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arrays disappearing in method scope

I am trying to create a class to my javascript game to add multiplayer but within the class i am having problems with the values of arrays changing as you can see in the sendNetEntities() function

class NET_IO{
    //probably put address here
    //I want to check for localhost to denote MASTER client
    constructor(host, netlayer){
        this.socket = io();
        this.netLayer = netlayer
        this.netEntities = this.netLayer.entities
        //setInterval(() => {this.update()}, 200)

        this.socket.emit('getNetEntities', (net_entities) => {
            this.netEntities = net_entities

        var netEnt = this.netEntities
        console.log(netEnt)                 //this returns [background: Entity, NIkTag: Entity, player: Entity]` the value i want
        var ent = JSON.stringify(netEnt);
        console.log(ent)                   //this returns [] 
        this.socket.emit('sendNetEntities', ent)

    update(layer, callback){
        //check host if localhost dont retreive new data only send


I think im having problems with variables somehow being references of something instead of instances. But im not entirely sure all of the rules behind that for javascript. can anyone help me shed some light on this problem. I’m willing to edit my question as needed


further debugging leads me to believe that it must be some sort of problem with if i run this this.socket.emit('sendNetEntities', {netEnt}) my return on the server is {netEnt:[]} I havent had problems like this in in the past. Am i doing something wrong. is the problem



Based on this:

//this returns [background: Entity, NIkTag:  Entity, player: Entity]` the value i want
var ent = JSON.stringify(netEnt);
console.log(ent)                   //this returns []

I think you are treating an Array as an Object. In JavaScript, this is technically possible because almost everything is an Object, including arrays. However, this may lead to unexpected behavior:

// Create an array and an object
a = [] // an array
o = {} // an object

// Set some properties on both
a.p = 42
o.p = 42

// Show differences between arrays and objects:
console.log(a.constructor)     // ƒ Array()
console.log(a)                 // [p: 42]
console.log(JSON.stringify(a)) // []

console.log(o.constructor)     // ƒ Object()
console.log(o)                 // {p: 42}
console.log(JSON.stringify(o)) // {"p":42}

As you can see, JSON.stringify() ignores properties set on arrays.

So the solution is to use netEnt either as an array or as an object, without mixing the types:

// As an array, don't use property names. Use the integer array indices:
netEnt = [entity1, entity2, entity3]
background = netEnt[0]
nikTag     = netEnt[1]
player     = netEnt[2]    

// As an object, property names can be used:
netEnt = {background: entity1, NIkTag: entity2, player: entity3}
background = netEnt.background 
nikTag     = netEnt.NIkTag     
player     = netEnt.player


The fundamental problem is your classes use arrays, but access them as objects. The best solution is to change your classes so they either:

  • use arrays and access the arrays as arrays.
  • use objects and access the objects as objects.

Without seeing your class definitions, I cannot show you how to do this. However, it is as simple as changing the initial value of the class instances from [] to {}.

The following is a quick fix that serializes your array “objects” into true JS objects so JSON.stringify() will work as expected. However, in the future I highly recommend learning the difference between JS arrays and objects. This quick fix imposes a totally unnecessary performance penalty because JS arrays are being misused as objects:

        var netEnt = this.netEntities
        // Convert netEnt array "object" into true JS object
        var trueObject = {}
        for (prop in netEnt) {
            trueObject[prop] = netEnt[prop]

        var ent = JSON.stringify(trueObject);
        this.socket.emit('sendNetEntities', ent)

Note in getNetEntities(), you will probably have to do the reverse: convert from true JS objects back to array “objects.” I was unsure of the input format of net_entities, so I left this as an exercise.

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