Choosing a Haxe NME game engine

Now that I have decided to go with Haxe and NME, there is the question of which game engine to use.  You may be thinking to yourself “isn’t NME a game engine”?  No, not really, although it performs some game engine-y functions.  NME is more like a cross platform Haxe implementation of a Flash like development environment.  A game engine is built on top of this layer as ideally makes me life easier.  So, what are the options then?


Build my own

Well first of all there is the option to use nothing.  NME is fairly high level as it is, so the “cost” of building a game engine on top of it is much lower than with many other language/library combinations.  This has the advantage of removing a layer of code I am not intimately familiar with.  On the other hand, I’m lazy and in the business of creating a game, not an engine.  If someone else wants to do the work for me, and freely at that, who am I to say no?



Flixel is one of the most common Flash 2D game frameworks, and HaxeFlixel is a Haxe port.  The reference documentation is pretty solid.  I have read that HaxeFlixel is a bit further along than our next entry.  The engine itself is state driven, with a state being the fundamental organization model of your game, while your game loop basically flips between states.  Examples of states would be say… Playing, MainMenu, HighScore, etc…  Flixel targets the most of the major targets including iOS, Android, Mac and Windows as well as Flash.  I don’t believe HTML5 is supported.

 Status: Under active development


Sample HaxeFlixel code from here. ( a Menu state ) :

package;     import org.flixel.plugin.photonstorm.FlxDisplay;  import nme.Assets;  import nme.geom.Rectangle;  import;  import org.flixel.FlxButton;  import org.flixel.FlxG;  import org.flixel.FlxPath;  import org.flixel.FlxSave;  import org.flixel.FlxSprite;  import org.flixel.FlxState;  import org.flixel.FlxText;  import org.flixel.FlxU;     class MenuState extends FlxState  {      override public function create():Void      {          #if !neko          FlxG.bgColor = 0xff131c1b;          #else          FlxG.bgColor = {rgb: 0x131c1b, a: 0xff};          #end ;                     //create a button with the label Start and set an on click function          var startButton = new FlxButton(0, 0, "Start", onStartClick);          //add the button to the state draw list          add(startButton);          //center align the button on the stage          FlxDisplay.screenCenter(startButton,true,true);      }         //The on click handler for the start button      private function onStartClick( ):Void      {          //Tell Flixel to change the active game state to the actual game          FlxG.switchState( new PlayState( ) );      }             override public function destroy():Void      {          super.destroy();      }         override public function update():Void      {          super.update();      }  }  




HaxePunk is another popular Flash game framework that was ported to Haxe.  Instead of being organized around States like Flixel, HaxePunk is built around entities and scenes, a rather more traditional design.  Haxepunk seems to support the same targets as HaxeFlixel, which means most of the CPP targets ( iOS, Android, Windows, Mac, etc… ) but no HTML5.  Reference docs are pretty complete.

Status: Under active development.


Sample code taken from here.



package scenes;     import com.haxepunk.Scene;  import com.haxepunk.HXP;     class GameScene extends Scene  {      public function new()      {          super();      }         public override function begin()      {          add(new entities.Ship(16, HXP.halfHeight));          spawn(); // create our first enemy      }         public override function update()      {          spawnTimer -= HXP.elapsed;          if (spawnTimer < 0)          {              spawn();          }          super.update();      }         private function spawn()      {          var y = Math.random() * HXP.height;          add(new entities.Enemy(HXP.width, y));          spawnTimer = 1; // every second      }         private var spawnTimer:Float;  }  



Firmament Game Engine

Another Haxe 2D game engine, this one supports almost every platform, and unlike Flixel and FlashPunk, that includes HTML5.  Like the others, it is completely open source.  Reference docs are OK, but a little light on description.

Status: Last github commit was 2 months ago as of writing.

No sample code located.



Stencyl is an interesting option.  It’s a bit higher level than the other frameworks we mentioned earlier, as you can see directly below, Stencyl has an IDE.

