Dear ShiVa Community, we are happy to announce the release of ShiVa 2.0 Beta 9, just in time for the holiday season! While this is mostly a maintenance release, it still comes with a number of important updates which you should definitely try out. We hope that you will enjoy this latest Beta over the holidays and give us lots of feedback on our forums and bugtracker.
Beta 9 features
Beta 9 comes with a new module, the Profiler. It allows you to monitor memory consumption, the call stack, potential bottlenecks and many other things from the application as a whole down to individual AIs and function calls. If you are serious about improving performance, or you are stumped by a sudden loss of performance in a certain section of your game, you will find this module very helpful. Please study the documentation if you wish to learn more.
Beta 9 also comes with the first batch of new 2.0 samples, over 50 games with annotated source code, each one showing a specific feature of ShiVa, or demonstrating the solution to a single coding problem.
Every sample is structured similarly. The common code is separated from the sample, so you will have an easy time figuring out which code does the actual work and which code is boilerplate which sets up levels, cameras, etc.
The engines have received numerous bugfixes. iOS and Android in particular have been made fit for the current versions of the respective operating systems and been made compatible with the latest versions of Xcode (9) and Android Studio (3).
The Editor naturally had its share of bugfixes too. Minor - but often requested - features, like the ability to change the code font size, or better code prediction for local variables, have been implemented. Debugging C++ plugins is now also possible, without the system mouse glitching out or creeping along the screen. Multi object selections can now be manipulated in the Properties panel.
However, the biggest improvement on the editor for beta9 is rendering performance. Earlier builds of ShiVa 2.0 sometimes had problems with certain scenes and shaders, which caused the stage view to run very slowly. Other times, the editor would run at hundreds to thousands of frames without displaying anything, causing unnecessary stress for the host computer. Especially Windows users suffered from these problems. With beta 9, all these issues should be in the past now. Vsync settings should now always be properly respected. Without Vsync, simple scenes like our demo room can easily reach hundreds of fps, even on weak office hardware, like a passively cooled NVidia GT 1030, where previously only 30-60 fps were achieved. On the other end of the hardware spectrum, our GTX 1070 machine was able to render supersampled 6K images at 90Hz to the VIVE VR headset with lots of frame time to spare, directly from the editor into SteamVR. This was not a simple scene either, but TheHunt, our demo game with lots of grass, objects, animations and dynamic shadows.
These are just some of the highlights in beta 9 you can look forward to. In order for the new shaders to work, please make sure you clear the old shader cache first (Game properties > Edit > Clear shader cache) and then allow the games to compile new shaders at the start, which might take a few seconds.
A shift in beta activity
You will have noticed that we have not published a new public beta in all of 2017 up until now, and you might be asking yourself: What have we been doing all this time? As a matter of fact, we had 150 ShiVa builds this year, which comes down to 22 versions, since we build several architectures and distribution containers for various platforms. These builds are what we call "DR", development releases. Advanced customers and those with special need for specific fixes have access to them, but not the general beta community. We decided not to make any of these builds public because they only represented incremental improvements and bug fixes, while beta 8 remained usable. 22 versions, that is approximately one version every two weeks, which is more than we had in 2015. ShiVa development is not slowing down, it is just happening more behind closed doors than it used to.
More Betas are coming
All that said, we definitely want to release more betas in the coming year. There are still a couple of modules missing from 2.0 before we can call it full public release, so we will need the help of all the community again soon. As always, you can download the new beta version from our portal at beta.shivaengine.com. For beta 9, we ask you once again to make good use of our bugtracker, as ShiVa's stability and smooth operation depends a lot on accurate tester feedback. If you have already reported on our system, please check whether your bug has been fixed with the new version and close or bump the threat (add a note) when appropriate.
We wish you all a happy Holiday time and a successful 2018!
The ShiVa Development Team