Figure1: Here's an example Model class

class Games {
    public $id = 0;
    public $date = null;
    public $player1_id = 0;
    public $player2_id = 0;
    public $score = null;

    public function save(){
            // do INSERT here
            // do UPDATE here  

Figure2: Here's an example use of the class

// Save a new date to an existing game
$game = new Games;
$game->id = $input['id'];
$game->date = $input['date'];

If an UPDATE query is performed based on figure2, then the values for player1_id, player2_id, and score will be incorrectly overwritten to zeros/nulls. Therefore, I need a way to determine from inside the class that certain properties were not set from the call in figure2, so I can dynamically alter the UPDATE query to only update specific fields in the database. Or am I approaching this wrong?

Note: I know I could use a single array property to hold all the fields (and use isset), but this feels like it's breaking the point of the Model and would also be very PHP specific (in that the solution doesn't transfer nicely to other languages such as JAVA where arrays are strictly typed?). I also realize I could do what I think ORMs do and make an initial SELECT query before I perform an update (but that seems very inefficient!)

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