In some ways, its much more similar to higher level tools like Construct 2 or Gamemaker in that you visually author your game.  Stencyl however is powered by Haxe and you can drop down to the Haxe code level if you want.  That said, it is a commercial product, so if you want to publish to iOS or ( I believe… the site doesn’t make it obvious either way ) Android, you need to pay.  Documentation is pretty solid.
Status: Commercial product under active development.
No sample in this case due to the unique nature of the product.
Stencyl is certainly worth checking out, but probably not a good fit for the project I am working on, as I want the blog posts to be code focused and Stencyl abstracts most of that away. 


Citrux Engine

CitruxEngine is a port of the Flash based game engine.  Sadly it seems to have been abandoned 

Status: Last update was 8 months ago.  May simply be complete but on first glance appears to be a dead end.

Sample code from here.



package fr.aymericlamboley.test;    import aze.display.SparrowTilesheet;  import aze.display.TileLayer;    import box2D.dynamics.contacts.B2Contact;    import com.citruxengine.core.CitruxEngine;  import com.citruxengine.core.State;  import com.citruxengine.math.MathVector;  import com.citruxengine.objects.CitruxSprite;  import com.citruxengine.objects.Box2DPhysicsObject;  import com.citruxengine.objects.platformer.box2d.Baddy;  import com.citruxengine.objects.platformer.box2d.Coin;  import com.citruxengine.objects.platformer.box2d.Crate;  import com.citruxengine.objects.platformer.box2d.Hero;  import com.citruxengine.objects.platformer.box2d.MovingPlatform;  import com.citruxengine.objects.platformer.box2d.Platform;  import com.citruxengine.objects.platformer.box2d.Sensor;  import com.citruxengine.physics.Box2D;  import com.citruxengine.utils.ObjectMaker;  import com.citruxengine.view.spriteview.SparrowAnimationSequence;  import com.citruxengine.view.spriteview.SpriteLoqAnimationSequence;  import com.citruxengine.view.spriteview.SpriteView;    import com.eclecticdesignstudio.spritesheet.SpriteSheet;  import com.eclecticdesignstudio.spritesheet.importers.SpriteLoq;    import format.SWF;    import nme.Assets;  import nme.geom.Rectangle;    class GameState extends State<GameData> {        public function new() {            super();      }        override public function initialize():Void {            super.initialize();            _ce.gameData.dataChanged.add(_gameDataChanged);            var box2d:Box2D = new Box2D("Box2D");          //box2d.visible = true;          add(box2d);            //ObjectMaker.FromMovieClip(new SWF(Assets.getBytes("Assets/LevelA1.swf")).createMovieClip());            var background:CitruxSprite = new CitruxSprite("background", {x:0, y:0, view:"Assets/background.jpg"});          add(background);            var physicsObject:Crate = new Crate("physicsObject", 
{x:250, y:200, width:70, height:75, view:"Assets/crate.png"});          //var physicsObject:PhysicsObject = new PhysicsObject("physicsObject", {x:100, y:20});          //var physicsObject:PhysicsObject = new PhysicsObject("physicsObject", {x:100, y:20, radius:20});          add(physicsObject);            add(new Platform("platform1", {x:498, y:403, width:948, height:20}));          add(new Platform("platform2", {x:0, y:202, width:20, height:404}));          add(new Platform("platform3", {x:1278, y:363, width:624, height:20}));          add(new Platform("platform4", {x:1566, y:165, width:20, height:404}));            var spriteSheet:SpriteSheet = SpriteLoq.parse(ApplicationMain.getAsset("Assets/heroSpriteLoq.xml"), "Assets");                   var tileSheet:SparrowTilesheet = new SparrowTilesheet(Assets.getBitmapData("Assets/heroSparrow.png"), 
Assets.getText("Assets/heroSparrow.xml"));          var heroTileLayer:TileLayer = cast(view, SpriteView).createTileLayer(tileSheet, "hero");          var hero:Hero = new Hero("hero", {x:100, y:20, width:60, height:135, 
view:new SparrowAnimationSequence(heroTileLayer, "idle")});            add(hero);            spriteSheet = SpriteLoq.parse(ApplicationMain.getAsset("Assets/baddySpriteLoq.xml"), "Assets");          tileSheet = new SparrowTilesheet(Assets.getBitmapData("Assets/baddySparrow.png"), 
Assets.getText("Assets/baddySparrow.xml"));          var baddyTileLayer:TileLayer = new TileLayer(tileSheet);          var baddy1:Baddy = new Baddy("baddy1", {x:440, y:200, width:46, height:68, 
view:new SparrowAnimationSequence(baddyTileLayer, "walk")});          add(baddy1);            var coin:Coin = new Coin("Coin", {x:Std.random(400), y:Std.random(300) + 100, radius:30, 
view:"Assets/jewel.png"});          add(coin);          coin.onBeginContact.add(_recoltCoin);            view.setupCamera(hero, new MathVector(320, 240), new Rectangle(0, 0, 1550, 0), new MathVector(.25, .05));      }        override public function update(timeDelta:Float):Void {            super.update(timeDelta);      }        private function _gameDataChanged(object:String, value:Dynamic):Void {            trace(object + " - " + value);      }        private function _recoltCoin(ctc:B2Contact):Void {            var hero:Hero =, Hero) ? 
ctc.m_fixtureA.getBody().getUserData() :, 
Hero) ? ctc.m_fixtureB.getBody().getUserData() : null;            if (hero != null) {                remove(, Coin) ? 
ctc.m_fixtureA.getBody().getUserData() : ctc.m_fixtureB.getBody().getUserData());              _ce.sound.playSound("collect");          }      }  }  



