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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Cheatsheet To Ensure Your Video Game Passes the Compliance Test

Be it any platform – XBOX One, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch or 3DS, months of development and QA efforts will go to waste if your game fails to clear the console manufacturers’ compliance testing parameters and guidelines. Though developers cannot release a game without getting an express approval from the console manufacturers, QA houses often tend to miss reporting these critical and easy to find defects.

Before heading into full-fledged compliance testing, it is critical to get an insight into how console manufacturers usually test games. Because the timeframe is limited and there are numerous projects in the pipeline for submission approval especially during specific seasons, every console manufacturer creates a set of standards against which they test games. They may not play the game end-to-end and at times may also ignore the occasional aesthetic issue – but if a game throws any severe compliance testing issue against their standards, publishers will be asked to resubmit. It is therefore essential that game developers test their games against these standards to ensure quick approval. This is where a knowledgeable and experienced game testing companies come in handy.

GlobalStep has worked closely with leading video game developers and publishers, providing them class-leading compliance testing services, thereby helping them get their titles approved with minimal resubmission. We have one of the best pass-through rates in the industry. Our experience and close partnerships with leading console manufacturers also provides us unique insight into the testing process. Now, we understand that by the time it is time to send the game over to console manufacturers for the final approval, you are already running against tight timelines and a resubmission can be costly both in terms of the redevelopment needed to fix defects as well as possible release delays.

Based on our extensive experience, we have developed the ultimate compliance testing cheat that will come handy when you have very less time remaining for testing. These are the absolute minimum tests that you must perform to maximize your chances of getting approved in the first-go:

Screen Resolution:

You must check your game against all the screen resolutions supported by the targeted console – from lowest to highest resolution.

Goals:

(a) Game compatibility with the set resolution from console settings
(b) Display stretching
(c) Text visibility – Pixelation is fine in lower resolutions as long as users can read the text
(d) Cropping of the display in an inappropriate manner which truncates important game screen elements such as text/HUD

Accounts:

Testing end-user scenarios with test/sandbox accounts

Goals: 

(a) Basic Sign-in and sign-out functionality
(b) Cloud save handling with user’s online account
(c) Game compatibility with and without the use of online accounts
(d) Checking online rankings/posts using multiple accounts on the same console

 Terminology & Artwork:

It could confuse the user if each application used its own terminology. To prevent such confusion, First Parties have defined unique set of wording and artwork to represent their system components, operations, peripherals, services, and other items.

Goals:

(a) Verification of terminology displayed in the game against the standards set by console manufacturer
(b) Ensuring that consistency is maintained throughout the title
(c) Checking the artwork of product/controller/ used in the game

 Error message handling:

Except for a handful of system messages, nowadays almost all the First Parties have given developers the freedom to create their own messages so that end users can easily understand and resolve the error.

Goals
(a) Validating the user-friendliness of the message or information displayed after an error generation
(b) Checking the flow if user is able to resolve the error

Controller/Peripheral Support:

What is required to run through a game? Of course the input! Done via controllers, touch or different peripherals for consoles.
Goals
(a) Verifying if user is able to change the supported controller configurations
(b) Supported & unsupported controller/peripheral connection and disconnection impact on the game
(c) Least one but checking the controller vibration feature functioning

Online Connectivity & Network errors:

The current trend is to keep more and more people engaged with in-game online services/features.

Goals
(a)Verifying if supported online features are accessible/playable in end user similar conditions such as account creation/network strength
(b)Performing several network interruption errors and checking the game handing

Save & Load:

Another important section! This area is the most utilized one by end users, so there is a high likelihood that end users will encounter any relevant issues that are present in the Master Candidate.

Goals
(a) Save data compatibility between main game version and patch version
(b) Trophy/Achievements unlocking with local & cloud save data

Parental Control

Parental controls and age ratings allow limiting the types of content that can be accessed online, and type of game that can be played. Certain settings even allow to restrict access to the Internet, disable in-game purchases, and regulate the amount of time a child can play and more.
Goals
(a) Setting up the supported parental controls and checking the game behavior accordingly.
(b) Verifying that notifications are displayed to end user and temporary or permanent lifting of restrictions is functioning as intended

DevMenu /Debug Settings

To aid with testing end user scenarios, first parties do provide Devmenu /debug settings in their development/testing kits.
Goals
(a) Generating message pop-up to confirm the handling for certain end-user scenarios. E.g. Insufficient Memory
(b) For every in-game operation, specific functions are being called in the background which are not visible to end user. These functions can be checked through debug settings E.g. Default age, Save data creation, online multiplayer, PSN network, etc.

Paperwork:

To conclude, please do not ignore the submitted paperwork as well. Most of the times, game is found to be compliant with the standards but basic paperwork issues are flagged which results in a submission failure.

This basic cheat sheet will help you minimize the chances of resubmission, but there are still chances that a console manufacturer raises a red flag against your game title. The best way of ensuring that your game sails through compliance testing is to work closely with an experienced game testing company like GlobalStep. Learn more about our game compliance testing services.

[Lekhraj Premraj Pardeshi, is currently working as an Assistant Manager in the Interactive Entertainment dept. He brings to the table 9+ years of experience in gaming industry, and possess excellent domain testing domain knowledge across different platforms. Lekhraj is a specialist in Compliance testing for Mobile & Nintendo platforms.]

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