In the past few years, it has been observed that the game testing industry has transformed drastically and is currently booming. According to Forbes, the global gaming market is expected to cross $200 billion by the end of 2023.
Considering the expected growth in the near future, game development companies are accelerating and investing their resources to dive deep into this domain so that they can keep pace with the ever-growing technology aiming to offer comprehensive, well-planned automated game testing services to their clients.
Earlier game testing was just limited to teams that were solely dependent upon manual testing for evaluating the stability of a game. But a new trend of automated game testing has evolved over the last few years. Testing teams have found a whole new horizon to facilitate a faster testing and deployment cycle using game testing automation tools. Using automation tools for game testing facilitates a cost-effective and reliable QA automation strategy, saving time and extra effort that QA engineers may have to spend through manual testing.
With the growing trend of automated game testing in the software industry, there are several tools available in the market that are influencing industries and transforming the SDLC process to be more robust, efficient, and impactful. However, one has to also deal with some challenges too while working on automating games.
Benefits of Automated Game Testing
- Save time and effort on QA which leads to delivering clients' products on time.
- Test automation proves to be much more efficient in detecting bugs at an early stage of game development.
- Automated tests can be executed round the clock (24/7) hassle-free and without any manual interference.
- With the automated test, testers can reach and test certain levels of the game which can consume a lot of manual effort and time. In some cases, there might be some scenarios or conditions due to which they might fail to achieve using their manual efforts.
- Evaluation of executed test results can be easily analyzed via test reports which get generated after running test suites/test scripts.
- Automated tests help in carrying out testing on multiple platforms in parallel which helps in speeding up test executions and adding much more value to game testing.
- Reduce manual testing efforts so that QA can focus on other edge case scenarios which cannot be covered through automation.
- Reduces business costs and helps in better utilization of manpower in game development related tasks.
- Automated tests help ease the stressful activity of a manual tester, so they get enough time and bandwidth for coming up with better test scenarios.
- Automated tests can help you maximize your test coverage for covering complex and challenging scenarios.
There are some false myths that one should eliminate from its mind before considering the scope for automated game testing.
- Game Code Reusability: Unlike other software products like finance apps, healthcare apps, and ebook apps, each game is built on new code using different game engines so it becomes very difficult to reuse the code. To achieve this requires great effort in planning and coming up with a particular testing approach that helps in creating and maintaining such functions that hide the game object code details from the automated tests to maximize test re-usability.
- Eliminate Human Involvement: Automated game tests do not eliminate the need for manual testers cause at the end of the day, it is the ultimate truth that some tests cannot be automated like ad-hoc or play-testing.
Risk Analysis Before Game Automation Testing
Nowadays, the gaming industry has proved to be a highly successful monetizing business but on the other side, it's too costly to develop and release in the market too. Considering this factor, a huge risk is involved in releasing the product because it has to meet the expected quality standards and expectations of the gaming community.
Therefore, there are multiple risks that need to be considered before planning and investing resources, time, and efforts in automating any gaming applications:
- Gaming applications are complex, so analysis of games should be done during the development phase to figure out what scenarios can or cannot be automated.
- Is the project long-term or short-term? Is it worth investing time in it?
- Will the game be able to create a compelling experience for the gamer?
- Will it be a fun and addictive game so that chances of failure can be predicted in advance?
- Other game aspects like music, unique storyline, characters, competitiveness, and aesthetics play a huge role in any game's success.
- Does the company have the budget for an extensive automation testing team, tools, and devices?
Factors To Consider Before Thinking About Automating Games
- Return on Investment: Ensure to expect better ROI from your automation efforts.
- Maintenance: We need to stay committed and invest our time and cost in script maintenance activities till the time issues are addressed.
- Consider Tech Stack: Before thinking about automating any set of game functionalities, we need to invest an ample amount of time in identifying and evaluating the tech stack that would satisfy and support the game engine which is used in developing the game.
- Documentation and Tracking Framework Workflow: Maintaining documentation for the implemented framework proves to be worth the effort when it comes to transferring any knowledge to new automation members in the team, starting any new projects, and much more.
- Skilled Resources: Before committing to game automation testing, it’s essential to identify and deploy skilled resources as there might be some scenarios where a company or organization would either lack skilled resources, skilled ones are busy with other project delivery schedules, or project budget constraints.
What Are the Different Ways Used for Automating Games
In order to save time and effort when testing games, QA engineers need to utilize certain methods that can automate their testing strategies. Some of those strategies are mentioned below:
Handwritten Test Scripts
This approach leads to creating and implementing testing frameworks from scratch where skilled test engineers write, maintain, and execute test scripts using some programming language (Java, C#, and Python). The main advantage of this approach is that the engineers get the freedom to implement a well-structured framework, through scripts that help in providing complete QA coverage for the game.
This approach is less error-prone as it’s a code-free execution approach where no handwritten code is written, but it is typically more limited in functionality. With this approach, tests can be quickly recorded and played back to back against different OS versions and device configurations.
Automated Game Testing Challenges
Let’s take a look at the various challenges that are faced during the automation of games testing:
- The biggest challenge that automation engineers face while automating test scripts for games is that games are highly unpredictable and can have an infinite number of gameplay scenarios (with many permutations and combinations.) Due to this, we cannot solely rely on the automation framework where manual inference and observation are required.
- Unavailability of skilled resources that have knowledge of designing and implementing the accurate framework.
- The performance of the game may vary depending upon the combination of hardware and software that are being used.
- Game automation testing is reliable only when performed on real mobile devices. The accuracy level of game code cannot be predicted through emulators/simulators.
- In some cases, locator methods (for example “Xpath”, “id”, “class name” etc) cannot be identified for some web-based games.
- Synchronization between gameplay and test scripts sometimes becomes difficult as the user interface (UI) and responsiveness of games are very fast.
- Software and data complexities like audio, cinematic effects, large data, and localization are challenging to automate.
- Many inspector tools fail to detect some objects and locators for gaming applications.
- Difficult to automate scenarios that involve controlling device rotation/movement mechanism without any additional resources (for example some robotic mechanical hands which lead to overhead expenses for the company or organization conducting tests).
- Gameplay mode of AR/VR-related games, graphical UI (blinking, switching positions graphics), and random animation appearing in-game are difficult to automate.
How QASource Can Help
QASource has a team of highly skilled game testers and QA personnel that can offer unsurpassed games and app testing solutions. Being one of the leading testing company for a decade now, we make sure that we deliver QA services as per expectation set by our clients using advanced game testing methodologies which aims to detect any bug in the game at an early stage.
Our game testers specialize in creating dynamic testing strategies. They are experts in constructing such frameworks that suites the need of our clients.
Few QA testing (manual and automation) solutions that we at QAsource can offer are listed below:
- PC game testing
- Mobile game testing
- Console game testing
- AR/VR game testing
So if you are looking to hire game testers with such extensive expertise then we are your reliable service partner.
Successful automation for a gaming product could only be achieved if the scope is planned at the very beginning. Having a skilled team enrolled for the job who are aware of their roles and responsibilities followed by using a standardized testing process with the right selection of tools to be used are the factors you should be looking for. To know more about game automation testing, contact QASource now.