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Lua Understanding The Difference Between Lua And Lua Variants


Mar 30, 2020
Hey there.

I'm writing this as a tutorial post for people looking to into learning Lua. What I'm going to be covering is both the official Lua language itself and all of it's variants.

When I say "variants", I mean any game or piece of software that uses it's own version of Lua, with custom APIs and keywords. The online, building game, ROBLOX, uses it's own version of Lua called "RBLXLua". This Lua variant differs heavily from the actual Lua, as it includes some of it's own keywords, functions, and APIs that aren't in the actual Lua(For example, wait(), is a RBLXLua keyword/function, yet it doesn't exist in actual Lua).

The issue with Lua variants is that once you become acquainted with them, it may be hard to drop-out of using that variant as you've gotten used to writing in it. I had this issue after switching from RBLXLua to the actual Lua. I had no clue on what I was doing when it came to writing actual Lua code, as I had gotten so used to writing and working in ROBLOX. Of course, overtime, I managed to successfully switch to actual Lua.

My suggestion would be to first acquaint yourself with the actual Lua( ). This can give you a taste of what the language is really like and can give you an idea of what you'll be working with. Learn everything from basic debugging to functions and tables, and after that, move onto the game or piece of software that you want to do your Lua development in. Since you learned the actual Lua prior to using the modified Lua variant, you'll have an idea on what most keywords and functions do, but there may be some new things you'll need to learn for the variant.

At the end of the day, it's important that you understand the difference between the actual Lua and any of it's variants that base themselves off of the language. The same thing goes for any other language that can easily be modified to better suit something else.