Flowcanvas VS bolt

Forums General Discussion Flowcanvas VS bolt

This topic contains 10 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by  nicknameminivan 1 month, 2 weeks ago.

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    Hi all,

    I am wondering what is the difference between bolt and flowcanvas. I can’t really find much information comparing the two. From the outside they both look like they do the same thing. Does one run faster than the other? Better FPS etc. Is one easier to use? etc. etc.


    Any help would be appreciated. I currently have flowcanvas, and don’t want to buy bolt just to try it out.



    Preface: not the developer of FlowCanvas or Bolt or any asset store product really.

    They’re kinda similar, kinda not.

    At a high level:

    Bolt supports both state machines and flow graphs in a single tool. This means you can define state machine conditions as flow graphs. That’s convenient.

    FlowCanvas is just a flow graph; NodeCanvas is its FSM-based counterpart (that also supports behavior trees). They’re two separate products, and there’s a “bridge” asset you can download if you need FlowCanvas to talk to NodeCanvas, or vice versa. It’s not as convenient as Bolt’s all-in-one approach to be honest, but NodeCanvas’ behavior trees implementation is pretty valuable so I understand why they’re separate products.

    At a low level (performance):

    “It depends.”

    Right now I’d say performance is pretty similar. Bolt 2, the next major version of Bolt, will reportedly compile down to C# code, so it may be measurably faster than FlowCanvas’ reflection technique, but whether that has a material impact on your game depends on a variety of factors.

    I own both assets. Currently I’m leveraging NodeCanvas+FlowCanvas. Things could be better, but I could also be a unicorn, so I’m going with what works for me, for now.



    Hey, thanks for getting back to me. So it seems like it’s just which one is a personal preference, to decide which one to use. I’ll stick with flowcanvas for now since I have it already.

    Do I need nodecanvas? is it basically a necessity? I do want to do A.I. for enemies somewhere down the line, and it seems state machines / using behaviour tress make it easier? State machines is something I haven’t learnt yet, so i’d need to get onto that eventually I guess.



    Do I need nodecanvas? is it basically a necessity? I do want to do A.I. for enemies somewhere down the line, and it seems state machines / using behaviour tress make it easier?

    It depends on the complexity of your AI. Personally I use a BT for almost all of my AI at this point, but that’s because I already know the tool and the paradigm of behavior trees so I might as well leverage it. For a person new to the concepts, it requires some investment, which may not be useful if you’re making simple AI that just follows the player, navigate the environment, etc, etc.



    So Nodecanvas VS what you are currently using, are they the same thing? What asset are you using for behavior trees?

    I’m making a game similar to “Divinity: Original sin 2” (Not as big of course), and I have my A.I. all done in flowcanvas. It’s basic at the moment, (they move when it’s their turn, do an attack when in range etc.) but I can see its already going to be messy the more I get into improving and adding to the A.I. Would Nodecanvas or bolt or what you are using, help me in this regard, once I learn to use state machines / behavior trees?



    So Nodecanvas VS what you are currently using, are they the same thing? What asset are you using for behavior trees?

    I’m using NodeCanvas for my AI! The behavior tree part of it. I use the FSM part of it to manage other kinds of state.

    Would Nodecanvas or bolt or what you are using, help me in this regard, once I learn to use state machines / behavior trees?

    All I can say is that it helped me model my more complex AI. The prototype I’m working on right now doesn’t have particularly complex AI.



    Hello dear FlowCanvas User,

    I would like to introduce myself 🙂 And I hope I will be in future a happy flowCanvas user 🙂

    We are a creative agency for trade show exhibitions. We delivered multiple interactive applications with the blueprint system in Unreal in the past 4 years. Now my company wants to focus strongly on AR and mobile and Unreal is… not very good developed in this area. ARKit is lacking the newest features and is not production ready at all.

    So we are considering swithing to Unity but we want a Visual Scripting System like Blueprint. After a big researched it looks to me that Bolt and flowCanvas are the only options.

    I have some questions:

    Is flowCanvas still in a very active development and we can build our projects on flowCanvas in the future? Because a lot of the VS assets in the store seems dead somehow. Killed by Playmaker or Bolt?

    Is it possible to do full AR Development in flowCanvas? Something like shown with Bolt?


