Game Development Reference
Before the test team can work with the new build, some housekeeping is in order. The
test equipment must be readied for a new round of testing. The test lead must com-
municate the appropriate hardware configuration to each tester for this build.
Configurations typically change little over the course of testing. To test a single-player-
only console game, you need the game console, a controller, and a memory card. That
hardware configuration typically will not change for the life of the project. If, however,
the new build is the first in which network play is enabled, or a new input device or
PC video card has been supported, you may need to augment their hardware config-
urations to perform the tests on that new code.
Perhaps the most important step in this preparation is eliminating any trace of the
prior build from the hardware. “Wiping�? the old build on a Nintendo GameCube is
simple because the only recordable media for that system is a memory card. All you
have to do is remove and archive the saved game you created with the old build. More
careful test leads will ask their testers to go the extra step of reformatting the memory
card, which completely erases the card, to ensure that not a trace of the old build's data
will carry forward during the testing of the new build.
Save your saves! Always archive your old user-created data, including game saves, options files,
custom characters, and custom levels.
Not surprisingly, configuration preparation can be much more complicated for PC
games. The cleanest possible testing configuration for a PC game is
A fresh installation of the latest version of the operating system, including any
patches or security updates.
The latest drivers for all components of the computer. This not only includes
the obvious video card and sound card drivers, but also chipset drivers,
motherboard drivers, ethernet card drivers, and so on.
The latest versions of any “helper apps�? or middleware the game requires
to run. These can range from Microsoft's DirectX multimedia libraries to
multiplayer matchmaking software such as GameSpy Arcade.
The only other software on the computer should be the new build.
“Bob�? once walked into a QA lab that was testing a very cutting-edge 3D PC game.
Testing of the game had fallen behind, and he was sent from the company's corporate
headquarters to investigate. Bob arrived late in the morning, and at noon he was
appalled to see the testers exit the game they were testing and fire up email, IRC, Web