GameSalad vs Stencyl

Stencyl vs GameSalad Thumbnail - Round 1 - Fight!OK, it seems a lot of you are hitting my website because you searched for “GameSalad vs. Stencyl” or “iStencyl vs. GameSalad”. As the author of The Unofficial GameSalad Textbook, it seems that my answer to that challenge might be highly biased. Yet, an honest answer can be determined by my actions — or inaction. My GameSalad subscription has expired. I haven’t renewed. That’s because iStencyl gives me more development power at a cheaper price. Yet, what if you prefer simplicity over power? What works for me might not work for you. That’s why I decided to write a guide, to help you decide which drag-and-drop editor is best for you.

I used to be a huge fan of GameSalad. Yet, I grew weary of waiting for basic features. With a name like GameSalad, I’m surprised that full Game Center support is still lacking. Where are the achievements or networking support? That’s why I found StencylWorks alluring. A draggable block for Game Center achievements is right there. And while the networking aspects of Game Center are not yet supported in iStencyl, I could use HTTP requests or even add my own custom code.

iStencyl - Game Center Achievement blocks
It's 2012. Where's the GameSalad equivalent of this?

However, after using StencylWorks for months, I still don’t have a completed game on my website or published game to the iOS app store. I’ve been struggling to recreate the games that I’ve made with GameSalad. While StencylWorks gives me more power, it comes with more responsibility. GameSalad aims to makes things really easy. With StencylWorks, it’s a lot easier to break a game.

As a general summary, GameSalad is great for beginners, while StencylWorks is for more advanced developers.

Both applications have their limitations and glitches. Both are fairly responsive at fixing stuff when it breaks. Yet, I have the impression that StencylWorks is moving at a faster development pace. GameSalad has a nice head start though. As an example, StencylWorks is still working on Android support and HTML5 support. GameSalad’s lead is being squandered, as Android and HTML5 publishing with GameSalad feels rather unfinished. In GameSalad, HTML5 exporting tethers your game to the gamesalad.com website. Exporting isn’t as liberal as Flash exporting is with StencylWorks. As for Android publishing, none of my GameSalad games have made the jump. A nasty sound glitch ruined the fun.

StencylWorks is superb at making Flash games. Yet, Flash is a dying medium. It doesn’t run on iOS and HTML5 is starting to chip away at the percentage of browsers with the Flash plugin. And unfortunately, I can’t use complex vector artwork. StencylWorks has a drawing feature for lines, circles and squares, but I can’t import the fancy stuff from Adobe Illustrator.

Right now, it looks like a race of potential. I think that StencylWorks is more likely to win that race, which is why I have been going through the trouble of learning the software. It’s been a grueling process, but that goes back to what I wrote at the beginning. My actions speak honesty. Unless GameSalad can get more competitive with pricing, and faster with the release of new features, StencylWorks is looking like the longterm winner here.

7 thoughts on “GameSalad vs Stencyl”

  1. got a google alert for the word gamesalad. Found this post.

    just pointing out an error

    “That’s why I found StencylWorks alluring. A draggable block for GameSalad achievements is right there.”

    you said “GameSalad achievements” :)

  2. dude, do you have tutorials about stencylworks? im trying understand how works, but sometimes is confused, im creating a game, and i was thinking buy me gamesalad, but i read your comments about stencyl, and i preferer, wait until learn more in stencyl, thanks

    p.d. i bought your book The Unofficial GameSalad Textbook,i liked, and sorry for my english, greetings

    1. Hi ipalmeros! :)

      I’m working on a book about StencylWorks right now. It’s been difficult. I don’t know when – or if – it will be completed. I think Stencyl is a lot harder to use than GameSalad. Stencyl is a little glitchy and it’s “Bleeding Edge” technology. However, Stencyl has a lot more freedom/options… custom polygons for collision shapes, Game Center achievements, HTTP requests and other great features… features that should have have been in GameSalad months ago.

      Here’s an updated assessment of the two applications…

      Stencyl’s biggest problems are the learning curve and technical issues. (I don’t think Stencyl is as polished as GameSalad.) However, that’s being worked on. The Stencyl team is usually very responsive in fixing technical issues. Also, there’s something called “Stencylpedia 2.0” that should be released soon…

      http://community.stencyl.com/index.php?topic=7182.0

      GameSalad also has some major issues — like performance and missing features. Supposedly, the performance issue is being worked on. They’re dropping Lua. As for the missing features problem… well… trust has been broken. I don’t like the Kiip/PlayHaven update. I don’t see why something like that can be added, while Game Center achievements and AdMob have been missing for months.

      While it’s harder to use Stencyl, I don’t feel like Stencyl is trying to own my game. I feel that Stencyl is a more professional level game development tool. Meanwhile, GameSalad is great for beginners. I don’t know if I’d have the patience to keep fighting with Stencyl if I wasn’t so successful with GameSalad.

  3. To Anyone interested in using STENCYL for IOS game development, Please BEWARE!

    Stencyl is a GREAT for making FLASH games, But trying to make an IOS game will most likely result in it crashing!

    I had all the requirements for making an IOS game with STENCYL but the game kept crashing no matter what!

    I also did not use any special code it was all using stencyl! NOW here is where things get very shady! No matter how much help you ask they will just give you the run around! In fact the majority of APPS the have been made with stencyl actually belong to the MODs at stencyl.com or they are no longer on the store, or they have been removed do too crashing!

    Also many of Moderators at stencyl.com will ask you all sorts of question to try and make you feel like they are helping you, but after awhile they simply stop answering. Infact many of the stencyl forums are filled with un answered questions!

    This one mod there was trying to help me for days, Until i finally looked up all of his older post only to see he was helping a bunch of other people who had IOS bugs only to tell them at the end, well sorry i couldn’t help you, I dont actually know anything about making IOS games!!

    THAN why is this guy going around asking you questions pretending he knows and is trying to help ? Its all just a big a run around. They are basically giving people the run around to keep them distracted from the fact that they falsely advertising this software that supposedly can make IOS games!

    If you want to make FLASH games stency is great, but do BEWARE against using stencyl for IOS the MODs and people working at stencyl have no problem LYING to their customers! I am currently considering a law Suite against them for false advertising!

    BEWARE very shady company!!!

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