How to become a Professional Video Game Tester

I found out those tips at http://work.chron.com/ and, so far for what I have seen, some of them are pretty good.

Let me know what do you think about those tips and if you have another good one that was not mentioned below.

Spare some time to read it if you are looking for an opportunity to get into this biz.

Video game testing, also called quality assurance testing, isn’t a fantasy job; it’s an actual, necessary part of the game development process. A game testing job can be a good way to get your foot in the door of the gaming industry, but it might not be as much fun as you imagine; most quality assurance testers spend their days playing and replaying the same levels to check for errors. Though it’s hard work, game testers are compensated for their efforts. As of 2010, the U.S. Department of Labor reports the average salary of a game tester at $49,000 a year.

Step 1

Familiarize yourself with computer systems and popular console technology. Testers play games on a variety of platforms, and may be asked to install or uninstall hardware or software in the course of their work. According to 25-year veteran game designer Tom Sloper, computer literacy is an absolute must for game testers.

Step 2

Play as many games as possible. Read gaming magazines; get to know the lingo and genres. Many game players stick to one or two genres — but you won’t be able to pick the types of games you test, so you should be familiar with many different genres.

Step 3

Volunteer to participate in public beta tests of games. Quality assurance testers must be detail-oriented and thorough; demonstrate your aptitude for game testing by doing an exceptional job testing beta releases. Take comprehensive notes if you encounter any bugs; play and replay all of the events leading up to buggy responses and supply detailed feedback on every game error you come across.

Step 4

Learn how to write a bug report. Find bug reports online, and practice creating reports of your own that include the three essential elements of a bug report: what happened, what you expected to happen, and the exact steps required to repeat the bug. Knowing how to write a bug report will be a huge advantage when it comes time to apply for game testing positions.

Step 5

Practice effective written communication. Game testers’ bug reports should communicate game issues clearly enough that no follow-up questions are required.

Step 6

Start your own gaming blog. Greg Off, President of game marketing company Off Base Productions, advises people looking to breaking into the gaming industry to create their own game-oriented blogs. A great addition to a would-be game tester resume, a blog shows that you are committed to games — and can also serve as a platform to network with others in the industry.

Step 7

Join a game-focused social network and make friends. According to a recent article published by CNN, only about 20 percent of job openings are actually advertised — the rest are filled by people who know employees already working at the companies.

Step 8

Participate in game art contests or game review competitions. Winning an award in either type of contest is an excellent way to get the attention of game development studios.

Step 9

Get a college degree. Tom Sloper strongly recommends obtaining a degree before applying for a job as a game tester. Game design, computer science and communications are all subjects that would lend themselves to a career in game development.

Step 10

Apply for an internship at a game company. Lauren Svenson, a publicist for EA, encourages anyone who wants to get into the game industry to seek out internships. The opportunity to meet people and make connections, she maintains, is even more valuable than the experience of working on the games themselves.

Step 11

Create a resume that highlights your education, beta testing experience and communication skills. Attach a cover letter detailing your specific interest in a game testing position and point out any activities that demonstrate your dedication to game development and testing.

Step 12

Email your resume to every game company within commuting distance. According to Tom Sloper, you will not be able to test games from home — so if there is no game company within driving distance, you may need to move. Alex Jones, a producer at Capcom, broke into the industry by sending out resumes left and right: “I looked in the back of every video game magazine and sent my resume out to all of them within a 50 mile radius.”

And what about you? Have you started your on blog or game bug report?

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How to become a Professional Video Game Tester

I found out those tips at http://work.chron.com/ and, so far for what I have seen, some of them are pretty good.

Let me know what do you think about those tips and if you have another good one that was not mentioned below.

Spare some time to read it if you are looking for an opportunity to get into this biz.

Video game testing, also called quality assurance testing, isn’t a fantasy job; it’s an actual, necessary part of the game development process. A game testing job can be a good way to get your foot in the door of the gaming industry, but it might not be as much fun as you imagine; most quality assurance testers spend their days playing and replaying the same levels to check for errors. Though it’s hard work, game testers are compensated for their efforts. As of 2010, the U.S. Department of Labor reports the average salary of a game tester at $49,000 a year.

Step 1

Familiarize yourself with computer systems and popular console technology. Testers play games on a variety of platforms, and may be asked to install or uninstall hardware or software in the course of their work. According to 25-year veteran game designer Tom Sloper, computer literacy is an absolute must for game testers.

Step 2

Play as many games as possible. Read gaming magazines; get to know the lingo and genres. Many game players stick to one or two genres — but you won’t be able to pick the types of games you test, so you should be familiar with many different genres.

Step 3

Volunteer to participate in public beta tests of games. Quality assurance testers must be detail-oriented and thorough; demonstrate your aptitude for game testing by doing an exceptional job testing beta releases. Take comprehensive notes if you encounter any bugs; play and replay all of the events leading up to buggy responses and supply detailed feedback on every game error you come across.

Step 4

Learn how to write a bug report. Find bug reports online, and practice creating reports of your own that include the three essential elements of a bug report: what happened, what you expected to happen, and the exact steps required to repeat the bug. Knowing how to write a bug report will be a huge advantage when it comes time to apply for game testing positions.

Step 5

Practice effective written communication. Game testers’ bug reports should communicate game issues clearly enough that no follow-up questions are required.

Step 6

Start your own gaming blog. Greg Off, President of game marketing company Off Base Productions, advises people looking to breaking into the gaming industry to create their own game-oriented blogs. A great addition to a would-be game tester resume, a blog shows that you are committed to games — and can also serve as a platform to network with others in the industry.

Step 7

Join a game-focused social network and make friends. According to a recent article published by CNN, only about 20 percent of job openings are actually advertised — the rest are filled by people who know employees already working at the companies.

Step 8

Participate in game art contests or game review competitions. Winning an award in either type of contest is an excellent way to get the attention of game development studios.

