Construct 2 vs GameMaker vs GameSalad vs Stencyl

by Ashley | 21st, November 2011

In our last blog post we analysed Construct 2's HTML5 performance. As a follow up, we've adapted the test to run in some different tools to measure their performance - and we've found Construct 2 is easily the fastest out there.

Construct 2's performance

To summarise the results in the last post: we've made a test creates as many sprites on-screen as possible before the framerate drops to 30fps. Here's the Canvas 2D test made in Construct 2, and there's also the WebGL-accelerated version. If you want the full low-down, be sure to read the last entry! To simplify the results, we'll measure the results in the top three browsers (Internet Explorer 9, Firefox 8 and Chrome 15) and take an average of the three. IE9 does not support WebGL so our WebGL measurements will average the results from just Firefox 8 and Chrome 15.

Below are the averaged results for Construct 2 from the last entry, for both the Canvas 2D renderer and the WebGL renderer. On average WebGL is 2.8x faster, and some gains for individual browsers were even bigger.

Construct 2's average performance


GameMaker:HTML5 results

We'll be comparing results with GameMaker:HTML5 by Yoyo Games, the Mac-only tool GameSalad, and Stencyl, a newer Flash-based tool. First up is GM:HTML5, a newly released version of the well-established and relatively old Game Maker which has a new HTML5 export option, and is more expensive than Construct 2 currently priced at $99.

We've done our best to make sure these tests are fair. You can try the project for yourself online here, and download the GMX project here if you want to judge for yourself.

GameMaker:HTML5 performance

On Firefox the FPS meter seemed to get stuck at 60 even when it was obviously running at a crawl, so we ran the test a couple of times to get the figure. GameMaker:HTML5 does not yet appear to support WebGL, so all these results are for the slower Canvas 2D renderer. Its average result for the three browsers is 2483, which is about 38% slower than Construct 2's average 2D renderer performance. We won't embarrass them by comparing their result to our WebGL renderer!

GameSalad

Notably, GameSalad only runs on Mac. Considering Construct 2 only runs on Windows this may remove it as an option for many Construct 2 users, but they recently released a HTML5 export option anyway, and since HTML5 games also run on Windows we thought it would be interesting to measure to see how well their games perform.

GameSalad don't appear to let you upload your HTML5 game where you want - it can only be on their arcade, so we can't upload it to our server. So the test is on their arcade here, hopefully they won't remove it! (That might set a bad precedent!) GameSalad appears to support WebGL since it appears to log the renderer being used to the browser console, and Firefox and Chrome log WebGL, and IE9 logs Canvas 2D, like you'd expect. So how does it do?

Gamesalad performance

Despite seeming to support WebGL, Gamesalad appear to have been unable to take advantage of any of its performance benefits. IE9's 2D renderer is on-par with Chrome 15's WebGL rendering, and Firefox 8 only manages a few hundred objects. Construct 2's 2D rendering on average is about 3.8x faster. Since the average WebGL result for GameSalad is just 830, Construct 2's WebGL rendering on average is about 14x faster. Considering the Gamesalad Pro subscription is $500 a year, perhaps their users should consider a $500 Windows laptop and a $32 early-adopter license for Construct 2 — both one-off costs!

Stencyl

Stencyl currently exports to Flash, which was shaken by Adobe's recent announcement to abandon Mobile Flash in favour of HTML5 tools. Still, powered by Flixel, it makes an interesting comparison to HTML5 performance. Stencyl have announced plans to support HTML5, but there's no sign of it yet. You can find the SWF here. I would share the project if I could figure out either where Stencyl saved it or how Save-As works! Since Flash is pretty much just Flash no matter what browser, it only has one result, which I've compared to Construct 2's 2D renderer only (again, not including WebGL).

Stencyl performance

Stencyl doesn't seem to let the FPS meter drop below 30, but it obviously gets a lot slower after, so the figure is for when it hits 30. Remember that's not including the much-faster WebGL renderer - and Construct 2 is still 3.5x faster than the Flash-powered Stencyl. I think I can hear echoes of "HTML5 is slow" disappearing in to history.

Overall results

Let's put everything in one graph to show the scales involved.

All tool's performance

I think that speaks for itself. If you want to make high performance HTML5 games, it's an easy choice to make.

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Comments

11
gammabeam 12.5k rep

Wow... I'm speechless...

I always knew about Construct's power, but this is simply amazing!

