Using Lua with C++ (Part 1)

You can view full source code of this article here

Russian version of this tutorial here

If you want to see Lua in real world practice, check out Using Lua with C++ in practice series.


This article is about building your own  Lua/C++ binding. If you want to use an existing library (which is a lot easier and faster), check out this article : Using Lua with C++: LuaBridge

So, why use LUA?

I’ve seen game devs using different data formats. Some of them use JSON, some use XML, some use plain .txt files etc.. As for me, I use Lua for data, because:

  • It is easy to use without any additional libraries(well, except of lua libraries, of course…)
  • You can use different formulas in your files, for example: some_variable = math.sqrt(2) * 2
  • It’s extremely lightweight and fast
  • It’s under MIT license, so you can use it in any way you want. Just download it and use it
  • It’s ported almost everywhere, because it’s written in C and compiles with almost any C compiler
  • You can use tables to categorize your data which is easy to edit and read

Let’s look at example Lua file:

player = {
    pos = {
         X = 20,
         Y = 30,
    filename = "res/images/player.png",
    HP = 20,
-- you can also have comments

With a little class(implementation is below) you can get data in this way:

LuaScript script("player.lua");
std::string filename = script.get("player.filename");
int posX = script.get("player.pos.X");

Pretty neat.


You can find lots of bindings here.
But I wanted to write my own, so here it is.

Note: my code is not perfect, but it works. I appreciate your suggestions on how I can improve my code. E-mail me if you find some errors or just to say thanks:

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