Step 9

Get a college degree. Tom Sloper strongly recommends obtaining a degree before applying for a job as a game tester. Game design, computer science and communications are all subjects that would lend themselves to a career in game development.

Step 10

Apply for an internship at a game company. Lauren Svenson, a publicist for EA, encourages anyone who wants to get into the game industry to seek out internships. The opportunity to meet people and make connections, she maintains, is even more valuable than the experience of working on the games themselves.

Step 11

Create a resume that highlights your education, beta testing experience and communication skills. Attach a cover letter detailing your specific interest in a game testing position and point out any activities that demonstrate your dedication to game development and testing.

Step 12

Email your resume to every game company within commuting distance. According to Tom Sloper, you will not be able to test games from home — so if there is no game company within driving distance, you may need to move. Alex Jones, a producer at Capcom, broke into the industry by sending out resumes left and right: “I looked in the back of every video game magazine and sent my resume out to all of them within a 50 mile radius.”

And what about you? Have you started your on blog or game bug report?

Game Testing Methodology

Hi, everyone!

Here I come with one more post, but this time, talking about Game Testing Methodology as the title said!

Unfortunately, I couldn’t find the source of this text and all I know that this was available here. And also, I couldn’t find the author of it. So, if you want to have the full version of it, just check the website above.

Further more, if any of you know who is the author of this text, please, let me know so I can give the right credits.

Enjoy!

Effective testing comes from a well-structured approach and a well-defined testing methodology so the game product is highly satisfying to our Publisher and the game player. In contrast, poor testing results in a buggy game or software that gives rise to a long stream of repeated testing and project delays.

[…]

There are few, if any “fixed rules” for this testing methodology; however, there are many suggestions, ideas, and guidelines for improving the quality and effectiveness of testing for our game projects. Hopefully, testers will be able to learn, understand, plan and carry out effective and efficient testing in a structured manner. If you have any questions about the information, please contact your Software Quality Director.

SCOPE AND DEFINITION

In a simplistic view, testing is to identify bugs found in the software, so the problem can be removed. There are different forms of tests and testing that can be categorized as “Black-Box” testing and “Clear-Box” testing (“Clear Box” testing is also known as “White-Box” testing in the software industry). Their testing objective and overall processes are indifference (e.g., test planning, test design, testing execution, regression testing and bug reporting), but their focus of attention puts emphasis on different aspects of the game:

* “Black Box” focuses on the functional or the playability aspects of the game. For examples, testing the user interface (e.g., the selection menus and the use of buttons), the “look and feel” (e.g., the graphics and animation), and the actual gameplay.

* “Clear Box” is focus on the architecture and integration aspects of the game software. For examples, the use of a database, pipelines, the interaction/integration of game components like the rendering engine, the AI engine, sound, and so on.

For Black Box testing, the tester must know how to play the game (e.g., use of the game pad, know the rules and the game flow). For Clear Box testing, the tester must understand what coding is. The Software Tester uses a run-time debugging environment, feeds the code or chunks of code with input (i.e., data, setting variables, etc.) and analyzes the test result.

TESTING PHILOSOPHY

Testing is NOT a single person’s job, nor solely the responsibility of the Game Tester and the Software Tester for a game project. Every team member working in a game project must have“quality” in mind, and each person is responsible for the accuracy and completeness of the work that he/she produces.

This testing methodology is NOT the only process and it should NOT be used in isolation. The reader must be aware that this testing methodology is considered as an integral part to the Game Pre-production and Production processes.

In reality, no one can test a program COMPLETELY , i.e., testing every single part of the game using different and all available characters, so triggering different path of the logic and all the possible variations of input, interfaces, AI, and then output. Our testing strategy is to develop excellent, full-coverage, and effective testing (i.e., 80/20 rule).

TESTING PLANNING AND TESTING REQUIREMENTS

A requirement is an objective that must be met. The tester must understand most of the game requirements and translate them into functional terms (e.g., what needs to be tested, what things are testable and what not, what are the targets and measures, etc.), leaving the design and implementation details to the developers. As part of the testing requirement development process, the testers read the system documentation, gather all the visual and written information, analyze what and how the game components can be tested. It is the responsibility of testers to read all the relevant documentation so they can share (to understand and appreciate) the mission of the project […]. You are required to develop a Testing Requirements document for each game by outlining what and how the game and game components will be tested. The document includes:

* a list of features,

* the specifics of the internal design and external designs of the game. This may require a description of the possible implementations if it makes the testing requirements easier to understand (e.g., certain theme of the game, the characters, the animation, the AI, cinematic or camera view, and so on). For example, to test the multi-directional fight action for the Chan PS2 game, you must make reference to the use of “Ring of Engagement”, describe how the opponents engage into the fight scene, and what you expect the single/combination fighting actions.

* a testing structure detailing if and how Game Testing and/or Software Testing is applied (i.e., in a spreadsheet format for the items identified above),

* the testing criteria (e.g., ideas for testing), and

* the completion criteria (e.g., what are the expected results, what does “something is done” or “something is working” mean to you in game testing?) After the testing requirements are identified, the Technical Director for the game and the Software Quality Director will review the document to confirm scope and priority. Following the test requirements, the testers work on their own test design and develop a Test Plan and Test Cases. Any testing dependency requirements must be identified and communicated to the game team so the game code is “test-enabled”, i.e., what kind of cheat codes, or “test automation-enabled” code are required?

The testing documentation is expected to be developed in the early stage of the project, i.e., draft testing documentation is produced when we have the first playable build. It is important to note that the testing requirements will not cover every single detail of the game, but it must cover testing all the contractually required elements (e.g. specific features and the major game functionality). You can obtain this information from the game Technical Director.

DEFINE THE TIME LINE REQUIREMENT

When a game project is pressed for time, we must recognize the existence of a threshold point where sufficient time line must be provided for the testers to perform:

* a number of iterations for testing each new or updated game features,

* a complete cycle of regression testing for each build,

*sufficient regression testing of the previously Critical, Closed bugs, and

* a full regression testing expecting to test every event/world/environment object and triggers in the game for Alpha, Beta and Final. This “threshold” point varies from game to game, the tester is expected to communicate the“bare bone” testing requirement with the Producer and/or Project Manager.

