What is Game Testing?
Considered a sub-component of game development, game testing is a software testing process to ascertain the quality control aspect of a video game. This testing is performed inside the gaming production house before the game is scheduled for release. Also known as beta game testing, it requires the testing team to receive a copy of the gaming product and play it all the levels from start to finish in the search for bugs or flaws.
Black box and White box testing
There are a number of different types of test and testing, but generally, they fall into one of two categories.
Black box testing - Concentrates on the functionality or playability of a game. The user interface will be tested, as in how the menus work and the functions of the various buttons. The look and feel of the game, as well as the actual gameplay, are also tested in black box testing techniques. Testers will have to comment on the graphics and animations.
White box testing – These testing techniques concentrate on the build and combining aspects of the game. For example, how the database is used, and how the different components of the game interact and integrate with each other.
What are the techniques for Game Testing?
There is no uniform or particular method for testing games. Most developers have their own way of doing things, and publishers of games will also have their own set of tests. And because of the different nature of the industry, methodologies are always being improved. However, there are a few that are used more frequently than others.
- Functionality testing – Functionality QA testers look for the generic problems within the game or its user interface & graphics, such as game mechanic issues, stability issues, and game asset integrity. User interface testing ensures user-friendliness of the game
- Compliance testing – Compliance testing is usually done by a game testing lab. It can also refer to testing by a regulatory body, for example, if the game requires a certain rating. Testers in this instance are looking for inappropriate or objectionable content. This test also looks at the handling of trademarked and copyrighted material and makes sure no licenses are being used without authorization.
- Combinatorial testing – This type of experimental design is used for commercial software testing and to generate test cases. Combinatorial testing increases test execution efficiency, provides better quality, reduces cost and better phase containment to game testing. Here the parameters are selected from game functions, elements, events, settings, play options, character attributes, customization choices, etc.
- Clean Room testing – This software development process intended to develop gaming software with a certifiable level of reliability. The main purpose of clean room testing is to produce minimal defect software.
- Compatibility testing – Compatibility testing is usually performed for PC titles. Major functions of the game will be tested using a variety of hardware. It is performed to make certain that a game will run the same regardless of the hardware and software being used.
- Localization testing – Localization testing becomes essential when a game is targeted for the global markets. Game titles, content, and texts need to be translated and tested with devices in multiple languages.
- Soak testing – Soak testing requires the game to be left running for long periods of time. Various modes will be used, as in pause, idle or running the title screen. Once the initial setup has been performed there is no need for any user interaction.
- Security testing – It is done to check how safe the software works from external threats. Data protection from external threats, uncontrolled system access restrictions, data breach, operating system ﬂaws, communication system ﬂaws and weak encryption algorithms.
- Alpha/Beta testing – Alpha testing is a form of acceptance testing done mainly by in-house QA teams. Meanwhile, beta testing (done after an internal full-cycle alpha test) is the testing stage where the company releases the game to a few external user groups to 'real world' test as many conceivable usage scenarios as possible.
- Regression testing – This is performed once a bug has been found and the programmers have fixed it. The aim is to check whether the bug is still there and whether the fix caused something else to break.
- Load testing – This is designed to test heavy activity and whether the application is able to function properly under a load.
- Multiplayer testing – This is a more common type of test for PC games and helps to find out whether all connectivity methods work.
- Mobile game testing – This testing speaks for itself. All the above tests play a part but in relation to the popular mobile game platforms such as Android and iOS.
The overall process of game testing goes through a final review process that is done by QA. A game testing plan must be designed in a way so that the test document is consistent and reusable.