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Object Spawning

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There is a Video Tutorial covering some of the concepts covered in this page here

In Unity, you typically create a new game object using the Instantiate function. Creating a game object with Instantiate will only create that object on that player's local machine. Spawning in MLAPI means to create an object which is shared between all clients and the server.

Registering a Networked Prefab

To spawn an object, it must first be registered as a networked prefab:

  1. Create a Prefab out of the object you want to spawn.
  2. Make sure the object has a NetworkObject component on it.

The NetworkObject component has a PrefabHash this is a unique name used by MLAPI to find the right object to spawn on the clients. By default this is the name of the object but it can be changed if needed.

  1. Add your Prefab to the NetworkPrefabs list of the NetworkManager.

Spawning a Networked Prefab

MLAPI uses a server authoritative networking model so spawning objects can only be done on the server/host. To spawn an object first instantiate the object from your Prefab and then invoke the spawn method on the NetworkObject component that should be attached to the prefab. This should only be done on the server as the object will automatically replicate on the other clients. By default a newly spawned object is owned by the server. See Ownership for more information.

The following is an example to spawn an object (with server ownership):

GameObject go = Instantiate(myPrefab,, Quaternion.identity);

The .Spawn() method takes 2 optional parameters, both with default values:

public void Spawn(Stream spawnPayload = null, bool destroyWithScene = false);
spawnPayloadA System.IO.Stream and can be retrieved in NetworkStart() to sync values once when spawning this object. The payload data is only available for already connected clients. If a client connects later they won't get the payload data.
destroyWithSceneIf set to true, the object will be destroyed on scene switching. This can only be set inside the spawn call.

Destroying / Despawning

When a spawned object gets destroyed on the server/host, MLAPI will automatically destroy it on all clients as well.

When a client disconnects, all objects owned by that client will be destroyed. If you don't want that to happen for an object set the DontDestroyWithOwner field on NetworkObject to true.


To despawn a networked object on all clients but keep it on the server call NetworkObject.Despawn on the server. An despawned object can also later be spawned again with another spawn call if needed.

A client should never call destroy on a networked object itself (this isn't supported). To destroy an object with client authority, have the client send an RPC to the server, which allows the server to destroy the object.

You can't despawn objects on just specific clients. If you want to hide an object on some clients but display it on others use Object Visibility.

To get more control about the object lifecycle, MLAPI has built in object pooling. See Object Pooling to learn more.

Scene Objects

Any objects in the scene with active NetworkObject components will get automatically replicated by MLAPI. There is no need to manually spawn them.

There are two modes that define how scene objects are synchronized.


SoftSync is the default and recommended mode for synchronizing scene objects.

When using SoftSync MLAPI will just synchronize existing scene objects with each other. This allows scene objects to be non prefabs and they won't be replaced, thus keeping their serialized data.


PrefabSync can be manually enabled in the NetworkManager by ticking the Use Prefab Sync checkbox. Prefab sync will also be used if SceneManagement is disabled.

If it's enabled, every scene object with a NetworkObject component has to be a Prefab and must be registered in the NetworkPrefabs list. When a client starts, MLAPI will destroy all existing scene objects with a NetworkObject component on them and spawn a corresponding Prefab from the NetworkPrefabs list instead. This means that serialized data gets lost on the clients. It's thus recommended to place serialized data in NetworkVariable's. PrefabSync is ONLY recommended for multi project setups.