There was a time when video games made were so simple in technology and concept that they could be fitted in a floppy disk drive. Some of them were so one dimensional that they could only be played on singular platforms such as a desktop PC. The task of testing for these games was undertaken by the developer himself. Coming back to the future, games the world over have grown in sophistication and scale. It's quite natural that the task of testing for these games would have also grown along lines of specialization resulting in a dedicated field of game testing.
What is Game Testing?
Considered a sub component of game development, game testing is a software testing process to ascertain the quality control aspect of a video game. This testing is performed inside the gaming production house before the game is scheduled for release. Also known as beta game testing, it requires the testing team to receive a copy of the gaming product and playing it all the levels from start to finish in the search for bugs or flaws.
What all is involved in game testing?
The process of game testing involves the following steps:
Prior to final date of launch, the testers receive copies of the game for playing from start to finish in the search for flaws.
The tester starts with checking the navigation of all the menus which appear at the starting of the game. Clicking of each menu should correctly lead the tester to its linked sub menu. On clicking the start button, the game should start with the first stage.
The tester then plays the game as other "avatars" or characters and checks if the game allows the smooth flow of play in that mode.
In the lookout for bugs, the tester attempts every possible movement the gamer can think of making, such as jumping through ponds, falling in a pit and other things featured in the gaming environment.
Some video games require the player to unlock a stage using passwords. The tester has to check the positive testing of these locking and unlocking modules present in the game.
For games employing multiple player mode, the tester has to see to it, that there is perfect control in interaction of different players and their actions are in complete co ordination according to the theme of the game.
The testers have to also check for flaws in artificial intelligence used in the game in the form of BOTS which are an integral part of the game of today
Other gaming aspects to test include, checking for stuttering of sound effects and music during gameplay.
Besides PCs, many computer games of today are being released on different gaming consoles such as Playstations, XBOX, etc. The testers have to play the game being tested on all these devices to verify their smooth play on these different platforms.
Lastly, a gaming product's main USP is its entertainment factor. The tester has to view the gaming experience as an avid fan of the game and make his contribution in pointing out to the developer what all needs to be tweaked to enrich the gamer's experience.
After the tester delivers the bug report to the development team, the game is rectified of all the bugs and it is given to the testing team again for a retest. Subsequent to its retest, the game is ready for release.