Are there any major differences between testing a game and testing software? A good friend of mine, who was testing mobile applications through his entire career suddenly has decided to go to game testing. Mobile app testing was his life. “It will be so much easier than testing every single part of a mobile app” he claimed. That was indeed while he had no actual experience of game testing. Yet the decision was made, he stepped by the store to purchase some books on the matter due to the fact he was born without a single milligram of recklessness (As he states). He wanted to be prepared (and yes, I know he should have done that before, I told him, but did he listen?).
I think you already know he was fairly surprised finding out the fact that the two areas share a lot in common and nothing relevantly easier was anywhere around game testing. In fact, to understand the differences one should probably start with similarities, the process will go easier that way.
Forget playing for fun. Game testing is as much an engineering discipline as software testing is. High quality game testing, that is. Most of the things such people as Cem Kaner and Alan Page wrote in their Black Box and test automation works can be splendid tutorials to game testing as well. ISTQB – also there. Pretty much every aspect of software testing is somewhere out there in an average game tester day. Even rapid software testing ideas of Lames Bach can be applied to a certain extent.
Game testing is as serious of a deal as its brother and needs to be treated as seriously. Yeah, sure it includes alpha, beta and user testing, but those are but mere parts of a more complex picture. Just testing the game as it is, if users are not falling through the textures is just too big a mistake to compromise.
More like brothers
Despite all the similarities game testing is quite unique in its own ways. Here are some major differences that make puzzling and difficult work from something as fun as videogames.
- Testing the games Fun Factor – nobody likes boring games, and on the other hand what is dull for one is an open world for another. How to determine that?
- Testing Balance – Nobody likes getting killed, no one loves easy wins. One more dilemma.
- AI testing – Dumb bots are what gamers hate most.
- Game level or world testing – Is it possible to finish the game? Wouldn’t be good if all the progress is compromised due to the last door glitch.
- Physics testing – Realistic games are in trend now, the car player is driving has to feel right.
- Realism testing – The same as with physics.
- API testing – not hard to guess here.
You don’t need all that when testing a mobile app, right?