The A – Z Guide to Understanding Game Testing
- November 27, 2018
Not so long ago, playing console or video games was a luxury past time activity limited to but a few. Thanks to modern graphics and an exponential increase in the liking of role-playing games, video game culture has evolved as a new media subculture. Over time, this culture has advanced further due to the internet and the growing popularity of mobile games.
Seeing this gaming addiction building ever more, it has become even more exigent to emphasize more on quality. That’s where specialized Game Testing comes in action. According to the increasing competition these days, no company can take the risk of launching a game in the market without going through a carefully planned workflow that includes a streamlined SDLC with proper planning, development, UAT testing, and a rigorous QA testing performed before final delivery.
Before we plunge into discussing Game Testing, let’s first figure out the difference between Game Testing and Software or Mobile App Testing.
Understanding the difference between Game Testing and Software or Mobile App Testing
In Software or Mobile App Testing, we test the real-world ‘real’ transactions and real data or fake data that is pretty much similar to real data. So in order to test such software applications, QA testers need to run the business workflows to check end-to-end functionality. On the contrary, game testing is all about testing game data with action gameplay.
Now, let’s dig deep into the process of Game Testing.
How to test Games Before Releasing them in the market?
For a QA testing engineer or anyone with principal knowledge of testing software applications, it’s comparatively easier for them to perform Game Testing since the process itself is quite much the same as any normal SQA Testing.
Continue reading below to understand the typical game testing process explained methodically:
To begin with, game testers first evaluate and identify the nature of the game and its rules.
Moving forward, testers guarantee that the game is able to perform functionally 100% as expected.
Before giving a game a ‘go-ahead’, testers check the platform and browser compatibility. As a game tester, you need to validate that the game works perfectly on all prospective environments, including, browsers, operating systems, as well as devices.
Through performance testing, testers validate that the game app is able to endure a recommended load or not.
In Multi-Player Testing, game testers confirm that the game is able to run smoothly in terms of functionality for a single as well as multiple players.
In Issue Reporting, game testers create a report that clearly identifies all issues or bugs found in the game app and present it to the developers (and other stakeholders) with descriptive details in the recommended format.
Analysis and Verification
Once the developers have fixed issues and bugs, the game is put through a thorough analysis to check how the application behaves after the issues have been resolved. The testers check if the issues have been resolved completely or still need another round of testing.
How is game testing unique compared to other testing types?
Game testing is very complex and the complexity increases with the game’s complexity, however, there are some aspects that make game testing different from normal software testing.
Reading below will help you see how Game Testing differs from another App Testing:
Fun factor Testing
The name says it pretty much. Fun Factor Testing is an essential part of game testing because of the entertaining nature of games. Since games are all about fun, testing type demands that the tester has a unique perception about game designing and has extensive knowledge regarding the users’ group demands and what they enjoy the most.
Not just exceptional, but it’s quite interesting to create a balance between various choices and also of maintaining difficulty in various levels, protagonists, enemies, situation, and occasions. This is what Balance Testing covers. Balance Testing is easy to execute by anyone who has a good experience of understanding game design and how the interested gamers or target audience responds to changing difficulty levels of the game.
Game Level/ World Testing
The most difficult aspect of testing games is testing of the actual world particularly if it’s almost infinite and expansive, like in a 3D world. Some part of the games can be automated by entertainingly showing bots that move arbitrarily through the game world to check if they get stuck at some level or find other problems. More the level of complexity increases, the more tools are needed to identify these problem areas. For puzzle games, it is essential to analyze and inspect that each level of the game is crossable for the user, along with the graphics being interactive enough for the users for each level.
The purpose of AI Testing is to see if computer-controlled opponents and artificial intelligence is behaving according to the design plan. In AI Testing, testers need to understand what triggers different sort of behaviors of objects within the game environment. The modern example of AI includes Chess and first-person shooting etc.
Multiple players interacting at the same time through different controllers and servers with one another. They can be playing one to one with each other or they might be playing in groups. This type of testing requires a tester to test different scenarios and to identify what can go wrong if these many users are interacting with each other at the same time in the game world.
Audio testing is common in other Web app or Mobile App Testing as well, but in case of Game Testing, music and sound play an even more important role since it keeps changing according to the environment and situation. The tester needs to test if the audios are playing in proper places in accordance with the gameplay.
Most of the modern games have physic engines that have a destructive environment, some damaging conditions, and potential outcomes to throw objects. A game tester tests if the physic engine is working accurately in all the scenarios of the game.
In simulator or racing games, it is crucial that the game feels real. Testing of realism requires a domain knowledge of all the game elements and objects such as airplanes, cars, weapons, object movement, animals etc. All the movements and details involved are vitally important and need to be tested to make sure it seems more real to the users.
Skill set required for YOU to become a Game Tester!
If you’re looking into taking up Game Testing as your focus area, you need to have or develop the following skill-set to become a pro at it:
- An understanding of games at design Level
- A keen sense of logic and reason
- Additional interest in other aspects of game development like programming, art, design, animation etc.
- Analytic thinking
- Detail-oriented and observation
- Tolerance to repetitive and tedious tasks
- Good writing and communication skills
- Familiar with game controllers and consoles
Areas to focus on during game testing
When performing game testing, you should focus on the following areas:
- A user-interface with UI/UX of objects, characters, and gadgets.
- The functionality of the game i.e. to check if the game plan is followed; scoreboard or rewards are update-to-date according to the player’s performance.
- Performance testing is applied
- in form of stress testing, load testing to check the speed, reliability, scalability, and stability of the game
- Compatibility testing is performed to see if the game is compatible with various mobile devices and on different platforms with multi-player etc.
- Localization testing is performed in case the global market is targeted. It is performed to see text in games such as titles, instruction etc.
This sums up on explaining how Game Testing works, what makes it unique, what skills you need, what to focus on, and how you can become a pro at it.
Good luck with becoming a Game Tester!