When comparing libGDX vs SFML, the Slant community recommends libGDX for most people. In the question“What are the best 2D game engines?” libGDX is ranked 17th while SFML is ranked 30th. The most important reason people chose libGDX is:
Lots of references, tutorials and open source code to learn from.
Ranked in these QuestionsQuestion Ranking
Pro Lots of resources to learn from
Lots of references, tutorials and open source code to learn from.
Pro Great performance across devices
While it may not always have the best performance for a particular device or system, it's one of the few engines which consistently performs very well across different platforms.
Pro Allows you to migrate from 2D to 3D within same framework
LibGDX supports both 2D and 3D game development. Allowing developers to migrate from 2D to 3D with ease without having to switch the engine they are using or having to learn a new API.
Pro Doesn't force a specific design
Unlike some engines, which only allow you to make your game in a few specific ways, libGDX allows you to design any type of game you wish as it is extremely customisable.
Pro Active and helpful community
The libGDX community, in the official libGDX forum is extremely helpful and approachable for any kind of question regardless of the its quality or difficulty.
The forums themselves are a very helpful resource for any issue or guide simply by searching past posts in there.
In addition to the forums, there's also the official #libgdx IRC channel on Freenode.
Pro Uses Box2D
A Java port of the Box2D physics engine is included in libGDX.
Pro Interfacing with platform specific code
Sometimes it is necessary to access platform specific APIs, e.g., adding advertisement services or leaderboard functionality provided by frameworks.
Pro Can use any JVM language
Since it's built with Java and runs on the JVM, any language that compiles to Java bytecode can be used to develop games with libGDX.
Pro Free, open source & permissive license
libGDX uses the Apache License 2.0.
Not only is libGDX free and open source but also it's license gives you a lot of power over the engine. As long as you provide a copy of the license, give credit, do not hold devs liable and do not use libGDX logo in any engine forks you can do pretty much anything you want.
Pro Kotlin support
It is written in Java so you can easily make games using Kotlin and Ktx project will help you get all advantages of this language.
Pro Very easy to customize
Pro Constantly improved
LibGDX itself is pretty mature, and get updates not quite frequently, but various libraries for it are actively updated.
Pro Across platform support
You can write once and run anywhere (Android, IOS, Desktop, Browser) also lately came with lib to deal with VR.
Pro Support for 3rd party tools
libGDX has built in support for many 3rd party tools, including (but not limited to) Bullet Physics, Box2DLights and the well-praised Tiled Map Editor.
Pro Lots of tutorials to get you going
Even though the official documentation might be lacking, there are many tutorials on YouTube for libGDX.
Pro Excellent font rendering support
Very good tools for rendering fonts.
Pro Similar to the Microsoft XNA framework
Old XNA users may like libGDX since it's API is actually very similar to XNA's.
Pro Focusing on object pool patterns, to control memory without pointers
Unlike Unity or other engine, it allows to optimize a language that uses garbage collector when using patterns of objects you can control the use of memory without needing a language like C / C ++, getting the same speed in a more productive language.
Pro Very efficient and usable
Pro Zlib/PNG license
In short, SFML is free for any use (commercial or personal, proprietary or open-source). You can use SFML in your project without any restriction. You can even omit to mention that you use SFML -- although it would be appreciated.
Pro Can be combined with OpenGL
If you hate something about the way SFML handles graphics, you can just combine it with OpenGL. It's completely smooth and works as expected, without any additional dependencies.
Pro Active community and wiki
You can ask questions on their own personal forum which is full of users, and their wiki is constantly being maintained. They even have an IRC.
Pro Works on every platform
SFML 2.2 brought forth Android & iOS functionality, and SFML games work on Linux, Mac and Windows out of the box, since SFML is written with OpenGL.
Pro Great documentation
SFML is very well documented, even with short examples of use for many functions and modules. Furthermore, there are books like 'SFML essentials' and 'SFML for game development' which teach you how to use this library to its fullest.
Pro Good for OpenGL
If you are thinking about using OpenGL, look no further, you can open a window, and handle events in less than 15 lines, and it provides input, time, and even networking, plus alot more. It has become my favorite c++ library :D
Pro Great library
SFML is a collection of modular, well designed libraries you can implement an engine or game on top of. The API provides tons of good documentation and is very straightforward to use. You can get a game up and running with SFML quite quickly and with minimal effort.
Pro Clean code
An SFML project's code-base is usually clean and easy to read. All public SFML classes are under the namespace "sf" so it is easy to tell which code is yours and which belongs to SFML (of course you can stop this by typing
using namespace sf;).
Pro Available in many languages
There's support for many languages besides C++, current supported languages are: C, .NET, Crystal, D, Euphoria, Go, Java, Julia, Nim, OCaml, Pascal, Python, Ruby and Rust, and this list is constantly growing.
SFML is extremely beginner friendly and even provides pre-built libraries for your IDE of choice on Windows. Besides the fact that it's extremely well documented, they also have a set of tutorials that walk you through every module.
Pro Modern C++11 implementation
SFML is one of the few good C++ frameworks out there to actually make full use of the language. It's extremely well optimized and it plays well with anything you throw at it.
Con Not starter friendly
Even default applications fail to load in Android. It doesn't have any documentation on errors either.
Con The project slowed down in development
The number of active developers has decreased, many open issues and pull requests.
Con Build system is clunky
LibGDX uses Gradle, which is very demanding of memory and makes IDEs freeze on anything if your computer is not powerful enough.
Con Does not create compiled code
LibGDX runs entirely on Java and does not create executable binaries.
Con A bit difficult to use
This engine is not well put together. Is made from various free modules each with their own peculiarities. At times it feels you need to learn a couple of libraries rather than just one. Is not an engine for beginners as it requires coding. Lots of coding. You need to be intermediate to advanced in Java to develop in LibGDX.
Con Relatively slow
Compared to SDL2, GLFW, it is slow.
Con No GUI editor or IDE
Does not include any IDE or media editor. It's purely source code.
Con May take longer to learn and understand
Con Messy sprite management
Sprites retain all of the operations applied to them, whether that be a new position or a rotation. This makes sprite management somewhat annoying.
Con Not specifically a 2D game engine
It isn't really an engine, more of a collection of modular, well designed libraries you can implement an engine or game on top of.