Game Development Reference
In-Depth Information
regression and load/stress tests on massive online environments. But even if online
MMP games are not your company's main output, you will still be on solid logical
ground arguing that highly repetitive testing is well suited to being replaced with auto-
mated testing. You will also be on firm ground arguing that to some degree, at least,
automated “sniff test�? testing should be introduced, which ensures that new code does
not contain obvious flaws before a commit is permitted.
Some of the predictable fixed costs when converting to automation are as follows:
Additional hardware (or at the least upgrades to existing hardware)
Middleware and tool licenses (you are likely to need at least some)
Scripting tool creation
New game code to add hooks, framework, and so on for automation
Tool training
Management software and support
Ramp-up costs
Additional team members who are devoted to automation
You will face some variable costs, too:
Test case implementation
Test case designs specific to automation
Results analysis
Defect reporting
Night-time system runtime
It should be straightforward to calculate the costs of these factors. They are based on
well-known variables and cost bases that already exist in some (at least similar) form
within your company, either in relation to existing manual testing or to game code
Test Automation in Action: The Sims Online
In their 2003 presentation to the Game Developer's Conference in San Jose, Greg
Kearney, Larry Mellon, and Darrin West detailed their implementation of game test
automation in the development of The Sims Online (
moin.cgi/AutomatedTestingInMmpGames) . The problem they identified was that
developing and deploying massively multiplayer Permanent State Worlds (PSWs) has
proven to be very difficult due to the distributed nature and large scale of the system.
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