When comparing GameMaker: Studio vs Cocos2d-x and Cocos2d Family, the Slant community recommends Cocos2d-x and Cocos2d Family for most people. In the question“What are the best 2D game engines?” Cocos2d-x and Cocos2d Family is ranked 4th while GameMaker: Studio is ranked 11th. The most important reason people chose Cocos2d-x and Cocos2d Family is:
25% of iPhone games are made using Cocos2d-x (A Cocos2d mobile variant.) This means you will not be alone in development, and will have access to a large community. You'll know you are developing for an engine that works.
Ranked in these QuestionsQuestion Ranking
Pro Extremely easy to learn
GameMaker: Studio is incredibly easy to learn. It requires almost no programming knowledge which means that those without the technical experience, such as designers or artists, can create their projects without the help of a programmer.
Pro Gives developers access to a more fine-grained controle over the logic through the Game Maker Language
Game Maker Language (GML) is the primary scripting language that is interpreted similarly to Java's Just-In-Time compilation used in GameMaker. It is used to further enhance and control the design of a game through more conventional programming, as opposed to the drag and drop system.
Pro Easy cross-platform shader support
Write your own shaders in one shader language and have it automatically ported to all platforms. You can even choose a specific shader language to wield the full power of the target device.
Pro Easy to find resources/tutorials/assistance
GameMaker: Studio has a huge following, tons of people put up tutorial videos, and it's just generally easy to find help. It has a huge community.
Pro Extremely stable
GameMaker: Studio has been around since 1999 and has been used and maintained during all this time. This makes it an extremely stable game engine.
Pro It has an IDE used for loading all of the assets
It is very easy to manage all the resources you want to put in your game, the UI widgets for each assets (sprites, sounds, backgrounds, rooms, objects and shaders) are intuitive enough for when adding or even editing the properties of each your assets. The included editors are also good and easy to use (sprite/image editors, shader editor and room editor).
Pro Assets can easily be found in the official marketplace
Yoyogames website has a marketplace which opens up an opportunity for people to sell or giveaway created assets and resources (sprites, scripts, sounds, extensions, full source codes, etc.) for use in GameMaker. This benefits people who needs quality assets for their games, and for creative people to provide these assets for extra income. The Marketplace has a rating system so it can eventually increase the quality and competitiveness of the assets submitted.
GameMaker: Studio projects can be deployed to: HTML5, Linux, Windows, OS X, Windows Phone, Android, iOS and PS3/4/Vita.
Pro Cross-platform multiplayer support
There is the possibility of creating games that interact with different platforms and is not that hard.
Pro Easy to use
Game Maker Studios simple interface allows for rapid prototyping, and easy development.
Pro Supports 3D
There is also 3D support that doesn't interfere with the primary 2D focus.
Pro A proven engine for mobile development
25% of iPhone games are made using Cocos2d-x (A Cocos2d mobile variant.)
This means you will not be alone in development, and will have access to a large community. You'll know you are developing for an engine that works.
Pro Great script language support
Especially with Cocos2d-JS you can develop games cross web and native, and the native solution have great performance with JS Bindings, much better than hybrid solution.
Pro Greater performance than high level APIs
Cocos2d-x is C++ based engine and it has CPU advantages for most platforms because of that. It uses polygonal mesh methods for sprite rendering for using GPU advantages. (You also use quad methods for benefit CPU).
Pro Allows for easy debugging
It has a built-in Python interpreter that allows for easy debugging.
Pro Supports 3D models with skeleton animation
A new feature since Cocos2d-x v3.1 is support for 3D models (in your 2D game), not only this but support for skeleton animations is included too! This awesome feature allows for impressive characters in your game along with easier, more fluid and realistic animations.
Cocos2d-x is not only open source but also supported by Chukong Technologies of China and USA.
Regularly updated and adding support for the latest technologies. 2014 has already seen the release of Version 3, a new Cocos Studio development toolkit (optional) and support for new technologies like skeleton animation systems Spine and Adobe DragonBone.
Pro Great video tutorials
Hundreds of video tutorials available.
Pro OpenGL hardware acceleration
Pro Easy integration of 3rd party plugins
For example, if you want to add a rating plugin, you use
sdkbox::PluginReview::init(); and if you want to add the Vundle Ad Network SDK, you use the one packaged in SDKBox
Pro Highly active community for questions and support
Cocos2d-x forums are active.