Well, as you can see, Testing Games is not that simple. There is a lot, and when I say a LOT, I mean a LOT of things that you have to read and study about. However, just reading and studying is not enough to be a good Game Tester. You have to deal with the real thing and get into the market – as hard as that can be.

Wait for the second part of this text and hope someone out there can understand and use this at work!

 

Originally posted in 05/03/2014.

Software Testing Basics – Learning to walk before you can run

Some people may say “that something you have to run, before you can walk” but I have to reply: “Sorry, Tony. This may be not the case….”

The website that I took this information – with all the credits, you can check it here – put the Software Testing in a few pretty good and simple steps that we can follow to be a great tester.

First of all, I have to say that, in order to be and understand what a Game Tester is and why he is so important in the Game Industry, we have to understand the true meaning behind it.

What are the basic principles of testing and quality?

All computer/video games are basically software. (Let me know if you have a computer/video-game game that is not a software). With that, to start testing games, we have to work with testing software and then go deeper into the rabbit’s hole.

Software Testing Basics: Thing One

Thing One: Testing Is Simple! Period. End-of-story. S-I-M-P-L-E. Just so we are crystal clear: Testing Is Simple.

Anyone who tries to tell you differently doesn’t know what they are talking about and may just be in the wrong line of work. Testing is simple. Always remember that. Any testing that you perform that is NOT simple is at best potentially inaccurate – and at worst wrong.

When testing software, you main goal is to clearly establish whether or not the pre-defined behavior that is expected of the software occurs when and how it is supposed to. In short: Does the software do what it should? Does the software do anything that it shouldn’t? That’s it. That’s how it starts. And that…is simple.

Software Testing Basics: Thing Two

Thing Two: Learn and Adapt. Let’s face it, the reason that testers are always needed is that new technology continues to be developed. Do you actually think that’s going to stop? EVER?!? I don’t think so either. So, in order to keep up, you must always be learning and remain adaptable.

As the software changes, so do the specific demands on testing it. In order to keep up with these demands you must be able to learn the new technology as it is created and then adapt your techniques so that you can test it most effectively.

Software Testing Basics: Thing Three

Thing Three: You must be able to communicate clearly and accurately. When you are testing software and you find a bug (an issue, a defect, a bad result, etc.) you must be able to share your information in such a way that anyone can understand it.

When you do this, then the bug can be fixed and your project can move forward. If you don’t, then you create more work for others, waste time that people are paying you for, and are seen as a drain on the project.

You must know the fundamentals if you plan to be a QA Tester. If you want a software testing job, learn the fundamentals.

If you dream of a career in Software Quality Assurance, you will have to choose the right things to learn. Learn the terminology, learn the fundamentals and Choose Success!

Everything that I learned so far, for a fully understanding, came from basics principles. I do believe that, to understand the bug, why it happened and what is should be doing instead of not doing it, I have to know how it was programmed, what code he used to do it, how the game works on it most simple figure. As a Game Tester, know this kind of stuff, would help you to improve the way you report bugs because you can be more specific and that could even help you to make the bug happen again.

That is also what I understand as team work. 🙂

Video Game Tester: The Real Deal

Hello!

Found out this text about the QA area and some good information.

If you want more information about QA in other areas or the real deal about it and the source of this text, click here.

Enjoy the reading.

Wanted: Video Game Tester

I have seen the advertisements too. “Get paid to be a video game tester!!!” The promise that game companies will pay you hundreds of dollars to sit on your couch and play video games.

Really? And you will be a bona fide software tester. Really?

If sitting at home playing games all day is what you’re looking for, then you have come to the wrong site. It you are serious about becoming a professional tester, I’m here to get you going.

I can tell you what my firsthand experience was when I worked as a video game tester at a large game company. What I won’t do is sell you empty promises claiming that you can make a living by laying on your couch gaming all day.

If you really want to become a video game tester, then you should know what to expect. You should know that a job testing games for a living is a very different beast than sitting around gaming with your friends all weekend. You should know how you can expect to be treated, who you will be working with, and how you can expect them to smell.

Smell??? Yes, smell…but we’ll get to that in a minute…

The Life of a Temp Video Game Tester

Most of the big game companies hire testers seasonally. They need extra warm bodies to perform their tests to get the game finished in time to be on the shelves in time for the Christmas shopping rush and for the Spring/Summer restock.

Almost all of these hires are temps. They may even be the same temps season after season. What they are NOT: RFTE = Regular Full Time Employee. An RFTE gets benefits. An RFTE may get stock options. An RFTE can participate in offsite parties. An RFTE is subject to reviews and raises.

Temps don’t get any of this. This is due to companies’ fear of liability (look up the old Microsoft temp employee lawsuit).

If you are hired as a temp video game tester, you will not get any of the fringe benefits listed above. You will be worked as hard and as long as they can – you DO get overtime – but this does not mean that you will be converted into an RFTE.

I have a colleague that was on a testing team at a large game company where I once worked. He had been a valued and professional QA tester with his previous employer (where I had trained him) and now was working as a temp at this game company.

(Blog’s Author: According to Tom Sloper (if you do not know him, go after. It is really worthy) some cases are just “out of the box” day-by-day. You will hear a lot of people saying “It happen with one friend of mine…” or “but I know a person that…” Eventually things will happen, but some things will happen once in a life time…. Or may be really hard to happen again)

His team (Temps and RFTEs) was put on a schedule of 15-hour days 6 days a week for 3 months. This was voluntary, but all those that attempted to opt out were highly pressured and if they didn’t agree were released (California is an “at will” employment state).

The Promise: The company would throw a huge party to celebrate their achievement if they hit the date.

The Reality: The company did indeed hold quite the celebratory shindig. However, fearing liability, the Temps on the team were not allowed to attend.

