Before the Latest Video Game Hits the Store it Will Undergo a Variety of Testing
A vital part of the development of any new product is the testing phase and for video games this is an important part of quality control. The main aim of testing, whatever technique is being used, is to uncover and document any defects in the software. These defects are commonly referred to as bugs. Being a game tester requires a high level of technical knowledge including computing expertise, analytical and evaluation skills, a certain amount of patience and endurance.
Black box and clear box testing
There are a number of different types of test and testing, but generally, they fall into one of two categories.
Black box testing - concentrates on the functionality or playability of a game. The user interface will be tested, as in how the menus work and the functions of the various buttons. The look and feel of the game as well as the actual gameplay are also tested in black box testing techniques. Testers will have to comment of the graphics and animations.
Clear or white box testing – these testing techniques concentrate of the build and combining aspects of the game. For example, how the database is used, and how the different components of the game interact and integrate with each other.
A black box tester will need to know how to play the game, how the game pad works, how the game flows and the rules. A clear box tester will need to know about coding. There is no one person responsible for testing a game. It's more of a team effort. It's not just game testers who play a part either. Software testers also have a vital part to play.
Different types of testing techniques
There is no uniform or standard method for testing games. Most developers have their own way of doing things, and publishers of games will also have their own set of tests. And because of the very nature of the industry, methodologies are always being improved. There are, however, a number that are used more frequently than others.
- Functionality testing – this requires the testers to play the game while at the same time looking for general problems with the game itself or the user interface.
- Compliance testing – this type of testing is usually done by a game testing lab. It can also refer to testing by a regulatory body, for example, if the game requires a certain rating. Testers in this instance are looking for inappropriate or objectionable content. This test also looks at the handling of trademarked and copyrighted material and makes sure no licenses are being used without authorization.
- Compatibility testing – this type of testing is usually performed for PC titles. Major functions of the game will be tested using a variety of hardware. It is performed to make certain that a game will run the same regardless of the hardware and software being used.
- Localization testing – this type of testing relates to in game text checking. The testers will need to be native to the country in which the game is being marketed.
- Soak testing – this type of test requires the game to be left running for long periods of time. Various modes will be used, as in pause, idle or running the title screen. Once the initial setup has been performed there is no need for any user interaction.
- Beta testing – this type of test will be performed on the first public version of a fame.
- Regression testing – this is performed once a bug has been found and the programmers have fixed it. The aim is to check whether the bug is still there and whether the fix caused something else to break.
- Load testing – this is designed to test heavy activity and whether the application is able to function properly under load.
- Multiplayer testing – this is a more common type of test for PC games and helps to find out whether all connectivity methods work.
- Mobile game testing – this testing speaks for itself. All the above tests play a part but in relation to the popular mobile game platforms such as Android and iOS.