January 29, 2023

Demystifying Game Testing – What You Need to Know

It’s a lot easier to get where you are going with a plan

The Basics : Writing a Simple Game Testing Plan

For the first example we are going to build out a 2D Platformer Video Game test plan for a 2D platformer video game. This is going to be a high level document that doesn’t need to be any more than a single page, and can act as a starting point for a new team to have high level points for making a game testing plan.

  1. Introduction: This 2D platformer is being developed by XYZ Studios for release on PC and consoles. The target audience is casual gamers aged 10-18. The goal of the testing process is to ensure that the game is balanced, fun to play, and free of critical bugs before release.
  2. Scope: The scope of the testing will include all gameplay mechanics, levels, and features in the game. Testing will be performed on PC and console hardware, using a variety of controllers and input devices. The game will be tested in English, and localization testing will be performed for French, Spanish, and German.
  3. Test objectives: The main objectives of the testing process are to ensure that the game is balanced, fun to play, and free of critical bugs. Additional objectives include verifying that all levels and features are complete and functional, and that the game performs well on a variety of hardware configurations.
  4. Test approach: Testing will be performed using a combination of manual testing, automated testing, and testing using specialized tools such as debuggers and profilers. Testers will be provided with a list of test cases to follow, and will be encouraged to play the game as they would normally, exploring and trying out different gameplay mechanics and features. Issues discovered during testing will be logged in a bug tracking system and assigned to the appropriate development team member for resolution.
  5. Test environment: Testing will be performed on PC and console hardware, using a variety of controllers and input devices. The game will be tested on Windows, Mac, and Linux operating systems, and on the Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and Nintendo Switch consoles.
  6. Test cases: Test cases will include verifying that all levels and features are complete and functional, testing the balance of the game, testing the performance of the game on a variety of hardware configurations, and verifying that the game is fun to play.
  7. Test schedule: Testing will begin in the alpha phase of development and will continue throughout the beta phase. The goal is to complete all testing and fix any remaining issues at least one month before the planned release date.
  8. Test resources: The testing team will consist of 5 QA testers and 1 lead tester. Specialized tools such as debuggers and profilers will be used as needed.
  9. Test deliverables: The testing team will provide a daily report outlining the progress of testing and any issues that have been discovered. A final report summarizing the results of testing will be provided to the development team upon completion of testing.
  10. Risks and contingencies: The main risk is that the game may contain critical bugs that are not discovered during testing. To mitigate this risk, the testing team will use a variety of testing techniques and will be encouraged to thoroughly explore the game and try out different gameplay mechanics and features. If any critical bugs are discovered after release, a patch will be developed and released as soon as possible to fix the issue.

A More In Depth Game Testing Plan

As your team and experience grows, it will help to have a much more detailed game testing plan, and process in place. This process will need to involve all key stakeholders, and you will probably have a single point of contact who will be responsible for overseeing the entire process. Below is a more detailed example.

  1. Introduction:
  • Game title: XYZ Simulation Game
  • Platforms: PC, Xbox One, PlayStation 4
  • Target audience: Casual gamers aged 18-30
  • Development studio: XYZ Studios
  • Testing goals: Ensure that the game is realistic, immersive, and free of critical bugs before release
  1. Scope:
  • Test all gameplay mechanics, levels, and features in the game
  • Test on PC and console hardware using a variety of controllers and input devices
  • Test in English and perform localization testing in French, Spanish, and German
  1. Test objectives:
  • Ensure that the game is realistic and immersive
  • Verify that all levels and features are complete and functional
  • Ensure that the game performs well on a variety of hardware configurations
  • Identify and fix any critical bugs
  1. Test approach:
  • Use a combination of manual testing, automated testing, and testing using specialized tools such as debuggers and profilers
  • Provide testers with a list of test cases to follow
  • Encourage testers to play the game as they would normally, exploring and trying out different gameplay mechanics and features
  • Log issues in a bug tracking system and assign them to the appropriate development team member for resolution
  1. Test environment:
  • Test on PC and console hardware using a variety of controllers and input devices
  • Test on Windows, Mac, and Linux operating systems
  • Test on Xbox One and PlayStation 4 consoles
  1. Test cases:
  • Verify that all gameplay mechanics and features are functioning as intended
  • Verify that all levels are complete and functioning as intended
  • Verify that the game performs well on a variety of hardware configurations
  • Verify that the game is realistic and immersive
  • Verify that the game is free of critical bugs
  1. Test deliverables:
  • A list of all issues discovered during testing, including steps to reproduce the issue and any relevant details such as error messages or screenshots
  • A report summarizing the results of the testing process, including the number and severity of issues discovered and the status of each issue (fixed, in progress, or still being investigated)
  • A list of recommendations for improving the game based on feedback from testers
  1. Test schedule:
  • Testing will begin on Monday, January 1 and is expected to take approximately 4 weeks to complete
  • Testing will be performed on a full-time basis, with testers working 8 hours per day, 5 days per week
  • Testing will be performed by a team of 5 testers, including a lead tester who will coordinate the testing process and ensure that all test objectives are met

By following this test plan, the development team can ensure that the game is thoroughly tested and that any issues are identified and addressed in a timely and efficient manner.

Building out a Diverse Group of Game Testers

Having a diverse group of testers can be beneficial for a video game because it helps to ensure that the game is enjoyable and accessible for all players.

Below are some example criteria for selecting a diverse group of testers:

  1. Age: It’s important to have testers from different age groups to ensure that the game appeals to players of all ages.
  2. Gender: It’s important to have testers of different genders to ensure that the game is enjoyable and accessible for players of all genders.
  3. Ethnicity: It’s important to have testers of different ethnicities to ensure that the game is enjoyable and accessible for players of all ethnicities.
  4. Ability: It’s important to have testers with different abilities to ensure that the game is enjoyable and accessible for players with disabilities.
  5. Gaming experience: It’s important to have testers with different levels of gaming experience to ensure that the game is enjoyable and accessible for players of all skill levels.
  6. Cultural background: It’s important to have testers with different cultural backgrounds to ensure that the game is enjoyable and accessible for players from different cultural backgrounds.
  7. Language: It’s important to have testers who speak different languages to ensure that the game is enjoyable and accessible for players who speak different languages.
  8. Location: It’s important to have testers from different locations to ensure that the game is enjoyable and accessible for players from different regions and time zones.

These are just a few examples of criteria that could be used to select a diverse group of testers for a video game. The specific criteria will depend on the goals and needs of the development team and the project.