Cocos2D for Haxe

It’s Cocos2D… for Haxe ported from Cocos2D for iPhone.  I really don’t want to try to explain the Cocos2D family tree… it’s… confusing.

Status: Last updated on Github 4 months ago.  Not encouraging.

Sample code from here.



import;    class Sample_UIImage {        public function new(){          var uiimage = new UIImage().initWithContentsOfFile("grossini.png");          uiimage.onComplete = callback (onComplete, uiimage);          //flash.Lib.current.addChild ( new flash.display.Bitmap ( new Girl(0,0)));      }      function onComplete(uiimage:UIImage) {          flash.Lib.current.addChild ( uiimage.bitmap );      }        public static function main(){          haxe.Firebug.redirectTraces();          flash.Lib.current.stage.scaleMode = flash.display.StageScaleMode.NO_SCALE;          flash.Lib.current.stage.align = flash.display.StageAlign.TOP_LEFT;          new Sample_UIImage();      }  }  




A component based game engine.  It appears to be young and hasn’t been updated in a long time, a bad combination so I am ignoring it.



A port of the PushButton engine.  A component based game engine built over top of NME.  Supports many targets, but hasn’t been updated in a while.  Documentation?  None, zilch, nodda.  

Status: Last updated about a year ago

Sample code from here:


