating a proxy with another proxy is disabled and will error.

local a = newproxy(true) 
local mt = getmetatable(a) 
print( mt ~= nil )
local b = newproxy(a) 
print( mt == getmetatable(b) )
local c = newproxy(false) 
print( getmetatable(c) ~= nil )
print( a.Name )
mt.__index = {Name="Proxy"} 
print( a.Name )
print( b.Name )
attempt to index local 'a' (a userdata value)


next (table [, index])

Allows a program to traverse all fields of a table. Its first argument is a table and its second argument is an index in this table. next returns the next index of the table and its associated value. When called with nil as its second argument, next returns an initial index and its associated value. When called with the last index, or with nil in an empty table, next returns nil. If the second argument is absent, then it is interpreted as nil. In particular, you can use next(t) to check whether a table is empty.

The order in which the indices are enumerated is not specified, even for numeric indices. To traverse a table in numeric order, use a numerical for or the ipairs function.

The behavior of next is undefined if, during the traversal, you assign any value to a non-existent field in the table. You may however modify existing fields. In particular, you may clear existing fields.

days = {"Sunday", "Monday", "Tuesday", "Wednesday", "Thursday", "Friday", "Saturday"}
1 Sunday
5 Thursday -- cf. print(days[4]), which gives you Wednesday


os.time( [date_table] )

When called without arguments, returns the number of seconds since the epoch (1 January 1970, 00:00:00). This differs from tick(): tick() returns the number of seconds since the epoch from the current system time. os.time() returns this time of seconds since the UTC time, meaning that this will (theoretically) be the same on all systems. In practice, this will often differ with some seconds. os.time() should be used for cases where you want to get a time difference between two visits - think about giving players a bonus for coming back every day.

When called with a date table, os.time will return the timestamp which belongs to that date table. This date table can hold the following fields:

Field Valid values Default values or mandatory
year A full year number (ex. 2014) Mandatory
month 1-12 Mandatory
day 1-31 Mandatory
hour 1-31 12
min 0-59 0
sec 0-59 0
isdst True if daylight saving is on false


os.difftime( t1, t2 )

This function returns the number of seconds from t1 to t2. In Microsoft Windows and systems based on Unix, this is equivalent to t1t2; this is always the case in ROBLOX.


Added on the 27th of August, 2015

This function returns a traceback of the current thread, similar to the one in the output on error.

Script 'print(debug.traceback())', Line 1
Stack End
-- Ran from a Script in workspace called "Script"
local function a()
function b()
local function c()
Script 'Workspace.Script', Line 3 - upvalue a
Script 'Workspace.Script', Line 6 - global b
Script 'Workspace.Script', Line 9 - local c
Script 'Workspace.Script', Line 11
Stack End


Main article: MicroProfiler

debug.profilebegin( name )

Used to open a custom label in the Microprofiler.

while true do
   --your code here


Main article: MicroProfiler

debug.profileend( )

Used to close an open custom label in the Microprofiler.


pairs (t)

Returns three values: the next function, the table t, and nil, so that the construction

for k,v in pairs(t) do body end

will iterate over all key–value pairs of table t.

See function next for the caveats of modifying the table during its traversal.

t = {1,2,"a","d",c = 12, q = 20}
for i,v in pairs(t) do
1 1
2 2
3 a
4 d
c 12
q 20


pcall (f, arg1, ···)

Calls function f with the given arguments in protected mode. This means that any error inside f is not propagated; instead, pcall catches the error and returns a status code. Its first result is the status code (a boolean), which is true if the call succeeds without errors. In such case, pcall also returns all results from the call, after this first result. In case of any error, pcall returns false plus the error message.

function GoodPrint()
    print("Hi Mom!")
function BadPrint()
    ppppprint("Hi Mom!") -- This will error.
local success, message = pcall(GoodPrint)
if success then
    -- Stuff
    print("An error occurred: "..message)
success, message = pcall(BadPrint)
if success then
    -- Stuff
    print("An error occurred: "..message)
Hi Mom!
An error occurred: Workspace.Script:6: attempt to call global 'ppppprint' (a nil value)


print (···)

Receives any number of arguments, and prints their values to the output, using the tostring function to convert them to strings. print is not intended for formatted output, but only as a quick way to show a value, typically for debugging. For formatted output, use string.format.

