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Software testing vs. Game testing

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This presentation is a theoretical overview of the differences between normal software testing and game testing, based on my experience within software testing, and my limited experience within game testing

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Software testing vs. Game testing

  1. 1. + The Difference Between General Software Testing and Game Testing? Theorycrafting based on my brief experience with game testing
  2. 2. + Introduction  In this presentation I explore the difference between general software testing and game testing  I have previously worked with software testing of mobile devices, and now work with game testing  This presentation is an attempt create a theoretical view of the differences before I have the experience to evaluate it myself
  3. 3. + Software Testing General Software Testing Game Testing
  4. 4. + General Software Testing Black Box Software Testing [1] Test Automation [2] Context-Driven Testing [3] Testing at Google & Microsoft [4][5] ISO29119[6] Testing & Checking [7]
  5. 5. + What makes Game Testing Unique Fun Factor Testing[8] Balance Testing[8] Game Level/World Testing[8] AI Testing[8][10] Multiplayer/Network Testing[8] Audio Testing[8] Physics Testing[8] Realism Testing[9] Modification API Testing
  6. 6. + There are many similarities  Software is software whether it is a game or not  Software testing is an engineering discipline whether it is games, applications or other types of software  Functionality, performance, stability, compatibility, localization, etc. are mostly the same, but with different focus depending on context  A game tester should have the same general knowledge base as any software tester, but with a special focus on what makes games unique
  7. 7. + Fun Factor Testing  User experience and usability are valid testing areas for all types of software  What differs games from other types of software is that it has to be fun – it is entertainment and it needs to have a fun factor that other types of software may not require  To be able to work with Fun Factor Testing requires a large domain knowledge of games and what makes them fun
  8. 8. + Balance Testing  Balancing different options is something that is much more prevalent in games compared to other software  Balancing different character options such as race, class, and attribute choices  Balancing weapons, boosters, equipment, and other paraphernalia  Balancing levels  Balancing difficulty
  9. 9. + Game Level/World Testing  Somewhat unique to games is the number of instances in which assets are used  An application may use a feature in one place, while a game might use it in 20 different levels or parts of the world  This means that you need to test that the asset is used correctly in all these instances  Especially 3D worlds require a unique approach  Stuck/Sticky spots  Invisible walls  Map holes  Missing geometry
  10. 10. + AI Testing  Facing a computer controlled opponent is common in games, but less common in other types of software  Testing the different attributes and of the AI, and how it reacts in different situations is critical in many games  How well it mimics human behavior  Survival instinct – such as looking for cover in a fire fight  Hunting state – not waiting to react to the player’s actions, but proactively performing actions  Infighting – how it reacts to other AI  Pathfinding
  11. 11. + Multiplayer / Network Testing  Playing against multiple other opponents is quite common in games, and even though other software also communicates with other users and servers through different mediums, it is often to a lesser extent, and less sensitive  Many things can go wrong in multiplayer  Failed connections  Dropped connections  Lag  Invisible players  Scoring errors  Unaccepted invitations
  12. 12. + Audio Testing  Obviously almost all software has some kind of audio  However in games it is often more detrimental to the user experience if something goes wrong  Often much more complex in games, with many sounds playing simultaneously  Many things can go wrong  Audio drop  Skipping  Distortion  Missing sound effects  Volume level
  13. 13. + Physics Testing  Some games have physics engines, which affect both gameplay and animations  It requires a specific skill to spot physics bugs  Breakable geometry must be tested to assure that it is destroyed in a way consistent with the desirable physics  Dynamic behavior such as boxes moving when you walk into them is another example of physics in action
  14. 14. + Realism Testing  This type of testing is also related to how the game managed to mimic the real world in a desirable way  Is the car handling like a real car?  Does the weapon feel like a real weapon?  Running animations and jumping must have the right look and feel  This type of testing requires a lot of domain knowledge – to know if an airplane is realistic enough, you must know about airplanes
  15. 15. + Modification API Testing  If the game allows for user to create their own mods, and it is a competitive game like an mmo this requires a unique approach  Open APIs are common in software, but competitive games add a dimension of not allowing mod users to gain unfair advantages or being able to exploit the game using their mods  Imagining how the APIs will be used is critical to understanding if there will be future problems or not
  16. 16. + Player Types [9]  You can categorize gamers in a slightly different way than users of other applications and technology in general Killer Achiever Explorer Socializer Casual Gamer Hardcore Gamer Button Masher Customizer Exploiter
  17. 17. + Prioritization based on Player Types  How you prioritize your tests could be influenced by which player types you are aiming the game for  If you want to please all types, then making sure you have run sufficient tests in each category will go a long way when it comes to reducing critical bugs
  18. 18. + Combinatorial Testing [9]  Of course combinatorial testing is nothing unique to games, but when looking at a large, sprawling 3D game world, one can imagine the size of the combinatorial explosion  A larger game world, a large amount of actors, and a large amount of actions for these actors to perform, all results in a combinatorial nightmare
  19. 19. + Conclusion  There are many similarities between game testing and other software testing  There are some aspects of game testing that are unique and requires more or less domain knowledge  How you categorize gamers could differ from how you categorize other software or technology users  All types of software testing require experts to perform it well and in a structured way
  20. 20. + References [1] BBST http://www.testingeducation.org/BBST/ [2]The A Word https://leanpub.com/TheAWord [3]Context-Driven Testing http://context-driven-testing.com/ [4] How Google Tests Software http://www.amazon.com/Google-Tests-Software-James-Whittaker/dp/0321803027 [5]How We Test Software at Microsoft http://www.amazon.com/How-We-Test-Software-Microsoft/dp/0735624259/ [6]ISO29119 http://www.softwaretestingstandard.org/ [7] Testing & Checking http://www.satisfice.com/blog/archives/856 [8] Game Development Essentials: Game QA & Testing http://www.amazon.com/Game-Development-Essentials-QA-Testing/dp/1435439473 [9] Game Testing: All on One http://www.amazon.com/Game-Testing-Second-Charles-Schultz/dp/1936420163/ [10] Artificial Intelligence (Video Games) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Artificial_intelligence_(video_games)

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