How to Control and Navigate the Potential for Video Game Errors

How to Control and Navigate the Potential for Video Game Errors
How to Control and Navigate the Potential for Video Game Errors

Video games are one of the most popular recreational industries in the world. Hundreds of thousands of users play on online platforms, consoles, and PCs every single day, and the number of available games is constantly growing. A lucrative, fast paced industry like this one, therefore, demands a high expectation of near perfection from its users. If the game isn’t working, there are a thousand alternatives to take its place, and to avoid losing customers, and therefore money, the game has to be top quality before it reaches the market.

Why Video Games Require Testing

The core goal of video game testing is to eliminate and repair bugs or glitches in the software. If testing does not happen and the game goes straight from the development stage to the production and distribution stage, there is too much of a risk that something will go wrong. No business wants complaints about their products, but a large part of gamer marketing comes from avid gamer recommendations, reviews, and word of mouth, and a poorly functioning product will not garner great reviews.

The Testing Options

Multiple testing options are used by big companies during the developmental stage. There are six universally acknowledged methods and a few are less common but still effective and are being adapted for video game testing purposes. These are discussed below.

Functionality Testing

Functionality testing, as the name suggests, focuses on the game specs and whether they are doing what they promise.

Combinatorial Testing

This is a broader scope category of tests that observes all aspects of gameplay to get a wider view of potential problems.

Compatibility Testing

This test is done to test the compatibility of the game with the user. Things like user interface and the size of potential screens are taken into consideration and adjusted if necessary. The company wants the game to look good at all resolutions and pixels and for players to have the best graphics before their eyes.

Regression Testing

This is done after the rest of the tests have been completed, with the purpose of re-testing all the above-mentioned elements. It is a way to find potential new bugs or glitches and go over any mistakes that may have been missed.

Ad Hoc

This is a more organic approach and allows the game to be played freely by a test subject who then notes any issues that occur. There are no instructions, and it is completely tester led.

Alternate Approach: DevOps

DevOps focuses on the whole process and combining developmental elements. It is highly suited to strategies such as Chaos Engineering, which serves to create and solve problems in real-time on the front line. It may seem counterproductive, but there are many benefits to introducing this line of engineering into the remit of video game testing. Make a problem, test the software, and ensure it can be fixed quickly without completely falling apart. This would effectively eliminate the need for many other small-scale tests.

Anything that has a big reach like this industry requires constant testing and maintenance before, during and after the finished result hits the market.