Cocos2D vs Sprite Kit vs Unity 2D Tech Talk Video

Ray Wenderlich

The first Tuesday of each month, one of the members of the team gives a Tech Talk, and by popular request we’ve started to stream these live.

Today in our March Tech Talk, three Tutorial Team members held an epic debate on which is the best framework for making 2D games on iOS: the Cocos2D vs Sprite Kit vs Unity Battle Royale.

Here were the contenders:

Here’s the video for anyone who didn’t get a chance to watch!

Note: At the point where I start giving the Cocos2D code demo, I forgot to make my screen share visible to viewers. When you get to this point (around 20:30), skip to 25:37 where the issue is resolved. Sorry about that!

Source Code

Here is the Source Code of the Cat Jump game, made in each framework for easy comparison purposes:

Helpful Links

Here are some handy links to learn more about these frameworks:

Want to Join Us Next Month?

Thanks again Marin and Brian for giving a great talk and having the guts to present to debate with a live audience :] And thank you to everyone who attended – we hope you enjoyed it!

Next month, our April Tech talk will be on Reactive Cocoa, with Colin Eberhardt (CTO of Shinobi Controls and Tutorial Team member) and Justin Spahr-Summers (Mac developer at GitHub and co-developer of ReactiveCocoa).

We will be broadcasting this talk live on Tuesday, April 8 at 2:00 PM EST, so if you want to join us sign up here! As you watch the talk, you can submit any Q&A you may have live.

Hope to see some of you there! :]

Ray Wenderlich

Ray is part of a great team - the team, a group of over 100 developers and editors from across the world. He and the rest of the team are passionate both about making apps and teaching others the techniques to make them.

When Ray’s not programming, he’s probably playing video games, role playing games, or board games.

User Comments


  • I love what Marin had to say about SpriteKit and how passionate he is about it. He tells it like it is. haha :) You guys all know way more about all of this than me, but I've tried Cocos2D, Unity and SpriteKit. SpriteKit is my favorite by a long shot, because it is straightforward and the least complicated of the three. ---Thank you Ray and everyone for sharing your knowledge. The Q&A videos are great. Many thanks.
  • <3 SpriteKit. But missing cocos2d OpenGL =(
  • A great discussion, thanks. You all made such good arguments, I'm still no better off ;) I think that like you said, I'll start with Sprite Kit as it's easy to get going and teaches the process of game making anyway, which won't be wasted when switching to another framework for cross-platform capability. In that instance, I could then switch to Unity as I'm familiar with C# and Blender 3D already.

    Thanks again.

  • This tech talk was great. So far there are things I like about both SpriteKit and Cocos2D that unfortunately don't work the same for each. I prefer SpriteKit's update loop for some reason, to my brain it just makes more sense. Cocos2D audio seems to be easier and I haven't had strange things like a music loop playing when it has been told to stop. Having fun learning them both either way. Unless I missed a memo, Unity is C# only? I will take a look a ways down the road when I feel pretty solid on Cocos/SpriteKit. The ability to write once publish many is attractive though.

    Keep making these, they are gold.
  • I have been skeptical of the authenticity of reality TV ever since Snookie declared GTL to be set isomorphic to a Turning machine given infinite laundry detergent and Smith Machines. I know this is true, but uncoached, I think she would have chosen a stack machine equivalency strategy.

    So... I wonder how truthful we are being here -- was there any dramatization involved? Are these really your preferences.

    In any case, I am joining team Sprite Kit. It is the first framework where I have been able to make meaningful changes to tutorial projects. I went from zero to Flappy Bird clone in an hour, and don't find Objective-C too difficult coming from a c# background.
  • I think we need to revisit this battle with the newly announced changes to Sprite Kit and the new Cocos2d 3.1 seeing as many of the gripes about Sprite Kit (Such as a lack of custom shaders) have been addressed.

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