Game Development Reference
Turn your hardcore gamers into hardcore testers. Hardcore gaming is not the same as hardcore testing.
So-called “hardcore�? gamers are generally a masochistic lot—they willingly pay for games weeks
and months before they're even released; they gladly suffer through launch week server overload
problems; they love to download patches. Use the methods described in this topic to get them to
understand that bug-fixing patches can be the exception, rather than the rule. All it takes is careful
test planning, design, and execution.
You may encounter attitudes in your test lab such as
“Everybody has broadband, so we don't need to test modem play.�?
“Nobody likes the L.A. Clippers, so I won't test using them as my team.�?
“Everybody played StarCraft , so we don't need to test the tutorial in our own
“Nobody likes CTF (capture the flag) mode, so we don't need to spend a lot of
time on it.�?
“Nobody uses melee weapons, so I'll just use guns.�?
Your job as a tester, and test manager, is to be aware of your and your team's pets and
pet peeves, and to create an atmosphere in which a variety of approaches are discussed
and respected freely and frequently. Cultivate and encourage different types of play
styles. Recruit sports gamers. Recruit casual and non-gamers. Foster diversity.
Testing as Detective Work
The second broad category of ad hoc testing is directed testing. You could best
describe this method as “detective testing�? because of its specific, investigative nature.
The simplest form of directed testing answers a very specific question, such as
Does the new compile work?
Can you access all the characters?
Are the cut-scenes interruptible?
Is saving still broken?
The more complex type of directed testing becomes necessary when testers find a
major defect that is difficult or seemingly impossible to reproduce. The tester has
“broken the game,�? but can't figure out how she or he did it. Like a good homicide
case, the tester finds himself with a body (the bug) and an eyewitness (himself or other
testers). Unlike a homicide case, the focus is not on “whodunnit.�? The perpetrator is a
defect in the code. The focus is “howdithappen.�?