Game Development Reference
Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition, and a lot of unexpected things will happen
on your project. Expect the unexpected! Many parts of the game need to be tested at
various points in the game's life cycle. Behind the scenes, many different technologies
are at work—3D graphics, audio, user interfaces, multithreading, and file systems to
name a few. If you are not ready for a variety of test assignments and don't have the
skills needed to perform them successfully, then you will stumble rather than star.
Study, practice, and experience are ingredients for good preparation. During the
course of the project, try to get to know more about the game code. Keep up with the
industry so you are also aware of what the next generation of games and technologies
will be like. Become an expert in the requirements and designs for the parts of the
game you are responsible for testing, and then get familiar with the ones you aren't
responsible for. When you least expect it, you may need to take on a different position,
fill in for another tester, or grow into more responsibility. Be ready when it happens.
The information in Chapter 5, “The Game Production Cycle,�? gives you a heads up on preparing
yourself to succeed as a game tester, as well as covers what kinds of environments, projects, roles,
and jobs you might find yourself in someday.
Pressure can come from any of three directions:
Schedule (calendar time to complete the project)
Budget (money to spend on the project)
Headcount (the quantity and types of people assigned to work on the game)
There's nothing to prevent one or more of these resources from shrinking at any time
during the project. As a tester, these factors won't be under your control. Usually they
are determined by business conditions or project managers. In any case, you will be
impacted. Figure 1.1 shows the resources in balance with the scope of the project.
Moving in any one of these points on the triangle squeezes the project, creating pres-
sure. Sometimes a game project starts out with one of these factors being too small,
or they can get smaller anytime after the project has launched. For example, money
can be diverted to another game, developers might leave to start their own company,
or the schedule gets pulled in to release ahead of a newly announced game that competes
with yours. Figure 1.2 shows how a budget reduction can cause pressure on the game
project's schedule and headcount.