With the rise of the technology and entertainment industries in general, the gaming industry in particular is also growing quickly. Experts say that it can reach more than $300 billion by the year 2025 or even earlier. A company needs to understand what the player wants, what platform they use, and if they are physically equipped enough to be able to play the game they made. This is where Game Testing comes into the picture. This is what allows the company to determine whether their product is bug-free, runs smoothly on consumer devices, and performs as expected. Without this, a game would have numerous bugs, errors, bottlenecks, incompatibilities, etc.
It may sound easy, but it requires a lot of work, new techniques, and the aid of software. Some companies, like PerfectQA, are heading forward to bring new methods and techniques to this department.
What is game testing?
Game testing is when people play games to find problems. They do this to make sure the game works well and is fun to play. Game testers are like detectives. They look for clues that something is wrong with the game. They also try to break the game to see if it crashes or if there are any other problems.
Game testing is an important part of making games. It helps to make sure that games are fun and work well. If there are problems with a game, game testers can help to fix them before the game is released.
Some Popular Game Testing Techniques
The main goal of game testing, no matter how it is done, is to find and fix all of the mistakes that can happen in the game. Each and every technique will help in finding and eradicating these errors.
The following are the commonly used ways and techniques for game testing:
This testing is used to confirm if the game is adhering to all the specifications or not. Testers using this technique are generally looking for generic problems that may occur inside the game or the UI of the game rather than any error on the user’s end. Issues such as stability issues, audio issues, frame freezing, and crashes can be encountered during this type of testing. This does reduce the user-friendliness of the app by a lot. No one wants to play a game with this many potential issues.
Combinatorial testing is a testing technique in which multiple combinations of input parameters are used to test a software product. Its purpose is to ensure that the product is bug-free and can handle different combinations or cases of input configurations.
This is a technique used to test games in the early stages of development rapidly and efficiently. The first step in this technique is to understand how much testing you need. This will help you in determining what type of testing you need to start with and what other testing can be done without taking up much time. Combinatorial testing strategies improve the effectiveness of test execution, quality, phase confinement, and cost in video game testing.
Ad Hoc Testing
Ad hoc testing is also known as general testing, and it is a less structured method of testing. It is generally used to test a particular section of the game, rather than the whole. This technique is more of an error-guessing method than one for finding the error. This technique is the easiest, as it does not require any documents whatsoever.
However, because this testing lacks documentation, there is a chance that errors will go undetected.
As the name suggests, compatibility testing looks at how well the software works with the user's hardware. It also shows if the final product meets the standards and requirements that were set.
These types of tests ensure that the game is fully compatible with the desired platform, compatible with various different screen sizes, etc.
Different platforms have different requirements, and this technique ensures that the game runs seamlessly on all of them.
Multiplayer testing is crucial for games that offer online or multiplayer features. Testers assess the game's online connectivity, server performance, and matchmaking capabilities. They aim to identify and address any potential networking issues, such as lag, disconnections, or synchronization problems. By ensuring a smooth and enjoyable multiplayer experience, testers contribute to building a strong and engaged player community.
It is utilized to examine the functionality of all the features of the gaming application. Here, experiments are done again to figure out how the old parts of the application work. The point is to reevaluate whether the elements of the application turn out great or confirm whether any updates have sprung up any new bugs or created any breaks. This is important for keeping track of the quality of the final product and finding bugs during the most important stages of software development. This helps the engineer understand if any particular stage of the product development is working fine or not. Any particular problematic stage can be redone, thanks to this testing method.
Compliance testing ensures that the game adheres to industry standards, legal regulations, and specific platform requirements. Testers verify that the game meets age rating guidelines, content restrictions, accessibility standards, and other relevant regulations. By conducting thorough tests and assessments, they ensure that the game is suitable for its intended audience and can be distributed legally and ethically.
This type of testing is used to understand and analyze the performance of the game under real-time simulations based on the user’s scenario. This testing helps the testing team understand whether the present game architecture is able to deliver a smooth experience or if they have to change it. Graphics performance, network stability, and memory consumption are among the few factors that are tested here.
Game Testing Process
1. Test Planning
Test planning involves defining the objectives, scope, and methodologies for the game testing process. Testers collaborate with developers and stakeholders to establish clear goals and expectations. They create detailed test plans and test cases, outlining the specific scenarios, features, and functionalities that will be assessed. Additionally, they allocate resources, set timelines, and establish a structured approach to ensure efficient and effective testing.
2. Test Execution
During the test execution phase, testers carry out the planned test scenarios and test cases. They meticulously follow the predetermined test scripts, systematically exploring different aspects of the game. Testers document their findings, track test results, and record any bugs or issues encountered during the process. This phase requires a keen eye for detail and a methodical approach to uncover any potential flaws in the game.
3. Bug Tracking and Management
Bug tracking and management are crucial components of the game testing process. Testers employ bug tracking systems to log, prioritize, and categorize the reported bugs and issues. They collaborate closely with development teams, providing them with detailed bug reports and assisting in the resolution process. Effective bug tracking and management ensure that identified issues are addressed promptly and efficiently, enhancing the overall quality of the game.
4. Regression Testing
Regression testing is performed after bugs have been fixed or new features have been implemented. Testers retest the affected areas to ensure that the changes have not introduced any new issues or impacted the stability of the game. By conducting thorough regression testing, they validate the integrity and functionality of the game as a whole, ensuring that fixes and updates do not inadvertently introduce new problems.
5. User Feedback Integration
Incorporating player feedback is a valuable aspect of the game testing process. Testers analyze and prioritize player suggestions and feedback, taking into account the overall user experience. They collaborate with developers to iterate and improve the game based on this feedback. By considering the perspectives of the players, testers contribute to enhancing the game's features, mechanics, and overall enjoyment.
Challenges and Best Practices in Game Testing
Common Challenges Faced in Game Testing
Game testing poses various challenges that testers must navigate. These challenges include tight deadlines, evolving requirements, complex game mechanics, and the need for comprehensive coverage. Testers must adapt to these challenges and employ effective strategies to ensure thorough testing and high-quality results.
Tips for Effective Game Testing
To overcome challenges and conduct effective game testing, testers should adhere to certain best practices. This includes developing a comprehensive test plan, prioritizing test cases, maintaining clear and detailed documentation, conducting thorough regression testing, and incorporating user feedback throughout the process. Effective communication, collaboration, and attention to detail are essential for successful game testing.
Implementing Continuous Integration and Testing
Continuous integration and testing are becoming increasingly important in game development. By integrating testing into the development pipeline from the early stages, developers and testers can identify and rectify issues more efficiently. Continuous integration and testing ensure that new features, bug fixes, and updates are thoroughly tested and integrated seamlessly into the game, resulting in improved quality and reduced time to market.
Technology and innovation go hand in hand. The better the technology, the better the innovations that will happen in the industry. And the game industry is one of the forerunners in carrying this baton of technology and innovation.
However, innovation should not exceed the expectations and needs of the user. The user should be satisfied and able to enjoy the innovation.