Android’s Popularity On A Roll: The Trend Says It All!

Android has already left everyone else behind, and there’s no sign that it’s going to slacken anytime soon. Accounting for 84.7 percent of the worldwide smartphone market in 2014, Android is easily ruling over the others. The fact that this year’s figure is a five percent rise over last year is itself testimony to its rapid growth. But with that being said, this very growth is also the cause of some serious concern here. Well, at least for the Android developers it really is a matter of concern. As Android devices keep increasing, so does the fragmentation, which the developers have to cushion every year. This year witnessed over 18,000 different Android devices being shipped, giving developers a hard time to manage the sheer number. Imagine the amount of time dedicated to Android game QA and app testing. However, here’s a piece of good news for the developers. Instead of feeling heckled by the increasing Android fragmentation, they could turn it into a window of opportunity.

Turning Fragmentation Into An Advantage

Because of Android, not just high-end devices, but low-end devices (more so) as well, the shipment of its smartphones is of epic proportions. No wonder it is miles ahead of Apple, which only has a few iPhone models to brag about. Much as it may sound as something Android should worry about due to the possibility of hacking. The opportunity here reflects in the form of concentrating on segmenting apps regionally. Besides, with a greater shipment, Android ends up enjoying a much larger customer base, making it possible for device makers to give exactly what customers of a particular region seek. Firms engaged in Android game testing would tell you about the amount of popularity that Android devices have, mostly because of their low prices.

 

Article by,

Laxmikant B. Thipse
Founder & CEO
GameCloud Technologies Pvt Ltd

Apple Gives Testflight Beta Testing App, Readies For iOS 8.0.1

Apple’s Good News To Beta Testers

Closing in on to the release of iPhone 6, Apple has already given its fans an inkling of how important the next big thing will be. The TestFlight beta testing app is a consumer targeted app that has been made available online along with iOS8. This beta service is an interface that will let developers control public app beta programs. Not only can they create programs, but they can also now simply use their email addresses to add beta testers and manage beta programs as well. There’s another plus side to it. With the help of this service, beta testers can make upgrades right there whenever new app versions are out. And the best part is, the TestFlight beta service is available for free as a 2.4 MB downloadable file from the App Store. It sounds like a lot of iPhone game testing are on the cards given the fact that fans love them.

More From Apple

By the looks of it, there’s something for everyone from Apple. If reports are to be believed it is getting ready to seed the beta version of iOS 8.0.1, which is an update to iOS 8, to its carrier partners. Offering a beta version of an update to something that isn’t even out yet, that sounds like a big move. But surely Apple wants to take no chance with any network compatibility issues, which explains the beta builds. The quality analysis will be a significant part of the testing process too. With the news of the operating system update, there will surely be a lot of iOS game QA in the coming days. Apps and games have been a major crowd puller for Apple, and it knows it very well. Apple is known for its sweeping and sudden announcements, and this is surely one of them.

 

Article by,

Laxmikant B. Thipse
Founder & CEO
GameCloud Technologies Pvt Ltd

All You Need To Know About The Android 5.0.1 Update

Another Android Update For Google Devices

Tech giant Google is always full of news and updates. The latest that has stirred the interest of Android fans is the upcoming 5.0 L update that’s slated for release sometime later this year. Being designed for the Nexus 4, Nexus 5, Nexus 7 and Nexus 10 along with other supported devices, Android 5.0 L is going to be a significant addition to its inventory. In fact, it’s touted to be a bigger update than the Ice Cream Sandwich update for Google’s mobile OS.

The Android 5.0 L: An Overview

Design wise, the Android 5.0 L offers a lot more regarding graphics, animation and 3D effects, making it very interactive. As for its features, the new update brings in better performance and longer battery life, which has been confirmed by mobile game testing firms. The processor also gets powered up with a 64-bit chip, and Dalvik makes way for a more improved ART runtime. Users will undoubtedly be pleased with the ability to check and respond to notifications on a locked screen that Android 5.0 L will offer. The Android L Dynamic status bar is another fancy improvement for an enhanced visual experience. Even the previous multitasking feature will undergo some much welcome change.

Christening The New Update

Interestingly, it is still to be found out what the Android L update will be called. Squashing previous rumours that it could be christened Lollipop or Licorice, the latest doing around is that it might be called Lemon Meringue Pie. Talk about Google and its obsession with desserts. And with the number of updates it’s rolling out, it is certainly giving Apple a run for its money. But whatever the future unfolds, one thing is for certain. Android game testing firms will have their hands full checking out the new update.

