When comparing Corona SDK vs ShiVa, the Slant community recommends Corona SDK for most people. In the question“What are the best 2D game engines?” Corona SDK is ranked 26th while ShiVa is ranked 63rd.
Ranked in these QuestionsQuestion Ranking
Pro Very simple to use
Corona SDK is completely free as of March 2, 2015. That includes pro-tier plugins.
Pro Lua syntax
Uses the great and easy-to-learn Lua programming language.
Pro Amazing learning curve
Corona does not throw photoshop-like madness full of buttons editor. You can go as fast as you want, learning and building game from ground up. Eventually, you'll learn how much corona is doing for you. But to start you don't have to master complex editor software. It's a great tool to learn to start game development if you want to learn how to program and make games. Your experience will be 100% transferable to any other Pro game engine.
Pro Corona Simulator
Corona SDK ships with Corona Simulator, which runs your game/app directly on your PC/Mac and updates every time you make changes.
It provides immediate feedback to your actions, you can see your changes right on the screen, without necessity to make build to device. Getting instant feedback really boosts tenfold prototyping and development speed.
Pro Good documentation and lots of tutorials
Pro Cross-platform desktop and mobile
Corona works on OS X, Windows and Android (including Kindle Fire & Nook).
Pro Great community
Pro Ability to call any native (C/C++/Obj-C/Java) library
Pro Very comprehensive API
It's very quick to get things up and running with Corona SDK. The API is extensive and while it's not 100% feature-complete with the iOS API, it's close enough that you could create tons of games and never run into a roadblock.
The API docs can be found here.
Pro Content scaling
It's easy to create a game that looks good on many different sized mobile devices.
Pro Live builds - update builds running on a device automatically
With the live build feature, once you have created a build and installed on a device, you get lightning fast turnaround times because any change on the code or data is updated to the devices running the game (within the local WiFi) immediately. So changes can be tested on the real hardware within a very few seconds.
What's even more impressive, this even works flawless with multiple devices running the game. You have to use it to learn how good of a feature this is while development and even more, while doing QA. Imagine fixing bugs and everyone of your QA team/friends/whoever helps to get your game done, has all changes on his device without doing anything but waiting 5 seconds - outstanding.
Pro Well supported
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 Making a device build requires internet connection
To build your app for the device (iOS/Android/AppleTV) Corona requires to fetch resources from online. This would include base application template and plugins. This allows not to perform local build or use Xcode or Android Studio to do a build. Even Large games/apps would build very fast with good internet connection.
Your code never leaves computed. Corona SDK would transfer some information to determine which plugins and pieces has to be transferred in order to make a final steps in build.
As a bonus - you get basically one button press to get from your Corona Simulator game to game on a device.
Con Closed source
Since you don't have access to the code, you can't make changes to the SDK. You even have to implement workarounds on issues that have long been reported, but never fixed.
Con Free, but not completely
Such conventional plugins as a reference to AdMob for example, cost $300 per year!
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