Top 5 Skills You Need to Possess to Make a Career in Video Game Testing

Each one of us has at some point of the time wished to be playing video games all day long.  From car racing to VR based games, from strategy games to simple puzzles, every game has an attraction and a fascination towards it.

While there are dedicated video game developers and game artists behind creating these interesting games, there is a different tribe called Video Game Testers or Test Engineers as we call them at GlobalStep who dedicate themselves to ensure that the game that will eventually be released in the market should be error free and give the avid gamer a superlative gaming experience.

So what does it take to be a video game tester?

Being acquainted with games and gameplay
Yes, no doubt that you need to be game savvy and familiar with various formats of the game. Since you’ll be spending a ton of time with whatever game you’re testing, companies will expect that you already have some gaming skills and a gaming vocabulary. This requirement should be a slam dunk for any person who wants to become a successful video game tester.

Be an excellent communicator
The Test Engineers spend a lot of time communicating with their teams either through email, chat and/or face-to-face. This means you must listen carefully when others are speaking, you need to be asking questions to clarify what others are saying when you’re in a conversation and you should be able to express your thoughts and ideas in a concise manner that others can understand.

Furthermore, if you think your spelling and grammar isn’t so good, well maybe spend a little time working on that. It will be worth the effort to help build yourself a career with leading video game testing companies across the world.

Being Meticulous
Yes, paying attention to detail pays off if you want to grow as a video game test engineer. Game Testers spend a lot of their time doing things like looking for bugs, writing bug reports, verifying fixes and regressing bugs that they had written previously. So, to excel at these tasks demand that you be observant, thorough in your work, organized and patient.

Of course, this is something that you can learn and develop with practice.

Being Self-Motivated and taking ownership!
Being a game tester doesn’t mean to just sit around and get paid to play games all day. The reality is testers play games all day that are unfinished, unbalanced, often incredibly broken. They’ll play the same broken game over and over every day, sometimes overnight and on weekends for months – and possibly even years, depending on the game.

It can be incredibly tedious work that requires a lot of commitment and attention to detail. People who land their first testing job are often surprised by how challenging the position can be. Most of the testers time is spent repeatedly testing certain features, systems, and small-to-moderate chunks of actual gameplay. Sometimes, the testers don’t get to play the entire game until near end of the development cycle.

Should be able to think outside the box
It would be highly desirable that the testers should bring their creativity out of them and must be tinkerers and have the natural curiosity embedded in them to try and identify some difficult defects in the game. The “outside the box” thinking people who like finding out how things work and solving problems would become a successful tester. Patience and a good sense of humor go a long way in this job.

GlobalStep is hiring at various levels of testing and localization tester positions. Do visit our career section to know more about the latest job openings.

[Rahul Patil, leads the HR function at GlobalStep. He ensures that the right kind of talent with right skills and appropriate attitude is hired.]

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5 reasons why your app could be rejected by iOS App Store (And how to avoid it)

The success of the mobile experience is highly dependent upon the quality and functionality of the applications available for the respective mobile platforms.  An average mobile user spends close to 177 minutes on his / her mobile phone every day and 90% of this time is spent within apps.

Apple’s App Store, which had over 2.2 million functioning applications in the beginning of 2017, is one of the largest application repositories in the world. Apple is also known to be highly dedicated to user experience and functionality and has put in place a highly rigorous process for approving apps that are submitted to the App Store. As per estimates, roughly 16% of the apps that are submitted for review never make it to the App Store for public downloading.

It is therefore imperative for developers to understand Apple’s approval process, why apps are rejected, and what they should do to ensure that their hard-earned money and time spent in app-development doesn’t go to waste. In that regard, Apple has been fairly transparent with the reasons why apps are commonly rejected. Today, we talk about the prime suspects and how you can deal with them:

1.Bugs and Unfinished Versions

Apple employs one of the largest teams of engineers, testers and QA professionals that test and validate each app that is submitted to the App Store. As per Apple, bugs and unfinished/undercooked apps with broken functionality/hyperlinks, inaccurate/ misleading info are the top reason for app rejection, contributing to over a 20% of total rejections. Completeness of the app includes key guidelines such as mandatorily having a support link built into your app, presence of metadata such as version history, company information, app functionality, etc.

