When comparing Corona SDK vs Panda3D, the Slant community recommends Panda3D for most people. In the question“What are the best 100% free and easy game engines for beginners?” Panda3D is ranked 5th while Corona SDK is ranked 6th. The most important reason people chose Panda3D is:
Although it's possible to use only C++ to program in Panda3D, all its power is available to the Python scripting language, while not trading in performance since the performance-critical parts are implemented in C++. It has a powerful binding layer that exposes the vast majority of the API via Python-based interfaces.
Ranked in these QuestionsQuestion Ranking
Pro Very simple to use
Corona SDK is completely free. That includes pro-tier plugins.
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 Lua syntax
Uses the great and easy-to-learn Lua programming language.
Pro Good documentation and lots of tutorials
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 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 Cross-platform desktop and mobile
Corona works on OS X, Windows and Android (including Kindle Fire & Nook).
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 Content scaling
It's easy to create a game that looks good on many different sized mobile devices.
Pro Marketplace for 3rd party plug-ins
Pro Great community
Pro Ability to call any native (C/C++/Obj-C/Java) library
Pro Well supported
Pro Will be very easy for developers already familiar with Python
Although it's possible to use only C++ to program in Panda3D, all its power is available to the Python scripting language, while not trading in performance since the performance-critical parts are implemented in C++.
It has a powerful binding layer that exposes the vast majority of the API via Python-based interfaces.
Pro Free, open-source, and permissive license
The liberal license allows use of the engine for any purpose without restrictions or royalties.
Pro Supports most popular physics engines
Panda3D has in-depth integration with industry standard physics engines such as Bullet, NVIDIA PhysX and ODE, but also offers a simpler built-in physics engines that will cover more basic needs.
Pro Flexible scene and object hierarchy system
Creating weird world constructs is generally a breeze. The node system the engine runs with allows to build self-looping worlds and, on large scale, non-Euclidean scenes without having to introduce a huge amount of custom code.
Pro Powerful profiling and debugging tools
Panda3D has a suite of powerful tools to help track down performance bottlenecks, memory leaks and examine internal state.
Pro Supports browser deployment
Panda3D offers web plug-ins that allow deployment of an application to all major browsers. A WebGL port is in the works as well.
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 important plugins like AdMob cost $300 per year!
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 Limited tutorial
Step by step tutorial is limited. Manual is too general and short without examples. Samples are too complex for beginners.
Con No unified editing program
Unlike Unity and Unreal, Panda3D doesn't currently offer a single, unified editing program in which objects can simply be dragged in and assigned properties (although third-party solutions are available). Developers are expected to design their scenes in a modelling program like Maya or Blender instead, and import them into Panda3D using Python code.
Con Direct3D support is behind
Direct3D support not up to par with OpenGL support, only version 9 is supported
Con Loading Pandas3d will change your builtins to contain non explicit references to non-standard helper functions
A lot of the pollution comes from storing global state. Instead, you can store and update the global state of a namespace instead. As for the built-in pollution, you can make a wrapper that backs up builtins, imports pandas and then restores builtins, though this may not work as pandas almost certainly uses it's extra builtins to work. The best thing to do would be to explicitly import the same objects that are in the builtins over the top of the modified builtin namespace, although it doesn't remove the code smell, it helps to make things look less (if not at all) magic.