Game Development Reference
project is managed, you as a tester may be assigned to one specific area, mode, feature,
or section of the game. All the test suites you perform on each build may focus on that
specific area. Ad hoc testing allows you to move beyond to other areas, and allows
other testers to explore your area, without a test suite to guide them.
By using ad hoc testing, you can put fresh eyes on various parts of the game and find
previously overlooked issues.
This method can include the following:
Assigning members of the multiplayer team to play through the single-player
Assigning campaign testers to skirmish (or multiplayer) mode.
Assigning the config/compatibility/install tester to the multiplayer team.
Assigning testers from another project entirely to spend a day (or part of a day)
on your game.
Asking non-testers from other parts of the company to play the game (see the
section “Play Testing�? later in this chapter).
Performing ad hoc testing early will quickly help to reveal any lingering
deficiencies in your test plans, combinatorial tables, and test flow diagrams
(see the following sidebar).
Who Turned the Lights On?
A venerable PC games publisher operated a handful of test labs in its various studios around the
country, and the local test managers often would send builds of their current projects to each other
for ad hoc testing and “idiot checking.�?
When one test manager handed the latest build of another studio's PC FormulaOneracing game
to two of his testers, he was surprised to see them back in his office minutes later. “Crashed it
already,�? they reported proudly.
“How?�? the manager cried. “You've barely had time to get past the main menu!�?
“We turned the headlights on!�?
As you might expect, the default time in the default track in the default mode was “day.�? When the
two testers started their race in this mode, they turned the headlights on “just to see what happens.�?
The game crashed instantly.
Needless to say, this counterintuitive pair of settings (time = day and headlights = on) was added
to the combinatorial tables by the chastened but wiser test lead.