package ;    import com.pblabs.components.scene2D.CircleShape;  import com.pblabs.components.scene2D.SceneAlignment;  import com.pblabs.components.spatial.SpatialComponent;  import com.pblabs.components.tasks.FunctionTask;  import com.pblabs.components.tasks.LocationTask;  import com.pblabs.components.tasks.RepeatingTask;  import com.pblabs.components.tasks.SerialTask;  import com.pblabs.engine.core.PBContext;  import com.pblabs.engine.core.PBGame;  import com.pblabs.engine.core.SignalBondManager;  using Lambda;    using com.pblabs.components.scene2D.SceneUtil;  using com.pblabs.components.tasks.TaskUtil;  using com.pblabs.engine.core.PBGameUtil;  using com.pblabs.engine.util.PBUtil;    class Demo  {      public function new()      {          //Setup logging.          com.pblabs.engine.debug.Log.setup();            var game = new PBGame();          game.addBaseManagers();            //The main "context". This is equivalent to a level, or a menu screen.          var context :PBContext = game.pushContext(PBContext);          //This method is via 'using' SceneUtil          var scene2D = context.createBaseScene();          scene2D.sceneAlignment = SceneAlignment.TOP_LEFT;          var layer = scene2D.addLayer("defaultLayer");            //Create our blob that we will move around.          var so = context.createBaseSceneEntity();          // var blob = context.allocate(com.pblabs.components.scene2D.RectangleShape);          // blob.borderRadius = 10;          var blob  = context.allocate(com.pblabs.components.scene2D.CircleShape);          // blob.radius = 30;            blob.fillColor = 0xff0000;            blob.width = 100;          // blob.height = 300;          blob.parentProperty = layer.entityProp();          so.addComponent(blob);          so.initialize("SomeSceneObj");            var topLeft = scene2D.getAlignedPoint(SceneAlignment.TOP_LEFT);          var topRight = scene2D.getAlignedPoint(SceneAlignment.TOP_RIGHT);          var bottomRight = scene2D.getAlignedPoint(SceneAlignment.BOTTOM_RIGHT);          var bottomLeft = scene2D.getAlignedPoint(SceneAlignment.BOTTOM_LEFT);            //This method is via 'using' SceneUtil          so.setLocation(50, 100);          //This method is via 'using' TaskUtil          so.addTask(new RepeatingTask(              new SerialTask(                  LocationTask.CreateEaseOut(topLeft.x + blob.width / 2, topLeft.y + blob.height / 2, 2),                  LocationTask.CreateEaseOut(topRight.x - blob.width / 2, topRight.y + blob.height / 2, 2),                  LocationTask.CreateEaseOut(bottomRight.x - blob.width / 2, bottomRight.y - blob.height / 2, 2),                  LocationTask.CreateEaseOut(bottomLeft.x + blob.width / 2, bottomLeft.y - blob.height / 2, 2)              )              ));            //Prevents the first frame have the location at (0,0)          scene2D.update();      }        public static function main()      {          new Demo();      }  }  



Unfortunately it’s web and Flash only so a no-go for me.



Awe6 is an inversion-of-control / component based game engine.  If you’ve never heard of IoC or Dependency injection, let me show you this wonderful example from Stack Overflow that shows IoC at it’s simplest.

Traditional way:

Class car {

Engine _engine; Public Car() { _engine = new V6(); }


Inverted Way

Class car {

Engine _engine;

Public Car(Engine engine) { _engine = engine; }


var car = new Car(new V4());

Essentially you are “injecting” functionality into your class, as here, you “Inject” the engine type into the car via the constructor.

Alright, enough about IoC and Dependency Injection, back to Awe6.


The above graphic is the overview from the Awe6 site.  The framework has fairly good documentation.

Status: Most recent change was a couple days ago:

Sample code from here:



