This ultimate Game Testing Tutorial will teach you everything you need to know about how to get started with an exciting new career in game testing! Get an overview of what it takes and start your journey today.
In this Game Testing Tutorial, we will learn what is Game Testing and the following
Game testing has a huge scope as there is a huge growth in the gaming industry. According to research by Statista, It is estimated that the global gaming market will amount to 268.8 billion U.S. dollars annually in 2025, up from 178 billion U.S. dollars in 2021.
To keep up with the growth and changes in the gaming industry, companies are competing with each other to address the user’s needs and predicting future trends.
One of the crucial factors for any gaming experience is quality.
The best way to improve user acquisition and monetization is to create a game application without any critical bugs.
What is Game testing?
Game testing is the process of finding bugs and deviations in the gaming application.
It ensures that the application is error-free when it’s deployed in the market.
The main objective of game testing is to deliver a high-quality product.
In case the game has glitches in it, that would bring huge criticism from its users which would lead to a huge reduction in sales
Who is a Game Tester?
A game tester is an individual who tests a video game by playing it several times to uncover bugs, errors, or glitches within the game.
As a game tester, you are expected to play and test the game repeatedly in different scenarios, as well as note the error and how to reproduce those issues.
You should be familiar with all the gaming platforms, hardware, and genres like Xbox, Playstation, Nintendo Wii, and PC platforms. Know how to play role-playing games, massively multiplayer online games, action games, and learning games.
Now that you know what is game testing and who is a game tester. Let’s see what is Game Testing Life Cycle and Game Development Life Cycle.
Don’t miss: How To Become A Game Tester – Detailed Guide
What is Game Development Life Cycle & Explain its phases?
Before getting into the Game Testing Life Cycle (GTLC), let’s look into the Game Development Lifecycle for better understanding.
The Game Development Lifecycle (GDLC) is different from Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC).
Usually, the software is developed for solving a problem whereas a game is developed for entertainment.
#1. Concept Analysis
In this planning phase, we go through ideas or concepts for the game. To understand the concept of the game we will go through storyboards, settings, and the environment. This process will be helpful in later stages when the programmers, designer, and artist develop the game.
#2. Game Planning
Once we finalize the concept, we create three documents to proceed with the development process.
Game Design Document( GDD): It contains details about the UI, features, characters, graphics, sound, and more.
Technical design document: It contains details like programming language used, tools, software, and reusable components in the system.
The project plan: It contains the plan details such as schedules, budget, milestones, deliverables, etc.
#3. Game Development
Based on the documents and reviews, we build a prototype. Once it gets approved by the team, the programmers start developing the application. The game designers and artists create the user interface, environment, and sound effects of the game.
#4. Game Testing
Testing is the crucial phase of GDLC. It involves rigorously testing every scenario of the game and noting down every defect that comes your way. We perform multiple possibilities to find bugs, not just that we assess whether the game is engaging and fun to play as well.
#5. Pre Production (Alpha/Beta)
In the Alpha milestone, we would have a workable version of the game with all the primary features and characters set in, some of the assets might be temporary. We test the product and get approval from the executives.
Then we fix the issues found in the alpha stage and develop the required asset in the Beta version. Here the management might decide to test the application using real-time users to know their experience as well.
In this pre-launch state, the bugs found in the beta version get resolved and are ready to be launched into the market.
In this phase, we release the game to the market. All the last-minute update and polishing happens just before the launch date.
This stage comes under post-production, where we fix some bugs, patch those issues, upgrade the content, introduce new levels, etc.
What are the phases of the Game Testing Life Cycle?
Game testing Life Cycle is a part of the game development lifecycle GTLC consists of 6 phases. It is as simple as creating the initial plan of what you’re going to do, preparing the environment to test. start executing the test, reporting the bugs, waiting for them to be fixed, and repeating the cycle.
Game testing follows 6 phases, that are explained below:
In this stage, you gather information about the new features, old bugs that have been fixed, new patches, and other elements that are part of the build. Then you decide upon other aspects like who is going to be involved in the testing, gathering required equipment, and setting up the testing area
In the preparation stage, you will be updated with the right information and resources from different teams. The code, test document, and test environments are updated by their respective owners. The development team updates the QA team on which bugs have been fixed for the build.
In this performance stage, you will start extensively hunting for bugs. You would have to retest old bugs and test for other ways to reproduce them. If you find a defect, test around the bug more to collect more information about the bug to write a detailed and precise bug report.
In the reporting stage, you have to construct reports for the bugs you found while testing. You should write in detail about where you found the bug, how to reproduce it, and make sure that it is passed to the person who would fix it.
For example, if the texture is not loading properly, it has to be assigned to the modeler.
In the repairing stage, you have to collaborate with the development team to repair the bug. You have to be involved in discussions with the developers to ensure that they understand what went wrong and other additional information need to fix the bug
In this stage, you repeat the same process from stage 1. You will be given an updated build with new features and bug fixes. This process repeats till the game application is released in the market.
What are the roles in Game Development & explain each role?
Based on various factors like size of the company, budget, features, story, and much more, the roles can vary, here are some key roles in game development.