 

Article by,

Laxmikant B. Thipse
Founder & CEO
GameCloud Technologies Pvt Ltd

Mobile Device Upsurge Creates Greater UX Test Demands

Why Invest In User Experience Testing?

With an unprecedented rise in the number of mobile devices and frequent updates to them, users can now find an app for almost every purpose. As a result, most businesses are cashing in on the trend with apps to serve their customers better. In fact, they are so much into pleasing consumers that offering no apps is somehow better than providing a faulty app. For what can be worse than being pushed to the wall by negative reviews and feedback? But then, it’s not an easy job developing an app and keeping users happy too. That’s where user experience (UX) testing appears as a silver lining for app makers. Just like game testing, user experience testing has managed to lend a huge hand to the booming software testing industry with multibillion dollar investments from several quarters.

How To Go About It?

Most business owners would admit that user experience testing is an uphill task, given the time and resource constraint involved. Testing an app in-house is not just a costly affair, but calls for a dedicated team to concentrate on constant attention and fixes as well. Outsourcing the task to a professional app testing firm saves time and ensures quality too. For these guys are more thorough and detailed than the in-house developers. Besides, a lot of these testing firms are rapidly evolving with newer technologies to come up with much more improved ways of upping their performance. It’s unlike any task like game testing services because the calculations and procedures involved are much more complex. More and more businesses are pulling all the stops to strategize their approach in guaranteeing quality in their apps. Testing service providers, therefore, become logical assistance due to their experience and systematic procedures. After all, it’s all about making user experience hugely enjoyable.

 

Article by,

Laxmikant B. Thipse
Founder & CEO
GameCloud Technologies Pvt Ltd

Do Game Testers Make Value Addition To Developing Studios?

The General Scenario

Software and programme testers are an invaluable part of the development business. Ask any developer with a decent amount of exposure in the market, and they’ll tell you. Revenue generation of a product depends on how well users receive it and user feedback depends on how well the product runs. So, do game developers also stand to gain from testers just as any programme developer? The answer, I believe, is a resounding yes. The primary duties of a tester include identifying defects, documenting and reporting them, supporting developers, sharing test results/information with owners, verifying fixes and fulfilling mandatory test requirements. Each of these duties is vital enough to provide value to the developer.

What Makes Testers So Important?

Firms offering game testing services know very well that players are adamant to please. They seek uninterrupted playtime with good design minus any glitches to consider it of quality. So it falls on the developers to make sure that they provide just that, which ultimately rests on the testers to bring in the quality bit. So here’s how the testers add value to the developers:

Identifying defects and creating reports –
Of all the duties of a tester, identifying defects and reporting during computer/mobile/console game functionality testing is the most significant. The Very detailed analysis is required to create an error report of high quality, thereby attaching definite value to the game.

Supporting developers –
There is something called acceptance testing in software development through which testers can offer more clarity on the roles of developers and stakeholders. It’s this clarity of understanding that lets a developer know what he should do and shows the stakeholders what they want.

Sharing information – By sharing all information with the stakeholders, the tester puts the onus on them to add more value to the product.

Verifying fixes –
Once the defects have been fixed, it comes back to the tester to verify the fixes. The more stringent the verification procedure, the greater is the value offered to the product.

Mandatory test fulfilment –
Mandatory tests/certification are required at times before releasing a game. In such situations, the value presented by a tester is quite clearly evident.

 

Article by,

Laxmikant B. Thipse
Founder & CEO
GameCloud Technologies Pvt Ltd

An Introduction To Interactive Video App Testing

The Coming Of Age Of Video Apps

Interactive videos have gained significant popularity in recent times, not just as mediums of entertainment but also as channels of learning for children. It’s their ability to initiate interaction with the users that makes these videos so popular. With time, the interactivity just keeps getting better with the help of new technologies. There are now videos where users can tag various objects with names within the frame. So when we had the opportunity to test an interactive video app, you can imagine our excitement. Testing a video app is unlike testing for games. Here we could just place the cursor over the tagged objects, add them to a list and get all the details on the product in the video. Details would comprise the brand name, value of the product, its detailed description and other products in its category.