    Bolt and flowCanvas have both strenght and weakness, Bolt seems to me more “user-friendly” and flowCanvas more geared to serios visual scripting system like blueprint. Can you tell me your opinions? 🙂




    FlowCanvas is very active and not “killed” by anything or by any means. V3.0 (a major version) was released just one month ago. Everything that is shown in that video and more can be done in FlowCanvas as well, yes 🙂 Here is a features comparison with FlowCanvas and Bolt by the way.

    Join us on Discord: https://discord.gg/97q2Rjh



    Thanks for the answer, this sounds nice. Thank you for the chart, I know it already, btw I can’t click on your hyperlink.

    I have to ask some more questions, sorry for that… But this is a very important decision for us which tool we use because we can’t change the tool in the middle of a production. The deadlines for exhibition are very short.

    I’m looking at the features comparison Bolt vs flowCanvas and some thing are unclear for me, because things are just called different in Unreal.

    flowCanvas don’t support Bound SubGraphs, what are Bound SubGraphs?

    flowCanvas don’t support Lambda Optimization, what does this mean for us?

    And what is the Graph Refactor Feature?

    We would be really happy to hear some answers 🙂 Btw flowCanvas can do Auto Conversion (Auto-Casting) better that Unreal do 🙂

    And just for Info, if I search for Bolt vs flowCanvas on google I can find only the chart on Bolt site not the chart on flowCanvas site(which is much more detailed). Maybe you should make it better for google to find it 🙂 Most people first hit on Bolt because their “Marketing”-Team do more to get a good expose to the public.




    Hello again,


    No problem at all. Please let me answer your questions:


    1) In FlowCanvas all sub-graphs need to be created as a separate ‘Asset Graph’.

    ‘Asset Graphs’ have the advantage that each graph is a self-contained object; serialized separately and can also be re-used among any number of other graphs. The disadvantage of ‘Asset Graphs’ however, is that Unity Scene Objects can not be referenced directly within those sub-graphs (because that is a typical thing with Unity that Asset Objects can’t reference Scene Objects), however this can easily be worked around by the ability for subgraphs to be parametrized via Blackboard Variables.


    On the other hand, ‘Bound Sub-Graphs’ are subgraphs that can be created and live directly within the parent graph. This has the advantage that you don’t have to create a separate asset (thus it’s quicker) and that you can use scene object references directly within (without the need for variables). The disadvantage of ‘Bound Sub-Graphs’ however, is that they are stored and serialized directly inline with the parent graph. As such, they a) can not be re-used by other graphs, b) they are not “version control diff friendly” (because they are not assets), c) they can not be discovered easily in the project or be part of asset bundles (because they are not assets unless the asset bundle includes the scene or prefab with the parent graph), and d) they make deserialization more error-prone (because if the bound sub-graph fails so will the parent graph as well as any other bound sub-graph). They basically are ‘hidden’ (backend wise) within another object.


    FlowCanvas only supports ‘Asset Sub-Graphs’ right now.


    2) Lambda Optimization is presumably some very micro optimization performance-wise. With that said FlowCanvas, is faster than Bolt performance-wise either way, especially in Desktop platforms (Window, Mac, Linux).


    3) Typically in FlowCanvas (in Bolt as well), when you rename a reflection-based “reference” like a method, property, field etc, the node that was referencing that method/property/field will become a “missing node”. The Graph Refactor feature in FlowCanvas v3.x, allows you to basically refactor those names quickly, as to point them back to the new names. Without this feature, you would have to delete the node and re-create it anew (thus referencing the now new name), or become restricted not to rename any reflection-based reference once after you use it.


    I hope this helps, but please let me know if you have any more questions 🙂



    Join us on Discord: https://discord.gg/97q2Rjh



    Hello dear Gavalakis,

    Thank you soooo much for your very long answer!!!

    We are choosing FlowCanvas as our VS for Unity! It sounds great, it looks like a full replacement for Unreal Blueprints!

    1) Subgraphs:

    Okey thanks, we understood, i think we will not missing Bound Subgraphs at all.

    2) Performane

    Nice to hear this 🙂 FlowCanvas for the win!

    3) Refactor Feature

    Oh, good to hear that FlowCanvas have this feature now. I can’t imagine a VS without this feature…. How unflexible and tedious muss be Bolt xD

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