How to avoid this?
Ensure that your app is comprehensively tested and all bugs are ironed out before submitting the app to the App Store. Developers commonly think that small bugs/lack of functionality might not be caught – but this is wrong. To maximize the chances of getting your app approved, developers can look towards hiring a professional app testing service provider to ensure complete scenario coverage within the planned timelines. Carefully review Apple’s Guidelines to ensure all metadata and additional information is provided in the correct format.

2.App Crashes

This is the second-biggest cause of app rejection. Apple has a very low tolerance for apps that crash during testing and review and usually, such apps are rejected immediately. Apple’s well-defined testing process puts your app through multiple testing situations including maximum concurrent incoming connections, multiple touches, etc. If you’ve not anticipated for such scenarios, your app might be in trouble!

How to avoid this?

Regression and repetitive testing put your app through multiple scenarios to test performance and identify potential bugs, logic flaws, and crashes. As a developer, you must move beyond merely testing your app on one device and/or one emulation tool. Apps must be tested on multiple physical devices to ensure they are robust for cross-platform operation. Leading app testing service providers usually have a large collection of devices within their testing laboratories to provide maximum coverage.

3.Inconsistent UI / UX

Though Android continues to be the leader in the smartphone market with a 70%+ market share, user interface and user experience are areas where iOS has been constantly rated higher than Google’s mobile OS. It is, therefore, no surprise that Apple has strict guidelines around the look and feel of apps on the App Store. The top left corner must always house the back button, controls must always be clear and visible, menus should ideally be located at the bottom of the screen are just some of the guidelines that Apple takes seriously and flouting these could result in your app getting rejected!

How to avoid this?

Ensure that you follow Apple’s human interface guidelines. While Android might give you more freedom around how your apps are designed, Apple prefers consistency with their style as they feel these guidelines will eventually help you provide the best user experience.

4.Abnormally long load times

As per Apple’s standards, any app that takes more than 15 seconds to load from scratch is a candidate for rejection because users are not expected to wait for longer than that time duration. Remember that Apple expects your app to have continued loading all its data into the RAM, established connections to backend databases and have the homepage ready for user interaction in around 15 seconds.

How to avoid this?
Design simple and nimble apps that load their basic functionality quickly. Test on multiple Apple devices (especially those belonging to older generations) to understand the load times and workout on how to fix them. Apps that try to perform too many functions without having one clear objective are generally frowned upon by Apple’s testing teams.

5.Not caring about user privacy

User privacy is of utmost importance to any mobile company and any app that doesn’t put enough protection in place to prevent privacy incidents or actively tries to misuse confidential user data is very likely to be rejected by the App Store. This means that your app must have a privacy policy and must not utilize user information without explicitly informing the end user. Another prime example of this is the iOS advertising identifier which mandates that to protect user privacy, user details must never be tracked down to specifics such as devices and accounts.

How to avoid this?
Be very transparent and upfront about the permissions that your app requires. Always allow users to choose the data that they will be sharing with you and explicitly inform them what the data will be used for. Avoid capturing and sharing of personal user data.

These are just some of the primary reasons for apps getting rejected by the App Store. There are several other criteria that could cause your app to be rejected – including copyright infringement, similarity to other applications, usage of private APIs, external payment gateways, and so on. An experienced testing and Quality Assurance Services provider like GlobalStep can guide you in terms of Apple’s guidelines for applications as well as support you in conducting comprehensive QA and testing to ensure your application is free of bugs – maximizing your chances of approval and success in the App Store!

[Piyoosh Sah is QA Manager – Game Testing at GlobalStep. A professional who understands client requirements, involved in test planning, overseeing quality certifications and project management.]