print ("Hello!")


rawequal (v1, v2)

Checks whether v1 is equal to v2, without invoking any metamethod. Returns a boolean.

print(rawequal (5, 3))
print(rawequal (5, 5))


rawget (table, index)

Gets the real value of table[index], without invoking any metamethod. table must be a table; index may be any value.

days = {"Sunday", "Monday", "Tuesday", "Wednesday", "Thursday", "Friday", "Saturday"}
print(rawget (days, 2))


rawset (table, index, value)

Sets the real value of table[index] to value, without invoking any metamethod. table must be a table, index any value different from nil, and value any value.

This function returns table.

rawset (_G, "test", 42) 
print (_G.test)


select (index, ···)

If index is a number, returns all arguments after argument number index. Otherwise, index must be the string "#", and select returns the total number of extra arguments it received.

print(select (3, "a", "b", "c", "d", "e", 1, 2, 3))
print(select ("#", "a", "b", "c", "d", "e", 1, 2, 3))
c d e 1 2 3


setfenv (f, table)

Sets the environment to be used by the given function. f can be a function or a number that specifies the function at that stack level: Level 1 is the function calling setfenv. setfenv returns the given function.

As a special case, when f is 0 setfenv changes the environment of the running thread. In this case, setfenv returns no values.

_G.a = 1   -- create a global variable
setfenv(1, {_G = _G}) -- change current environment

See PIL's Non-Global Environments for more info


setmetatable (table, metatable)

Sets the metatable for the given table. (You cannot change the metatable of other types from Lua, only from C.) If metatable is nil, removes the metatable of the given table. If the original metatable has a "__metatable" field, raises an error.

This function returns table.

local t = {"a","b","c"}
local mt = {
	__pow = function(tbl, num)
		return 3 ^ num
for i, value in pairs(t) do
	print(i, "=", value)
print("t ^ 2 = "..t ^ 2)
1 = a
2 = b
3 = c
t ^ 2 = 9


tonumber (e [, base])

Tries to convert its argument to a number. If the argument is already a number or a string convertible to a number, then tonumber returns this number; otherwise, it returns nil.

An optional argument specifies the base to interpret the numeral. The base may be any integer between 2 and 36, inclusive. In bases above 10, the letter 'A' (in either upper or lower case) represents 10, 'B' represents 11, and so forth, with 'Z' representing 35. In base 10 (the default), the number may have a decimal part, as well as an optional exponent part (see §2.1). In other bases, only unsigned integers are accepted.

print(tonumber (11111111, 2))
print(tonumber ("FF", 16))


tostring (e)

Receives an argument of any type and converts it to a string in a reasonable format. For complete control of how number are converted, use string.format.

If the metatable of e has a "__tostring" field, then tostring calls the corresponding value with e as argument, and uses the result of the call as its result.

a=tostring("The answer to 2+2 is "  .. 2+2)
The answer to 2+2 is 4


type (v)

Returns the type of its only argument, coded as a string. The possible results of this function are "nil" (a string, not the value nil), "number", "string", "boolean", "table", "function", "thread", and "userdata".

print(type (true))
print(type (3))


unpack (list [, i [, j]])

Returns the elements from the given table. This function is equivalent to

return list[i], list[i+1], ···, list[j]

except that the above code can be written only for a fixed number of elements. By default, i is 1 and j is the length of the list, as defined by the length operator.

t = { "the", "quick", "brown" }
print (unpack (t))
the quick brown


A global variable (not a function) that holds a string containing the current interpreter version. The current contents of this variable is "Lua 5.1".

Lua 5.1


xpcall (f, err)

This function is similar to pcall, except that you can set a new error handler.

xpcall calls function f in protected mode, using err as the error handler. Any error inside f is not propagated; instead, xpcall catches the error, calls the err function with the original error object, and returns a status code. Its first result is the status code (a boolean), which is true if the call succeeds without errors. In this case, xpcall also returns all results from the call, after this first result. In case of any error, xpcall returns false plus the result from err.

function handle(err)
    return "ERROR: " .. err:gsub("(.-:)","")
function f()
    local a = nil
    return a+1
false ERROR: attempt to perform arithmetic on local 'a' (a nil value)