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> I'm upgrading to Lua 5.2.1 from 5.1.4 and am having difficulty finding examples on how one  defines 'classes' in 5.2 without using LUA_COMPAT_MODULE.

See my libraries at

lbc and lrandom should be easy enough to understand. Just be aware that
I'm lazy and I use the library table as the metatable for the objects it

>   luaL_getmetatable(L, test_class_name);
>   lua_setmetatable(L, -2);

In Lua 5.2 you can replace those lines by luaL_setmetatable(L,test_class_name).