How To Test It And What To Look For

Since it’s an interactive video, the range of testing gradually narrows down for a tester. With a clear understanding of the video application, one has to categorise the areas of interaction between it and the users. This would allow the tester to find out more about every possible interactive activity between the app and the user, which he should document carefully. Documentation is done through a test case where problems found during the tests are reported.

Game Testing v/s Video App Testing

The scope of game testing is smaller compared to video app testing. Although there was a similarity regarding functionality and cross-platform testing, testing interactive videos simply mean a lot more. Here, testers would check for problems that would include missing tags, missing texts in tags, spelling errors, wrong links, video incompatibility with certain browsers, video display errors in some browsers, and so on.

 

Article by,

Laxmikant B. Thipse
Founder & CEO
GameCloud Technologies Pvt Ltd

How To Ensure Quality In A Video Game

Speak of securing quality in game products during game testing and up pops another question – What factors determine quality in an interactive entertainment application/software?

In this connection, a quote of Gerald Weinberg is often reproduced by one and by all. He defines quality as a relative term that is non-existent in a space minus humans. He says, “Quality is value to some person”. In other words, he underlines the fact that quality is subjective to personal taste and opinion.  What is quality for one person may not be quality at all for another.

Given the facts of the matter, it is not feasible for game testing services in India to operate while giving equal importance to opinions from all quarters, including target audience, shareholders, game designers, business analysts, and so on. They apparently have no option but to list out people whose opinion should matter more than others and the order in which these views should be weighed. This list may be standard or differ on a case to case basis.

They prioritise between opinions depending upon who drives value in the particular scenario. For example, when deciding upon the look and feel of the game, the target audience of the game plays the more crucial role than anyone else. So, if the target audience of the interactive application includes casual players, rather than hardcore game ‘raiders’, the developers and testers focus on the viewpoint of the casual players while delivering the quality of the game. Similarly, while considering monetization in the game, the stakeholders (including shareholders and owners) are the major stakeholders in decision making. At the same time, the players also have to be taken into consideration lest players may lose interest upon finding too many areas locked for want of money. Keeping certain selected areas of the game locked for money can be a win-win situation for both players and stakeholders when done with keeping the priorities in perspective.

Article by,

Laxmikant B. Thipse
Founder & CEO
GameCloud Technologies Pvt Ltd

The Role Of Game Functionality Testing In Shaping The Future Of A Game

Developing a game product is nothing short of a tightrope walk as the developer’s balance between a complex application software vis-à-vis the high expectations of the end-users. There is an unsaid anticipation of a certain degree of fun and excitement to come out of the game. However, the application software may come with its own share of limitations/ complications, leaving the end product to be prone to bugs, defects and design issues. The game development studios are well aware of the challenges before them and endeavour to develop error-free games that look, feel and work great as well. In the scheme of things, the game testing services present themselves as facilitators for the game development studios to achieve error-free, robust and entertaining interactive application software by conducting game functionality testing at their behest.

Functionality testing of a game means identifying any bugs/defects/errors in a game that may adversely affect its end-user experience. The game testers look out for any performance issues, including crashes, freezes and progression blockages while testing the interactive applications. The testers look for gameplay issues, graphic issues and audio-visual problems in the entire map of the game. They test all areas for any event that does not trigger on or gets incorrectly triggered on. They search for issues in the controls of the game. They watch out for any graphical corruptions in the interface like missing graphics, missing colours, issues with location or issues with animation & clippings. Testers also keep track of any textual or audio issues across the game like inconsistencies, incorrect instructions or conflict with the mood and style of the game. The testers make the list of all the inconsistencies/defects/bugs and report them to the developers. The developers then fix the issues reported and send the interactive application back to the game testing service provider for re-testing. This relationship eventually results in the launch of error-free and fail-safe game products in the market, in the benefit of the game development studio, game testing service provider and game as a product.

 

Article by,

Laxmikant B. Thipse
Founder & CEO
GameCloud Technologies Pvt Ltd

Playtest – Importance Of Playtesting In Video Games

After designing a successful game for the players, have you ever wondered if they are experiencing the same thrill and fun of what you have intended them to endure while playing?

Only real gamers will be able to understand the game you have created for them, and it can be analysed merely through playtests. The analysis of play tests shows what the gamers experience while playing the game.

How does one conclude the best time for testing?

