Particular Problems with Public Variables in Unity

The Unity documentation it indicates that all public variables are made available in the inspector for direct editing. While this is handy, it is also dangerous. This article will cover a few things regarding public variables, and how to avoid them in Unity.

Public Variables

In a earlier post I made mention of public variables, specifically in a class-based architecture. One of the dangers of public variables is that anything can change their value. When testing Napkin Western (working title) on a tablet, some of the variables were corrupted from the values set in the Inspector. The values changed from 6 and 15 to 2.435e-43 and 2.643e-45 respectively.

Solution

What's the solution? Simple, set the access to all your variables, functions, enums, etc. to exactly what they should be. Make only variables public that absolutely need to be. Then take advantage of the [HideInInspector] to keep certain public variables hidden, and[SerializeField] to show hidden or private variables. This way things won't get accidentally modified, and you will have access to all the pieces you need while retaining the proper level of access.