A Game Design Student’s Experience as a QA Tester

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Usually while I’m playing a game and I discover a bug I either laugh it off and move on or ignore it completely. For the most part bugs don’t really affect my experience of playing a game unless they’re horribly game breaking, but after two weeks of being a QA tester at Simteractive I can safely say I’ll never let a bug pass unnoticed again.

Playing a game for fun is completely different to playing it and trying to break it. Usually when playing a game I’ll follow the tutorial step by step and play it the way it’s meant to be played, but that’s just me. There are so many different types of gamers out there and they all play games a different way. So as a game tester you have to account for the players that will want to try and break the game, you need to make sure that doesn’t happen. That when the tutorial tells them to do one thing and when they try and do the opposite it doesn’t break the game, that the game adjusts itself accordingly or it stops the player in their tracks. For example, in Eden Isle: Resort Paradise, the game I’ve been testing for the past two weeks, during the tutorial it asks you to spend gems (the premium currency) to build a tent quickly and bypass the building time but you can wait the 30 seconds it takes to build and the tutorial will continue, it won’t lock in place and constantly tell the players to spend gems when they don’t need to. It’ll do exactly what the player will expect it to, which is what the QA tester wants to happen. Just to be sure I needed to check this for all the buildings that were being built in the tutorial and they all had the same results. Even if one of them had messed up it would be noteworthy and would need to be fixed

The most difficult thing about my time as a QA tester was definitely trying to reproduce the bugs. I’d discover a bug while playing and it may be something like the UI disappearing or goals not registering the fact that I’ve completed them. To properly write up a bug you need to be able to reproduce it multiple times and give a step by step on how to find the bug so that it can be found and fixed easily. But that is extremely difficult to do it turns out. Some bugs may only happen once but the fact is that they’re there and need to be found, so it was my duty to try my best to find the steps on how to reproduce these bugs so they can be fixed. Some were easier then others, like sometimes it would be easy as moving a building before a guest can enter it while other times you’d need to tap a certain building while a guest is walking on a certain path tile.

It can be difficult work but felt extremely rewarding whenever I did get to write up a full bug report. I’ll take a lot away from my short time as a QA tester. It really showed me what it felt like to work in an environment where everyone was working towards making the same game, what it was like to actually work in a game studio which is something I’ve been thinking about ever since I knew I wanted to be a game designer. I really appreciate the opportunity I’ve been given over these last two weeks, because I know it’ll help me in my game making process in the future, I’ll know exactly how to look for bugs and how to get rid of them. QA testing is an extremely important part of the game’s design process, without it every game that’s ever released would almost certainly have bugs that break the game, those bugs need to be found and it’s a QA tester’s job to do so. I’ll never see a bug again and think “Oh a player will never find that” because I now know that if a player tries hard enough they can find a bug that may just break the game entirely.

 

– Liam Conneely

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