How to Be a Game Tester – Become a Really Good One
Career / Gaming Industry
Game testing is a distinct field in the video game industry, because it has its own set of methodologies, and game testers are expected to employ these rigorous techniques to ensure that the pre-release game title they tested will end up as bug-free as possible before its final release to the market. Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons Image License: Creative Commons
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There is a somewhat childish misconception that game testing is all about lazing around on a comfortable pouf and playing great video games and getting paid tons of cash for “bumming around.” We would like to take this opportunity to debunk this extremely inaccurate conception of the video game industry and the game testing field.
In reality, game testing (or quality assurance testing) is taken very seriously and, quite frankly, with the high competition in this area of video game production, you should also consider the idea seriously if you want to get anywhere in this field.
Quality assurance testing via game testing ensures that game-breaking errors and flaws in the game software do not dampen the happiness and satisfaction of the end consumers (for obvious reasons). The biggest source of income for indie (independent) game developers and large companies is still sales.
A gaming company that invests millions of dollars to produce a line of new video games will want to protect its investment. If people say that a game is too buggy to be truly playable, the investments of the game company will be eroded completely, and its hold on the market will fade.
That’s how important quality assurance is. There is no substitute for it; however, there is never any shortage of people who want to enter the gaming industry professionally, so you have to be competitive yourself.
How To Become a Game Tester Guidelines
Here are some important guidelines on how to be a game tester, that you should keep in mind, if you want to come out on top in this field:
1. Develop useful skills. No gaming studio will want to keep a game tester who doesn’t have the necessary skills to discover and document bugs. You can attend classes to develop these skills under the mentorship of veteran developers; this is probably one of the best routes. On the flipside, you can probably still get a lot of useful skills by just learning from the job itself.
2. Be goal-centric when testing games. You will be given some training before you start but, in the end, it is the number of actual game bugs that will keep you afloat in this field.
Believe it or not, this is how game companies and studios measure the effectiveness of a game tester – by the number of bugs he is able to observe and report. This might sound like a shallow standard, and many people might become frustrated by it. But we can’t change facts: studios want bug reports, and lots of them.
3. Be ready to take the heat. There will be times when the software development segment of the studio will not be able to fix all of the bugs that you will find. Sometimes, the company/studio will still blame the quality assurance (QA) segment for bugs that have made it to beta or alpha release.
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