When comparing Moai SDK vs ShiVa, the Slant community recommends Moai SDK for most people. In the question“What are the best 2D game engines?” Moai SDK is ranked 22nd while ShiVa is ranked 75th. The most important reason people chose Moai SDK is:
Because it uses Lua + C++.
Ranked in these QuestionsQuestion Ranking
Because it uses Lua + C++.
Pro Gives you total control
You can use your own custom shaders and extend the language with C++. MOAI doesn't give you everything, instead it gives you the tools you need to develop any game you want.
Pro Full source code is available
So it is extendable with C++
Pro Easy-to-use particle engine
Uses a limited subset of Lua
Pro Uses Lua, with LuaJIT where possible
Pro Is used by many pro developers
Moai SDK is used by popular developers including Double Fine for their mobile game, Middle Manager of Justice, and for their Kickstarter hit, Broken Age(formerly, Double Fine Adventure.) It was also used to create the popular mobile game Bubble Ball 2.
This proves that this engine can be used to make fully-featured and fun games.
Pro API interfaces
Has options for development like Hanappe and Rapanui, providing a different way to interact with the engine.
Pro Helpful community
The Moai SDK Forum is active and users will go to great extents to answer queries, post code snippets, beta test, and even purchase and give feedback on each others' games.
Pro Helpful and detailed documentation
Although the Moai SDK is very advanced and uses complicated features, the documentation wiki thoroughly and clearly explains how to use these features, such as the Moai Cloud(a service that provides web services for your game), and multiple ways to build from source.
Pro Straightforward pricing with capable free option
The free ShiVa Web version is limited to web publication, but otherwise has the same capabilities as the $200 ShiVa Basic. Upgrading to the $1000 ShiVa Advanced brings tools geared toward team development and professional releases, such as integrated SVN support and profiling tools. All versions are royalty-free.
Pro Lua can be used for fast coding and C++ for optimization
All game logic can be scripted in Lua. ShiVa also provides a cross-compiler from Lua to C++, allowing Lua scripts to be further optimized and compiled to native code for performance.
Pro Great support
In addition to the help forum, Basic and Advanced licensees have chat and direct email access to the developers.
Pro Native c++ export
Pro C++ plugin development options
Pro Great performance on mobile
Smaller platform specific executables, native code export, good FPS even for complex scenes. ShiVa has great advanced optimization features, including PVS and LOD, decreasing number of drawcalls even in complex level. Platform specific profiles allow developers to customize size and compression level for textures and test those settings directly in editor. Other engine features, like lightning baking, mesh combining and GPU skinning will boost performance too.
Con Not for beginning developers
The Moai SDK has very advanced features which allow it to create powerful games. A drawback from this is that it is not very suitable for beginners.
Con Not necessarily tested or stable
Con Scarce documentation
Since it is a minimalist framework there is not that much documentation, but if you are used to reading API references and source code you are good to go!
Con Development has ceased
The last update was over a year ago. Users should not expect things to still work on future OS versions unless they're ready to fix them yourself.
Con ShiVa 2.0 has been worked on for nearly 4 years!
After 4 years of development and promises ShiVa 2.0 has JUST gotten into beta access.
The current version 1.9.2 of ShiVa was released in December 2013. While there is active development on version 2.0, its beta is available only to paid licensees of the current version.
Con High Cost
Costs $200 for the basic version alone, which allows you to publish to any format other than web. The Team/Pro version costs $1000