Game Development Reference
Express your idea in the positive. “The pointer color is bad,�? is a far less helpful
comment than, “Making the pointer green will make it much easier to see.�?
Sleep on it. It may not seem like such a good idea in the morning.
Discuss it with your fellow testers. If they think it's a good idea, then discuss it
with your test lead.
Ask your test lead to discuss it with the project manager or lead designer.
If your test lead convinces the development team that your idea has merit, at
that point you may be asked to enter the suggestion into the defect database as
a bug so that it can be tracked like any other change. Only do this if you are
I know this process works. As a tester, I have had design tweaks I suggested incorpo-
rated into more than a dozen games; yet I've never written a single suggestion bug.
It's Hard Work Making a Game Easy
One element of game balance that becomes the most difficult to pin down late in the
development cycle is, ironically, difficulty . Games take months and years to develop.
By the time a game enters full-bore testing, the game testers will likely have complet-
ed the game more often that even the most ardent fan. The design and development
team may have been playing the game for more than a year. Over the course of game
development, the following take place:
Skills improve with practice. If you couldn't grind a rail for more than 10 feet
when you got the first test build of a stunt game, you can now grind for hours
and pull off 20-trick chains without breaking a sweat.
AI patterns, routes, and strategies are memorized. The behavior of even the
most sophisticated AI opponents becomes predictable as you spend weeks play-
ing against them.
Puzzles stop being puzzling. In adventure games or other types of games with
hide-and-seek puzzle elements, once you learn how to solve a puzzle or where
an item is hidden, it's impossible to unlearn it.
Tutorials stop tutoring. It's very difficult to continue to evaluate how effective a
lesson is if you've already learned the lesson.
Jokes become stale.
What was once novel becomes very familiar. And familiarity breeds contempt.
The upside of all this is that, on release day, the development and test teams are the
best players of their own game on the planet. (This won't last long, though, so you
should enjoy “schooling�? new players online while you can.)