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5 Benefits of Outsourcing Game Testing and QA Engineering

Outsourcing tasks within an organization to an experienced partner can help drive cost savings of 20% to 40% depending upon process complexity and capabilities of the service provider. On the other hand, there’s always a nagging doubt in the mind of the management regarding the ability of the service provider in understanding the typical complexities of the market and delivering on promised service level agreements. While both approaches have their pros and cons, increased process orientation, better project management and the demand-supply gap for experienced testers are making the case for outsourcing stronger.

Software Testing traditionally has had a rich history of outsourcing success. While Game Testing is conceptually similar to software testing, it has its own nuances and challenges. Game Development studios are constantly struggling to make the right decision between in sourcing and outsourcing. But with a market that’s growing fast both in terms of the number of gamers as well as the number of devices games are being played on, the scope of game development and testing has amplified manifold.

Blog_v2_24JUL2017

Gaming: Projected Market Growth

Game developers/publishers now need to ensure a much wider testing coverage to maintain the same levels of quality as doled out before. Agility of testing also needs to improve to test the multiple updates and patches that developers are now rolling out to gamers within shortened schedules. This is where an independent game testing company can help developers get access to the right talent at a cost better than companies can manage internally. Today, we look at how independent game testing service providers like GlobalStep can help your business.

Why should you choose to outsource?

  • Gain access to an experienced team of the industry’s best game testers:

Game testing service providers will provide you access to the best-skilled game testers. These teams usually have an experience of working in different genres of games and on multiple platforms. Their credibility, experience, and a wide perspective ensure that defects are identified and communicated at an early stage, enabling you to maintain high-quality standards.

  • Ensure complete coverage with the best tools:

Experience with best in class tools, technologies and frameworks can be a key factor to ensure that your game is tested inside out. Game testing tools and technologies such as Appium, Robotium, Calabash, Device Anywhere typically require a different skillset. An independent testing service provider can help you gain access to the best tools in the market as well as the resources trained to use these tools to maximum advantage. Advanced project management methodologies and proven frameworks can further enable independent service providers test various scenarios faster and more effectively than you can internally.

  • Optimization of up-front and ongoing investments

All the testing needs discussed above are time and resource intensive activities. Sometimes, production houses also put the onus of testing on developers – which is not an ideal use of their time. An experienced game testing provider can provide access to the best resources, tools, platforms, and devices at a fraction of the cost, allowing you to concentrate on the core processes of your organization and expel your resources on your business priorities

  • Achieve a faster go-to-market

Even a small bug can bog down a game’s experience a great deal. With the Internet providing a voice to consumers, a negative comment can quickly evolve into a situation which can hamper the success of an entire game. However, as comprehensive and competent as your developers may be, bugs are inevitable. The only solution is to test effectively, find the bugs and fix them. Unfortunately, this is time-consuming and with the fast pace of the market, simply not possible anymore! Automation tools and frameworks available with experienced game testing partners can help reduce the time and manual effort needed in testing. With the advent and implementation of new transformation methods – using telemetry for reducing test efforts, risk-based testing, shift left etc., you can further reduce your time to reach the market. Test service providers can also leverage experience from working with various customers and implement best practices from across the industry for your project. This enables you to get your game as well as patches to the market faster, giving you a huge competitive edge!
With the dynamics of the modern gaming industry changing at a very fast pace, game development studios must consider a change in their testing strategy. Increased usage of tools, automation, data analytics and collaboration between developers and testers is going to be the key to rising above competition and outsourcing game testing can help you achieve all of these! It is however also key to evaluate service providers on key criteria such as experience, project management frameworks, quality of their QA labs and testing infrastructure, as well as adherence to metrics and SLAs. We wish you luck in your journey towards finding the right partner!

[Rachit Jain is Sr. Manager – Solutions Engineering at GlobalStep. He is a management professional with a technology background who loves to analyze and understand business needs and devise the integrated end to end solutions that fits the requirements. At GlobalStep he works closely with CXO’s and senior management to devise strategies for business development and devise a game plan to achieve the set goals.]

