The importance of game testing

Dec 23, 2014SHORE Blog

The global gaming community is growing and thriving. To keep this community busy and entertained, gaming companies have to constantly come up with new games to be made available through various channels and platforms. These platforms are consoles (the traditional Xbox, Wii, PlayStation and others), web-based or online games played using a web browser over the Internet (including the massively multiplayer online game, shortened to MMOG, which is a multiplayer video game that can be played by large quantities of players), games played over the social networks (including Facebook), and mobile video games played over handheld devices using the Android or iOS operating systems (devices such as smartphones, portable media players and tablets), desktop or laptop, and cross-platform systems.

In the game development cycle, game testing is very important. Outsourcing game testing and quality assurance (QA) can increase the speed and accuracy of the game development process, and at a lower cost. Game testing will test for issues such as functionality, performance, compatibility, consistency, completeness, and will unearth potential programming bugs. Programming and code will be scrutinized. It is not only the technical aspects that will be tested. Game testing also covers the design and artwork (for example, is it understandable and integrated to the function?), and to test whether the game is engaging, too difficult or too easy. In other words, since it is a game after all, the target audience must want to play the game. This phase of testing is aptly called gameplay.

The game development process is long and complex with game testing done at different points of the process. In game testing, it is usually better for a separate team not involved in conceptualizing to do the testing. This will make the testing for validation and verification more thorough and impartial.

Game testing and quality assurance has alpha testing, beta testing and a code freeze. Game testing is also done repeatedly, meaning that if there is a bug or defect, this has to be fixed, then tested again until the game works satisfactorily. Throughout the process, testers should have complete documentation. When there is a code freeze, no more changes are allowed on the code. This is also considered the gold phase of game testing. The game is almost ready to be released.

Knowing the arduous process of game development and game testing, gamers can, more or less, look forward to a good time once the game has been delivered, installed and played.