When comparing LÖVE vs SFML, the Slant community recommends LÖVE for most people. In the question“What are the best 2D game engines?” LÖVE is ranked 2nd while SFML is ranked 28th. The most important reason people chose LÖVE is:
Lua is an embeddable scripting language designed to be lightweight, fast yet powerful. It is used in major titles such as Civilization as well as a lot of indie games. Lua is very popular because it provides "meta language" features. You can implement object-oriented structures, or pure procedural functions, etc. It has a very simple C interface, and gives the engine developer a lot of flexibility in the language itself. Artists tend to love Lua too because it's very approachable, with plain and forgiving syntax. Lua is free open-source software, distributed under a very liberal license (the well-known MIT license).
Ranked in these QuestionsQuestion Ranking
Pro Uses the fantastic Lua for scripting
Lua is an embeddable scripting language designed to be lightweight, fast yet powerful. It is used in major titles such as Civilization as well as a lot of indie games.
Lua is very popular because it provides "meta language" features. You can implement object-oriented structures, or pure procedural functions, etc. It has a very simple C interface, and gives the engine developer a lot of flexibility in the language itself.
Artists tend to love Lua too because it's very approachable, with plain and forgiving syntax.
Lua is free open-source software, distributed under a very liberal license (the well-known MIT license).
Pro Active and very friendly community
The LÖVE forums are extremely helpful. With people checking the forums every day, it won't take long to receive answer to your questions on the Support board, receive feedback on games you post in the Projects board, as well as have a chat about the LÖVE engine while learning tricks to use in the very active General board.
If you need an immediate answer though, or just want to chat, there is a very active and helpful IRC channel.
Supports Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, Android and iOS.
Pro Open source and free
The LÖVE engine is licensed under The zlib/libpng License (which is very short and human readable) which allows you to use the source code and even modify it as long as you do not claim that the original source code is yours.
You can obtain the code at this bitbucket repository and even help fix bugs and participate in the development of LÖVE.
Pro Great for prototyping
You can learn the basics very quickly and start making simple games in no time, even if you have no previous Lua knowledge. If you're a little experienced with LÖVE, you can prototype a 2D game with it in no time.
Pro Very good for education
That is a great tool for teaching novice programmers. Creating a game on LÖVE, you have to think about developing, not about the syntax of the language.
Pro Easy to understand and use
Lua2D handles loading the resources, reading input, playing sounds and displaying stuff on the screen. Only the logic is left for the developer to write. It also removes the overhead of having to use and learn a GUI game editor. All you need is a knowledge of Lua and your favourite text editor or IDE.
Pro Very good documentation
The LÖVE wiki provides full documentation of its easy to use Modules, which are conveniently located on the side bar of the wiki. It only takes seconds to find the module for love.keyboard, which provided a list of all functions along with arguments and examples where the function could be used.
Pro Many examples and libraries with source code
There are plenty of open source examples of games or components built by the community that are ready to use or learn from.
Pro Can develop within Android
It is possible to develop games directly on a tablet or cellphone with the Android system by using the experimental Android branch.
Pro Cute name
So much love.
Pro C++ and Lua one of the best languages for gamedev
Because all professionals in gamedev use C++, and Lua the fastest scripting lang.
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 very powerful
The engine has very few modules and only the really required one, you'll have to do almost everything from scratch.
Con Uses hg to version-control, not git
If the source codes were controlled by git, it would be more convenient for more programmers to contribute to Love2d.
Using hg on bitbucket resulted in loss of tons of users.
Con The community seems juvenile
For example, some of the library include names such as HUMP, LUBE, AnAL.
Con Documentation is very dry and technical
The site has plenty of tutorials, true, but they all read very technical, and explain very little. This might be too much for beginners, even for coding purposes, because of the fact that the specifics aren't explained well enough to learn effectively. The docs can be found frustrating to understand even the basics, such as tables or the like, because of how poorly they are explained, and how few examples are given before expecting you to be able to use them.
Con Absolutely no GUI (no graphical interface)
This has no graphical interface at all, you have to know how to read script in order to know what you're looking at. After you've written the script for everything, you compile it to see the result. It's a very poor way to create a game, given how even most professional tools out there give you a GUI to work with and debug on the go. The lack of a GUI slows down the work by ten-fold, and it's just an inefficient use of your time.
Con No GUI editor or IDE
Does not include any IDE or media editor. It's purely source code.
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.