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What to expect at the Game QA and Localisation, Europe 2017

I’m excited to be part of one of the biggest QA and localisation conference for gaming industry in Berlin next week. While, I’m packing my bags, a quick blog to share my thoughts with you.

First things first! The event is going to be taking place in the beautiful city of Berlin for the first time. The location gives a very relaxed and friendly environment to reach out to fellow gaming professionals and exchange views on industry trending topics such as localisation, improving game developer workflows, developments in the game testing services and much more.

Improving the testing experience by analyzing the risks. Creating and managing successful QA services requires massive investments in technology, personnel, and resources.  The rapid evolution of platforms, reduced timelines, increasing complexity of cloud based environments, and the fragmentation of devices presents many unique challenges for a QA function in terms of test coverage within the swamped test schedules and to maintain its brand value in a highly competitive environment. My colleague, Suresh Iyer, will be presenting his thoughts on Risk Based Testing (RBT) – as applied to software testing and its extension to games testing to allay the fears of “not enough testing”

Unity in diversity: One of the pain areas for any game developer or publisher is to manage multiple teams and different workflows. I’m excited to hear the experts share their opinion on how uniting cross functional teams can maximize the collaboration and hence improve game quality. The panel at the event will have participants from key players in the gaming industry, who will discuss and brainstorm on how the companies re-work internal structures, and update the workflows to foster a culture of collaboration and innovation.

Localisation! Yes, it is one of the key service offering for various companies in the games industry and GameQA has ensured that they focus on this. No wonder, major part of the conference schedule is dedicated for various topics under Localisation umbrella. The key industry leadership is going to be talking about organizing teams to manage Localisation for a complex title. There are also going to be sessions which will prove to be very helpful for the team managers as they struggle to find the right collaboration tool for the team.

Its learning as well! The breakout sessions which are spread across the conference schedule promise to be helpful and informative. Interactive sessions focusing on identifying, developing and deploying the latest tools and techniques, improving internal cross functional relationships and workflows to create a culture of collaboration will be a great opportunity for the attendees to learn from the peers. I also love the networking sessions where you get to talk to people from different companies and learn more about the thing that they are engaged in.

GlobalStep is a sponsor of the event. Use #TalkToGlobalStep on Twitter to join the conversation.

Watch this space for more details, as we gear up for the event!

[Sumit Arora is the Operations Director in the Interactive Entertainment practice at GlobalStep and will be part of the delegation attending the conference.]

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What its like to be a woman game tester

A long-standing gender stereotype has been that women don’t like video games. With a 40:60 women:men ratio at GlobalStep’s QA Lab, we beg to differ! Not only women love video games, they are brilliant at it.

Since a long time female gamers have commonly been regarded as a minority, but industry surveys in the past few years have shown that in time the gender ratio has become closer to equal. As per a recent study*, 52% of gamers worldwide are in fact, women!

Women in the games industry are both designing and testing games. And we caught up with a few women game testers from our QA Lab in a candid interview. Read on to know how they deal with gender stereotype, what’s their all-time favorite game and more…


Why did you get into game testing?

You get to play games all day long, why else? Breaking the stereotype, our women game testers share, “We grew up playing video games. It has always been our passion.” One of the youngest girls from the group told us, “I was the only girl from my college in the Counter Strike team. Not only did I play the game but I won various Counter Strike inter-college tournaments with my team which btw was all boys!” Bravo!

What are the most important skills required to become a game tester?

“Many people think that because they like to play video games; they can be game testers… Well, that’s not entirely true. Yes, you do need to have the passion for playing but you also need some core skills like analytical thinking, you should be detail oriented and must have the eye to actually catch bugs while playing the game. Once you catch a bug, you need to be able to find the steps that will replicate the glitch. You also need a lot of patience! As a game tester, your tolerance to do repetitive and tedious tasks is tested every single day and you just need to learn to be persistent. Being able to work well in a team is important too.”

How do people react when you tell them you are a game tester?