#1. Concept Artist
The role of the concept artist would require them to create an initial look and tone to the game. They create a visual representation of the ideas discussed in the art department in the early stage of development.
Animators work with the models created by 3D artists and attach a structure to make the model move in-game. The animator adds more movements for each model and creates variety of animations.
The responsibility of the game producer includes handling the business and marketing aspects of the game like budget management.
#4. Project Manager
They oversee the development process and make sure that the project hits each milestone. Project managers deal with the communication between the designing team and the executives and make sure they solve problems and calculate potential risks. In order to ensure smooth release processes, product managers must monitor and address the various storefronts’ requirements such as localization, ratings, metadata, and store art.
#5. Game Programmers
Programmers develop the code for the game to run smoothly. They create the user interface, graphics, including the logic of the program, add music to the game, developing an optimal experience for the user.
#6. Game Designers
They are the ones responsible for creating the storyline, characters, dialogues, scripts, and rules of the game. They are the ones who design the obstacles and establish the difficulty level of the game.
#7. Game Artists
They include sound designers, audio engineers, animators, 3D artists, etc for developing the user interface of the game.
#8. Level Designer
They are involved in the world-building of the game, they create the environment, establish boundaries, maintain the consistent style, set up physical limitations all based on the concept art and game design document.
#9. Game Testers
They play the game multiple times and make detailed reports on the bugs found. They test the game to ensure that the player won’t encounter any glitches or issues while playing. Game Testers are also known as quality assurance testers.
#10. Writing / Narrative design
Writers create text for the players to read onscreen, as well as used for voice-overs. Narrative Designers, a recent addition to studio jobs, use tools to progress players through immersive narrative elements and help shape their experience.
#11. Sound Engineer
Sound Engineer (Often referenced as Sound Designers or Audio Engineers) is someone who specializes in voice editing and audio merging in the game. They are also responsible for the intricate details of the sound effects, such as making sure they fit in with the background music.
#12. Marketing / PR
Marketing is a vital part of any business, and now that many companies have marketing staff in-house. Press releases are handled by public relations managers, while the community managers work on areas such as social media and other community channels.
What are the types of Game Testing?
#1. Functionality Testing
In Game testing, performing functionality tests means verifying the workability of the application as per the given specification. This usually helps in finding generic issues like asset integrity, GUI, audio-video sync, etc. It is a black-box testing technique.
- Checks whether the application is working according to the requirement document
- It verifies the graphic design, audio-visuals, gameplay issues, so it takes a lot of time and it gets complicated at times.
- Validates various scenarios like installation, social sharing, support in payment gateway, whether it works in minimized mode, etc.
#2. Combinatorial Testing
It is a testing technique in which multiple combinations of input parameters are used to verify every possible combination and perimeter of the application.
Combinatorial testing is highly applicable to game testing as it increases efficiency, provides better quality, reduces cost, etc.
- Verifies the application with every possible combination of parameters such as game functions, elements, events, settings, play options, character attributes, customization choices, etc.
- It uses these three methods Category-partition testing, Pair testing and Catalogue based testing. Thus generating combinations for testing.
- Due to such a systematic approach, we can easily generate reports that are easy to follow.
#3. Clean Room Testing
It helps to ensure the performance and the reliability of the gaming software. You can identify the leading cause behind bugs and small errors using the cleanroom testing technique.
- Here the programming starts after formal specification.
- It is a combination of mathematical reasoning, design refinement and statistical reasoning while generating test cases.
- The primary goal of cleanroom testing is to produce software with negligible defects.
#4. Tree Testing
It is a game testing method similar to usability testing, it helps us to organize the test cases and puts together the selection of a proper set of tests better suitable for the given set of code changes.
- It can be conducted before designing page layouts or navigation menus.
- It improves overall understanding of the complex features in the game
- There is no need to sketch wireframe or prepare any content for testing, it only needs tasks and trees i.e instructions and menu.
- It takes care of the potential deviations, especially when functions interact with other game rules, functions, and other elements.
#5. Play Testing
It is a game testing technique in which the testers get to play the game as real users to analyze the quality of the game application. Here you would play the unfinished finished version of the game to verify the functional workflow as well as non-functional aspects of the game like entertainment value, difficulty level, level design, etc.
- It focuses on judging the game rather than finding bugs in the application.
- It checks whether the game is well structured and character-centric.
- It verifies the fun element, challenges, storyline to see whether it is innovative, engaging and player-centric.
#6. Compatibility Testing
This is the most crucial factor in a gaming application, it should work across different devices and different screen sizes without compromising on the quality of the user’s experience.
The gaming application should be compatible across various devices or even if it’s for a single device like Xbox, all the versions of the application should work consistently.
- It validates the user interface of the application by comparing its design, text and functionality across different screen sizes.
- It checks the performance of the application with different Operating systems, browsers and devices.
- It confirms the stability, workability, scalability and usability of the application on different platforms.
Other than these testing techniques, game testing techniques implementations include ad-hoc testing, Localisation testing, Performance testing, Soak testing, Recovery testing, Security testing, etc.
