Even though they have come a long way from the days of arcades and consoles tucked under the family TV, games testing is still essential. Today games are everywhere: on our smartphones, in our web browsers, digitally downloaded to our desktop and laptop computers – not to mention on specifically-tailored gaming hardware. Gaming may be a broad space but one thing players always expect is quality. That’s where Epicentre joins in with their games testing services.
Games have returned to their democratised roots, with new titles released every day by small start-ups and independent developers alongside the latest cutting-edge releases from major publishers. Ensuring quality of experience can be a nightmare for developers because of the unique challenges posed by games testing, some of which can include:
- Non-linearity or non-sequential activities
- Variety of potential user inputs
- Physics and object interactions within the game engine
- Textures and mapping at varying resolutions or levels of detail
- Simulating different ‘styles’ of player
- Scoring, leaderboards and achievements
- Data storage/retrieval between sessions.
Whilst games present unique challenges for testing as well as development, they don’t require a unique approach. The same fundamental testing methodologies and considerations can be applied to games testing as for a website, ecommerce database, e-learning course or mobile app.
Effective games testing requires a defined and structured approach with a dedicated test team to deploy it.
Epicentre has a wealth of experience in the areas mentioned, including a diverse body of knowledge distributed among the test team and a history of gaming projects for clients such as the BBC, Natural Motion and ncSoft. Our team includes many passionate gamers who have collectively worked on titles for many major publishers and for most major platforms from PC to Mac, Xbox to Playstation and DS to iOS.
Epicentre has one of the largest ranges of games testing hardware in Europe, including a range of PCs from low to high-end specifications running every version of Windows, a broad mix of Linux distros and a selection of Macs with every version of OSX. Of course we also have a diverse collection of smartphones and tablets running iOS, Android, BlackBerry OS and Windows Phone. We also have processes in place for acquiring any dedicated hardware you may need your games testing performed on.
An extensive range of games testing hardware and software, coupled with our ISTQB-driven approaches, ISO 9001:2008 processes, mature test planning, customisable and powerful JIRA issue reporting/roadmapping system and a flexible approach to working alongside our clients and their developers, makes Epicentre the ideal partner for your games testing.
Depending on the nature of your product, Epicentre might suggest:
- Developing a bespoke games testing script tailored to your product
- Establishing core routes through the game
- A range of complete playthroughs utilising a variety of styles (such as ‘completionist’, ‘speedrun’, ‘griefer’)
- Breaking the game down into sections to focus tests accordingly (may be driven by development cycles ala unit testing, or simply to make testing segmented and manageable)
- Checking for design consistency throughout the UI and game
- Identifying the range of potential user inputs (from direct control input to actions with an indirect effect within the game)
- Checking in-game physics and object interactions (such as collision detection)
- Testing on a variety of appropriate hardware to verify textures/mapping behave and scale appropriately
- Verifying that any scoring (or other logical systems) are calculated correctly
- Games testing that leaderboards and achievements update/unlock at correct intervals
- Ensuring consistent data storage and retrieval between play sessions
- Games testing feedback on the flow of gameplay (aiming to identify smoothness and consistency of experience, help iron out plateaus etc.)
- ‘Destructive’games testing: simulating non-standard user behaviour in order to exploit the game and its systems, thereby identifying unusual, esoteric issues that an end user might encounter.
Get in touch with Epicentre today to discuss your games testing requirements and how we can help.