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Game Testing – Factors to Know

July 26, 2018
Game Testing, test games, games test, games qa

There was a time when playing the game was not so popular. But nowadays when both children and adults prefer to spend time on playing games online, in this scenario we cannot be just dependent on the development of the game application without worrying too much on the quality of the game application. Seeing the increasing use of games, now we need to focus on quality and for this, meant to be Game Testing, we need to do rigorous testing and undergo many processes of software development lifecycle to develop the game application such as planning, development, testing and final delivery.

As far as game development is concerned, it requires skills and experience to design a  game. So the development of games is not easy and sometimes challenging as well and same is the testing of games. It requires too much attention to test the game, with attention to each detail to be considered while testing a  game. And also it is not easy for game testers to ensure that the developed game application does not compromise with the quality of the application and is ready for release within a defined timeline.

It is important to note that anyone who is eager to play the game can make money by testing games. But it is not as easy as it looks for the first time. One is required to have at least some basic understanding of the game and a strong will to work in a position of a game tester for very long time with an eye on each and every detail of the game. It usually happens that bigger companies have bigger budgets for the game development which means that there is a good budget for the testing department, as well.

How to Test Games?

Those who are into testing professional or have basic knowledge of testing web application, for them, it is easier to do game testing as the process is almost similar to web application testing. Given below is the typical game testing process, at the very high-level:

  • Identification: First of all, We need to analyze and identify the game rules and its behavior.
  • Functional Testing: As a game tester we need to ensure that all the functionality of the game testing is working as per expectation.
  • OS and Browser compatibility: It is very important to check the OS and browser compatibility for online games. As a game tester, we need to verify that all the functionality of the game application is working on all intended browsers and operating systems.
  • Performance Testing: As a game tester, we need to verify whether the game application is able to sustain the prescribed load or not.
  • Multi-player Testing: As a Game tester, We also need to verify that game is able to handle game functionality for all the players.
  • Reporting:  Issues and bugs found in the game application after game testing, are reported to the developers with full description in the prescribed format.
  • Analysis: After the issue is fixed by the developer, all its impact is analyzed on the application
  • Verification: After the reported bug is fixed by the developer, the bug needs to be verified by the testers to confirm that it has really been fixed and not having another impact on the application.

Even for non-technical employees, the Game testing industry provides a good opportunity to earn money. If one is interested in playing games and prefer to play the game for a longer time, it may be one of the best choices for them to earn money apart from playing games. However, everything is not so good as it is looking. There are some disadvantages of being a game tester which is mentioned as below.

  • In most of the cases, game tester gets less salary, especially at the beginning of their career in the game testing.
  • Playing games for a very long time make it monotonous and boring. Also when it becomes work and when as a tester we have to ensure that everything is up to the mark it becomes more of a responsibility than entertainment. Finding error, reporting and getting it fixed are also some of the things which need to be taken care of by the game tester.
  • It should be not understood that game testing is just like playing games as people generally play the game for entertainment without thinking much of the bug that might be present in the game application. But doing game testing is very different and need great attention while testing to ensure delivery of quality game application in the release.
  • Many a time it happens that Game Developer companies get the test audience for free by releasing it to the internet community for testing and address the bug reported by them and getting them fixed before final release.

Game Testing Checklist

Game Testing has a very unique checklist for carrying out testing activities. This checklist makes the game testing to be different from testing any other web application or mobile application.

