It’s no secret that modern games require heavy computing powers, dozens of gigabytes of storage, and tons of RAM to process large open worlds built by developers. The same goes for game mechanics, level design, and a code system — these elements become complex as well as intricate, implying a need to engage more QA game testers in the workflow.
In particular, what a video game tester does is not only play the game in a natural way as ordinary players would but also ensure that each element works according to a game design document. Nowadays, each game testing company houses large teams of experts who spot bugs and run various test types to check a game’s functionality.
This article will specify the QA game tester meaning and value for game development studios that aim to create gaming solutions for broad audiences. What is a QA tester for video games, and how can they improve your project? Find out below!
So, who is a video game QA tester, and how might they benefit your project? In simple words, QA stands for “quality assurance,” while a person responsible for ensuring product quality is usually referred to as a tester. When it comes to video games, testers detect bugs, inconsistencies, and other aspects of gameplay that result in unwanted user experience.
The spectrum of video game tester responsibilities involves finding bugs or glitches and reporting them for developers to fix all the flaws during the initial development stage, thereby making a game playable. Quality assurance game testers are accountable for reporting all irregularities and other glitchy game elements that prevent users from enjoying levels. That’s why you certainly need a capable QA video game tester.
Catching bugs is essential not only during the initial phase of game development because the same procedure is required for updating patches. Logging issues and thoroughly explaining where each of them spoils the gameplay experience is unquestionably a substantial contribution to developing video games. It’s pretty evident, inasmuch as people involved in the creation process can’t run multiple tests while producing game content.
Simply put, why do you need a team of reliable game QA testers? In brief:
Looking for game testers?
Irrespective of the types of game testing or a genre you are working with, even a junior QA game tester is able to bring exceptional value at each development stage. Now, as you are mindful of the game tester definition and their responsibilities, it’s time to talk about how to spot professionals among them. In theory, the game QA testing specializations include:
Manual testing. In such scenarios, QA specialists act as if they were real players, carefully passing each level and paying attention to every detail.
Performance testing. In this case, game testers overload the game, making sure each mechanic works perfectly fine and handles all the user requests without bugs.
Automated testing. Although this specialization chiefly touches on software testing, there are already multiple apps and scripts that run automated game tests.
Whether you need an offline or online game tester, the truth remains the same — you either look for QA specialists by yourself or rely this burden on your partner, which might prove a more beneficial option for all parties. Equipped with a reliable guide to game testing, professional studios can both handle the testing itself and hire specialists for this purpose.
One possible scenario to look for competent QA game testers implies a search by testing methods. At different stages of game development, you may need a Beta game tester or a functional game tester — everything depends on your budget as well as requirements. Just make sure your candidates are aware of video game testing stages, which, in turn, must resonate with your game development lifecycle.
In case you require a video game Beta tester, the testing algorithm may differ in contrast to alpha testing. Keep that in mind. Other methods may involve stress, performance, functionality, ad hoc, compatibility, cleanroom, regression, and other testing techniques or methods. Each of them requires a different approach and skills of a QA expert.
For instance, functionality testing is supposed to check the general performance of your game. In turn, combinatorial testing is when QA specialists define how many tests your game will require in the long run, whereas the ad hoc technique presupposes error guessing, consisting of bug detection via a random method. Finally, compatibility testing allows you to make sure your product works fine across all the needed platforms.
By the way, as for the platforms. In addition to looking for perfect candidates by testing methods, you can also seek professionals based on what technology they utilize during their work. Therefore, testing VR games implies the use of different skills than, say, needed for running game tests on PCs or consoles. A PC game tester should have a clear understanding of how such gamers behave and know everything about their preferences.
Mobile game QA testers must also be aware of how, where, when, and in what conditions users will open your app. These parameters are likely to define a plethora of testing methods, influencing the way your game will look. Game console testers fit your project if it’s developed for PlayStation, Xbox, or other gaming consoles. Consequently, each initiative requires a certain category of specialists for hire, team augmentation, or outsourcing.
Mainly, it’s worth mentioning that you’ve got 2 options here. First of all, you can have your in-house recruiters search through tons of websites and assemble a team of people who don’t know each other, not to mention you don’t know them at all. Secondly, what you can do is merely entrust the searching campaign to a capable game development and testing company with hundreds of successful commercial projects behind its back.
Whether you need Android game testing services, PC, or console ones, relying on the shoulders of professionals is always a good idea. They will visit multiple recruiting platforms and sieve the best candidates matching with your project. In other cases, such testing companies already have well-prepared teams that perfectly communicate and cooperate. Such an approach is definitely a better option than seeking game testers on your own.
However, in case you’ve resolved to do the whole search and research in-house, here are a few practical tips:
Testing may take between 3 and 6 months, depending on your game’s development stage. As a rule, it’s the average time QA specialists need to check a game’s functionality while it’s in Beta testing. Another crucial variable to consider is your project scope. If, say, you elaborate on a game featuring hundreds of NPCs and characters whose story takes place in a tremendous open world, it can take about a year to carry out all the necessary tests.
Besides, what you also should know is that often QA occurs at the same time the game is being developed, which is called simultaneous testing. As soon as a developer team finishes one level, testers join the party and run their tests to guarantee that this or that location is perfect, with all the scripts launching when expected. In some instances, you can even involve ordinary players without any testing experience to know their opinion.
Sometimes large projects linger in the Alpha testing stage for quite a long time. For example, the same scenario happened with DayZ on Steam since the game had been in early access for about 5 years. That’s why game developers must carefully plan all the resources and hire only professionals or outsource their projects to studios. This approach will prevent companies willing to release their game from unwanted lingering.
Whenever you need to finalize a particular gaming project, it’s always about the choice of whether to go entirely in-house, extend your team, or outsource it all to a third-party studio. The same concerns QA testing as an integral part of any development process. Regardless of the scope, genre, target audience, or any other aspect, you’ll indubitably encounter a necessity to run a series of crucial tests, ensuring that everything works just fine.
Just like no one can imagine an app being released without quality assurance procedures, games with commercial success also can’t emerge on the market without a touch of experienced testers who know the score. So, what testing option should you opt for? Let’s outline the pros and cons of each model.
Knowing everything you’ve learned throughout this article, you can now effortlessly find a custom game development company whose testing services may prove of value to you. Game-Ace is an experienced, award-winning, and capable studio that houses a team of professional QA specialists ready to accept any challenge. Your game will become polished and be verging on perfection once our testers start working on it.
After reading this article, the best decision you can make is to contact us and obtain more in-depth information about your future game. Let’s make the gaming industry great again together!