“The dread of criticism is the death of genius”- William Gilmore Simms
Game development is never as elegant or on schedule as a developer would want to, the process is usually sprinkled with tight deadlines, code choke points, production bottlenecks, endless work-cycles etc. Game testing is a subset of game development process which ensures the quality of the video game function. With so much on their plates, developers often end up developing a game full of glitches and defects, despite their full effort. These errors, bugs etc., are identified and eliminated by a rigorous and iterative process of game testing before the release.
The game testing process typically involves :
- Identification – The game is run and analysed, and the problematic behavior is termed as a bug
- Reporting – This bug is reverted back to the game developer. The bug environment and the process of its identification is reported as well.
- Analysis – The developer responsible for the code which has the bug, such as a graphic designer, primary programmer, sound artist etc., verifies the dysfunction.
- Verification – This steps confirms the bug/glitch removal as the tester again tests the code and declares or denies if the bug exists any longer.
Majority of game development companies classify bugs in accordance with their estimated severity.
- A bugs : These are critical and have the potential of preventing a game’s release by affecting them severely by crashing the game.
- B bugs : These are not critical as A bugs, but they demand attention as their removal is essential for smooth game play.
- B bugs : These are comparatively harmless in comparison of A and B bugs as they result in small and vague game problems.
In absence of any fixed game testing methodology, various types of game testing techniques are employed by different organisations. At times, the techniques evolved for the usage in conventional software testing are employed as well. Some of the game testing methods are described here.
Functional testing is targeted for identifying and eliminating any and all kinds of bugs, errors or defects. These are looked at, in the major components of the game like Graphics, Audio-Visual synchronisation, Combat controls, Game floor transitions, Movement controls, Menu transitions, Performance issue etc. Each component should function at its hundred percent for the game to function perfectly as a whole. Functional testing ensures that a game functions as per its advertised promise.
Gameplay testing focuses on the progression of the game flow. The story curve is designed in such a way so as to easily capture a player’s attention and keep him engrossed for long hours. This is only possible when the game events or various game components are in sync. Each progression in the game must be in support of each other, to ensure an engaging gameplay. The design of the game and the characters should be in accordance with the story knitted by the developer.
Gamers are often concerned about the vulnerability of their system when they play a video game, major concerns being user data theft, uninhibited system access restrictions, communication system pitfalls, weak encryption algorithms, virus embedding etc. Hence, a gamer looks for highest quality assured games for enhanced security and reliability.
With the increasing diversity in gaming hardware, it has become very crucial to make sure of a video game’s stability by ensuring that its performance remains unsurpassed in supported hardware. This can be ensured, only when the testers are up to date with the contemporary market and perform game testing using neoteric devices. Not only hardware, but the operating system also needed to be managed and improved with time. Compatibility testing is helpful in deciding a game’s minimum system requirements.
Endurance testing is done to test the game limits by operating the game under heavy load. The commonly tested aspects include number of players a game can handle, number of sprites active on game screen, the number of parallel threads running in the game, network choke points, graphic rendering etc. Endurance testing explores how much stress a game is capable of handling.
Regression testing is carried out after a bug/glitch has been fixed by the concerned developer. Game tester ensures that the bug has been actually removed, and then additional tests are run to check if the altered code has negatively affected or degraded some other game element.
It is often seen that a game which reacts well to a single player, may fault when weighed down by multiple users. So, if a game is multiplayer, extensive multiplayer testing is carried out with the sole aim to push game limits over a connected network.
Compliance testing ensures that the game adheres to the regulations laid out in the design phase. Marketplace guidelines compliance, Enterprise policy compliance, Regulatory bodies compliance (PEGI, ESRB etc) are some of the common types.
Though it is scary looking and time consuming, game testing is a crucial process of video game development for ensuring its success among the gamers. A game based on the best of concepts, but with bugs will always result in a bad gaming experience. Fixing bugs in the testing phase is much cheaper than fixing them after the release. Also, the first impression is essential and if a game disappoints in giving the user a flawless experience, then users will find another to play with in no time. A game’s success largely depends on how it’s testing has been conducted, since there have been innumerous instances where money and talent was no bar, but still the game failed to create a name, because of bad or insufficient testing.
Perfection is an impossible dream, but we at Juego Studio sure believe in chasing perfection, to ensure excellence in our products and services. The testing team at our studio thoroughly checks each and every game before its release by running various test cycles. Our game testers have years of experience in computing expertise, analytic proficiency, evaluation skills, and endurance testing. Our testing team’s primary objective is to deliver complete satisfaction to the end user as per game specifications