  • Fun Factor Testing: Here the game has to be tested to ensure the level of entertainment so that it keeps the user engaged in the game. Apart from usability/user experience testing, it is also very much important to test whether the game is fun to play. Mystery, pursuit, and fantasy have to be preserved throughout the game. This testing can be ensured by the experienced game tester who has great insight into game design, data analysis at user and group levels. The questions that arise here would be generally:
    • How do you assess whether the game is fun or not?
    • How do you alone can ensure the game is engaging at all the levels (Easy, medium, hard)?
  • Balance Testing: This testing is mainly performed to test the complexity levels of the game. Here the tester has to assess how the end user responds to the different levels of complexity in the game. It alone requires dedicated effort to test the game, as the game has to be actually played for hours.
  • Game Level Testing: Each and every level of the game has to be tested with great attention and eye-to-detail. Graphics at every level should be good to look and each of the levels should be passable. Retries in the same session, pausing the game at a level and resuming after some time, quitting the game at the level and coming back, re-play the already passed level, etc. has to be tested thoroughly. Here, automation can be helpful in case of actually not playing the level. Again, it’s a different call from game-to-game.
  • Artificial Intelligence: This is very challenging and the complex part of testing, and is applicable when the game allows the system to play as the opponent. The system-controlled opponent has to be tested thoroughly so that all the artificial intelligence behavior is working correctly according to user input. This is very complex because the tester has to input all possible actions and analyze the behavior of artificial intelligence for each of them. Complex the game so is the artificial intelligence testing.
  • Multiplayer Testing: This is totally the nightmare while testing the game. When there are multiple players, the game has to behave accordingly as each of the player inputs the action. The things can go totally wrong when players in the game world are interacting with the system-controlled opponent, with other players, and with the game server. Suppose there are 3 players: Player 1, Player2, and the system-controlled opponent, now assume the level of complexity the testing will involve assessing each and every move.
  • Realism Testing: The game should be tested for realism, i.e., assess whether it feels real while playing the game. Domain knowledge is very much required to understand how to test the game for realism. Suppose you are playing the racing game, you should be aware of the element being played (If it is car racing, you should know the controls, how the car responds to the controls, and what should not at all be present for car – car cannot jump in case of obstacles, so such controls should not be present in the game.)
  • Audio Testing: Here the sound controls, game music has to be tested. Game music keeps the user engaged with it and also helps in feeling the realism. It enhances the gameplay. Experts from the media domain can test this extensively with all the aspects involved.
  • Modification API Testing: Many APIs are open and hence they can be exploited to take an unfair advantage to the gameplay. Testing here requires a lot of out-of-box thinking so as to assess the scenarios where these APIs can be modified and used.

Keeping all the above unique factors in mind, one can confidently say that, game testing requires a lot of concentration, dedication, and knowledge.

Game Testing Platforms

  • PC
  • Consoles
  • Mobile
  • Web / Cloud (Facebook games, HTML5, etc)

Challenges in Game Testing

  • Game testing involves the complex database(s), and testing and maintaining this is a huge effort and cost
  • Each and every minute and dynamic details have to be documented and analyzed
  • Reproducing issues is very difficult as the same action does not guarantee the same behavior everytime
  • Game controllers (hardware) and technology (software) has to go hand-in-hand
  • High expectations regarding speed, performance, and capacity. This is very difficult to achieve in complex games.
  • High chances of failure with new hardware
  • Audio, video, and memory often come up with new issues
  • Difficult to ensure Cross-Platform coverage
  • Complex designs and infrastructures

Six Steps To Become a Game Tester

After going through bright and dark part of mobile testing let us understand how to become a game tester in 6 steps which are given as below

  • The first step is to create a resume which should be attractive and prepared in such a way such that it easily catches the eye of recruiter while sorting because recruiters do not spend so much time on each resume.
  • Find game Testing jobs on the internet and apply for the jobs posted on the job portal or contact recruitment agency to apply for the game testing job. There are many free websites available on the internet which have information about many free game tester jobs.
  • There is no need to afraid while applying for the game testing job and the most important thing is that while applying for the job, there is no need to be afraid to brag about the number of games and the number of hours worked even if you have just played the  games for a long time just for entertainment.
  • One should not be disappointed, is not getting a call from the recruiter. One should understand that there are many people in the market applying for the same job. The only thing that can be done is to be patient, continuously apply for the jobs and enhance the skill to match the requirement and keep updated as much as possible with little hands on real-time environment.
  • Many times it happens that recruiters take time to call the job seeker. So it is important to keep track of the jobs applied.
  • Even if one is working in the field of game testing, he/she should not leave applying for next jobs so as to increase salary and have career growth.

Synonyms for Game Tester

Games Tester, Beta Game Tester, Beta Games Tester,  Video Game Tester, Video Games Tester

Conclusion

Overall, we can say that non-technical people who are really interested in the game testing job should give a try. They can do it from a very basic level. They can pick a game, play it and write down what is wrong with it in the form of bug and post it somewhere on game development forums and communities. It will not only increase your confidence but also increase your chances of getting the job. Playing games online or “Game testing from home” has now become a new trend to earn money and any non-technical people may try their hand in the Game testing career is becoming hot day by day.

Hello, this is Nandini.

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Nandini KS editor

Hello, this is Nandini.

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