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World of Game Testers

27 Aug

Each minute of our life is a lesson but most of us fail to read it. I thought I would just add my daily lessons & the lessons that I learned by seeing the people around here. So it may be useful for you and as memories for me…….

The article was written by Janarthan…. 

Game testing, a subset of game development, is a software testing process for quality control of video games.The primary function of game testing is the discovery and documentation of software defects (bugs). Interactive entertainment software testing is a highly technical field requiring computing expertise, analytic competence, critical evaluation skills, and endurance.In recent years the field of game testing has come under fire for being excessively strenuous and unrewarding, both financially and emotionally.

Game Testing industry is expanding really fast and now there are many “game design” and “video game testing” openings available in market. Here is a very interesting article on game testing which will give you a brief idea about game testing industry!

Introduction To Game Testing Industry :

The video game testing industry is set to become the largest industry. In spite of the recession, there was no dearth in the sales of the game titles, although the game console sales were hit and the game testing companies had to revamp their strategies.

Gaming had its ups and downs over the years but it continues to grow leaps and bounds. Facebook application games are really path breaking with budding developers experimenting their knowledge. Episodic games are the new thing. Games for the iPhone are the new frontier.

So, no one in the game industry knows where games will be even two or three years from now. The only thing they know is that everything is changing and that the games that are released in a few years will be different from what we have now.

Getting a video game tester job is not necessarily very easy. The prime qualifications for the job / career is the ability to be a qualified video games player, playing at every level, and using as many pathways in as many different combinations as possible.

Following Jobs are made available by Gaming Industry:

  • Video game programming Jobs (designing video games)
  • Video game testing jobs

Designing Video games requires skilled and experienced video game designers. Testing video games is equally challenging as game tester needs to have a solid writing skill, very good communication skill and habit to keep attention for details.

Video game testers play critical role in game development industry. As video game programmers spend years deigning video games and video game tester needs to make sure it’s ready for release in very short time span.

Video game testing plays a crucial role in the development of new video games. Game testers put games through the paces while still in development and when finished, to ensure gamers have a good experience. Game testers conduct video game QA, or quality assurance, finding mistakes, bugs and other problems that could annoy or turn off the gaming community if they’re not fixed.

Game Testing Process?

Computer games take from one to three years to develop (depending on scale). Testing begins late in the development process, sometimes from halfway to 75% into development (it starts so late because, until then, there is little to play or test).

Once the testers get a version, they begin playing the game. Testers must carefully note any errors they uncover. These may range from bugs to art issues to logic errors. Some bugs are easy to document but many are hard to describe and may take several steps to describe so a developer can replicate or find the bug. On a large-scale game with numerous testers, a tester must first determine whether the bug has already been reported before they can log the bugs themselves. Once a bug has been reported as fixed, the tester has to go back and verify that the fix works – and occasionally return to verify that is has not reappeared.

Game Testing Strategy:

Evaluation of game rules:

Game rules adequately explain operation of all components of the game including features, free games etc. Game functions as defined by rules.

UI, Functional, Performance and Compatibility test:

Verify Games outcome and data are correctly shown when games are played. Verify Game Functionality such as Game Progress, game outcomes, handling of incomplete and re-started games, multi player games.

Verification the Integration points:

Check if game win determination aligns with game rules.

Reviewing gaming procedures:

Procedures will be reviewed by System management, player account management, tournaments and promotions.

Infrastructure and security review:

Require to verify all equipment and network implementation. Secure and reliable operation for example time synchronization, OS reliability and security.

How to Test Games?

This process is almost similar to product or web application testing. Here is the typical game testing process:

Identification: First analyze and identify the game rules and behavior

Functional Testing: Ensure game works as intended. This also includes integration testing with third party tools used if any.

OS and Browser compatibility: Most critical game testing part is to ensure game works on required Operating systems. For online games check functionality on all intended browsers.

Performance testing: This becomes critical for online games if gaming site handles betting on game. Game testers must verify if Game Testing site smoothly handles customer load.

Multi player Testing: For multi player games you need to verify the game functionality to handle all players and functionality with fair distribution of game resources to all players.

Reporting: Bug reporting to developers. Bug evidence need to produced and submitted through bug reporting system.

Analysis: Developers hold the responsibility to fix the bugs.

Verification: After the fix, bug need to be verified by the testers to confirm that it shouldn’t reappear.

 

 

1.       Check for background music and sound effects

– ON/OFF sound & background music check

– Put the device into sleep mode n check

– Receive the call and check

– Verify if sound effects are in sync with action

– ON/OFF device sound (native sound) and check

– Check for vibration effect if present

2.       User Interface

– Check in Landscape/Portrait mode

– Check for animation, movement of character, graphics, Zoom In/Out (all gestures) etc

– There should not be any clipping

– Test when one object overlaps with another

– Verify if loading indicator is displayed wherever required

– Character should not move out of the screen/specified area

– Test for enable and disable images/icons/buttons etc

– Check for screen title

– Check for message title, message description, label (should be appropriate)

– Check scrolling

– Font

– Check other objects too (ex -if it’s a car race- you need to look at road, people, other objects like buildings etc)

3.       Performance (imp)

– Check the loading time of a game

– Make sure that any action is not taking considerable time, game flow should be fast

