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 Photics.com — 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 stencyl.com server.
Both applications are free to try. If you’re serious about development, it might be a good idea to experience both for yourself.