When comparing PICO-8 vs Cocos2d-x and Cocos Creator, the Slant community recommends Cocos2d-x and Cocos Creator for most people. In the question“What are the best game engines for point & click adventure games?” Cocos2d-x and Cocos Creator is ranked 32nd while PICO-8 is ranked 46th. The most important reason people chose Cocos2d-x and Cocos Creator is:
25% of iPhone games are made using Cocos2d-x. This means you will not be alone in development, and will have access to a large community. You'll know you are developing for an engine that works.
Ranked in these QuestionsQuestion Ranking
Pro Restrictions of tokens count "forces" to write code effectively
When you reach 8192 tokens, you're screwed. However, this limit can teach you to take a look at entire code and think how you could optimize it.
Pro Possible writing code in external editor
Since launch of 0.1.12c version of software, you can now write and include external script using the same directive just like in C / C++.
Pro Takes away the pain of having to wire things together
Because it's an all in one product, you don't have to worry about things like how to load sprites.
Pro Very simple programing language
It's lua with a few modifications.
Pro Encourages building simple games
As a beginner it's all to tempting to try to make the games you like to play, like Zelda or Call of Duty when we should probably be making pong.
Pro Perhaps one of the easiest sound editors around
Pro Share the game in a .png file with other Pico-8 users
Pro You can read the code of any game you play
Pro Lots of examples
Almost every game made for the Pico-8 is open source (if you can download the .png, you can see the source).
Also there's the fancy Pico-8 "fanzine" that has lots of code examples as well as other great tutorials in a beautiful physical or PDF form.
Pro Easy to get things going very quickly
Pro A proven engine for mobile development
25% of iPhone games are made using Cocos2d-x.
This means you will not be alone in development, and will have access to a large community. You'll know you are developing for an engine that works.
Pro Supports 3D models with skeleton animation
A new feature since Cocos2d-x v3.1 is support for 3D models (in your 2D game), not only this but support for skeleton animations is included too! This awesome feature allows for impressive characters in your game along with easier, more fluid and realistic animations.
Pro Great script language support
Especially with Cocos2d-JS you can develop games cross web and native, and the native solution have great performance with JS Bindings, much better than hybrid solution.
Pro Highly active community for questions and support
Cocos2d-x forums are active.
Pro OpenGL hardware acceleration
Cocos2d-x is not only open source but also supported by Chukong Technologies of China and USA.
Regularly updated and adding support for the latest technologies. 2014 has already seen the release of Version 3, a new Cocos Studio development toolkit (optional) and support for new technologies like skeleton animation systems Spine and Adobe DragonBone.
Pro Greater performance than high level APIs
Cocos2d-x is C++ based engine and it has CPU advantages for most platforms because of that. It uses polygonal mesh methods for sprite rendering for using GPU advantages. (You also use quad methods for benefit CPU).
Pro No external dependencies
Because it is based on Pyglet.
Pro One code for all platforms
On top of supporting pretty much all existing platforms (except consoles), Cocos Creator (Cocos's IDE) allows you to write 1 code that runs on Android, iOS, Windows, MacOS and HTML5 (not Linux though).
Pro Easy integration of 3rd party plugins
For example, if you want to add a rating plugin, you use
sdkbox::PluginReview::init(); and if you want to add the Vundle Ad Network SDK, you use the one packaged in SDKBox
Pro Allows for easy debugging
It has a built-in Python interpreter that allows for easy debugging.
Pro Very good IDE
Cocos Creator (Cocos' IDE) comes with scene editing, UI editor, animations & particle editors and whatnot. It's also easy to use and pretty intuitive if you read the official documentation & tutorials. Way way better than the old CocoStudio.
Pro Great video tutorials
Hundreds of video tutorials available.
Con Costs 15$
Unlike many of the other frameworks it's not free. However this is kind of a feature because it means it's much more likely to be supported.
Con No collision library or other common things
Pico-8 is very minimalistic and as such doesn't come with really any abstractions whatsoever which means often you end up re-inventing the wheel.
Con Code editor leaves some things to be desired
Such as code completion and automatic indentation.
Con Memory restrictions could be confusing or frustrating to a beginner
Con Poor support and non-existent community
Up until 2013, this was one of the best engines around. However, since then it was bought by a Chinese company and began stagnating - it's virtually in a slow death. Most developers abandoned Cocos in favor of more modern solutions leaving the community weak and the forums with little or no traffic. Although the Cocos2d-x Forum seems to have a decent community going.
Con No Graphics user interface
Con Modest functionality
Almost all free alternatives are more convenient, faster, and more functional.