Starling engine benchmark on iPad

Having built several AIR projects on iPad, I was really disappointed over the performances delivered. I had to lower the app frame rate to a lame 12FPS in order to get acceptable interface reactivity and a minimum of GC lags. Conclusions were that, considering mobile development, the Flash engine  was out of race. I was strongly considering moving to X-Code (abandoning all hopes of ever developing something on Android), when I heard of the Starling 2D engine based on the Stage3D feature of the FP11.

So I quickly built up a simple application in order to compare conventional Flash performance to the Starling engine. The app is built using AIR 3.3 and Starling 1.2. I also used greensock’s TweenMax (could not live without it) for rotations.

The app only contains a simple button which, on each click, adds a sprite to the stage and makes it rotate:

The app, of course, also shows a FPS monitor (built in the Starling engine) in order to compare and see when performance loss are noticable.

The main MovieClip exploits the full Retina display resolution (1536×2048), just to see how it behaved and is initiated at 60FPS.

Here are the apps:

Running the apps (on an iPad 3) clearly reveals differences:

  • Standard Flash doesn’t even maintain the 60FPS with 2 sprites on stage.
  • While Starling keeps a constant FPS rate, Flash, especially with few sprites, fluctuates a lot (with 10 sprites, the delta is more than 7FPS). This behaviour tends to normalize with a greatere amount of attached sprites.
  • With a huge amount of sprites, both techniques tends to deliver the same -lame- performances.

Here is a graphical report of the tests (FPS / sprites) :

StarColony: Ignition sequence start…

Some draft renderings of the future fleets

Here is the Human corvette:

The latest stable game version can be tested here.

Achieved sor far:

  • Random map generation of the Universe. The Universe can hold up to 40 solar systems. Each containing from 0 to 4 planets.
  • In-game interface navigation from universe to planet.
  • 3 music tracks.



This is a Flash sampler app I’ve made this weekend in order to test touch capabilities of some hardware we’ve got at work. Wanted to see what ActionScript could do with sound processing as well. Found ans used a awesome sound processing package made by Antti Kupila.

The ActionStation main screenYou can test it on this live demo page.