Monday, November 21, 2011 at 2:04:05 AM
4
Jayjay 12.6k rep

You guys rock.

Monday, November 21, 2011 at 2:05:13 AM
4
mammoth 7,953 rep

You guys rule. I was going to post something like this on my blog. http://johnbura.blogspot.com/

I think I will post something a little more personal about the 3. I have used game salad a lot. But I love this program.

Thank you so much!

Monday, November 21, 2011 at 2:11:16 AM
5
Jakub 6,063 rep

Very cool comparision.
We can simply be happy that we're using what we're using! ;)

Keep it up!

Monday, November 21, 2011 at 2:14:22 AM
6
MadFactory 12.2k rep

Hot damn! I'm impressed.

Monday, November 21, 2011 at 2:16:32 AM
6
kirby 4,277 rep

I only wish that you could be able to use vectors in construct. I don't really know how difficult would that be, but that's what I like the most of flash.

An enormous vectorized enemy can only make your game 1KB heavier, but it's png counterpart would make the loading screen scare users, won't it?

Nevertheless, with these results, I'm truly impressed and will continue to recommend Construct to everyone that seems interested in making games or even in games in general. Please keep up the great work!

Monday, November 21, 2011 at 2:47:19 AM
6
tavitooo 4,801 rep

Hola a todos, definitivamente construct 2 les lleva de encuentro a los demás programas de hacer juegos, ojalá pronto saquen un menú tools con cambio de lenguaje a español y así también poder encontrar tutorial es en español o en su defecto tener las novedades y noticias en español me interesa mucho pero mucho cada novedad que sacan pero me es difícil entender y si uso Google translate no lo traduce bien. Espero que me tomen en cuenta saludos

Monday, November 21, 2011 at 3:40:15 AM
4
Jailson 12.1k rep

Very impressing. I am with Construct2. Everyday I am happier with my choice. :D

Monday, November 21, 2011 at 5:10:38 AM
5
Bigheti 12.6k rep

I used the Game Maker, but I'm very happy to discoverer the Construct 2! It's more powerfull.

Monday, November 21, 2011 at 7:13:56 AM
3
delgado 12.9k rep

This Construct 2 is professional one! Im lucky to have standard license this is THE BEST CHOICE !!!! :)))

Monday, November 21, 2011 at 9:10:40 AM
5
noirfluo 6,471 rep

Very interesting! Congratulations ! ! !
(I'm a GM user too and I used Stencyl). So, I am fully in agreement with you for these comparisons. ! ! !
Thank you for having created Construct :)

Monday, November 21, 2011 at 9:13:16 AM
5
Wastrel 10.9k rep

I think the numbers speak for themselves. I would say you should calculate product cost, developer responsiveness, and community pragmatism into the numbers, but then that would just be embarrassing for the others!

Monday, November 21, 2011 at 9:52:29 AM
0
photonstorm 2,317 rep

I'd like to see a more real-world test as this demo really doesn't prove anything beyond the ability to have a tight loop and plot a few sprites down. How about something that normally makes Canvas games cry, like a proper full-size scrolling backdrop (ideally parallaxed) with a real tile-map, player and a few enemy sprites on-top? And some controls too.

You can have the fastest renderer in town, but if the rest of the game engine isn't up to scratch it's worthless.

Monday, November 21, 2011 at 12:13:12 PM
4
habiplay 2,413 rep

C2 is undoubtedly much better. It is the only with a very active forum, something will.

Monday, November 21, 2011 at 12:40:55 PM
7
MadFactory 12.2k rep

<div class="comment-quoter">Comment by <strong>photonstorm</strong>

I'd like to see a more real-world test as this demo really doesn't prove anything beyond the ability to have a tight loop and plot a few sprites down. How about something that normally makes Canvas games cry, like a proper full-size scrolling backdrop (ideally parallaxed) with a real tile-map, player and a few enemy sprites on-top? And some controls too.
You can have the fastest renderer in town, but if the rest of the game engine isn't up to scratch it's worthless.</div>The test is to measure performance by seeing how many objects can be rendered before the framerate drops to a certain amount, not see how quickly a Mario game runs. Adding a few enemies and custom controls doesn't prove a thing. Giant, "Full-Size" backgrounds are not recommended anyway, and the impact they have on performance depends on many things and is often trivial. Also I'm not sure I understand your last statement. C2 can quite obviously handle whatever you throw at it; the quality if the 'game engine' is in your hands.

Monday, November 21, 2011 at 1:06:40 PM

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