When comparing Starling vs GameMaker Studio 2, the Slant community recommends GameMaker Studio 2 for most people. In the question“What are the best 2D game engines?” GameMaker Studio 2 is ranked 53rd while Starling is ranked 79th.
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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 Quick prototyping
Pro Good user interface
Pro Well-optimized engine
Pro Has a trial version (but limited functions, can't export)
Pro Many unofficial tutorials
Most GMS1 tutorials are fine for GMS2
Pro Highly customizable IDE
Although users must work within the IDE and editor, GMS2 has many options to customize the look and feel
Pro Good documentation
Pro Huge, generous community
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 Not the best scripting language out there
GML is just weird; if you want to learn programming, it is not the best because it teaches bad habits and has many odd shortcuts and shortcomings that won't transfer to a real language
Con HTML5 export is buggy, doesn't "just work"
Con Quite expensive
Windows ($100) + HTML5 ($140) + Mobile ($400) + UWP ($400) is $1,050, plus $800 anually for each console export separately. But doesn't do anything any of the free engines can't do, and the stability and tech support aren't great.
Users frequently report crashes and hangs, particularly when working with assets, and the software uses a complicated underlying meta-file structure that may become corrupted and cannot be rebuilt
Con Limited support for OOP
Con Small development team
The core programming team is only 5-10 people, with about 30 employees total, so bug fixes can take a long time to be addressed, and there aren't many official tutorials