When comparing Rainbow 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 Rainbow is ranked 78th.
Ranked in these QuestionsQuestion Ranking
Pro Open source
Distributed under the MIT License.
Pro Written in modern C++, is scriptable in Lua
With support for Android, iOS, Linux, Mac OS X and Windows.
Pro Optional FMOD audio engine
Pro Supports Spine
Box2D integrated with Lua bindings.
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 Not as feature-rich as other engines
Con Small community
Being fairly new on the scene, there aren't much of a community to speak of.
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.