Game Software Testing: How Independent Testing Complements in-house QA

by Asha Jane Brown | April 30, 2019 8:06 am

How quality assurance is implemented in big companies? Why successful game developers choose independent QA? How independent testing can enhance an in-house QA and what benefits it provides?

Today we are going to view game testing from different angles and find answers to frequently asked questions with the help of our experienced QA engineer.

Multicomponent nature of game development differs it from the development of other types of software. Complex logic, sophisticated graphics, and intricate design require individual approaches to QA and testing. That’s why most of the game developers hire in-house QA team, which has a solid understanding of own product.

Frequently, the project team faces challenges and scenarios, which require the engagement of additional resources[1]. Let’s look at the most common of them and talk about the best ways to deal with them.

Main Difficulties in QA for Games. Ways to Overcome Them

when extend testing team

Pre-release overloads. When it comes to release, there is always much work to do. Even if all separate units had been thoroughly tested, when all the components come together into one integral product, there are a lot of issues that appear on the surface.

“We are ready to join the project anytime in the product development lifecycle. Usually, it happens after product release. Still, 30% of our projects include testing activities before release as well,” – explains Michael, QATestLab specialist on quality assurance. “Our QA engineers can be engaged on a part-time or full-time basis depending on the workload. Often we work overtime and night shifts to fulfill urgent or critical tasks.”

Lack of time for testing. The priority of the QA department is always lower compared to the Development or Support team. Often, due to delay in development, the timeframe for quality assurance shortens but the deadline of the project stays the same. To finish work on time, the company can opt to expand the QA team by hiring new staff. This requires additional resources and time. The better choice is to outsource testing to a qualified testing provider. Having required experience, scalable team and wide infrastructure, independent QA provider engages in the project in extremely effective terms.

“Our QA engineers join the project easy and fast. It takes from only one week till one month to get fully engaged in the project. Generally, we have one or two technical meetings before the start of the project. We discuss the project structure and clarify the questions that appeared during the functionality preview. We can set an offline meeting with the client so that he can come and conduct training for our QA engineers,” – says Michael, game QA engineer.

Limited Budget. Outsourcing is considered a cost-effective method[2]. Supporting the in-house team with a specific set of skills is more expensive than maintaining a contract with a testing provider. That’s why when you need to manage long term projects you should consider to outsource most of the testing activities. Still, it is better to have several in-house QA specialists to coordinate the work and not to lose control over the project and business processes.

benefits of outsourcing

“We provide clear and regular communications and reporting between our engineers and in-house testing team. We adjust to set processes if required. You are free to contact every team member. The communication can be implemented via Slack, Skype for Business, Discord or any other system suitable for the client. Mornings usually start from standup meetings with the client, and at the end of every working day, we provide a detailed report about the work done (on demand)”, – comments Michael.

Lack of testing infrastructure. To succeed, you need to implement the latest technology, tools, and devices for your project. All that comes at a big price. When you outsource testing, you don’t have to think about testing infrastructure as it is included in the service package you choose.

Lack of resources. When you delegate a particular scope of work to a third party, you can focus on the development process and other core business matters. Consequently, the workload of your team decreases and there is more space for creativity and great ideas needed in the game development process.

“We can take full control over the testing process. Our project manager is usually responsible for the quality of the project at the top level. Every project has assigned QA Lead, who manages all testing activities, sets tasks, and controls the working load of QA engineers. QA Lead is a point of contact between the in-house testing team and our QA engineers. He takes part in every meeting and standups, and provide all the information about the work done. As an alternative, it is also possible that every test engineer has its manager among the in-house team. It depends on the client’s requirements and is discussed individually,” – explains Michael.

Not regular scope of QA tasks. You have to accomplish not regular testing tasks of a project that requires special skills your in-house team lacks. In this case, you can decide to train your staff, but that is time-consuming and requires extra costs. The alternative is to choose an outsourcing team which has the required experience and devices.

The need for user feedback and independent evaluation. When you work on the project for a long time, it is not easy to take a fresh look at it. Like writer’s work needs to be checked by an editor, your game should be reviewed by someone who’s not related to the process of its creation. The best choice is an independent testing company, which, due to its experience, can spot issues, that your staff could overlook. Moreover, QA provider will give you valuable feedback and suggestions on improvement.

“During our testing activities, we often apply the “Think aloud” technique. Moving through the user interface testers continuously share their thoughts and impressions on the game. That provides valuable insight for the client on the game perception by its end users,” – comments Michael.

Final Thoughts on QA for Gaming Software

Independent testing can become armor for your business, though it will not be a magic wand that fixes bugs in a game. This escalator will take you up, but you should watch your steps. Choose a reliable partner who does believe in games as much as you do and concentrate your efforts on the exciting process of game creation[3].

About QATestLab Game Testing Department: QATestLab game testing team unites 35+ professional QA engineers who are also passionate game players. We have successfully accomplished 500+ projects and accumulated competencies in the testing of different kinds of mobile games, PC, browser, and VR games. Every day we test games on 200+ mobile devices and PC with various capacities +HTC VIVE. And guess what we do after work? We are playing games!

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Endnotes:
  1. additional resources: http://qatestlab.com/services/
  2. cost-effective method: https://blog.qatestlab.com/2017/11/16/software-testing-battle/
  3. game creation: http://qatestlab.com/solutions/by-focus-area/games/
  4. How independent testing helped to win the court (Real Case!): https://blog.qatestlab.com/2019/01/31/independent-testing-court/
  5. 5 Reasons to hand your testing over to dedicated team: https://blog.qatestlab.com/2017/11/08/dedicated-qa-team/
  6. Before release: How focus testing helped to reveal critical bugs: https://blog.qatestlab.com/2019/03/11/e-learning-focus-testing/
  7. Indie Games: What is it about?: https://blog.qatestlab.com/2018/08/30/indie-games-notion/
  8. Mobile Game Testing: factors to consider: https://blog.qatestlab.com/2018/05/31/testing-moble-games/

Source URL: https://blog.qatestlab.com/2019/04/30/independent-in-house-testing/