Game Development Reference
automation will definitely impact your company positively and where it may have
either a minimal or insufficient impact. And then when presenting to management,
be sure to make clear what the realistic benefits of automation are likely to be and
when those benefits are likely to be realized. If introducing large-scale test scripts is
not likely to significantly benefit the current title in development, or even the ensuing
two, but is expected to start showing benefits from the third project onward, then be
sure to present this picture clearly rather than promote the frequent misconception
that automation will yield immediate and tangible financial benefits. Here are some
of the factors your management team will need to consider:
No hands-on testing. It's easy to factor in how much an additional human
tester will cost and what his/her likely value will be, but how do you factor
computer control and testing?
Assumed increase in productivity. The mere fact you have decided to automate
will give the expectation of increased efficiency and lower costs.
Reduction of perceived productivity. Ironically, your department will seem less
productive due to the time it takes to implement and use automatic tools.
Deeper levels of test issues. Because automation brings new opportunities to
test, it will often introduce deeper levels of testing, which can be a good or bad
Fundamental changes in how software is developed. The ramifications of
introducing automated testing can reach company-wide.
Test cycles performed. Because automatic testing runs so much faster than
human testing, it can lead to greater churning, which in turn may encourage
productivity or lead to laziness.
Improved professionalism. Automating testing can often motivate the team if it
is done well and lead to improved morale and professionalism.
In computing the likely ROI on the company's proposed investment in automating its
testing program, you have to consider many more variables than management is
expecting to have to look at. You'll also have to argue that all the benefit ultimately
gained will not be realized for some time, and this is in itself going to be a hard sell.
Not least because you need to be clear the extent to which automating the testing will
impact company-wide operations and change the way that the development team
codes its games, the way game engines are written, and so forth. However, you have some
convincing weapons in your arsenal to persuade that automating at least part of your
testing program will make a lot of sense: If you produce massively multiplayer online
games, for instance, your “pitch�? can be substantially assisted by the well-publicized
reports that automation has greatly benefited many developers when it comes to