The Reward: The temps were each presented with $10 gift certificates to a movie theater chain.

I tell you this story not to scare you away from working for a big game company, (Blog’s Author: Well, you are doing a pretty good job!) but simply to inform you. There are undoubtedly others that have temped and had much more rewarding experiences. You make your own choice – at least now it can be an informed one.

Your Coworkers and You

These large gaming companies staff the majority of their Quality Assurance departments with gamers. Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t think there is anything wrong with being a gamer. But let’s be clear – a gamer is a gamer. A professional video game tester does more than just game.

Having the need to complete thousands of manual tests within a short window, these companies must hire disposable staff. You will work with temps that have no desire to be professional testers – they just want to play games and have found one way to get paid for it (at least for a short time). The company gives these employees the title of “QA Tester” – this does the Quality Assurance community no favors. (Blog’s Author: Once more, being a QA Tester/Game Tester is an important job as any other. If you don’t take this seriously, imagine if the people that tested the game you are now playing happily on your PS4 did the same?)

If you want people to game with at lunch, you’re in the right place. But if you want to grow your testing skills and take them to the next level, you’re probably not.

This is not to say that everyone that you work with will be a gamer. On the contrary, you will find coworkers who truly are developing their testing craft. But please remember that these are the exception…not the rule.

Testing is Not the same as Gaming

As rewarding and enjoyable as testing games can be, becoming a video game tester entails more than you would probably think.

IMPORTANT: Getting a job playing games is one thing, actually testing them is another. Finding bugs and reporting them, pouring over every single possible path through the game, tracking every combination available to the user, and contributing to the overall quality of a shipped product is a much more disciplined endeavor than just sitting down to enjoy endless hours playing your favorite game.

You also may have to test a game or genre that you don’t really like. While your testing brethren are fleshing out the latest nuances of the newest networked racing game, you may be verifying that Sponge Bob is wearing the correct outfit in each game scene you have been assigned the responsibility for. (Blog’s Author: Now THAT would be really interesting….)

You should also know beforehand that after playing development versions (read: unstable, incomplete, and crash-prone) of your favorite game for 4-6 months (or longer), you may never really enjoy playing that game again the way that you used to. Seeing which features are left out, which bugs get deferred, and how disorganized the software development process can be might very well change the way you view your favorite games. So yes, believe it or not being a video game tester does have a few drawbacks.

(Blog’s Author: Imagine that you have you very favorite game in hand. It is really amazing to play, you enjoy this game and everything that it can offers. A fantastic open world movement and lot of character to deal with, guns, places, etc. It is a dream land because IT IS WORKING. Now, get this game and put a bunch or bugs and problems that YOU will have to deal with. Yeah, this is the real deal….)

Your Coworkers and You – Part II…What is that smell?

(Blog’s Author: I really didn’t understand this topic at first, but now I just don’t want to believe that we have people like that nowadays…)

Since your testing department will be filled with gamers, I should offer one final warning…some of them don’t smell very good. Now this is not just some rant about the lack of personal hygiene practiced by some video game players.

What I am talking about is the smell that is produced when many people:

  • Eat every meal out of the company vending machines
  • Game (on work premises) at every chance during their non-work hours
  • Never go somewhere that they have a chance to bathe

So imagine if you will: multiple bodies covered in a stale sweat that is the byproduct of pork rinds, hot pockets, bagel dogs, and artificial cheese stuff, in a poorly ventilated space, for days at a time. This is not a work environment I would wish on anyone – especially after experiencing it myself.

But if you want experience…

All that being said, if you want to break into the Quality Assurance field, want to get paid to play games, or just want to see what the whole deal is about, by all means get a job at one of these large gaming companies as a video game tester. Securing an entry-level position is generally easier because they have the openings (at least seasonally) and have the bandwidth to hire several untrained gamers.

I don’t agree with most of their processes or methodologies, but it can be a place for you to get a start. If you plan to go this route, do yourself a favor and prepare. Check out the Testing Basics. If you really are serious about getting paid real money to play games, invest in yourself and find out what you need to know to succeed as a QA Tester.

Source: http://www.successful-quality-assurance.com/video-game-tester.html

Well, the text is quite clear about what is the deal of a Video Game Tester. I found out a lot of people talking about how horrible that is and other saying how wonderful that is. Hard to say if this is the best job ever or not. If you like what you are doing and feel completed with the job, waking up every morning happy because you are going to test games that may be your place. If you don’t, I just recommend you to look for something else.

The Truth About Being a Game Tester – II

Hello, again!

As I was going through the Internet, I found out this information – more – about being a Game Tester. A lot of people may have a variety of different opinions, but they can say whatever they want, for me, it still seems a dream job.

Video game testing plays a crucial role in the development of new video games. Game testers put games through the paces while still in development and when finished, to ensure gamers have a good experience. Game testers conduct video game QA, or quality assurance, finding mistakes, bugs and other problems that could annoy or turn off the gaming community if they’re not fixed.

Don’t let the word “game” in this job title fool you. Video game testing is a serious job. If you think it involves whiling away the hours playing the latest games, think again. Video game testing can be as tedious and frustrating as any job. It requires an organized, disciplined approach to product testing and not just finding new ways to score high or beat the game.

Video game testers must have lots of patience, be methodical in their approach and have a keen eye for details. They must be good communicators and have some understanding of computer hardware and software. And, of course, it helps to have awesome controller skills and the hand-eye coordination needed to navigate through multiple levels of increasing challenges. Yes, being good at video games is helpful to video game testers (but not absolutely necessary)!

(Blog’s Author: One more thing. Imagine that you love to play games like resident Evil, Fear and survival horror and you are working in a company that ask you to test a soccer game. Try to play something like Winner Eleven or FIFA and you realized that you are not just a fan of sports, but you really don’t like games like that either. Well, it may be really boring to play that for thousands of times and have to go over it again and again and again.

Well, this is just another way of seeing things and trying to understand it but as I said, still playing, still having fun.)

