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Synchronizing states and events

Netcode for GameObjects has three options for synchronizing game states and events:

While each of these options can be used to synchronize states or events, they all have specific use cases and limitations.

Messaging system

The Netcode for GameObjects messaging system allows you to send and receive messages or events. The system supports the serialization of most primitive value types as well as any classes and/or structures that implement the INetworkSerializable interface.

Remote procedure calls (RPCs)

RPCs are a way of sending an event notification as well as a way of handling direct communication between a server and a client, or between clients and the distributed authority service. This is sometimes useful when the ownership scope of the NetworkBehavior, that the remote procedure call is declared within, belongs to the server but you still want one or more clients to be able to communicate with the associated NetworkObject.

Usage examples:

  • An RPC with SendTo.Server can be used by a client to notify the server that the player is trying to use a world object (such as a door or vehicle).
  • An RPC with SendTo.SpecifiedInParams can be used by a server to notify a specific client of a special reconnection key or some other player-specific information that doesn't require its state to be synchronized with all current and any future late-joining client(s).

There are many RPC methods, as outlined on the RPC page. The most commonly used are:

  • Rpc(SendTo.Server): A remote procedure call received by and executed on the server side.
  • Rpc(SendTo.NotServer): A remote procedure call received by and executed on the client side. Note that this does NOT execute on the host, as the host is also the server.
  • Rpc(SendTo.ClientsAndHost): A remote procedure call received by and executed on the client side. If the server is running in host mode, this RPC will also be executed on the server (the host client).
  • Rpc(SendTo.SpecifiedInParams): A remote procedure call that will be sent to a list of client IDs provided as parameters at runtime. By default, other SendTo values cannot have any client IDs passed to them to change where they are being sent, but this can also be changed by passing AllowTargetOverride = true to the Rpc attribute.

RPCs have no limitations on who can send them: the server can invoke an RPC with SendTo.Server, a client can invoke an RPC with SendTo.NotServer, and so on. If an RPC is invoked in a way that would cause it to be received by the same process that invoked it, it will be executed immediately in that process by default. Passing DeferOverride = true to the Rpc attribute will change this behavior and the RPC will be invoked at the start of the next frame.

Refer to the RPC page for more details.

Custom messages

Custom messages provide you with the ability to create your own message type. Refer to the custom messages page for more details.


A NetworkVariable is most commonly used to synchronize state between both connected and late-joining clients. The NetworkVariable system only supports non-nullable value types, but also provides support for INetworkSerializable implementations as well. You can create your own NetworkVariable class by deriving from the NetworkVariableBase abstract class. If you want something to always be synchronized with current and late-joining clients, then it's likely a good NetworkVariable candidate.

Refer to the NetworkVariable page for more details.