The function sees the change even if it's changed outside of the function. Global variables − All variables are considered global unless explicitly declared as a local. A function that uses upvalues is called a closure: local x = 5 local function f() -- we use the "local function" syntax here, but that's just for good practice, the example will work without it print (x) end f() --> 5 x = 6 f() --> 6. Lua is a much simpler language than C or C++. It means that, in Lua, a function is a value with the same rights as conventional values like numbers and strings. They are values in Lua, just like the number 28 or the string literal "foo" are values. In Lua, though we don't have variable data types, we have three types based on the scope of the variable.
Test case 3: a and b both local, no embedding. \$ cat junk.lua ; time lua junk.lua local function a(n) return n + 1 end local function b(n) return a(n) end for c = 1, 10000000 do b(c) end real 0m1.194s user 0m1.200s sys 0m0.000s User time 1.2s. It is built on some simple foundations, with some syntactic sugar to make parts of it easier to swallow. Therefore, that expression calls a global fact , not the local one. There is no such thing as a "function definition" in Lua. local variables are only usable after them (lexically -- in source order): local a = 5 blah() -- nil The same applies to local functions -- they can only be used after they are declared, thus the following is invalid: function blah() print( a() ) end local function a() return 5 end blah() -- … Local variables − When the type is specified as local for a variable then its scope is limited with the functions inside their scope.
Functions can be stored in variables (both global and local) and in tables, can be passed as arguments, and can be returned by other functions. Test case 4: a embedded in b, a global, b local.

Functions are first-class objects. local fact = function (n) if n == 0 then return 1 else return n*fact(n-1) -- buggy end end When Lua compiles the call fact(n-1) , in the function body, the local fact is not yet defined.

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