Game Development Reference
The Pareto Chart and control chart in Figures 6.7 and 6.8, respectively, were created using SPC for
Excel (www.spcforexcel.com). A link to a demo version is provided on the topic's CD-ROM.
I remember one project where there was a noticeable dip in the number of defects
submitted one week. This was a good result for the developers but bad for the testers.
A quick investigation revealed that “Bud�?—a particularly productive tester—had been
on vacation that week. The test data for the rest of the team was within the normal
range. Legitimately bad results should be understood and subsequently prevented
from happening in the future. Especially good results are just as important to under-
stand so they can be imitated. Additional tools and techniques can be identified in the
SQAP for those purposes. This result also suggests that the data could be reported in
a different way, such as defects per tester, to account for inevitable fluctuations in
staffing. This could replace the original chart or be used in addition to it.
Your game is not just software. It's a customer experience. The advertisements in the
store, the game packaging, the user's manual, and the game media are all part of that
experience. In many cases these items come from sources outside the game team.
These are some of your “suppliers.�? Their work is subject to the same kinds of mis-
takes you are capable of producing on your own. You may also have software or game
assets supplied to you that you use within the game, such as game engines, middle-
ware, art, and audio files.
In both of these cases, QA should play a role in determining that the supplied items
are “fit for use.�? This can be done in the same way internal deliverables are evaluated.
Additionally, the QA team can evaluate the supplier's capability to deliver a quality
product by conducting on-site visits to evaluate the supplier's processes. When you go
to the deli, it's nice to see that the food is laid out nicely in the display case. You also
appreciate the fact that a food inspector has checked out the plant from which the
food originates to see that it is uncontaminated, and that the produced in a clean and
healthy environment. The same should be true for game-related software and materials
that are supplied to you from other companies.
If new tools, techniques, and/or equipment are going to be used in the development
of the project, it may be necessary for one or more QA personnel to become acquaint-
ed so they can properly audit the affected deliverables and activities. The impact of the