4.       Score

– Score calculation

– Verify leader boards General/All time/Weekly/local etc

– Check the score registration functionality

– Check the format (whether, coma is required in score etc ideally if customer is a foreigner coma should be in millions not in thousands)

– Check for level completion syncs with the score

5.       Time Out

– Check for time out

– Do the actions when time-out yet to happen

6.       Multitasking

– Switch b/w different apps and play game, check for sound, score, UI, time-out etc

7.       Pause

– Check if game is paused when call received or multitasking or sleep mode

8.       Save Settings

– Turnoff and ON device, check if settings are saved

– Log out /on, check same

– User should not lose his game in above conditions

9.       User profile

– Put an all types of images in Player profile n check

– Put special character, numbers, space in username and check

– Password should be in masked

10.   Push notifications

11.   Chat feature

– Check the profile images

– Max limit of chat description

– Enter empty string, special character and check

– For an opponent, there should be a notification that he has received a message

12.   Functionality

– Check game area, game logic

– play till last level

– get the cheat codes from development team and check all the levels

– Check for the features that will be unlocked level-wise

– Check for bonus score

– Check the score hike when level gets increased

– Check for multi-tap action (example in a car race we hold accelerator and left/right turn button simultaneously)

– Menu options

– Different game modes/location

13.   Help & About Screen

– Its must

– Should be in easily understandable format

– Free from spelling mistakes

– URL should be hyperlinked (depends)

14.   Multiplayer game

– Session expiry check

– login/log out

– Registration (Sign Up)

– Verify account (receive verification mail)

– Login with registered but not verified account (without clicking verification link)

– Forgot password checks (many cases here)

– Game flow

– Check for WIN/lost/Draw

– Check user statistics graph

– Challenge/Decline challenge/receive challenge

– Check for forfeit

– Check when player 2’s turn is on Player 1 is not able to do actions (should not be able to forfeit also)

– Check for pass turn

– Check for time-out (for one player)

– Check the score for both the players till game ends

15.   Memory leak

– Check the game when device memory is low

16. N/w check

– N/w messages if n/w is not present

– Check if what happens when n/w not presents and user plays a move (whether score submitted for that move etc)

17.   Check for localization (Support of different languages)

– Check for time format

– Change the device time, format etc

18.   Size

– User won’t like if your game takes lot of device space, so keep one eye on game file size

19.   Device, OS

– Check in supported screen sizes and os versions

20.   Depends on platform

– Sometime we need to check as per os guidelines as well. For ex in Wp7 we need to check in 2 backgrounds (light/dark).


Game Testing Tips/secrets:

1) Understand Random Number Generator evaluation (RNG): This is very important to add unpredictability in game. In most games this RNG system is used to map game outcomes.

2) First identify the “game algorithm” from Source code to identify issues in game application.

3) Verify the source code for appropriate use of random numbers and error handling. (Only if you know the source code)

4) Validate and evaluate the game predefined rules.

5) Verify consistency of game rules.

6) Make sure offensive content or material is never displayed.

7) Regularly Check Game history and system event logs.

8 ) Make sure Games outcome are displayed for a reasonable time.

9) Irrespective of Single/Multi player games we need to validate bandwidth and client software.

10) Verify Minimum/maximum limits of bets, deposits and other critical game symbols.

11) Verify correct game and system operation after game fail over and recovery.

12) Always verify all reports for data accuracy. Verify reports for date, time, number of wins, money etc.

13) Test System requirements. This is very important in game testing. Verify all the infrastructure and security requirements, Game equipment, network and game synchronization with OS.

14) Make sure sufficient information is always available to users to protect game players.

Game Testing Jobs:

Gaming field is getting much better day by day and Game Career as a Game designer or tester is very bright. There are many game testing professionals making decent amount of money as a video game testers, working from home. Present Internet generation bringing massive innovations and scope to grow. IT and Non-IT people are willing to spend their free time to play online and video games. “Game testing from home” is now a new trend to earn money. We can clearly see that it’s getting into our daily activities.

If anyone of you is trying hard getting into gaming industry then you need to have interest and passion that drives you to success. Due to addition of vast and complex new games, Game QA is no longer less technical than general software QA. Game testing was widely considered as a “stepping stone” position but now it’s becoming full-time job opportunities for experienced testers.

If you have passion for games and good understanding of testing methodologies, becoming a successful game tester is not difficult for you!

Don’t let the word “game” in this job title fool you. Video game testing is a serious Job. If you think it involves whiling away the hours playing the latest games, think again. Video game testing can be as tedious and frustrating as any job. It requires an organized, disciplined approach to product testing and not just finding new ways to score high or beat the game.

Video game testers must have lots of patience, be methodical in their approach and have a keen eye for details. They must be good communicators and have some understanding of computer hardware and software. And, of course, it helps to have awesome controller skills and the hand-eye coordination needed to navigate through multiple levels of increasing challenges. Yes, being good at  video games is helpful to video game testers (but not absolutely necessary)!

Please feel free to share your story and any lessons you learned, you experienced , you came across in your life in the comments below.

 

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1 Comment

Posted by on August 27, 2012 in Technical

 

One response to “World of Game Testers

  1. susheel

    August 27, 2012 at 4:26 pm

    brief explanation gave good awareness for weird ideas

     

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