1. When does testing occur (Quality assurance) in the game development process?
  2. The Video Game Testing Stages
  3. Plan and Design the test
  4. Prepare for testing
  5. Perform the test
  6. Report the results
  7. Repair the Bug
  8. Repeat Cycle
  9. Consider Pingle Studio Your Trusted Partner
  10. Final Thoughts

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The Game testing process is a stage of development where experts essentially try to identify glitches, errors, and bugs in the mechanics of a video game. This game testing process can reveal all sorts of issues from invisible walls to deformed character models and even missing textures and code, the ultimate goal is to provide the developers with a bug log for them to address and make the overall gaming experience better. The game testing process is also known as QA or quality assurance and essentially the process is designed to ensure that a video game title is released in the highest quality condition it can be.

The Video Games testing process is a pivotal stage of development as bug-filled releases can often ruin a game title’s reputation and make it difficult for it to gain traction. Whilst most major studios spend a considerable amount of time bug testing, it isn’t uncommon for ambitious titles to hit release dates without having all the bugs resolved in the complex systems within their games.  In this article, we’re going to go through the steps of this process and further explain the importance of the Video Games Testing process and why if you’re a developer, you should allocate an appropriate amount of time and resources to it.

When does testing occur (Quality assurance) in the game development process?

The process of testing video games can occur in multiple stages during development. Testing and QA can happen early on when testing the specific mechanics of a title, this can be right near the start of development. However, testing occurs later in development too, with further bug testing once more mechanics and functions are introduced as well as audience-based testing, where a portion of the game is tested on a demographic that the game is aimed at for feedback – this is also common in film.

Testing in pre-production is purely a way to define whether mechanics function in a desirable way and serve the desired outcome of the game’s concept. These tests are easier to do because the core mechanics are bare bones in that stage of production. The QA that comes later in development is far more complex, as the game’s systems are all in place during this stage of testing meaning that is more opportunities for bugs and content to not function in a desirable way. Audience testing is also a lengthy process, and whilst not all studios will do this, it isn’t uncommon for closed-door testing to take place where reviewers are also given test builds for studios to receive feedback.

The audience-based section of the process of game testing is important as it provides developers with important consumer information regarding the title, including but not limited to the user’s first impression of the game, whether the gameplay loop is enjoyable, the difficulty of the title and whether it’s too hard and so on.

The Video Game Testing Stages

The process of game testing can be separated into distinct stages. We’ll now address each of the phases of game testing process one by one and go in depth about each step.

Plan and Design the test

Define what you’re testing and what outcomes you’re looking for. Going into a test phase with no specific plans means that you’ll waste time looking for issues that don’t require attention. Ask yourself questions like what has changed in the game since the previous build? What new assets have been added and require attention? What features have been cut, and what has been added?

Knowing your goal before you begin testing is a much more efficient way to approach testing and therefore planning and designing the test is an important part of the steps in-game testing process.

Prepare for testing

As one of the most important steps in the game testing process, preparing for testing requires developers and game owners to prepare and create documents that serve as a guideline for testers. Most studios will provide criteria and outlines for testers to follow, ensuring that time is spent addressing the right aspects of a game title. It isn’t unusual for game testers to be specifically testing one element of a game, even if it is one mechanic or one particular section of a level.

Perform the test

Obviously, the main part of the game testing stages is to run the test, but it isn’t as simple as performing one action. Testers will run through the new build until they approach a bug, they will then repeat an action to create that bug – once they can reliably repeat it, they log it and leave a reference for developers to address it.

The more details around bugs testers can record the better, as they will often be required to deliver a log report to accompany any test results. The importance of being able to recreate a bug is that if a user can create it regularly, it means developers have an entry point in which they can test if they’ve resolved the issue or not, by repeating that specific action.

