Testing is the process of checking, probing, or examining a product to see if it meets specific standards. Testing can be done on software or hardware and has many different testing methods. Testing video games is just one type of testing that helps developers find bugs before releasing their game into the public market for purchase. Testing video games also ensures that players have an enjoyable experience when playing the game. Testing gamers can test out games for various stability issues and provide feedback about what they find to help developers fix these problems before the release date.
Why Is QA Important in Game Testing?
The QA testing department ensures that each game runs smoothly and adheres to quality standards. Testing a game involves conditions spanning from checking the minor details to entire playthroughs. Testing a game already takes a lot of effort and time, but with the rise in popularity of games comes an increase in the sheer amount of content that is tested. Testing is now more demanding than ever before as more users play games, which means that testing must be faster, more efficient, and better overall. Testing a single-player mode in a given amount of time may take upwards of 10 hours, which would be considered "light" testing compared to most online games. Testing multiplayer modes take an even more extended amount of time because there are many different interactions between players and the game itself.
Essential Factors To Consider While Game Testing
Testing a game involves a particular way of thinking, so it is crucial to consider all factors. Testing can take many forms, whether it be checking for bugs or playing the game itself. Testing should always begin with focusing on small things before moving on to more significant aspects. It is also essential to consider what issues are fixable and what issues are not.
Bug Tracking Framework
It is crucial to have a bug tracking system in place to fix issues. This system should allow users and testers to report all bugs they find with as much information as possible. Bugs should always be recorded throughout the testing process so that if one issue causing a problem gets fixed, there will still be a record of the original bug report. Testing the game thoroughly is the only way to resolve the issues before release. It's even possible for testers to report bugs that no one has ever seen before, so it's of the utmost importance for developers to test their games as thoroughly as possible.
Test Case Creation
One of the most overlooked aspects of game testing is creating and documenting test cases. Testing doesn't help if testers don't follow a plan and test thoroughly. At this stage, all test cases and bugs should also be inputted into the bug tracking system to ensure that they will be acted upon. Test case structures must be set up with the help of the developers to ensure that they outline how a tester should proceed with testing each aspect of a game. This ensures that testers can test an entire section from beginning to end and randomly pick areas of the game for testing.
Test Suite Creation
Creating test suites is the final stage of in-game testing, and it's even more important than test case creation. Testing should be done to determine what components of the software are not working correctly. Testing suites should be used to understand the exact specifics behind the bug so that developers can create a way for testers to avoid re-testing before release. Testing suites can even automate repetitive tasks, saving testers time. Testing the game before release will allow developers to become aware of bugs that may have been missed by their internal teams or 3rd party external teams, which could delay the launch date.
Experience and Thoroughness
It's not enough for testers to go through the motions. Testing video games requires a thorough knowledge of all functionality and experience with randomly trying out different methods within the game until something unexpected happens that could point towards an issue. Testing should be done by asking questions about what should happen when different scenarios arise and using this information to determine what is causing a problem. Testing should be approached the same way developers would come, following along with their own set of test cases and finding issues as they would find them themselves. Testing video games requires testers to become experts at the game itself to use this knowledge to pinpoint problems.
Common Challenges in Game Testing
Testing games can be challenging because it requires the tester to become an expert in the game itself. Testing is also tricky because there are so many different gaming platforms and formats, and various sizes. Testing will include testing for bugs and everything else that might work incorrectly with the game. The following are some of the common challenges testers face when trying to do their job:
Direct Screen Access Testing
One of the biggest challenges testers face is direct screen access testing. Testing games requires the tester to test every aspect of the game, including testing for bugs and checking how everything works. Testing can ensure that everything functions as expected, looking at all menus and levels within the game to ensure they work correctly, and verifying that all storyboards and cinematics display accurately. Testing requires testers to get inside the game and understand how it works, which can be difficult because of all the different types of devices and situations in which the game could run.
Another challenge testers face is load testing. Testing should include heavy load cases to ensure that the game can handle high traffic volumes or usage without crashing or slowing drastically. Testing may require testers to develop different scenarios that might put a lot of strain on the game, such as having many villagers in an MMORPG.
Security challenges are significant to consider during game testing. Testing will have to include security vulnerabilities that might be easy for attackers to locate and exploit, including issues with authentication, authorization, input validation, weak encryption, broken access control/session management, remote procedure calling issues, SQL injection vulnerabilities, cross-site scripting (XSS), cross-site request forgery (CSRF), and command injection issues. Testing will have to include checking the entire code base from end to end, including anything that could be vulnerable to hacking efforts.
Types of Game Testing
Testing a video game before it is released to the public is a necessary process that helps to ensure quality and avoid potential problems. Different types of tests can be performed, depending on the stage of development the game is in. Testing gamers can help identify issues with gameplay, graphics, and other features.
Functionality testing is focused on making sure that the game works as intended. Testing includes verifying that all features are present and functional, including core elements of gameplay. Testing ensures that no significant problems exist with starting a game, connecting to online servers, or downloading updates. Testing usually occurs at the end stages of development, after most features have been implemented. Testing gamers ensure the game is working as intended before it goes to quality assurance testing and releases.
Clean Room Testing
Clean Room testing is used to simulate real-world conditions by reproducing standard hardware setups often used by gamers. Testing can be done on various platforms, including PCs, consoles, and mobile devices. Testing ensures the game will work whether played on a high-end gaming system or an older machine that uses outdated components.
Combinatorial testing is a type of testing that involves simultaneous testing of all possible paths and states within the game. This includes testing for cases where combinations of inputs result in unexpected or undesirable outcomes. Testing under these conditions helps identify branching storylines and other complex gameplay elements, like quests and puzzles. Testing gamers can help find issues where interactions between quests, NPCs, or inventory items have unexpected results.
Testing a game is a systematic process requiring testers to follow a specific procedure to test for various issues. Testing can be divided into functional requirements, divided into equivalent sets called trees. Testing gamers need to be familiar with how different quests, items, and other aspects of gameplay interact to know what combinations of conditions should lead to expected results.
Compatibility Testing is focused on making sure that the game operates as intended across various operating system and hardware configurations. Testing includes verifying that the game works with different types of hardware such as CPUs, GPUs, audio chipsets, and other components. Testing ensures that no significant issues exist that interfere with gameplay or cause crashes when the game is played on different systems. Testing gamers ensure the game runs smoothly when played on other devices and operating systems.
Play Testing is focused on making sure that a game is engaging and provides the experience it was intended to provide. Testing involves closely observing players playing through different parts of a game, paying attention to their emotional reactions. Testing gamers need to objectively analyze how a player interacts with a video game to identify problems during gameplay or with the user interface. Testing gamers ensure a game provides an engaging and enjoyable experience for players.
Partnering with QASource for your game testing needs is a surefire way to ensure that your game is of the utmost QA services. By working with one of the most trusted names in testing, you're ensuring that no oversight, error, or glitch will go unnoticed by any prospective testers. Testing times are critical to ensure that your players won't run into any hiccups they'll be forced to put up with, and we aim to make sure that your testers won't be distracted by the many bugs and glitches present in today's games.
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