Game Development Reference
Running long tests after staying up for 30 hours straight or working 100+ hours a
week is not the best approach to finding defects. It is, however, a good way to intro-
duce them! When developers do this, they keep testers in business, but it doesn't help
get the game released. It's just as bad for the project when testers make mistakes.
Reporting a problem that doesn't really exist (for example, tested the wrong build,
didn't do the setup or install properly, and so on) will send the developers on a wild
goose chase and waste precious time. If you absolutely have to do testing late at night
or at the end of a long week, make a checklist to use before and after the testing. If
there's another tester around, have her check your stuff and you can check hers when
she does her testing. Also, by writing down some of the information as you go along,
you won't be prone to mistakes later on if you have to rely on your tired memory. It's
kind of like a pre-launch checklist for the space shuttle. If something is wrong, stop
the countdown. Go back and make it right—like it says in the test instructions. After
testing is done, record pertinent results and facts. The next page includes an example
checklist that you can start with and expand on to fit your own game projects.
In addition to putting practices into place for checking mistakes, look for ways to pre-
vent them in the first place. Depending on your game platform and test environment,
automation may be a viable option to make your work repeatable at any time of the
day. Automated tasks can even go to work while you're at home resting.
Chapter 16, “Game Test Automation,�? and Chapter 17 “Capture/Playback Testing,�? describe tech-
niques and tools you can use to make the best use of your testing andresting time.
Panic symptoms can include too much focus on the near term. Many game projects
take months, so make that a factor in deciding what to work on today and how to do
it. A question I will ask a tester to put him back in the right frame of mind is “Will this
be our last chance to test this?�? If the answer is “no,�? then we discuss how to approach
the present situation in the context of an overall strategy of repeated testing, feedback
from test results, budgeting resources, and so on.
Successful sports teams know how to avoid panic. When they are losing, they're confident
that they can come back from behind and win the game because they are a) familiar with
the situation, b) prepared to deal with it from practice, film study, and in-game experi-
ence, c) rested, and d) don't feel pressure to make up the deficit immediately. Teams that
have a losing record often lack one or more of these ingredients.