10 months, 3 weeks ago
As the demand for gaming increases, new game development companies appear in the industry. They utilize more aggressive strategies to get market share while the market leaders respond with advancements to keep competitiveness. However, what is more, important than delivering a unique experience is providing products with minimal flaws. No matter how fantastic the game story or characters are, video game companies will not generate profits or attract players if the games are full of bugs. Hence, game testing is one of the essential steps that ensure high quality and premium experience for players.
Game testing aims to identify bugs, bottlenecks, errors, or inconsistencies in the game. As video games are complex systems, different types of testing techniques are used to deliver a smooth experience. Besides, many companies provide testing services and initiate new methodologies, such as Testbytes or TestMatick. Top video game companies partner with such service providers or establish their in-house team for testing to ensure high quality. If you find the top members in the list of video game companies and check their testing approaches, you will better understand the importance of this process.
Functional quality ensures that the game works based on the specified conditions, and it performs as expected. Such a test involves finding some common issues, and it can be performed for the game, its graphics, or user interface. In this stage, testers check the stability, audio and visual elements, etc. If the game freezes or crashes while playing, it means there is a functional problem. In turn, user interface tests make the game more user-friendly. Besides, game localization testers of video game companies check if there exist any linguistic or location-based technical issues.
Another approach to risk identification by video game companies is combinatorial testing. Such a method saves time and effort for the game developers. It achieves these benefits by first discovering the level of testing needed for the game. Therefore, it omits unnecessary steps. Combinatorial testing checks all the outputs and inputs to help developers see the big picture. Top members in video game companies list and commercial software developers utilize this strategy the most. In general, this approach increases the testing quality and decreases the cost required.
As its name suggests, video game companies utilize such testing processes to randomly check different game parts. This testing method lacks a systematic structure, which is why it can be categorized into general checking instead of special ones. Ad hoc testing is utilized in three ways called pair, buddy, and monkey checks. While each has distinct characteristics, all of them aim to find invisible errors in the game. Pair testing requires two team members to monitor the applications. One of them conducts the actual test while the other reviews the process. In turn, in buddy testing, one person does the test, and then team members stabilize the game. Lastly, game companies perform monkey testing in which the team members input invalid and random requests to check the game's behavior.
Millions of people on different platforms play games developed by the top 5 video game companies. Players use their smartphones, PCs, laptops, or tablets to access the game. Besides, the operating systems of their devices are various, such as Windows, iOS, etc. Developers need to consider such diversity and ensure that changes in systems will not impact the game interface and functionality. No matter which gadget is used, the game should be able to provide a premium experience. Hence, video game companies utilize compatibility tests and check if differing screen sizes or operating platforms will impact the game.
This technique is a general monitoring type which aims to assess the overall performance. Therefore, testers check the game idea with real-life conditions. They try to find out how the game performs if there exists much load. Besides, visual performance is also monitored. To increase the test's accuracy, developers impose some constraints, such as low processing power, low-speed internet, memory limitations, etc. In this way, they identify the factors that can negatively affect game performance and improve them.
Once the developers finalize some features, they run a regression test. This process is not initial testing; instead, regression is about re-checking the complete functions. In this way, the developers identify if the game's changes created any new errors for the existing features. Video game companies should utilize such testing methods to ensure that the end product is free of bugs. Besides, regression enables testers to determine vulnerabilities in the early stages of the development and get rid of them as soon as possible. It is possible to run the previously done tests and compare the results with the current indicators to detect weaknesses.
Tree testing shares the same features with usability tests, and it helps to find the needed checks for the codes. As it indicates which type of monitoring activities should be conducted based on the changes made on the codes, it also helps to save time and effort on this process. Besides, it is fast because testers do not need to waste time with content writing. Instead, all they need is the tree or menu and the tasks. Hence, leading video game companies to utilize Tree testing before the team starts to design navigation and page layouts. They also save money because Tree testing is not costly though it effectively provides a clear image for the complex features.
Video game companies that aim to minimize defects and allow negligible errors use another test type, which is Clean Room testing. Such techniques improve the reliability of games or applications. It involves complex operations, such as mathematical, statistical reasoning, and design adjustment.
Till now, we discussed the functional elements of the game, which ensures the performance. However, one of the success reasons is the level of excitement and fun while playing the game. Hence, video game companies conduct playtests to assess the difficulty levels, the balance between success and failure, etc. This time, the testers are not game development professionals but actual players who can test the unfinished game and give feedback.
Testing is important because it helps to identify errors, vulnerabilities, and weaknesses in the early stages. In this way, video game companies effectively correct the mistakes and deliver a premium experience to the players. The industry is competitive, so there is no place for errors or bugs.
Many leading companies utilize not only one but several testing approaches to ensure they check all necessary elements. From the game's functionality to user-friendliness, from graphical quality to the fun factor, every significant feature should be monitored. Top 5 video game companies like Nintendo, Valve Corporation, Rockstar Games, Electronic Arts or Sony Computer Entertainment, have their own testing techniques besides common approaches. Hence, testing is one of the main reasons for their high-quality games.