Exploratory Testing in video games is a gameplay that is not a planned approach to testing but naturally progressing in the game with no particular focal point in an attempt...
The unprecedented growth in the gaming industry has opened up avenues of opportunities for all those, who are related to it. This surge has also led to the emergence of many small studios, which have been coming up with a lot of exciting games and making their presence felt amidst market leaders or notable companies in the domain of game development. Simultaneously, game QA testing has also reached a whole new level of precision and sophistication (or at least expected to be) with a lot of small and big projects rolling in and out on a daily basis.
There is a stark difference between testing smaller titles or games released by independent studios and the one helmed by big-scale AAA titles designed by the leaders in the gaming industry.
A Lot At Stake:
Apparently, the budget corresponding to testing of a title is allocated as per the size/complexity of the game. Though the allocated budget would invariably be small for small games, a tester has to pay equal attention to every kind of bug capable of spoiling the whole effort of developing a game. It is important for small companies to be more adherent (read, alert) in subscribing to the proven specialists providing game testing services. Primarily to find out the game-breaking bugs and bolster the fate of the title – as a minuscule lapse in identifying and erasing bugs may prove devastating – not only for the fate the game title has but also for the reputation, growth and survival of the publishing company itself.
Large game publishing studios can afford to have an entourage of individuals taking care of the Public Relations and a prominent team of development staff in identifying an issue, bettering a broken trust and induce a change that can help restore the condition in no time – and more importantly help the big company to survive amidst stiff competition in the market, even if they miss out on some critical bugs. Needless to say, we already have big names in gaming who are high on show off and low on quality!
Small studios or companies just can’t afford to do that. Thus, it is imperative for the small studios to finalise a fool-proof (testing) strategy to ensure that not a single critical bug is skipped.
One Step At A Time:
First of all, testing companies need to target those vulnerable areas in the games, which can be attributed to critical bugs. After that step, a decision that depends on the experience and common-sense of the testing team remains to be taken in the form of scrutinising the overall impact of any bug. Testers also need to understand that games have become so complicated these days that it is simply impossible to find out all the bugs at one go. Apparently, to locate and fix every bug would increase investment cost and make the whole process expensive, especially after the build is made.
QA testers need to prioritise the area that needs to be covered first. This decision can significantly reduce the budget and yield the right results. Experienced testers need to come up with quantitative rating methods to reduce the overall risk. It is important to work on the vital areas to make it a worthwhile and profitable endeavour for everyone – for testers, developers and publishing studios.
Laxmikant B. Thipse
Founder & CEO
GameCloud Technologies Pvt Ltd