Best practice for referencing a GameObject from a prefab with multiple instances

I’ve been trying to tidy up my code in a game I’m working on and I’m having difficulty figuring out the best way to do this cleanly. I have instantiated prefabs with scripts that need references to a Transform in the scene.

I’m trying to avoid using a singleton, but I’m not sure how else to get a reference to this particular GameObject in the scene, from the script that runs on the prefab when it is instantiated. I could do something like finding the GameObject by name, but that seems quite inefficient when it would be doing that every time a new instance is created, and that would be fairly frequently.

What’s the best practice for a script that lives on a prefab getting a reference to a GameObject in the scene?


It depends on the scenario, I suppose. If the prefabs are in the hierarchy at design time, you could use [SerializeField] and assign it in the inspector. If they are being spawned, you could put the [SerializeField] on the ‘spawner’ and pass it to the script through a Setup method. Objects being spawned frequently may benefit from some sort of object pool. That object pool could assign the transform to objects as needed.

Ah yes, having the reference on the spawner and passing the reference to the prefab when it’s instantiated is a great idea. Thanks!

There are a couple of other approaches… You mentioned that these would be on instantiated prefabs, meaning linking an in-scene transform would not work (unless it was part of the prefab to begin with).

Here’s a few tricks:

Let The Spawner Handle It

The script that spawns the object would need a reference to the Transform (and more likely that could be handled in the inspector). Then the script on the Prefab that needs the Transform would have a method like Setup()

public void Setup(Transform importantTransform);
    transformINeededToGet = importantTransform);

Then the Spawner would do something like this:

GameObject go = Instantiate(prefab, location, rotation);
var component = go.GetComponent<MyScriptThatNeedsTheTransform>();

Tag, You're it!

Another more blunt method is to simply have the important Transform have a tag like “Player” (you can create any tag you want in the inspector).

void Awake()
    transformINeededToGet = GameObject.FindWithTag("ImportantTransform").transform;

You're just my Type

An even more blunt method would be to search for the component in question…

void Awake()
    transformINeededToGet = FindObjectOfType<MyImportantComponent>().transform;

Brilliant! Thank you so much!

Privacy & Terms