Report the results

Game testing stages couldn’t be complete without the important process of reporting the results. Once testers have run through the criteria and found the bugs in a particular module of the game they then have to fill in reports and refine their logs to deliver to the developers, communication here is more paramount than in other stages of game testing, as the better, the communication is between testers and developers, the faster bugs will get addressed. A lot of QA professionals have game development experience and tend to understand development lingo, which makes this process generally smooth.

Repair the Bug

Working with the testing team, developers will discuss the bugs in the log and assess a solution for the issue. Often this requires trial and error which is why it is important that testers can recreate the conditions to make the bug arise to be able to assess whether the solution has been made. Once the bug is sorted, the testers will often approach the situation again to ensure the fix doesn’t create other issues, which isn’t uncommon during the repair process, which leads us to our final step.

Repeat Cycle

The video game testing stages are a cycle, no successful game title goes through just a single round of testing as introducing fixes can often create other issues that need resolving. The average time of game testing and QA is between 3 to 6 months, which is quite a lot of time in the production process, but it is essential to ensuring the release is stable and provides gamers with a good foundation to get them hooked and on board for future patches.

It is worth noting that despite the phases of the game testing process, not all bugs will be ironed out before release however the idea is to have any bugs that block progress or affect core mechanics completely removed prior to release. Things like visual glitches or side mission-related bugs are secondary priorities to core progression-based bugs.  These different steps sum up the game testing test process and cycle.

Consider Pingle Studio Your Trusted Partner

At Pingle Studio, we’re no stranger to providing exceptional Quality Assurance that will ensure your upcoming title is as bug-free as possible for launch or porting. We’ve previously provided top-shelf Quality Assurance and testing assistance with titles like GigaBash. By providing just three of our talented engineers, we tackled the testing for Gigabash without any documentation provided and managed to create test documentation in its entirety and create checklists and full guides for the development team to address the bugs in the title.

  • GigaBash had some substantial issues with multiplayer-based content and our expert engineers were able to test all the cooperative and multiplayer functions and document all the specific issues required for the developers to address in a catalogue that was easy to follow and even easier to address. QA process for game testing is a lengthy process, but we were able to provide this in a relatively short turn over considering we provided just three of our talented QA engineers to assist with this excellent title.
  • Thunder Tier One by KRAFTON Inc, required extensive assistance and support from us at Pingle when launching their new IP on steam. The unique top-down realistic shooter on PC had layered systems that required deep attention from our experts. The game was delivered to us launch-ready, which meant we needed to be thorough and to the point with our Quality Assurance luckily our 15+ years of experience with Unreal Engine allowed us to be not only thorough but prompt too, resulting in another successful title on the market assisted by us at Pingle Studio.

If you need quality assurance or even advice when it comes to testing your game titles, consider contacting us at Pingle Studio, we are one of the world-renowned outsourcing game development companies that can provide you not only great testing resources but developmental assistance across all departments and stages of game development. We have an extensive team of experts who have worked in all stages of the game development pipeline, so whether you need testers, concept artists, technical artists, or even coders, we’re able to assist you with your game development needs.

Final Thoughts

Video game testing may seem like a complex process, but the cyclical nature of its processes means that it is something you can get familiar with quickly. Much like the rest of video game production, quality assurance requires fantastic communication, which is something you should look for when putting together a quality assurance team. Most high-end testing experts will have experience in game development too, which means they can correspond with developers in a language they understand when it comes to addressing bugs.

Video game testing is not a daunting stage of development and luckily there are plenty of options available including outsourcing, which is highly recommended. Outsourcing your testing means you can have the peace of mind it is being handled by a studio that has regularly participated in testing processes and has the experience required to find and log all the important bugs throughout your game development process.

Outsourcing is affordable and time efficient, allowing your in-studio staff to focus on other stages of the game development whilst testing is being done. Video game testing doesn’t need to be a chore, it can be a simple process when guided by experts. If you’re looking to arrange video game testing and quality assurance, consider us at Pingle Studio, as mentioned before we’ve handled complex testing phases for various game titles that have resulted in very successful releases. We are more than happy to provide you with the resources and knowledge to make QA a breeze.