When comparing Moai SDK vs Defold, the Slant community recommends Moai SDK for most people. In the question“What are the best 2D game engines?” Moai SDK is ranked 19th while Defold is ranked 25th. The most important reason people chose Moai SDK is:
Because it uses Lua + C++.
Ranked in these QuestionsQuestion Ranking
Because it uses Lua + C++.
Pro Gives you total control
You can use your own custom shaders and extend the language with C++. MOAI doesn't give you everything, instead it gives you the tools you need to develop any game you want.
Pro Full source code is available
So it is extendable with C++
Pro Easy-to-use particle engine
Uses a limited subset of Lua
Pro Uses Lua, with LuaJIT where possible
Pro Is used by many pro developers
Moai SDK is used by popular developers including Double Fine for their mobile game, Middle Manager of Justice, and for their Kickstarter hit, Broken Age(formerly, Double Fine Adventure.) It was also used to create the popular mobile game Bubble Ball 2.
This proves that this engine can be used to make fully-featured and fun games.
Pro API interfaces
Has options for development like Hanappe and Rapanui, providing a different way to interact with the engine.
Pro Helpful community
The Moai SDK Forum is active and users will go to great extents to answer queries, post code snippets, beta test, and even purchase and give feedback on each others' games.
Pro Helpful and detailed documentation
Although the Moai SDK is very advanced and uses complicated features, the documentation wiki thoroughly and clearly explains how to use these features, such as the Moai Cloud(a service that provides web services for your game), and multiple ways to build from source.
Pro Easy to learn
Defold uses Lua, which is regarded as an easy to learn language by most.
You can invite friends from the dashboard and create games together.
Pro Good combination of visual editing + code (Lua)
You can do a lot with drag and drop, but you're not limited -- the code (Lua, which is easy to learn) allows you more power than just visual editing usually gives you.
Pro Completely free of charge
Software and online dashboard are free of charge.
Pro Visual editor
Pro Easy and fast export for various platforms
Pro Very performant
Being crossplatform it is important to work on low end devices.
Pro Fast results
Going from idea to result is very important for the creative process.
Pro Great community
A very active and friendly community in forums.
Pro Hot reload
It allows you to change scripts in a game while it is running live. Common use-cases is to tweak gameplay parameters or to perform debugging on a running game.
Con Not for beginning developers
The Moai SDK has very advanced features which allow it to create powerful games. A drawback from this is that it is not very suitable for beginners.
Con Not necessarily tested or stable
Con Scarce documentation
Since it is a minimalist framework there is not that much documentation, but if you are used to reading API references and source code you are good to go!
Con Development has ceased
The last update was over a year ago. Users should not expect things to still work on future OS versions unless they're ready to fix them yourself.
Con Google account needed
You need a Google account to develop with Defold.