Source: http://electronics.howstuffworks.com/video-game-tester.htm

The Truth About Being a Game Tester

Hello,

I found this text in another website and translated to Portuguese so many of my readers could understand. Now I am posting the original one.

Hope you like it.

Many students dream of being a beta tester or game tester, someone who plays games for a living. It sounds like the ultimate job, right? You’re someone who enjoys playing games, and so what could possibly be better than sitting in a comfy chair, sipping on sodas, and playing games while getting paid for it? There are hundreds of websites and advertisements out there trying to lure unsuspecting students into programs and schools to become a game tester, and there’s even a TV centered around it. It’s such easy bait that many students buy into the dream, hoping to end up in what sounds like a perfect job.

(Blog’s Author: Now, this is when talking about USA and other places as far as I know. It is important to underline that here in Brazil that is not so common and we hardly see adds about how you can be a game tester.)

Unfortunately, being a beta tester professionally isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Quality Assurance, or QA as it’s called in the industry, comes with a lot of negatives that students aren’t aware of as they pursue the rosy picture in their minds. I’ve worked with a lot of great people who are game testers, and while it may be a good career for some, for most of my students that I advise it’s no a wise choice. These are a few reasons for this, and there are some better options that I tend to steer students towards instead.

The first main drawback is that the work is actually not nearly as fun as you would think; on the contrary, it’s quite tedious. Students who imagine game testing imagine it being similar to when they have their friends over to play some games – sitting around, playing a few matches here and there, and trying out the newest games when they come out. Working in QA isn’t anything like this. The primary purpose of quality assurance is to find bugs and problems in the game, such as the game crashing, glitches in the images, or incorrect behavior. In order to find these bugs, QA has to play the game over and over and over again. For example, if you were working on Call of Duty, then when the first level was ready to play, then you would play through it. Then you would play through it again. And again. You’d try to do something slightly different each time, waiting for the game to crash. You will probably end up playing the same level literally hundreds of times. This is a far cry from the rosy picture most people have of testers and has a feeling much closer to assembly line work.

(Blog’s Author: Now, here comes something really important: Passion for games. It may be hard to do as he says, playing the same kind of level again and again, but you have to look at the real core of the business. You are playing video games as a job)

The second main drawback of being a pro beta tester is low pay. Of all the careers in games covered by the games industry salary survey done every year, QA consistently ranks the lowest, at over $26,000 lower than the next lowest discipline. Even leads and experienced QA personnel aren’t paid very much. This is a huge drawback when considering which path in games.

(Blog’s Author: This is something that I am going a little more further lately…)

The final drawback is that a career in QA has limited upward mobility. Some QA testers manage to move into other career paths like design or production, but most QA testers are stuck in QA for life, no matter how skilled they become. It makes it very difficult to move into another discipline, and since everyone wants to be a QA tester, there isn’t much negotiating power to move to other companies as well.

So what’s a gamer to do? In my career advising sessions with students and parents, I often advise them to consider a career as a pro beta tester or QA only after considering other paths first. While I have worked with many great people in QA, if you can become a designer, artist, or engineer, then you’ll be getting paid more, enjoy greater autonomy in your work, and have better mobility in your career.

Source: http://thegameprodigy.com/the-truth-about-being-a-game-beta-tester/

(Blog’s Author: Ok. Overall, I think Brice may be right in some aspects about being a Game Tester. One of the things is that he is taking the Game Tester as a JOB. (Of course it is a job!) But what I am saying is that many students that would like to work as a Game Tester want that because it is something -and it has to be in every job – fun. You have to enjoy doing it and you have to be happy of doing it. Think about it. You will have to spend 8 hours of your day doing that. It is more than 30% of your day, so you supposed to do spend it in something that you like.

Now, I do agreed with him that this work is not JUST fun. You will have to deal with bosses, coworkers, pressure, dead-lines, documents, pay your bills with the salary and may not be enough, deal with problems during the work, etc. And that is what people should understand when talking about Game Testing.

Overall, my opinion is that if you do something that you really like and enjoy doing, you won’t need to call it a job and the money and the rest will come naturally.)

Tip for a Game Testing Book

Good Evening!

If you are, for some reason, reading this article is because you may be looking for some information on how to become a Game Tester or maybe looking for more information to develop your work today.

Either way, I found out at Amazon an amazing book that will surely help you develop or learning something about Game Testing.

Book01The authors, Charles P. Schultz, Robert Bryant and Tim Langdell, PHD, are some big masters in what they do and work. Charles is an Operations Manager for Motorola’s Global Software Group and works on software testing and mobile gaming. Robert is currently Studio Director at videogame publisher Crave Entertainment, where he also served as QA Manager and Executive Producer. Tim, a veteran of the game industry, is full-time faculty in the USC Viterbi School of Engineering’s Information Technology Program where he chairs the Game Curriculum Sub-Committee, and teaches game design and game testing.

This is just the start so you can understand how great is this book….

Ok. Authors are good but what will I learn with the book?

Here is your answer. With this book, you will learn about the roles and responsibilities of a game tester, including how to best apply software test engineer methodologies to the game industry. This knowledge can be applied by testers to help create staffing plans and schedule test tasks, as well as generate thorough and effective test cases for games. Topics include how games are made, how testing fits into the production cycle of a game, testing fundamentals, test automation, and how to test different games genres.

The book is also divided into five parts, each consisting of multiple chapters as below.

Part I – “About Game Testing” introduces the reader to game testing in terms of culture, philosophies, and the contribution testing makes to the final game release.

Part II – “Making Games” reveals how an individual contributes to the overall game project. Also includes different kinds of roles and responsibilities that are required of testers through various stages of the development and production of game software.

Part III – “Testing Fundamentals” introduces testing concepts and practices from a formal software engineering approach.

Part IV – “Testing Techniques” is a set of tutorials on different methodologies for producing tests for your game.

Part V – “More Effective Testing” addresses ways to make the most out of your limited time and resources to reach new heights in the quantity and quality of the test you can produce and run.