The response to this question was in unison!

“Men think of us as Gods!”

“Women are always keen to know more. ‘What do you do exactly?’, ‘So you play video games all the time?’ or sometimes ‘Is that even a job!’ are the most common questions.”

What do you do when you take a break from testing games? Once a game tester, can you still be a gamer?

So when non game-testers take a break, we may interest ourselves in some sort of mobile or PC games, right? Our game testers can’t do this anymore and here’s why, “Since I became a game tester, it’s not so much fun anymore. Every time I play any game for recreation, I start spotting bugs. It’s difficult to switch off being a professional game tester! Having said that, I still love to play games for recreation.”

Wow, that seems like a professional hazard! One of the ladies shared what happened to her favorite mobile game after she became a game tester, “I used to play this very famous and addictive puzzle game and reached a really high level when I had to stop playing it.  Every time I would view the result screen on the game and clicked continue, it went into non-progression mode and had to be forced closed and restarted. My inner game tester couldn’t take it anymore. I reported that bug to the publisher and uninstalled the game. Now I play other more interesting games and try not to look for bugs!”

Is it true that women and men are better are at certain kind of games?

*Stats show men prefer action games while women prefer puzzle games. We asked the ladies if they agree, “That’s quite true actually. Women are mostly better at puzzle games as we are much better at problem-solving skills including logic, pattern recognition, sequence solving, and word completion. And men are mostly better at Combat, Role Playing, Adventure and Strategy games.”

“That doesn’t mean women game testers don’t test Combat games. As a matter of fact, women can focus better in testing bugs related to navigation or sound compared to men in such games as men get influenced by storytelling in, women don’t.” How very interesting!

Which is your current favorite game?

This question had the most varied answers of all! From puzzle to role playing to strategic games, these ladies love them all. Their favorites include – Shin Megami Tensei which is a post-apocalyptic role-playing game, Clash of Clans which is a famous strategy game and 4 Pics 1 Word, a fascinating puzzle game.

Do you play the games you test in your free time?

“Sometimes!”

“The developers / publishers, GlobalStep works with, make some really interesting games and it’s obvious that we would like to continue to play them instead of just testing. Once we are done with our daily tasks, we hang around in the gaming-zone where we can play any of the released titles on any platform be it mobile, console, VR, PC etc.” Perks of being a game tester, eh?

 

For a long time, video games have been designed keeping men in mind. Even with women making up the majority among games users, as characters / protagonists they are still mostly non-existent. From what we see with these intelligent women gamers around us, it’s time for the game designers and publishers to broaden the appeal of their games to both genders equally.

 

Source:

  1. https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/sep/18/52-percent-people-playing-games-women-industry-doesnt-know
  2. https://deltadna.com/blog/gender-split-in-f2p-games/
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GlobalStep interviews Peter-Joey Pham who almost caught them all: Pokemon Go

Date – 1st August, 2016

 

The latest craze to take the world by storm is Pokémon Go, a location-based augmented reality (AR) game developed by Niantic for iOS and Android devices. Since its launch in July 2016, it’s all everyone is talking about. The augmented reality based smartphone game blends the virtual world of Pokémon with the real world, and it has people across the globe going outdoors with just one goal: gotta catch ’em all.

GlobalStep interviews Peter-Joey Pham, who has already caught 142 Pokémon that we know are available in the US plus 1 Kangaskhan he caught in Australia.

Read on to know more about Pham’s adventure on catching ‘em all and why he decided to stop!

 

1. What got you hooked to Pokémon Go?
I really wasn’t actually too excited about it in the beginning. It triggered a bit of nostalgia but didn’t seem like that big a deal. But then started to notice that EVERYONE was playing it, and that’s what got me excited. In addition to the initial excitement, I promised my girlfriend that I wouldn’t start playing the game until she got back from Italy, so I had to wait a while and had a lot of time to build up the anticipation. I kept myself busy by reading up on the game and learning about different strategies.

