When comparing Starling vs PlayCanvas, the Slant community recommends PlayCanvas for most people. In the question“What are the best 2D game engines?” PlayCanvas is ranked 44th while Starling is ranked 76th. The most important reason people chose PlayCanvas is:
Assets and content delivery is very different on a web platform comparing to native. So PlayCanvas challenges best practices to allow developers decide how their content is delivered and in what form. Async Assets download allows developers to load content as the app goes, instead of asking to download all assets in advance risking users to simply navigate away while staring at loading screens. Formats for 3D models and textures support covers all the popular tools. And the workflow is as simple as dragging and dropping your files right into the Assets Panel. The cloud will do the rest of the hard work optimizing and converting your files into runtime-friendly and compressed data.
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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 Powerful assets pipeline
Assets and content delivery is very different on a web platform comparing to native. So PlayCanvas challenges best practices to allow developers decide how their content is delivered and in what form.
Async Assets download allows developers to load content as the app goes, instead of asking to download all assets in advance risking users to simply navigate away while staring at loading screens.
Formats for 3D models and textures support covers all the popular tools. And the workflow is as simple as dragging and dropping your files right into the Assets Panel. The cloud will do the rest of the hard work optimizing and converting your files into runtime-friendly and compressed data.
Pro Rendering engine runs on the browser
Has an advanced WebGL renderer that runs in the browser.
Pro Real-time collaborative online editor tool
PlayCanvas has an online editor that lets you build scenes and work with other people in your team in real-time. This is all done through the web browser without having to install any additional software.
Pro Avoids having to download lots of textures for lightmaps
Lightmaps are an efficient way to deliver lighting to your scenes for a long time. But they come with the cost of large textures. PlayCanvas offers a unique solution for a web platform, it renders lightmaps when an app is loading in runtime.
This is faster than downloading MBs of textures. And it's much more convenient: simply switch your light sources to bake, and static models to be lightmapped, and the engine will do the rest.
Pro Friendly and active community
PlayCanvas has Feed as homepage for registered users, listing Dev Logs of other developers. This allows to socialize with other developers like yourself in a twitter-like environment.
More to that, there is also an active forum, where developers help each other to solve their challenges.
Developers of PlayCanvas itself are always looking forward to chat and help the community with any problems that may arise.
Pro Integrated physics engine
PlayCanvas lets users integrate physics in their game rather easily, using the powerful Bullet Physics Engine (ammo.js). Should also be noted that the physics engine is delivered as an optional library, so by default being disabled it does not add any extra download size to your apps.
Pro Has a free tier
Engine is free for projects under 200MB and with no more than 2 people on a team. The free tier has no engine restrictions.
Tools are totally free too. There are no special limiting features behind any paywalls, and free users have all the features as paid users.
There are no royalties associated with publishing your apps and games - you've made them, you own them.
It is free to publish to playcanvas.com as well, just by one click in Editor.
Pro Small app size
The engine itself weighs just under 150Kb, and it's always challenged to stay small. There is no extra weight that has to be carried with your app, just your assets and scripts in a runtime-friendly compressed form.
This allows users to engage with your content in matter of seconds, and even just under a second on a good connection.
Pro Open source
PlayCanvas is fully open source and is under active development.
Pro Has hot code reloading
Real-time link between your launched app and the editor allows the developer to preview and play with their scene without needing to refresh the game after every change in the code to see the updated result.
Pro Cross-platform support
PlayCanvas lets you build games that run in mobile, desktop browsers, and native mobile apps. PlayCanvas can even make games that can run inside mobile social media and instant messenger clients like Twitter and WhatsApp.
Pro Very easy to use
Pro Loads extremely fast
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 Private projects are only available for premium users
The free tier does not support any private projects. Instead, all the code and assets will be hosted openly. While not a problem for open source games and for developers who intend to make an open source game, it can be a deal-breaker for teams who want to keep their code and assets private.