Video Game Testing 101

As a subset of ‘game development’, testing is a software testing process that is used in the quality control and regulation of video games. The main purpose of game testing is to uncover and document software defects that may have slipped past the programming process. A game needs to be tried and tested before it is launched in the market in order to win customer satisfaction and maintain a high quality gaming experience for its audience.

During the earlier stages of design and development, the developer was usually the one who did all the testing. A maximum of 2 testers were allowed for every game and there were also cases where programmers did all the testing.

Quality assurance has always been an integral part of every programming process. As video games became more sophisticated, quality assurance became a necessity and this is where “on- the-spot” game testers came in.

Game testing usually begins as soon as the initial code is created and goes on until the game reaches completion. The primary QA team usually monitors the fame starting from its initial submission to the establishment of a test plan. The testing team usually focuses on new codes at the early stage of game development.

Alpha Testing. This form of game testing is done to make sure that the initial foundations of the game actually work. Alpha testing is the initial testing performed during the game’s earliest stages, and the procedure is usually executed by staff in the development studio or individuals hired directly by the publishers. These alpha testers are usually required to work in the game development studio and are asked to go through the entire course of the game until it is fully operational.

Beta Game Design. Beta testing can be performed at home or by other outsourcers. In special cases, it can also be done by unpaid volunteers just like in online games where basic technology and stress tests between servers is done. Paid Game Testers are much more involved in this stage because of all the necessary details needed to determine how well the game is functioning.

Quality Assurance. When a video game reaches its finished state, testers are integral in quality assurance. This is where many testers obtain their initial jobs and run the same levels over and over again to check for even the most minute bugs and glitches of the game.

Console Hardware. Console testing is usually done on a consumer system and a special test facility is often provided for publishers and developers. Among the most popular tools being used includes “devkits” (software development kits) and debug/test kits. Devkits are commonly used by programmers for lower level game testing, and usually display higher hardware specs and increased memory. This allows programmers to estimate a game’s performance without focusing too much on optimizations.

Test kits frequently have similar hardware specs and an appearance similar to that of a consumer unit but with added connectors and ports for testing.

Gina Kraft wrote the article for Game Shastra. Gina is a supporter of Game Shastra especially, their Game Design, game programming, and game development areas.

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