package demo.scenes;  import awe6.core.Scene;  import awe6.extras.gui.Text;  import awe6.interfaces.EAudioChannel;  import awe6.interfaces.EMessage;  import awe6.interfaces.EScene;  import awe6.interfaces.ETextStyle;  import awe6.interfaces.IEntity;  import awe6.interfaces.IKernel;  import demo.AssetManager;  import demo.entities.Bouncer;  import demo.entities.Sphere;  import demo.Session;    class Game extends AScene  {      public static inline var TIME_LIMIT = 30;      private var _timer:Text;      private var _score:Int;        override private function _init():Void      {          super._init();          isPauseable = true;          isSessionSavedOnNext = true;          _session.isWin = false;          var l_textStyle = _kernel.factory.createTextStyle( ETextStyle.SUBHEAD );          #if js          // for js performance boost (realtime filters very constly)          l_textStyle.filters = [];          l_textStyle.color = 0x020382;          #end          _timer = new Text( _kernel, _kernel.factory.width, 50, Std.string( 
_tools.convertAgeToFormattedTime( 0 ) ), l_textStyle );          _timer.y = 70;          addEntity( _timer, true, 1000 );   "MusicMenu", EAudioChannel.MUSIC ); "MusicGame", EAudioChannel.MUSIC, -1, 0, .5, 0, true );          for ( i in 0...10 )          {              addEntity( new Sphere( _kernel ), true, i + 10 );          }          _kernel.messenger.addSubscriber( _entity, EMessage.INIT, handleSphere, Sphere );          _kernel.messenger.addSubscriber( _entity, EMessage.DISPOSE, handleSphere, Sphere );      }            public function handleSphere( p_message:EMessage, p_sender:IEntity ):Bool      {  // trace( p_message + " " + p_sender );          return true;      }              override private function _updater( ?p_deltaTime:Int = 0 ):Void      {          super._updater( p_deltaTime );            _score = _tools.limit( ( 1000 * TIME_LIMIT ) - _age, 0, _tools.BIG_NUMBER ) );          if ( _score == 0 )          {              _gameOver();          }          _timer.text = _tools.convertAgeToFormattedTime( _age );          var l_spheres:Array<Sphere> = getEntitiesByClass( Sphere );          if ( ( l_spheres == null ) || ( l_spheres.length == 0 ) )          {              _gameOver();          }      }        override private function _disposer():Void      { "MusicGame", EAudioChannel.MUSIC );          super._disposer();      }        private function _gameOver():Void      {          if ( _score > _session.highScore )          {              _session.isWin = true;              _session.highScore = _score;          };      }    }  


Ash Entity Framework

This is a Haxe port of the Ash Framework a popular entity framework.  Unlike earlier examples, this is not a game engine, but may be an option as NME provides a great deal of the functionality you would normally require from a game engine.  That said, it is marked as PRE-ALPHA… that’s pretty early on.  It’s pretty active development wise but Haxe specific documentation is basically non-existent.

Status: Last commit 5 days ago.

Sample code from here:


package net.richardlord.asteroids;    import flash.display.DisplayObjectContainer;    import ash.tick.ITickProvider;  import ash.tick.FrameTickProvider;  import ash.core.Engine;    import;  import;  import;  import;  import;  import;  import;  import;  import;  import;  import net.richardlord.input.KeyPoll;    class Asteroids  {      private var container:DisplayObjectContainer;      private var engine:Engine;      private var tickProvider:ITickProvider;      private var creator:EntityCreator;      private var keyPoll:KeyPoll;      private var config:GameConfig;        public function new(container:DisplayObjectContainer, width:Float, height:Float)      {          this.container = container;          prepare(width, height);      }        private function prepare(width:Float, height:Float):Void      {          engine = new Engine();          creator = new EntityCreator( engine );          keyPoll = new KeyPoll( container.stage );          config = new GameConfig();          config.width = width;          config.height = height;            engine.addSystem(new GameManager( creator, config ), SystemPriorities.preUpdate);          engine.addSystem(new MotionControlSystem( keyPoll ), SystemPriorities.update);          engine.addSystem(new GunControlSystem( keyPoll, creator ), SystemPriorities.update);          engine.addSystem(new BulletAgeSystem( creator ), SystemPriorities.update);          engine.addSystem(new DeathThroesSystem( creator ), SystemPriorities.update);          engine.addSystem(new MovementSystem( config ), SystemPriorities.move);          engine.addSystem(new CollisionSystem( creator ), SystemPriorities.resolveCollisions);          engine.addSystem(new AnimationSystem(), SystemPriorities.animate);          engine.addSystem(new RenderSystem( container ), SystemPriorities.render);            creator.createGame();      }        public function start():Void      {          tickProvider = new FrameTickProvider( container );          tickProvider.add(engine.update);          tickProvider.start();      }  }  


Please let me know if I have missed any!

Personally I am leading towards Flixel ( community size and maturity level ), but am going to take a closer look at the Awe6 engine first. If neither works for me, I will simply roll me own!


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