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Widget State & Multiplayer

Widgets live on the canvas and can be highly interactive. In certain cases, multiple users might even click on the same widget at the same time! It is crucial to design your widget's state with multiplayer scenarios in mind.

When to use useSyncedState vs. useSyncedMap

In the counter example here, if 2 users click on the counter at the same time, both users will set count to count + 1. This is undesirable because it means that only one vote gets registered! The desired behavior here is for count to become count + 2 instead.

We can achieve this by using useSyncedMap to store a map of sessionId to votes - under the hood, the synced map will merge keys that have been created / removed / updated across different clients. Beyond the top level keys of the synced map, the semantics of each value stored in it is exactly the same as a single synced state value.

Here’s a quick summary of when to use useSyncedState vs useSyncedMap:

Great for storing simple values that should always override the last valueGreat if you want to merge “edits” from multiple clients that might override each other otherwise

Use cases: Polls, Counters, Tables
In a Poll widget, useSyncedState can be used to implement the show / hide results toggleIn the same Poll widget, tracking votes in the poll should use useSyncedMap instead to ensure that clients don’t override each other’s votes.

When to use one vs. many useSyncedState

The flexibility of useSyncedState means that you might end up storing complex JSON structures in a single useSyncedState call OR you might decide to break this up into multiple useSyncedState calls.

One vs many useSyncedState
// one
useSyncedState("settings", {
"color": "blue",
"size": "large",

// many
useSyncedState("color", "blue")
useSyncedState("size", "large")

Choosing between these two options ultimately depends on how you want the values to be merged over multiplayer.

If you have one big synced state, each value that gets set on this synced state clobbers the last value.

Setting one big synced state
color: "red", // <- client A sets this
size: "large"

color: "blue",
size: "medium" // <- client b sets this

// only one of those changes will end up taking effect.
// the second setState call will effectively override the first one.

If instead you had 2 useSyncedState calls here, the final state will be merged because each useSyncedState is "applied" separately!

Setting multiple synced state
// yielding
color="red", size="medium"

Of course, this isn't always a good thing! In certain cases, you might want to validate that only certain combinations are allowed! This would be a good use case to combine state values into a single useSyncedState hook.