Game Development Reference
Ad Hoc Testing
Although the vast majority of this topic is designed to help you take a methodical,
structured approach to testing a game, this chapter focuses on a more chaotic,
unstructured—yet no less crucial—approach to game testing.
Ad hoc testing, sometimes referred to as “general�? testing, describes searching for
defects in a less structured way. Play testing describes playing the game to test for such
subjective qualities as balance, difficulty, and the often-elusive “fun factor.�? Because ad
hoc testing is closer to the more traditional structured testing described in earlier
chapters, this chapter examines it first.
Ad hoc is a Latin phrase that can be translated as “to this particular purpose.�? It is, in
its purest form, a single test improvised to answer a specific question.
Despite the most thorough and careful test planning and test design, or the most complex
test suite you may have designed, even after being reviewed carefully by other test leads or
the project manager, there is always something you (and they) might have missed.
Ad hoc testing allows you as an individual tester to explore investigative paths that
may have occurred to you, even subconsciously or unconsciously, in the course of per-
forming structured test suites on the game. During the course of testing a game you
will have almost daily thoughts along the lines of “I wonder what happens if I do… ?�?
Ad hoc testing gives you the opportunity to answer those questions. It is the mode of
testing that best enables you to explore the game, wandering through it as you would