When comparing Moai SDK vs PlayMaker + Unity3D, the Slant community recommends Moai SDK for most people. In the question“What are the best 2D game engines?” Moai SDK is ranked 20th while PlayMaker + Unity3D is ranked 70th. 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 Provides access to a huge list of assets through Asset Store
For those developers who can't afford an artist, or aren't skilled enough to create their own art, Unity features an Asset Store full of a wide variety of free and paid assets that can be easily added to your game. The Asset Store has more than just music and art. It also has code and modules that can be added to your game such as unique lighting or GUI systems.
Pro Easy to use
You'll need to put more time in learning Unity + Playmaker compared to something like GameSalad. But once get the hang of it and familiarize yourself with what it's possible to build with them, it's quite easy to use.
Pro Elegant state-based visual scripting
Instead of a single "if this then that" event list which can become very cluttered beyond the most basic behaviors, PlayMaker gives each object a list of states where only certain events are triggered, and performing an action also changes state.
This allows for a clean, simple visual representation which helps break complex logical structures into smaller pieces, making them easier to understand.
Pro Third party plugins support
A lot of third party plugins have support for Playmaker. Playmaker team also invest time to add support for a lot of third party plugins.
It basically can do same things as scripting in Unity.
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 Comparatively high learning curve
Con Limited tutorials
There are not a lot videos with Playmaker tutorials. Official text tutorials are also quite limited. Even not every action has a description on an official wiki.
Con Performance could be better for 2D
Performance can be a real issue with 2D games. Unity 3D is actually a 3D game engine, and drags a lot of overhead with it.
For mobile, one could never achieve the performance of more specialized 2D engines with Unity3D.