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It's interesting to compare various ways of implementing 
inheritance in lua.

Here are some numbers:
   - global function call                     1.0
   - copying methods into class        1.5
   - custom __index  function            5.0  (!)
   - nested metatables                      2.0

For the inheritance tests, a method of the base class
was called by an object of a derived class, twice

In summary;  method dispatch isn't too bad, unless
you use a custom function to look up symbols.
Generally keeping 'fat' classes (that include all
methods) is better; this will not depend on
the depth of inheritance.

Of course, your mileage may vary...

steve d.