Testing, 1.. 2.. 3
Iíve assembled some
advice from my friend, Shang-Ju Chen, on how to be a really great game
I met Shang-Ju at this yearís
Conference. She was working as a Volunteer. If you live near San
Jose and have free time during the days, you should think about
volunteering to work at GDC. Sure, itís a lot of work, but itís
totally worth the effort because you have the opportunity to meet so
many people. Heck, I know somebody who takes unpaid vacation just to
work GDC every year.
Chances are, the other
Volunteers youíd meet will be game testers too, but in this industry,
most game testers move into other positions. Most people donít think
of game testing, or quality assurance, as a career goal. But when a few
people get breaks and become game designers in a big company, itís
just like the film industry... People have a tendency to bring
their circle of friends up with them because those are the people they
want to work with. Last I heard, Shang-Ju is no longer a game tester at
Shang-Ju says that game
testing can be a glorious and fun job, but you have to love games. And
love playing them over and over again, because thatís just what game
testing is about. Anyway, hereís her advice, and itís pretty much
verbatim since she basically covers it all.
To Be a Really Great Game Tester:
- You need to follow instructions.
When told to do something, do it! When given a test
plan, follow what's on there and perform the test.
- You need to communicate effectively
with your co-workers.
a) Being able to ask questions about what to do.
b) Being able to talk about the bugs that you are
writing about or seeing.
c) Being able to have a discussion in general
about the game or part that you are assigned to test.
- You need good writing skills.
This is also part of communicating effectively. You will
write up bugs and enter them into a bug base. If you can't describe
what you are seeing, that's no good.
- You need to be innovative!
This does not always mean trying to get the game to
crash or playing the game in the most obscure way. Just follow the
good sense of what a person might do in a game. When you figure out
all the different possibilities of how to do something, thatís
- You need to make useful suggestions.
The project group will ask you for your gameplay opinion
aside from the functionality, graphics or sound bugs. When testing
the game, write up your suggestion in a way that would help to
improve the game.
eg. Don't comment that the weapon sucks!
Say specifically how or what kinds of weapon would most
suit the game. Maybe itís the interface or the look that needs
improvement. Maybe you think it should look more realistic or more
cartoonish. Think over the whole of the game when making the
suggestion and donít be shortsighted by one element or personal
- You need to be patient!
Be prepared to see the game
again and again at various stages (i.e. alpha, beta, and final) before
it is gone (done, over, finished). At every stage, you will be asked to
look at different things:
Alpha: Suggestions on
gameplay; a little bit on the look and feel of the game.
Beta: Are the features
working? Suggestions to add/modify features or take out unnecessary
features that just aren't working well; concentrate on gameplay, AI,
sound, graphics, and text bugs.
Final: Is the game done? Any
last minute bugs and crashes.
After spending many long
hours as a game tester, Shang-Ju just wanted to let everyone know:
ďNext time, when you buy a game, donít look at the graphics and
think of the artists and donít play the game and think about the
programmers or game designers -- Think about the testers and thank them
all very much for making the game a good experience for everyone else
Sandelistening to Breather
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Fiction by Rithe