So, if you want to know more – and also know from where I took the text above – check out the book!

See you around!

Originally posted in 17/01/2014.

Testers – To be or not to be

Good night, people!

As checking many things over the internet about the QA I found out this amazing site at Social Network from BioWare. There is a lot of information about the game biz, but I will focus at the QA area, which is one of my chasing objective.

Hope you enjoy the reading!

Testers — The Unsung Heroes of Games

You have undoubtedly heard that a recommended way of getting started in the games biz is to get a job as a game tester. That’s true, especially if you do not have a programming degree, an art degree, a business degree, etc. and if you can get the testing job with a game publisher or developer (rather than at a game testing lab located far away from game publishers or developers).

And you have undoubtedly also heard a lot of negative reactions to this advice. A lot of the negative things you have heard are probably from losers who couldn’t hack it even as testers, or from guys who just approached it the wrong way. There is a common perception that testing is a “lowly entry-level job” and that testers are at the bottom of the totem pole. The fact is, testing is extremely important and the test phase is vital in polishing a game into a fun experience for the end user.

That’s not to say that if you have an art degree or a programming degree, a law degree, or a business degree (or even a “game design” degree, which more colleges are offering lately), that you MUST begin in the game industry in Q.A. Obviously, if you can enter the industry in a job closely related to the subject you mastered in at college, then you should target that path instead of Q.A.

But for those who have not gotten a degree in one of those areas… Testing can be an excellent way to get your foot in the door, for a lot of reasons that will be explored in this article.

Terminology note: The Test department of a game publishing company is called “Quality Assurance,” or “QA” for short. The term “QA” is also often used to describe the function or process of testing. In this article, the terms “test” and “QA” are sometimes used interchangeably.

Also note: This article is discussing the full-time internal job of tester (wherein the tester is an employee who comes to work daily at the game company to test games, for wages). Volunteer (unpaid) “beta testing” (wherein someone at home gets a copy of a game and provides feedback via email, usually without pay) is a separate matter entirely. Getting a job as a tester can be a good way to get started in the game biz — volunteering to do some beta testing is more akin to simply being a customer (an end user).

Quality Assurance testing jobs are usually found at game publishing companies. Developers also do some testing (but usually not full Q.A.) – but game development companies probably don’t have full-time testing jobs (unless the development company is very large and well-staffed).

Typically, someone who works at a small game development company usually performs multiple job functions. Publisher jobs are usually more specialized. So someone who starts as a tester at a publishing company might eventually move up into producing, while someone who works as a tester at a smaller development company might eventually move up into any of a number of roles.

There are also independent testing labs who hire testers. Publishers are increasingly outsourcing their Q.A. to these outside labs. Jobs at these places are okay if you just want to test and you don’t have aspirations of moving up in the industry – a tester who works at one of these labs would have to quit in order to move up in the industry. It’s recommended that if you want to work as a tester as a steppingstone to other jobs in the industry, that you work for a publisher or a large developer, not an independent test lab. If you do not understand the difference between a publisher and a developer, see FAQ 28. Working at an independent Q.A. company is not as good for building a game industry resume, unfortunately – you don’t get to interact with developers and producers as much, and without exposure to the daily goings-on of a developer or publisher, it’s harder to move up into the industry from a test lab. The remainder of this article is based primarily on working in the Q.A. department of a publisher.

If you want to volunteer as a beta tester, try hanging around at http://www.bluesnews.com and watching for announcements of public betas. I make no guarantees that you can get taken on if and when you respond to such announcements, but if you do, it might be helpful in getting a tester job later on (if you do an excellent job as a beta tester).

TESTING — THE FINAL PHASE

In a large game publishing company such as Activision, the QA phase comes towards the end of the project. And the testers are usually not involved in the project until after most of the work on the game has already been performed. This can have some unfortunate consequences, since testers brought in at the end were not involved in design decisions and don’t necessarily know the rationale behind them. In a smaller company, team members who helped create the game may put on their tester hats towards the end — thus they are already aware of the circumstances that led to project decisions made along the way.

The fact that most testers come in at the end of the project, powerless to have a major impact on the design of the game, is perhaps what leads to some of the negativity about the job. A military analogy can be drawn, putting the testers in the role of foot soldiers and the design/production team as the officers in a battle. This analogy has a limited usefulness, so I think it’s worth mentioning, but this analogy falls apart if you try to apply it across the board to the process of making a game.

The foot soldier does not have the general’s-eye-view of the battle, and is expected to just do what he’s ordered to do. In a battle, there’s rarely time to pass the strategic thinking all along the line so every foot soldier understands what the general is doing. In the process of making a game, I like to share my strategic thinking with my testers as much as possible — not all designer/producers do things the way that I do. It’s a hard thing for the testers to have to accept that it’s too late to add features, and I’m sympathetic to that.

TESTING IS REALLY IMPORTANT

As a designer and producer, it’s very important to me that the games I make are easy to use, friendly, and fun. I am my game’s worst critic. In the QA phase I typically am the most prolific writer of bugs. But I’m also the guy who often has to reject testers’ bugs as “Not a bug” or “Works As Designed.” Sometimes the tester whose bug is rejected may think I’m not on his side, but there are no sides! QA and I share the same goal — to make a game that will be a positive experience for the end user.

The way to make sure the game will be a positive experience is through thorough testing. Get multiple pairs of eyes looking at the game, get multiple pairs of hands taking the game through all its paces. I play the game one way, but somebody else plays it another way, trying things I never thought of. So I need the help so all the flaws can be found before my game goes out the door.

TESTING AIN’T EASY

To some folks, the term “testing” conjures up a mental image of guys (and some gals) sitting and playing games all day. Sounds like fun, easy work. Far from it. It can be fun in the long run (it’s an enjoyable job as jobs go), but it often feels like work. And it definitely isn’t easy. It’s fun to play a game, but it’s not easy. Ask any gamer. If a game is easy, it’s no fun. If a game isn’t fun yet (if the balance isn’t there yet, as sometimes happens), then it’s definitely not easy to force yourself to continue playing it. If your job is to test, you have to do it even if it’s no fun. And THAT ain’t easy!

