Game Development Reference
In-Depth Information
Still, you are likely to need a new game team structure that can focus on the needs of
creating and rolling out your test automation program. You will need to have key positions
on the test team for programmers who fully understand game code. They need to be
able to write test code and scripts that fully integrate with the game code or they need
to be able to convey clearly and succinctly their needs to the game code developers
who can add the necessary hooks and lines of code that automatic testing requires.
Any effort to introduce test automation into a project needs the new test automators
to be staffed in addition to the existing game developers and the balance of your testing
department. It will be vital for the “automators�? to remain uninvolved in the day-to-
day issues of either the game code development or manual testing. This sub-team will
need to be a well-managed one that works harmoniously and cooperates within itself,
as well as being capable of working smoothly with the development team and the rest
of the testing department. If you use staff that is already assigned to other testing tasks,
you run the risk of significant conflicts between the needs of the “regular�? testers and
those doing automation. When the demands of manual testing get overloaded (and
depending on where in the development cycle your title is, this is likely), the manager,
testers, or programmers will find it harder and harder to justify keeping the automatic
testing up to date. Potentially, automatic testing can get so far out of synch that it will
get put aside in favor of using only human testers. Once the automation is up and
running, manual testers can gradually shift their efforts to executing, maintaining,
and creating new automated tests. Ideally, over time, every tester should be capable of
contributing to both manual and automated testing. This transition period may span
many releases or even multiple game projects.
Maturity Test
Is your test department a mature, well-developed organism comprised of well-trained
individuals with a clear testing system? Or, do you still tend to undertake game test-
ing on a rather ad hoc basis? Do you use entirely external testers? These factors will
determine whether it is advisable for you to introduce automated testing, let alone
seek to go entirely automatic. As a rule, adding automation may either be a significant
boon to your company or a major disaster depending on the skill set of your team and
the existing systems that you have (or do not have) in place. If your projects already
tend to go substantially past due and over budget, you may decide that you are an ideal
candidate for test automation, believing that it will shorten your development times
and lower your costs by increasing your efficiency. Sadly, this is almost the opposite of
what usually takes place. If your organization is already running at lower than peak
efficiency, adding automation to your testing department could, and probably will,
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