How Game Testing is different from other Software Testing
Game Testing vs Software Testing
|Game Testing||Software Testing|
|Game testing doesn’t use many automation scripts.||In software testing, there is extensive use of automation scripts and framework.|
|Game testing doesn’t require much technical skill or expertise.||Software testing is done by only skilled professionals.|
|Testers don’t require a professional degree to become a game tester.||Testers should meet certain qualifications to become software testers.|
|The gaming industry highly depends on the hardware platforms, so testing takes place in consoles, PC, mobile, in both website and application, even social media as well across various screen sizes and OS.||In Software testing, it depends upon the specific client or customer, so in general, it would be tested on PC and mobile.|
How do you test a game?
Here is the step by step process on how you would test a game
Step #1: Gather The Requirement
You have to collect and understand details like storyboard, architecture, characters involved in the game, the concept behind the game, rules that would be applicable, and stages.
Step #2: Prepare The Test Strategy
You have to make decisions and document details like required timeline, testers, number of testing cycles, In-scope, Out-scope, Testing types, Risk-based test analysis, Service Level Agreements, Risks, and mitigation, Defect logging process, Reporting process.
Step #3: Design Test Cases
You should consider both positive and negative test cases. Some of the effective ways to test gaming applications would be critical path testing, exceptional path testing, and basic black box testing techniques.
Step #4: Execute Test Cases
Here the test cases are executed to uncover bugs. For better results, alpha testing, beta testing, and respective age group testing take place.
Step #5: Record The Results
Everything is recorded in the form of videos and screenshots for getting a better perspective of how the application is being used. These details get analyzed the behavior of the application.
Step #6: Maintain The Defect Log
This can be very helpful in recording, reviewing, prioritizing, categorizing, and efficiently tracking the bug.
How do you write test cases for games?
When testing a gaming application there are certain key areas to focus on that would directly have an impact on performance compatibility and user rating. So we have to create test cases based on these important factors.
- User interface and functionality
- Graphics performance
- Usability and gaming experience
- Multiplayer features
- Social media integration
- Security and other liabilities
Sample Game Testing Test Cases
- Verify the background music and sound effects.
- Verify the clarity of the animation.
- Verify the fluidity of motion in the characters
- Verify the score calculations accuracy.
- Verify the menu and the main page of the application
- Verify the content in the game
Game Testing Checklist
- Check whether the sound effect is in sync with the action.
- Check whether the game functions consistently in both portrait and landscape mode.
- Check the onboarding visuals of the application.
- Check the animations, movements, characters and setting are of high quality.
- Check for content like dialogues, description, messages, notification and more.
- Check features like player profile, scoreboard, leaderboards and other community activities.
- Check whether the game resumes when switching between different applications.
- Check the game logic and continuity of the characters and background of the application.
- Check whether the data is stored and retrieved after restarting the application.
- Check the installation of the application, there should be any error.
What are the types of bugs in-game testing?
We know that no application is free from bugs, the same applies to games as well. But there is a higher cost to pay in the realm of gaming, as each bug can affect the user’s experience.
This is when the game freezes or stops and closes. It highly affects the user experience, thus these bugs have the highest priority.
It doesn’t prevent the user from proceedings further into the game but still can disturb the workflow of the game.
These are trivial bugs that don’t affect any other aspects of the game but they can affect the experience of the user, let’s say the character avatar can’t change its hairstyle.
Here the movement of the player might be blocked or certain functions like jumping, dodging, or getting the weapon might not occur without crashing the entire system.
Glitches might occur in the characters, objects, background to any user interface elements in the game.
It is when the sound is delayed, missed, misplaced, or when there’s an inconsistency in the change of volume and more.
These are flawed designs that overlap or collide with one another in the 3-D world of the game.
What are the risks in Game Testing?
The gaming industry is a highly profitable business but it is costly to develop and release in the market. There’s a huge risk in releasing the product because it has to meet up the quality standards of the gaming community.
There are multiple reasons why gaming applications might fail. Here are some reasons why it’s risky to perform game testing.
- Gaming applications are complex; it’s expensive and lengthy and humanly impossible to test every possible permutation and combinations.
- If the game doesn’t create a compelling experience for the user, i.e if it’s not fun and addictive there’s a huge chance of failure.
- Even non-technical aspects like music, unique storyline, characters, competitiveness, and aesthetics play a huge role in its success.
- Not every company has the budget for an extensive testing team, tools and devices.
- Visual design, gaming experience, ease of use and control has to appeal to the target audience.
Game testing is important and integral to the success of a game.
The role of the game tester is to play through the entire game, trying out all features with an open mind; looking for bugs or errors in design that might not be apparent at first glance.
It’s important for game testers to have an understanding not only of how people play, but also what they need from their experience with your game so they can give you feedback on its effectiveness and satisfaction.
There are several types of games you can test–mobile games, PC/online games, VR Games (virtual reality), console video games. There’s even AR (Augmented Reality) now!
If you’re interested in becoming a videogame tester, keep reading our blog post on what it takes and where you can find openings.