I still remember opening it and seeing Pokémon all around me, I ignored them like they were girls in the club and they seemed to follow me everywhere. I made my way up to central park and could see hordes of kids running in a general area to catch something. People would cheer wildly, riot in the streets, and block up half the city just trying to catch these darn Pokémon. People were cheering like they won the lottery. The enthusiasm and competitiveness was infectious and I got pretty caught up in it. Then once I got to 100, I was like “I gotta catch ‘em all!”

I will say though, it has to be a dense place like NYC or Sydney because it’s driven by density: The more people there are, the more Pokémon you find. I don’t think I could have gotten hooked into it if I lived in a rural area.

Density was 100% of the decision for cities I chose.

 

2. Which Pokémon did you catch first and why?
The first Pokémon I caught was Pikachu. For nostalgic reasons, I think I really wanted to get him. When my girlfriend was in Italy, I spent a lot of time reading about the Pikachu hack, where you entice him to appear by ignoring all the other Pokémon. When I read that article, I said to myself, “I’m going to have to try this”.

 

3. What has been your most exciting experience so far while playing the game.
Catching Kangaskhan, by far, because all the effort I had to get there. I spent almost $3,000 to book my round the world trip, and right as I landed in Sydney, the developer decided to reshuffle all the nests, nobody knew where the nests were! Before the trip I researched everything, and I knew where I was going to go: Bondi beach in Sydney, Imperial Palace in Japan, and canary Wharf in London. Weeks’ worth of research was gone! All with one update. That made the capture so much more exciting because I didn’t have access to Reddit because of the slow internet. Australian internet is pretty useless. I tried Bondi Beach, the Cemetery, and pretty much wasted half a day at these places. Running out of time, I went to the densest place I could find – Sydney Opera House. There were over 300 players there – I talked to people and no one knew where Kangaskhan had gone. They believed all the regional nests were destroyed.

When I finally caught him at the Sydney opera house, it was so rewarding because of everything I had gone through to get him.

 

4. If you could describe the Pokémon Go game experience in one word, what would that be?
Tiring. I was going to say exhilarating, but that was really just the initial feeling [laughs].

 

5. What are your thoughts on the user interface (UI) of the game?
Not bad. There is a lot of room for improvement, but I get that they’re taking baby steps. My main issue is that once you catch them all, it’s not as enticing any more. Many people stop playing once they’ve caught a sufficiently large number. I feel like this app has so much potential and there’s so much you can do with it, but they can’t give it to us all at once. It’s like Star Wars: If you release all the movies at once, it kills the franchise!

 

6. Being a QA Company, we are most curious about any unique issues you have encountered within the game?
The freaking nest thing drove me nuts! How dare you change the nest on me after I spend 3 grand on travel!

 

7. What changes you’d recommend to make this game better?
The GPS activator is too small; it should be much bigger. Also, I get that it could be an NYC thing where the reception is not great, but the GPS also bounces everywhere. With the GPS activator, you have to be very very close to see a Pokémon. To make it more of an augmented reality experience, the GPS activator should have a larger radius so that the Pokémon visibility range is as large as the distance you can see with human eyesight. Otherwise, it feels more like searching for an Easter egg in the ground versus an actual Pokémon.

 

8. What are your other favorite video games of all time?
I tend to gravitate to strategy games. I loved Command and Conquer, I think I bought just about every version of the game. I also loved playing Clash of the Clans, but I deleted the app because it stops being fun after you get to a high enough level. At a certain level, the prices to upgrade are insane – it keeps getting exponentially higher, so I stopped playing. And of course: Halo.

 

9. You have caught 143 Pokémon until now. You have mentioned in a previous interview that you won’t play the game again. What we would like to know is if there is anything that will make you go back to catching Pokémon again :)?
Nah, I just said that because I was frustrated. I keep playing it casually, but not at the same intensity. It would take a freaking Dragonite, Charizard, or something at that level. If it gets my blood pumping, I’ll go, but if it’s a freaking Growlithe on the other side of the street, screw that dude, I’m not crossing.

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