When comparing Starling vs SFML, the Slant community recommends SFML for most people. In the question“What are the best 2D game engines?” SFML is ranked 38th while Starling is ranked 79th.
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 Very efficient and usable
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 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 Relatively slow
Compared to SDL2, GLFW, it is slow.
Con No GUI editor or IDE
Does not include any IDE or media editor. It's purely source code.
Con May take longer to learn and understand
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.