The gaming industry is poised to reach more than $300 billion by 2025. As the industry continues to grow, the demand for better-quality games rises. Great development is one piece of the puzzle, but testing is really one of the most important aspects of developing a video game.
Testing ensures that the game runs smoothly and that everything is working properly. Testers can use a variety of techniques to test video games, including:
1. Functionality Testing
Just as the name suggests, functionality testing tests to ensure that the game is working properly. Testers look for bugs and errors that will affect the user’s experience. Their goal is to ensure that the game is working as per the specifications.
Functionality testing is complex and takes quite a bit of time to perform. Testers have to look for issues with graphics, gameplay, audio-visual and other components.
Some of the errors they may look for include:
- Performance issues
- Progression blockages
- Issues with controls of the game
- Issues with animation
- Missing graphics and colours
- Textual and audio issues
Once testers identify these issues, developers can fix them and then send the updated game back to their respective QA services for another round of testing.
2. Regression Testing
When developers want to change certain parts of a game, regression testing may be performed to ensure that unchanged parts of the game still work properly. Test cases are re-examined to ensure that all previous functions of the game are still working properly.
The goal is to ensure that an update doesn’t introduce any new vulnerabilities or errors. This type of testing is critical for quality controls and allows testers to detect bugs in the early stages.
Tests that were previously conducted are re-run, and errors are located by testers to ensure that everything is running smoothly. Developers can also use this type of testing as a functional test to verify the game’s usability.
3. Compatibility Testing
Testers may employ compatibility testing to ensure the game is functioning properly with the hardware, software and graphics the game was built for.
For example, testers will check to make sure:
- All text is readable for users.
- The user interface looks and functions properly at different screen sizes and options.
- True compatibility between testing environments.
- The game’s performance is stable and smooth.
Compatibility testing is essential when developing games, particularly those that are on multiple platforms. It’s one of the most challenging things that the video game industry faces, and testing is the only practical way to overcome the issue.
4. Load Testing
When it comes to performance, load testing is crucial to ensure that the system is working on real-time loads. When load testing, testers will check to see how well the game performs when multiple users are playing at once.
Load testing is especially important for online games that have multiple players, such as MMOs. It’s also important for mobile games that have several users on at once.
Testers will ensure that the game’s current infrastructure is sufficient for running the game with multiple users. Testing will also look at the sustainability of the game at peak user load. Ultimately, the goal is to determine the number of users the game can handle at once. This information will help developers make adjustments to ensure that the game can handle peak number of players.
5. Play Testing
The playtesting method is important, and it’s one of the more fun aspects of the testing process. Testers play the game to evaluate the non-functional features, like the difficulty level, balance, how fun the game is to play, and other similar things.
Playtesting is crucial for all games, but it’s especially important for PC and character-centric games, like RPGs and even MMOs. During this stage, testers play unfinished versions of the game and report back on functionality, performance, balance, difficulty and fun factor.
The main purpose of playtesting is to make sure that the game operates in a well-structured manner and that it’s fun to play. The results are more subjective rather than based on facts.
These testing methods are some of the most common and popular forms of testing for video games. Other forms of testing also exist, but these are the most effective.