GameSalad vs Stencyl

Although, I’m not really cheering for a winner. I actually like the competition. Both applications need dramatic improvement. Considering that thousands — or even millions — of dollars can be made with a good app, I don’t see a problem with maintaining two subscriptions. Don’t get caught in the Coke vs. Pepsi mindset. A good carpenter doesn’t just have one hammer. While both game development applications can perform similar tasks, they’re different enough to be used with precision.

GameSalad is better if…

  • You want to throw together a quick game in 24-72 hours
  • You hate to program — you don’t even want to see code
  • Need to create quick and simple particle effects
  • You’re poor — the basic version of iOS publishing with GameSalad is free (with PlayHaven ads on your games)

StencylWorks is better if…

  • You want to get more hands-on and create your own custom blocks
  • Need more advanced features for your games
  • You want Flash publishing
  • Don’t have access to a Mac
  • Need professional iOS publishing features, for less money
    (Yearly Subscription fee: GameSalad $499 vs iStencyl $149)

There’s one other major factor in deciding which development platform is better for you. That’s performance. GameSalad has suffered in this area for a long time — especially with loading times. A major change is underway for GameSalad. Lua is being dropped. This could be a game changer — literally. Supposedly, improved performance is heading toward GameSalad later this year.

And yet, this is ultimately another reason why I’m using StencylWorks today. I’ve lowered my expectations with GameSalad, because I’m tired of being disappointed. I remember how project “Masala” was supposed to be an amazing improvement to GameSalad. After months of waiting, I was ultimately unimpressed. Masala was the codename for HTML5 publishing — mainly for the GameSalad Arcade. Most of my existing projects didn’t work with this new feature. Either my games were too large, not the right ratio or too complex. I could have created games from scratch for this new feature, but I couldn’t host the games on — even though I was paying for a Professional subscription.

I don’t feel like I’m being held hostage when using StencylWorks. I don’t feel like StencylWorks is trying to own my games. StencylWorks allows me to publish my game to Flash, without it ever touching the server.

Both applications are free to try. If you’re serious about development, it might be a good idea to experience both for yourself. :)

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…

      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. thanks for your time, i’ll keep looking around the web, for new, tutos about stencyl, i hope you finish your new book, soon, greetings

  4. 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 or they are no longer on the store, or they have been removed do too crashing!

    Also many of Moderators at 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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