Video Game Quality Assurance (QA)
Generally, quality assurance is the most critical part in a video game development process. This is the part where the game will be thoroughly tested to tell whether it is ready to be launched or not.
Game testing and quality assurance have alpha testing, beta testing, and a code freeze. Code freeze is a process where there will be no more changes allowed on the code. Whenever there is a code freeze, the game is most likely to be ready to launch.
Game testing could be done repeatedly whenever a bug is detected. After every trial, the game will be tested again until it works as intended.
The following process of testing are associated in game testing.
Players are most likely to evaluate a game within the first hour of gameplay. If a player encounters an error, their first impression will always be negative. Here are the most common process relative to video game testing:
A Common Bug Report Testing Process:
Any abnormalities in the game must be distinguished. Inaccurate program response is analyzed and recognized as a bug.
When the game error is identified as a bug, It must be reported to the developers by using a defect tracking system.
After reporting to the developers, a game analysis should be performed. The analysis can only be done by the game artist, programmer, designer, and game developer. Game testers will remain focus on monitoring the errors and bugs in the game.
When the game developers are finished in fixing the reported problems, the game testers must check again if the errors no longer occur.
Segments that Testers Monitor while Testing Games
Packaging – Ease to download, Install, Register
Navigation – Menu, Options, Help, Action Key Configuration/gamepad
Visual appearance – Characters, Texture, Terrain, Primary objects, Background objects, Frame
Animation – Sound effect, Music/BGM
Camera and camera angle – Zoom in/out, Replay
Game flow or logic structure – Levels of difficulty, Conditions to advance to next levels
Player attributes (aspects such as avatar, player informations, etc.)
Scoring – Saving the levels /scores
Usability / User experience
User interactions and responsiveness
Different Types of Game Testing
There is no standard method for game testing. Most strategies and methodologies are created and developed by some individual video game developers or publishers.
It is the most common test, that does not require vast technical knowledge. Functionality testers usually look for common problems within the game itself or its user interface, such as stability issues and game mechanic issues.
This test is performed during the beta stage of game development. Frequently, this is the first publicly available version of a game. Public betas are effective as the game can be tested different platforms, languages, and timezones to find bugs that testers did not.
This test requires a large group of testers or software that emulate heavy activity. This test measures the capability of an app to function correctly under load. Load testing can also be performed to measure the capacity limits of a server, such as the number of players on an MMO server, the number of the mobs active on the screen, and the number of threads running in a particular program.
This test is commonly done for PC games. The testers ensure that all connectivity methods (modem, LAN, Internet) are working.
This test refers to the context of video games. It involves omitting the game running for prolonged periods of time in various modes of operation, such as idling, paused, and at the title screen. This testing requires no user interaction beyond initial setup and is usually managed by lead testers.
This is when the game has been translated. The translation of the languages must be accurate and indistinguishable for native speakers. The game testers must ensure that the game is localized into the languages of the countries where the game would be released.
To conduct compliance testing, exclusive documents released to developers and publishers under confidential agreements must be provided. They are not available for the general public to review although familiarity with these standards is considered a valuable skill as a tester. Testers must report objectionable content that may be inappropriate for the desired rating. Similar to licensing process, games which did not receive the desired rating must be re-edited, retested, and resubmitted at an additional cost.
Many games can now be cross-ported to other devices such as consoles to PC and handheld devices to mobile phones. The compatibility test is a step in checking whether a game title could run on a specific device without any problem.
User Interface (UI) Testing
This test refers to the visual appearance of the game. It focuses on UI testing for both the graphical elements and contents. It also covers all localization elements that the game has.
Why Video Game Quality Assurance is Essential in Developing Games
A game error is an issue that takes the player away from the immersion of a game, whether it’s in the form of a crash, a graphics error, or an access hole in the level’s geometry. Players have a tendency to discontinue playing a game due to poor quality. In a worst-case scenario, it reduces the chance for the player to download the next version of that game, because they don’t want to get the same experience from the same developers who did not test the game thoroughly.
That’s why it is important for any gaming company to test the games before they go on sale. Without proper testing, releasing a game with many bugs can lead to negative feedback from the end users since it can ruin their experience. This could also lead to a significant reduction in unit sales.
The goal of every game is to provide players with a fun and exciting experience. Since there is no standard method for game testing, it is best to ensure that your game testers are knowledgeable and experts in game testing. Performing video game quality assurance that tests to your game before releasing to the market leads to a hassle-free and responsive gaming activity to the end user.
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