regular instance variables?

This is the first I have heard of a "regular instance variable". There is one reference in Pickaxe, which is in the description for instance_variable_get. I think it is used there with the sense of "plain, vanilla, ordinary, 2 bit instance variable".

So:

@var = instance variable
var = local variable

Local variables are transient, and only relevant within a particular scope, which is within the defining classes methods.

Paul