Pro No external dependencies
Because it is based on Pyglet.
Con Exporting to some formats costs extra
You need to buy extra modules to be able to export to platforms like Android, iOS, HTML5 and others.
Con No built-in refactoring tools
There are no built-in refactoring tools - for example, you can rename a resource, but GM:S will not automatically change the mentions of it across the code to the new name. At the same time, however, all file formats are text-based, meaning that the effect can be achieved by simply doing "find & replace in files", which is a feature offered by pretty much every external code editor nowadays.
Con The scripting language used is quite limited
Language does not support actual objects, structs, real data types, functions, overloading, even argument naming. Developers generally have to code around the lack of these features in very tricky ways.
Con The cost to buy for development is outrageous
The cost for this tool is hindering for indie developers who have little money to work with.
Con Poor level editor
No marquee select, no layers, can be glitchy, no grouping, etc.
Con Tends to crash or not compile games properly
Con Destructive DRM
In late 2012/early 2013, YoYo Games released a version of their new Studio IDE for cross-platform development that would import games and destroy all of the image type resources for some legitimate purchasers of the software by superimposing a pirate symbol on top of the image. This was due to a fault in their digital rights management software implementation which they use as a method of combating pirated copies of the software. Though the false positives bug is reported to be fixed, the DRM is still in place and may affect placeholder graphics, etc. YoYoGames publicly stated they would remove the DRM at a later point in time, but that other less-invasive DRM techniques would remain.
Con Development has been and will be cosmetic
The change from 1.x to 2.x was cosmetic, the engine and language stayed the same. The roadmap for future development is also cosmetic and includes updating the sprite editor, adding an audio editor, and adding a "mini map" for the IDE.
Con Expensive for what it offers
There are several options with more flexibility, better learning resources, and a lower price point.
Con Proprietary language forces expensive "lock in"
Because it uses GML, a very non-standard custom language, new users do not learn a transferrable language and become locked in.
Con Can't embed videos in game
Doesn't support embedding videos in a game.
Con Bad history of ignoring critical bugs
In the past, the developer failed to update the software for iOS and Android when game-breaking updates were made to those platforms.
Con Doesn't support the Switch
Console exports do not support the Switch. (Update: support for the Nintendo Switch is coming)
Con No GUI editor
The GUI must be hard-coded, leaving a lot of tricky calculations and jumping through hoops to accommodate different devices and displays; it's probably the least developed and hardest thing about GMS2 compared to comparable engines
Con This is very flat for games
They are not beautiful, for example, Undertale.
Con Owned by a gambling company, Playtech
As opposed to other engines, which are open source or owned by game companies, GameMaker is developed by YoYoGames, which is owned by Playtech, a gambling software company.
Con Poor documentation
Most existing documentation is out of date. API documentation sometimes exists, though is usually just a one-liner and more often than not is completely absent. New features and significant system rewrites often make it to a major release without a single line of documentation accompanying them. Cocos2d-x family is developed by Chinese mostly, so market outside of China is not their main priority. Some tools (like Cocos Studio) have China-specific services and markets.
Con Poor support and non-existent community
Up until 2013, this was one of the best engines around. However, since then it was bought by a Chinese company and began stagnating - it's virtually in a slow death. Most developers abandoned Cocos in favor of more modern solutions leaving the community weak and the forums with little or no traffic. Although the Cocos2d-x Forum seems to have a decent community going.
Con Cocos2d-html5 is way behind Cocos2d-x
While Cocos2d-html5 tries to mimic it's Cocos2d-x sister and has the same people working on it, it has lots of restrictions compared to Cocos2d-x: no Spine mesh support, no 3D models, bad text label quality, etc.
Con Fragmentation; hard to find useful tutorials
Cocos2d family includes different projects: cocos2d-x, cocos2d-html5, cocos2d-objc, cocos2d-XNA. Most tutorials describe techniques specific to single project of the family, and cannot be applied to other projects.
Con Modest functionality
Almost all free alternatives are more convenient, faster, and more functional.
Con Can seem very complex for a novice developer
There isn't much documentation or tutorials.