And when you’re testing a game repeatedly, playing the same section over and over again, the fun of playing it can sometimes wear thin.

Testers have to be computer literate. You may be called on to test a computer game, so you have to be able to install cards and joysticks and drivers, you have to be able to uninstall and reinstall operating systems. Even if you are testing Playstation 2 games or Game Boy Advance games, you still have to use a computer to write your reports.

Testers have to be good communicators. You can be the most awesome bug-finder in the company, but if you can’t explain to the team how you found the bug, what the bug is, what should have happened versus what did happen, and what you think is going wrong down in the code, then it can’t be fixed! This part is extremely important, so it bears repetition. A tester must type in complete sentences. A tester must understand, and habitually use, proper punctuation and capitalization. You cannot become a tester at a game company where everybody uses English, if you cannot communicate properly in written English. This is such an important requirement that I will repeat it another time, at the end of this article (FAQ) (Lesson).

A good tester doesn’t just find a bug and report “I picked up the green sword and drank the blue potion, and the game crashed.” A good tester digs deeper, figures out how to make it happen again, and, knowing how the game works, figures out what’s really going wrong. Maybe if he goes back, picks up the green sword and drinks the blue potion again, the game won’t crash. Maybe the circumstances that caused the crash are deeper than that. A good tester is like a bulldog (see? So much for the “grunts and generals” analogy!) — tenaciously digging his teeth into a bug and not letting go until he figures it out (look there, even the bulldog analogy falls apart if you try to take it too far).

Testing is definitely not a job for someone looking for a fun, easy experience.

LEARNING THE BIZ FROM THE TRENCHES

Working as a tester is an excellent way to learn the game biz. Testers are exposed to (if not directly involved in) several other aspects of the business of games. Through working as a tester on several game projects, a lot can be learned about the business as a whole.

Development aspects

(Terminology note: “development” is used herein to refer to the “pre-production” aspects of a project, thus this refers to the design. “Production” is used to refer to the creation of the code, art, and audio.) Through testing a game, the tester will have questions like, “why was it designed this way?” There are often several different ways that an interface for a particular feature could work. Sometimes those different ways are enabled as user-selectable features, and sometimes the designer just picks one standard way for the feature to work. The tester is among the earliest users for the game, so is often exposed to design aspects that subsequently get changed (or do not get changed).

Production aspects.

The tester finds a bug and reports it. Most of the time it’s a simple matter of making a fix. But sometimes it’s a complicated matter involving discussions between QA and the Production team. In the meeting at which the discussion takes place, the tester will gain insights into what it’s like working on the Production team. After several such meetings, the tester gains a broader perspective on the process as a whole.

Marketing / Sales aspects.

Testers don’t only test the game, they are also often called on to check the text on the package and in the manual. The hardware specification must be accurate, and so must the product claims (the bullet points describing the game’s features). Through analyzing the product claims, the tester can gain an insight into how the product is being presented to the buying public. Ship dates are hateful deadlines that often preclude the fixing of a pet bug. (More on prioritization of bugs below.) Through immersion in a few game projects, the tester comes to learn the importance of prioritizing bugs. As Dr. Laura says, “is this a hill you want to die on?” The company needs to ship its games in order to make money to pay the testers. Games can’t be tested and fixed forever, and as a tester is involved in the process a few times, he learns about the realities of making games for profit — how to prioritize the bugs he finds.

Customer Support aspects.

No matter how thoroughly the testers pound on a game, there are bound to be some problems that only surface when the game is released into the wild. They’re animals out there! They do all kinds of things to games that those in Production and QA never thought of, and that results in calls to CS (Customer Support). When those calls start coming in, the first call CS makes is to QA. The QA-CS relationship is therefore important. The tester who thought he was finished with that game is ordered back into service — “try the game on this hardware configuration, or try doing this and that and see what happens.” And the dreaded, “How could you have missed that?” The tester cannot help but learn about the kinds of issues CS faces.

Manufacturing aspects.

Even manufacturing is something the tester will learn about through his involvement in making a game.

– When the tester is given a box and manual to approve before the game is finished, the tester will learn that it takes longer to print a box and manual than to run off the CDs.

– When the game is a console disc (rather than a computer disc), the tester is exposed to the issues involved with platform manufacturer approvals. And to the fact that patches are not possible. It has to be right the first time with a console disc. And on those rare occasions when something goes wrong in the manufacturing process, the tester may be impacted by having to re-test and re-release. And even if it doesn’t have to be re-tested, through the day-to-day immersion in the culture, the tester learns all the painful details of what happened with that finished game before the tester gets his own copy (which he may not even want to play any more).

– There can even be differences between a manufactured CD and a gold CD burned internally (in a CD-R). On one of my computer games, we had made our music tracks the normal way according to “redbook standard,” which worked fine when we tested them. Little did we know that when the game was sent off to be manufactured, that the CD manufacturer would put shorter blank spaces between the music tracks. When the manufactured game was played, the audio would be played from one music track — but then, before the CD head went back to play the track again from the beginning, it would wander into the beginning of the next track (so there would be a brief false start of another tune before recycling back to the beginning of the proper tune for that level). We had to remaster all the music with blank space at the front of each track. I know I learned something from that — and I’m sure the testers did too!

Design aspects.

As you play the game looking for bugs, you’ll most likely encounter aspects of the game that could be improved to enhance the fun, the fairness, the addictiveness of the game. This “play testing” aspect will likely be part of the job (not only bug testing). When something has been adjusted to better balance the play, you’ll get to learn how play balancing works. It’s just not possible to remain ignorant of design aspects when you work in QA.


See what I mean about how the tester gets to learn a lot about the biz? And here you thought testers just played games all day.