It is recommended that there should be two playtests on alpha and beta versions, at least one test after beta version is required. However, one must always keep in mind that testing is done at the correct time. It is neither too early to kill the game, nor it is too late such that nothing can be done.

These playtest will help in noting the introductory reactions regarding the game. They will assist in analysing if the gamers like or dislike the game and how interactive they find it. After knowing the initial reaction one can even understand how to manipulate and change the game to attract more gamers. Also, it gives an idea of engaging the players to the experience with the best use of controls, enhanced the user interface, interaction, expectation and emotions.

The Rules To Remember While Testing Games:

  • You should know what you want to ask the players and have a clear idea regarding what you want from testing
  • Conduct a casual play test early
  • Remember for the tests-
  • No family, partner or pets allowed;
  • Always select the players for that will give the honest comments
  • Target group players

 

These playtest will assist you to understand and conclude what and how your players experience and feel about the game designed by you. This will help you to reach a wider audience through their word of help. Always remember the importance of these tests, and that there are many ways in which the field of ‘games user research’ can be applied long before code is written, including competitive evaluation and best practice research. These play testing can also be used on wireframes and paper prototypes. One must not forget that the playtest are just the beginning for most of the games especially if one is waiting until the alpha/beta results are displayed, the testing on core mechanics is done and interactions are being checked.

Article by,

Laxmikant B. Thipse
Founder & CEO
GameCloud Technologies Pvt Ltd

Thorough Testing: The Only Means To Ensure The Success Of A Game Title

Playing computer games have long been the favourite pastime for people, both young and old! In India, the evolution of the smartphones, tablets and introduction of efficient gaming consoles has led to a wake of popularity for a wide range of games. Gaming is no more just the preserve of the domain of PCs and stand-alone consoles. Today, video consoles are equally popular among many who like to enjoy playing their favourite sports from the comfort of their home. To capture the lion’s share of the Indian online interactive entertainment application market, what the companies need to do is produce more compelling game titles. It must run flawlessly on the device they are targeted for – a computer, laptop, console, mobile phone, the tablet may be – and should be free from any bugs or technical glitches.

The Indian gaming industry is no different than the world as a whole. Hence the need for quality that seamlessly runs on the devices they are intended for is of paramount importance.

Game Testing Company: The Saviour In Sight

What’s common among all the professional game testing companies – no matter which part of the globe they must represent – is that they will examine a game title to test the functionality, software and hardware compatibility, user experience. It is the responsibility of a tester to identify any congenital defects to ensure that the interactive application runs as per its promise.

What development companies in India and elsewhere need to do, if they are not doing already, is to hire an experienced game functionality testing company to ensure compatibility of their product before it hits the market.

By taking the help of a skilled tester, you can reduce your production costs to a considerable extent and yet save yourself from garnering the wrath of irate customers and dissatisfied users who have a tendency to go onto badmouthing about the application and harming the reputation of the game developer on social media channels.

Game Testing: Outsourcing And Beyond

Many companies from India, these days, are also extending their testing services to international development companies. Apart from rendering quality testing in India, the experienced team of testers offer services overseas in a collaborative, secure and mutually beneficial environment as well as a channel of communication.

A top-notch testing company takes into account the three most important things which are; the need to offer the highest quality of technical assistance, transparent communication and quick response to a client. Every game is thoroughly analysed to understand the product’s basic and advanced features. A good company would also be available for customised testing services.

Importance Of Hiring A Good Testing Company

If you are a developer and despite the generic problems and solutions detailed above have rung a bell, here’s a further low-down why it’s time you should come to terms with the needs of hiring a good company, better if Indian talent for the obvious price margin, of repute. The online market has evolved as one of the most important segments of the global gaming market. The leading firms in India come with requisite experience/exposure in fulfilling the demands of various kinds of game titles and better, the evolving gadgets like much acclaimed Oculus Rift and other such consoles and newer inventions that support virtual reality gaming.

The best of testers are not just highly knowledgeable but are also the ones who continuously keep them trained to be well aware of the latest testing tools and methodologies. And of course, the recent technologies employed in developing a game. Good firms give their testers exposure to all kinds of testing tools to ensure timely, efficient services at a competitive remuneration.

A highly professional company offers system testing, sanity testing, and acceptance testing on a standard PC/laptop, mobile phone or console environment.

 

Article by,

Laxmikant B. Thipse
Founder & CEO
GameCloud Technologies Pvt Ltd