The Starling Manual

Daniel Sperl on December 20, 2016

For many of you, the holiday season is coming up. You’ll meet your loved ones, unwrap a present or two and hopefully have some time for yourself, maybe read a book?

While I can’t give you the Starling Handbook quite yet (it’s going to be out sometime in Q1 2017), I’ve got the second best thing for you today. I didn’t have the time to wrap it up and put a ribbon around it, but it’s a gift nonetheless — a gift for the complete Starling community.

[Update May 2017: Actually, the Handbook is now available! See here.]

I’m talking about the brand-new Starling Manual!

Different to the “Handbook”, that’s a website with all free content, available to every Starling developer. Its goal is to provide an extensive introduction to Starling — the attached instruction manual, if you will. It replaces the old version that was found in the Wiki.

It has become massive: think twice before you hit the “print” button, because this will cost you a whopping two hundred pages. (Better save a tree and read it on your tablet!)

What’s inside

As is to be expected, the manual contains an overview about all important parts of Starling:

  • The technologies Starling was built upon and the principles it follows.
  • How to pick an IDE and set it up for your first project.
  • The basic concepts like the display list, events and the animation system.
  • Advanced techniques, like how to tap into the potential of fragment and vertex programs.
  • How to get the best performance out of the framework.
  • What’s required to get your game to run on mobile phones and tablets.

That makes it perfect for beginners. However, even if you know the old manual inside-out, you will learn lots of new tricks, for example:

  • The role of the new Mesh class and how to use it for custom, textured shapes.
  • How to make full use of Distance Field Rendering, introducing the all-new “Field Agent” utility.
  • An in-depth introduction of Fragment Filters and Mesh Styles.
  • A much better summary of the Event Handling mechanisms.
  • Finally, up-to-date information about how best to tackle Multi-Resolution Development.

In short, I think there’s something for everybody! Please head over to and add a bookmark right away.

Basically, the manual is side product of the “Handbook”; all that’s in the manual will also be found in the Handbook (once it’s released). The Handbook will simply add (a lot!) to what’s there and wrap it up in the form of an e-book and (hopefully) paperback.

One more thing: If you find an error or encounter an area that you think is unclear, please notify me with a post in this thread of the Starling Forum. I’d also be happy about any comments below, of course!

Happy Holidays!

2016 was an exciting year for Starling, with two releases I’m very proud of and the “Handbook” making great progress. What makes me most happy, though, is to see the list of all those amazing games (here and here) that have been release by the community. You guys rock!

Thanks for all your help, feedback and trust — I’m looking forward to 2017!