TESTING IS A STEPPINGSTONE … 

for those who are cut out for bigger things

That’s right, there was some qualifying fine print in that heading. Not everybody who gets hired as a tester is cut out for bigger things. If you work hard and well, display a good cooperative attitude, communicate well and effectively, it’s likely that you will be able to grow into higher positions.

If you shine as a tester on a couple of projects, you will likely get promoted to lead tester. If you shine as lead tester on several projects, you may get promoted to test manager. Or someone in the production studio may want you to join their team as a production coordinator or assistant producer or even junior designer.

Just showing up and doing your work isn’t enough to warrant promotion. You have to be bright, and you have to shine brighter than most. There’s nothing unfair about that (despite the grousing you might hear from some who never seem to rise to higher jobs).

I forget where I heard this saying, but it seemed apropos to this topic:

“Smart people learn how to use their skills. Happy people learn how to live with their shortcomings.”

If you are good, you will find a testing job to be an excellent entry to the games biz.

Source: http://sloperama.com/

Well, the text had a lot more information, but as I mentioned before, I am going to aim at the QA area and try to get as much info about it as possible.

Wait for more, because there is a lot of things over this website and I have a lot to read!

Good Night!

Originally posted in 03/01/2014.

A verdade sobre ser um Game Beta Tester

Olá pessoal, tudo bem?

Encontrei este texto em Inglês no site http://thegameprodigy.com e resolvi traduzir e adaptá-lo para um melhor entendimento. Vale ressaltar que os comentários que efetuei são somente para melhor compreensão do texto e não refletem a minha opinião.

Boa leitura!

“Muitos estudantes sonham em ser um Beta Tester ou Game Tester, alguém que joga video-game para viver. Para ser como o emprego dos sonhos, certo? Você é alguém que adora jogar video-games, então o que poderia ser possivelmente melhor do que sentar em uma confortável cadeira, bebendo refrigerante e jogando enquanto é pago para isso? Existem milhares de sites e propagandas tentando fisgar estudantes confiantes para programas e universidades para se tornarem Game Tester, e existe até uma central de TV falando disto. É uma isca tão fácil de se morder que muitos estudantes se deixam levar por este sonho, esperando que terminem conseguindo o que consideram o emprego perfeito.

Infelizmente, ser um Beta Tester profissional não é tudo isso que dizem ser. Quality Assurance (Em tradução livre Garantia de Qualidade), ou QA como é chamado pela indústria de games, vem com vários pontos negativos que os estudantes não estão cientes, enquanto procuram o mar de rosas e desenham isso nas suas mentes. Eu (Brice – autor do outro site) tenho trabalhado com várias pessoas ótimas que são Game Testers e, enquanto esta pode ser uma carreira ótima para alguns, para a maioria dos estudantes que eu aconselho, não é uma boa escolha. Aqui estão algumas razões por isso e existem algumas melhores opções que eu tento dirigir os estudantes ao invés.

A primeira desvantagem é que o trabalho não é, nem perto, tão divertido quanto você pensa ser; pelo contrário, é bastante tedioso. Estudantes se imaginam testando jogos como sendo similar quando eles estão com seus amigos – sentados juntos, jogando algumas partidas aqui e ali, e testando os novos jogos quando forem lançados. Trabalhar em QA não é nada disto. O primeiro propósito de Quality Assurance (QA) é encontrar bugs e problemas nos jogos, como crashings (exemplo de quando o jogo trava), glitches nas imagens (imagens distorcidas ou fora de padrão) ou comportamentos incorretos. A fim de encontrar esses bugs, QA tem que jogar o game várias vezes. De novo e de novo. Por exemplo, se você estiver trabalhando em Call of Duty, então quando o primeiro level estiver pronto, você irá jogá-lo. Depois você irá jogá-lo novamente. E de novo. Você tentará fazer algo ligeiramente diferente cada vez que jogar, esperando que o jogo trave ou dê algum problema. Você vai acabar jogando o mesmo level, literalmente, centenas de vezes. Isto é, de longe, o mar de rosas que muitas pessoas retratam dos Game Testers e tem um sentimento muito próximo a um trabalho em uma linha de montagem.

A segunda desvantagem de ser um Beta Tester é o baixo salário. De todas as carreiras em jogos dispostas nas pesquisas de salários na indústria de jogos, QA frequentemente é ranqueado como o menor, em mais de $26.000, mais baixo do que a instrução mais baixa.

(*Nota do autor desde blog: Isto seria em torno de $ 2150,00 dólares por mês, levando em consideração que você trabalharia 5 dias por semana, 8 horas por dia (160 horas no final do mês = $ 13,45/hora.) Também não podemos esquecer que, isto transferidos para R$, seria ÓTIMO, mas o que você ganha em Dollar, você gasta em Dollar. A grosso modo, imagine você ganhando R$ 2.000,00 no Brasil…. complicado…)

Até mesmo lideres e pessoas de QA com experiência não são bem pagos. Essa é uma grande desvantagem quando considerar qual caminho seguir na carreira de jogos.

A última desvantagem é que o trabalho de QA é limitada em plano de carreira. Algums QA testers conseguem seguir em outra carreira como designs ou produção, mas a maioria dos QA testers ficam presos ao QA pela vida toda, não importando o quanto são competentes e habilidosos. Pode ser bastante difícil seguir para outra area e, levando em consideração que todos querem ser um QA Tester, não existe muito poder de negociação para ir trabalha em outras empresas.

Então, o que um Gamer deve fazer?

Na minha (Brice) carreira de reuniões com pais e estudantes, eu constantemente os aconselho em considerar uma carreira de Beta Tester ou QA somente quando já considerado outros caminhos primeiro. Enquanto eu trabalhava com grandes pessoas em QA, se você se tornar um designer, artista ou engenheiro, então você terá um salário melhor, ter possibilidade de grande autonomia de trabalho e ter melhores oportunidades na sua carreira.

Fonte: http://thegameprodigy.com/the-truth-about-being-a-game-beta-tester/

Originalmente publicado em 09/04/2013.