When comparing Starling vs GameSalad, the Slant community recommends GameSalad for most people. In the question“What are the best 2D game engines?” GameSalad is ranked 64th while Starling is ranked 78th.
Ranked in these QuestionsQuestion Ranking
Starling is just 12k lines of code and doesn't try to do everything — but what it does, as efficient as possible.
Pro Feathers User Interface Components
With Feathers, you can easily add great user interfaces to your games — or even create business apps with Starling.
Pro Free and open source
Starling is available for free with code available on GitHub.
Pro Strong community support
Forum is always active with knowledgeable developers and with lot of inside info, and post mortems.
Pro Works with Flash
With UI, you can design it in Flash Professional (powerful 2D editor), export to swf file, use GAF convert swf file to gaf file, finnally, load gaf file to Starling. GAF can convert a lot of file swf to one atlas. Alway use same resource in design files (fla) to optimize atlas size, avoid duplicate asset in atlas.
You can use flash to create animation for starling.
Pro Hardware accelerated rendering
Let the GPU do the rendering, the CPU has more important tasks to do.
Pro Cross Platform
It can be exported to web flash player, iOS, Android, Windows, and OS X
Pro Works with AIR's native extensions
Using AIR's native extensions any native code that can be written can be run and used by the game engine.
Pro Constantly updated
New features are added regularly.
Pro Better performance than most alternatives
Starling can run more animated display objects than Unity2D and many others frameworks at 60 fps.
Pro No-code editor
Pro Has a Windows(.exe) version on par with Mac
The Windows version is now upto date with all the features of its Mac sibling.
Pro Multiple publishing platforms
Can create and publish games for iOS, Macintosh desktop and laptop computers, Android, Kindle, Amazon FireTV and FireTV Stick, Windows 8 and Tizen devices.
Pro Gamepad support
Gamepad support is available as of 0.13.3.
Pro Free standalone viewer app allows instant, live mobile device testing
The GameSalad Viewer is a free app available for iOS, Android and Kindle. Once installed on your mobile devices, you can deploy and test your GameSalad games live on any mobile device running the Viewer that is on the same local network as your dev computer.
This even allows Windows users to test their games on iOS devices without a Mac device and without any complicated code signing or provisioning profiles.
And, you can even take your games with you -- once loaded onto your mobile device, a history option caches recent games on your device without any connection to the dev computer.
Pro Allows you to focus on the logic rather than code
Since the user mainly uses menu options there is very little code needed to be keyed in. This makes the code very easy to read and understand.
Hence there are many help videos on youtube
Pro Extensive community of seasoned professionals for support
Extensive community of seasoned professionals in all disciplines (graphics, game design, animation, physics, music, video production, marketing, etc.) producing tutorials, videos, publishing tips, free templates and who are willing to answer forum questions and help newcomers.
Pro Powerful expression editor and functions
Allows you to create expressions on par with LUA (it's back end-language).
Pro Custom collision shapes with JSON support
Allows you to import JSON data for custom collision shapes to use with Gamesalad's implementation of Box2d physics.
Pro Easy to publish
Software prepares your app so you can just send it to Apple. All my games are reviewed with no problems.
Pro Drag and drop editor
The drag and drop editor makes GameSalad very easy to use, no programming experience needed.
Pro Great engine
Very quick to learn and great for making games. Community is very open and helpful.
Con Poor text/font support
It supports only 4 features for text rendering:
- bitmap font with batching.
1.1. basic distance fields with support for outline and filters via MeshStyle.
1.2 the new multichannel distance field, the ultimate solution for bitmap font rendering.
- Draw and upload texture in runtime
So every new text field required texture uploads or vertex/idnex buffer uploads.
skipUnchanchagedFrames keep the backbuffer static for scenes without changes between frames, leveraging a good rendering optimization.
Con Engine supported mainly by one man
Its open source but in most cases community features or pull request are canceled.
Con Bad editor
There is no scene zoom, search boxes, or snap to grid. There is also no ability to focus view on the actor or use folders for file structure.
Con Expensive compare with others
There is no free version any more and it is very expensive compared with other engines.
Con Poor editor performance
Especially when you're working on a big project.
Con No scripting language or SDK
If a needed behavior is not supplied by GameSalad, there's no way to add it.
Con Product is suffering - Lacking company leadership and no voice from corporate
Some customers are currently in a holding pattern from the lack of support and messaging from GS corporate. GS is currently unstable and developers are waiting for another update that has been going on from 2015.
No word or message from GS corporate about timeframes or deliverables.
You can read the ongoing discussion here.
Con Product is in Limbo - company is lacking developers
Con Doesn't support Windows platform (*.exe)
Doesn't support Windows platform (*.exe)