Game Development Reference
4. Programmers are much more tired and prone to mistakes toward the end
of the project.
5. Testers are much more tired and prone to miss things toward the end of
6. Bugs happen.
In the case of a PC game, a Web game, or any other game in which the publisher or
financing entity is the sole arbiter of whether to release the product, once the Gold
testing phase has been concluded, the game is ready for manufacture. In the case of a
console game, however, there is one final gatekeeper who must certify the code. This
final certification process is known as release testing .
A clean GMC is sent to the platform manufacturer for final certification once the project
team has finished Gold testing. The platform manufacturer (for example, Nintendo,
SCEA, or Microsoft) then conducts its own intensive testing on the GMC. Their testing
consists of two phases, which can happen concurrently or consecutively. The standards
phase tests the code against the Technical Requirements Checklist. The functionality phase
tests the code for functionality and stability. The release testers always play the game
through at least once per submission. They often find showstopper bugs of their own.
At the end of certification testing, the platform manufacturer's QA team will issue a
report of all the bugs they found in the GMC. Representatives of the publisher will
discuss this bug list with the account representatives at the platform manager, and will
mutually agree upon which bugs on the list must be fixed.
The development team is well advised to fix only those bugs on the “must fix�? list, and
to avoid fixing each and every minor bug on the list in an effort to please the platform
manufacturer. Fixing more bugs than is absolutely necessary to win final certification
only puts the code at risk for more defects.
Once the game has been re-submitted and certified by the platform manufacturer, it
is “Gold.�? The champagne should flow. But the project is not over yet.
Software updates, or patches , are a fact of life. Users don't like them, but want them if
they're available. Publishers don't like them, because they potentially add to the over-
all cost of the project. Developers don't like them, because they can be perceived as a
tacit admission of failure. However, if the game was shipped with even one or two bad
defects, either intentionally or inadvertently, it's time for a patch.