When comparing Cocos2d-x and Cocos2d Family vs Pico-8, the Slant community recommends Cocos2d-x and Cocos2d Family for most people. In the question“What are the best 2D Lua game engines?” Cocos2d-x and Cocos2d Family is ranked 5th while Pico-8 is ranked 7th. 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 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 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.
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 Allows for easy debugging
It has a built-in Python interpreter that allows for easy debugging.
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).
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.
Pro Perhaps one of the easiest sound editors around
Pro Encourages building simple games
As a beginner it's all to tempting to try to make the games you like to play, like Zelda or Call of Duty when we should probably be making pong.
Pro Share the game in a .png file with other pico-8 users
Pro You can read the code of any game you play
Pro Lots of examples
Almost every game made for the Pico-8 is open source (if you can download the .png, you can see the source).
Also there's the fancy Pico-8 "fanzine" that has lots of code examples as well as other great tutorials in a beautiful physical or PDF form.
Pro Easy to get things going very quickly
Pro Very simple programing language
It's lua with a few modifications.
Pro Takes away the pain of having to wire things together
Because it's an all in one product, you don't have to worry about things like how to load sprites.
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 Can seem very complex for a novice developer
There isn't much documentation or tutorials.
Con Modest functionality
Almost all free alternatives are more convenient, faster, and more functional.
Con No collision library or other common things
Pico-8 is very minimalistic and as such doesn't come with really any abstractions whatsoever which means often you end up re-inventing the wheel.
Con Code editor leaves some things to be desired
Such as code completion and automatic indentation.
Con Costs 15$
Unlike many of the other frameworks it's not free. However this is kind of a feature because it means it's much more likely to be supported.