Game Development Reference
10. All online modes are complete and testable.
11. All language version text is implemented and ready for simultaneous
release. The game script (both written and spoken) is locked and can be
sent forward for translation and integration into the foreign-language
versions of the game.
At some point during Beta testing, the project manager should declare the game to be
in a state of design lock (sometimes called feature lock). The play testing has concluded.
Questions of balance have been resolved as best they can. The focus of the test team
at this point should be to continue to run the test cases against the builds in an iterative
manner, because each defect fixed at this point may have introduced another defect
elsewhere in the game.
Toward the end of Beta, many tough decisions must be made. The teams are tired,
tempers are on edge, and time is running out. In this charged atmosphere, with very
little sleep themselves, the project team leaders have to make such critical choices as
Whether or not to implement that last-minute feature enhancement. The
designers may have had a great idea at the eleventh hour and are eager to intro-
duce a new feature, character, or level. The project team leaders must weigh the
risks of implementing the new feature (and possibly implementing new bugs
and schedule slippage) against shipping a perhaps less compelling game on time.
Whether to cut that level that just doesn't seem to be much fun. Occasionally
it becomes clear during the course of testing that a level or other content com-
ponent is a “problem child,�? and requires too much work relative to the time
left in the schedule to redesign. Cutting it out entirely may be problematic,
however, in that the game will require new tests to ensure that the remaining
levels run seamlessly around the deleted features. Critical story information
may have been presented in the problem level, and other levels will have to be
rewritten (and retested) to accommodate this.
Which bugs to ship with. In many ways, this is the toughest decision of all—
which bugs to let go.
Letting Bugs Go
As a gamer, you may have encountered a defect in a game you bought. Your reaction
may likely have been, “I wonder how the testers missed this one?�? Chances are they
didn't miss it.