The video game industry breeds excitement for all—for investors and publishers it’s lucrative, for consumers it’s entertainment, and for developers, it’s the passion and grit they pour into their games. But all this rides on the game “working as intended.” In this article, learn about game QA, why it matters, and the techniques and trends that go into publishing the perfect game.
The goal of game quality assurance is to detect, record, and support fixing all technological or design issues in a video game. Four continuous activities (test planning, test suite creation, testing, and bug tracking) are continuously conducted in all game environments (development, staging, certification, and production) and throughout the whole game development process (from prototype to pre-release).
Game developers face routine challenges in fulfilling gameplay requirements. Modern games have a lot of content and simultaneous players and typically are made available on multiple devices. Considerable efforts are made to ensure product quality because several failures have occurred, even to the big game studios, due to inadequate quality in recent years. Now, testing must be faster, more efficient, and more accurate than ever.
QA is a critical part of the game company value chain because all stakeholders in the video game community have their rightful expectations:
While no game is perfect in every way when first developed, game developers employ several methodologies to ensure that prototyping, storyboarding, development, and testing support consistently high quality during game development. QA embedded into a lean Agile team is a leading approach to continuous quality game development. Waterfall-based testing can also be employed prior to game release by testing the overall player experience.
QA uses many techniques and processes to ensure quality code, summarized by the survey responses below. Automated QA (65%) and code review/inspection (54%) are the most popular testing methods employed by QA with a large variation:
Other popular QA techniques include test-driven development (49%), behavior-driven development (49%), and static software analysis (43%). Most teams perform manual testing in addition to utilizing the tools above primarily because game QA testing is often difficult to automate.
QA practitioners are adapting their processes to benefit from several advancements, including:
Game QA organizations have a large variety of testing automation frameworks to choose from, summarized by the survey responses below:
Video games have become infinitely more complex than their 8-bit predecessors, and now all stakeholders—gamers, developers, investors, publishers, device operators, and more—depend on game QA more than ever to meet their rightful expectations.
Connect with Carlos Valerio on LinkedIn to learn more about Softtek’s Game QA offer.