A study by Statista has indicated that the video game market reached a whopping $155.89 billion in 2020. Statista also estimated that this market will grow by $112.92 by 2025. Consequently, the growth of the video game market has significantly increased competition between game development companies as they seek to launch quality and bug-free games.
Before video games are released in the market, they need to go through a rigorous game testing process. Game testing is a key part of the game development process, and it involves identifying bugs and errors that can negatively affect the player’s gaming experience. In this process, game testers can track down issues such as deformed characters, missing textures, invisible walls, and much more.
But how is game testing done and what are the common types of game testing? Read this article to learn more.
Types of Game Testing
Game testing can be done using different techniques, and each method has its pros and cons. Below are the commonly used game testing techniques in the gaming industry.
a) Functionality Test
Game testers use this test to evaluate whether a video game is working as per the specifications. Also known as functional testing, this technique can help identify performance issues, crashes, and device incompatibility. It can also help trace out game freezing, stability, audio-visual, graphical, and integrity issues. By verifying these aspects, the game tester is assured that the application will perform effectively without compromising the user experience.
b) Compatibility Testing
As the name may already suggest, compatibility testing involves checking the compatibility of the game on different devices. It also tests the compatibility of the game on different hardware and software configurations in the device, browsers, and operating system. The test is essential for ensuring that the app is stable, scalable, and functions correctly on multiple platforms and devices to enhance the user experience.
c) Combinatorial Testing
This game-testing method checks the number of tests the game requires. It is designed for commercial software testing, and it works by applying various combinations of parameters to determine the performance, quality, and productivity of the game. Parameters combined in this game-testing technique include settings, events, hardware configurations, play options, character attributes, etc. By combining these parameters, QA experts can significantly lower the number of test cases.
Furthermore, this test is effective for identifying bugs, which can lower productivity. Usually, combination testing is done using three methods namely; Pair testing, Catalogue testing, and Category-partitioning testing.
d) Clean Room Testing
This game-testing technique focuses on establishing the exact root cause of minor errors and bugs in a gaming application. Subsequently, it focuses on improving the productivity and efficiency of the game. What’s more, it makes it easy for testers to test the app during the testing process. It is worth noting, however, that performing this kind of test requires mathematical knowledge, statistical reasoning, and design knowledge.
e) Play Testing
During this testing method, the game QA outsourcing team or game enthusiast plays the game as a player would in order to see if there are any generic issues or errors. They also play the game to analyze the quality, structure, and functional workflow of the gaming application based on the initial design. It measures the gameplay, design elements, difficulty levels, fun factors, user engagement, and much more.
While judging the game, the tester should ensure the right balance of functionality, entertainment, and appearance. The different types of play-testing methods include; In-house testing, Gross playtesting, Blind testing, and Final testing.
f) Ad Hoc Testing
This is a random game testing technique that detects bugs in an unstructured approach. Unlike formal methods, it doesn’t require any special documentation, test cases, or test plans. Instead, it is randomly done to test any part of the app using the Error Guessing method. An advantage of this test is that it can be used to identify destructive user paths that can be harmful to the game.
g) Regression Testing
Generally, regression testing is crucial for validating the performance and functionality of a game from scratch. It involves re-execution and re-validation and comparing the current results with the older results. Basically, this helps to pinpoint new bugs and errors that may hinder the seamless operation of the game.
h) Load Testing
It can be difficult to determine the performance and sustainability of an app, particularly during peak user load. This is where load testing proves helpful. It is a performance test that gauges how an app performs when multiple users are using it. Additionally, game testers can also use it to establish how many users the app can support at any given time.
Steps for Testing a Game
Several basic steps are involved to successfully test game apps and identify bugs and errors. Here is a step-by-step guide for testing a game.
Step 1: Get the Right Tools
First things first, the QA team must collect the right tools for testing programs and game apps. You will also need to gather crucial information about the game like the characters, rules, storyboard, and the entire concept.
Step 2: Come Up with an Effective Test Strategy
Before proceeding with the test, there is a need to first plan and design the game testing process. Come up with an effective strategy for the types of testing, the number of testing cycles, the testers to use, and the risk-based test analysis. You should also establish a timeline for the entire testing process.
Step 3: Execute the Test
Once you have a plan and design in place, the next step is to execute the test cases to identify the bugs and errors. When you find an error or bug, conduct in-depth testing around it to get as many details about it as possible.
Step 4: Report the Results
Record details of the bug or errors and the performance of the app in a report. This can be done in form of screenshots or videos, as long as it shows the behavior of the app.
Step 5: Repair the Bug
In this step, the QA team comes up with an effective solution to repair the bug and error found in the application. This minimizes the risk of harming the application and improves its performance.
Game testing is increasingly becoming paramount following the demand and popularity of video games. Game QA outsourcing services ensure that the client’s final product is free from bugs and errors, which can lower productivity and affect the user experience. Whichever type of game testing technique you use, the process should be repetitive and done thoroughly using well-known testing tools for best results.
Yuriy Denisyuk is Game Production Lead at Pingle Studio. He’s responsible for successfully managing the Game Production pipeline. Yuriy is this lucky person who plays the best games for work in order to keep up with trends and create new ones. He likes writing, reading Manga, fantasy, and professional literature in his free time.