When comparing Corona SDK vs SFML, the Slant community recommends Corona SDK for most people. In the question“What are the best 2D game engines?” Corona SDK is ranked 26th while SFML is ranked 29th.
Ranked in these QuestionsQuestion Ranking
Pro Very simple to use
Corona SDK is completely free as of March 2, 2015. That includes pro-tier plugins.
Pro Lua syntax
Uses the great and easy-to-learn Lua programming language.
Pro Amazing learning curve
Corona does not throw photoshop-like madness full of buttons editor. You can go as fast as you want, learning and building game from ground up. Eventually, you'll learn how much corona is doing for you. But to start you don't have to master complex editor software. It's a great tool to learn to start game development if you want to learn how to program and make games. Your experience will be 100% transferable to any other Pro game engine.
Pro Corona Simulator
Corona SDK ships with Corona Simulator, which runs your game/app directly on your PC/Mac and updates every time you make changes.
It provides immediate feedback to your actions, you can see your changes right on the screen, without necessity to make build to device. Getting instant feedback really boosts tenfold prototyping and development speed.
Pro Good documentation and lots of tutorials
Pro Cross-platform desktop and mobile
Corona works on OS X, Windows and Android (including Kindle Fire & Nook).
Pro Great community
Pro Ability to call any native (C/C++/Obj-C/Java) library
Pro Very comprehensive API
It's very quick to get things up and running with Corona SDK. The API is extensive and while it's not 100% feature-complete with the iOS API, it's close enough that you could create tons of games and never run into a roadblock.
The API docs can be found here.
Pro Content scaling
It's easy to create a game that looks good on many different sized mobile devices.
Pro Live builds - update builds running on a device automatically
With the live build feature, once you have created a build and installed on a device, you get lightning fast turnaround times because any change on the code or data is updated to the devices running the game (within the local WiFi) immediately. So changes can be tested on the real hardware within a very few seconds.
What's even more impressive, this even works flawless with multiple devices running the game. You have to use it to learn how good of a feature this is while development and even more, while doing QA. Imagine fixing bugs and everyone of your QA team/friends/whoever helps to get your game done, has all changes on his device without doing anything but waiting 5 seconds - outstanding.
Pro Well supported
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.
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 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 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 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 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 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 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
Con Making a device build requires internet connection
To build your app for the device (iOS/Android/AppleTV) Corona requires to fetch resources from online. This would include base application template and plugins. This allows not to perform local build or use Xcode or Android Studio to do a build. Even Large games/apps would build very fast with good internet connection.
Your code never leaves computed. Corona SDK would transfer some information to determine which plugins and pieces has to be transferred in order to make a final steps in build.
As a bonus - you get basically one button press to get from your Corona Simulator game to game on a device.
Con Closed source
Since you don't have access to the code, you can't make changes to the SDK. You even have to implement workarounds on issues that have long been reported, but never fixed.
Con Free, but not completely
Such conventional plugins as a reference to AdMob for example, cost $300 per year!
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.
Con No GUI editor or IDE
Does not include any IDE or media editor. It's purely source code.