Over the last few years, the concept of game development has gained quite a momentum. It doesn’t matter whether you are a game aficionado or otherwise, the game development realm has a lot to offer. Not to mention the industry turns out to be quite profit-spinning.
PlayStation, Xbox, Nintendo Switch, and millions of gaming apps available on the play store were USD 173.70 Billion in 2020 and is projected to raise way more by 2026. Let me tell you the gaming world seems to have a very high potential. Not delving into the market now means you might have a lot to lose.
There was a time when gaming apps were limited to just gaming consoles and fortunately, that’s not the case anymore, today games can be played via personal computers, laptops, mobile devices and tablets. As a result, this is the reason why a successful gaming app is said when it offer seamless cross-platform compatibility. And that’s when the concept of game testing comes into play. The following post focuses on what game testing is, why it is important and how to test different gaming apps.
What is Testing Gaming Apps?
Well, much like any software testing procedure, game testing is said when you hire a reputable software testing service provider to test the quality of the developed game. Here they tend to identify current defects and bugs and ensure the overall stability and performance of the game is improved to a great extent. Whether it’s games or any other type of software, testing turns out to be one of the major aspects of any development lifecycle. It’s not just about verifying the quality or readiness of the app before the launch but also how to increase productivity and efficiency and come up with the best possible outcome.
Is Game Testing Different From Software Testing?
So you know what testing a gaming app means. Now here in this segment, we will figure out how game application testing is different from software application testing. But before that, you need to understand that both kinds of testing consist of several similarities such as both require black box testing, Test automation, etc. Basically, game testing tends to inherit each and every aspect of software testing in general. So where exactly does the difference lie?
#1 Game Testing is Way More Complex
The first and foremost difference is that game testing is way more complex and complicated than software testing. So here even if you hire a reputable team of software testers just make sure they work with more concentration, dedication and precision. Also, developing games means creating several technological innovations, and reaching new dynamics, and all this can never be automated.
#2 Usage of Automation Scripts
The next major difference is using automation scripts. As mentioned earlier, game testing requires immense manual effort whereas software testing does incorporate automation. The only issue is developing automation scripts tends to take a hell lot of time. Fortunately, with technology keep on evolving, several tools have already emerged but still usage of automation scripts is a big differentiating point here.
#3 More Seamless Collaboration
Software testing requires more seamless collaboration and teamwork in comparison to game testing. Here software testers and software developers tend to work pretty collaboratively and interactively whereas game testing professionals do not require to conduct continuous back-and-forth interactions. By simply checking in with the programmers and reporting about potential bugs or defects is enough. Software testing does require collaboration with project managers and for game testing, it’s fine if the project managers are not involved.
Apart from these, the testing platform is another important differentiating factor here. Most of the software applications require to be tested with web and mobile platforms whereas when it comes to game applications, platforms such as web, consoles, PC, gaming devices, as well as mobile devices are used.
Why To Conduct Game Testing? Time to Consider its Significance
One of the most highly interactive mediums has been the entertainment realm and gaming world. Several users consuming games over different platforms lead to an increase in vulnerability, unexpected errors and glitches. So one cannot let any kind of app development project go unnoticed or unresolved without conducting proper testing measures. Further, I would like to mention the true significance of game testing and why it is needed in the first place.
Quality assessment – One of the core reasons to conduct game testing is to assess the overall quality of the game developed. After all, no person would like to invest a hell lot of amount and deliver nothing to the end users. Offering the best user experience is the ultimate goal or objective and for that, you need to hire reliable game testing or software testing service providers. They carry immense knowledge and expertise in identifying potential loops and probable defects.
Ranking – The next reason to consider game testing is that by doing so you can increase the overall ranking of the game whether it’s a video game or a mobile game. Accurate testing definitely results in an increase in the overall ranking and popularity of the game. Also, it does affect the end users’ perception.
Room for Improvement – Every software application or gaming application is a continuous process and requires enough room for improvement. Also, with technological advancements and changes happening every now and then, game developers also tend to improvise the same game at regular intervals or even launch new series and sequels.
Further, I would like to mention some of the most common types of bugs found in the game development realm.
- Interface Bugs – They are the most common type of bugs found and due to which the graphics of the game are often misinterpreted. This usually happens when the gaming elements are not in the right place and the text doesn’t fit correctly.
- Technical Bugs – These bugs usually lead to the game not working in a desirable manner. Why so? Because the internet or network connection is unstable.
- Localization Bugs – Localization bugs are usually said when errors are found in untranslated strings or texts.
- Performance Bugs – There are times when games are often neglected due to their slow performances or decreasing game frames per second (FPS). The reason can be anything, a character attack or a rise in any kind of performance bugs.
- Compatibility Bugs – These arise when games don’t function in a proper manner especially on different devices or OSes despite incorporating cross-platform functionality.
- Balance and Logic Bugs – Lastly, these are the most deadly ones, they don’t let the gamer to accomplish the given task every time.
Though these are not it, there are many more but the question is, what happens when you do not fix these bugs? Well, you have a lot to lose on popularity and acceptability and of course, the ratings might decrease significantly. So before launching any kind of game in the market just be sure of certain aspects like:
- Does the game deliver an exceptional experience?
- Do you find compelling player-centric design?
- Is there any fun factor?
- Is it complex or easy to control?
- How appealing is the visual design?
How to Test Gaming Apps?
Step 1 – Bifurcate all the requirements depending on target audiences and intended purposes
Step 2 – Identifying user and system requirements
Step 3 – Bifurcate or Categorize those requirements into functional, nonfunctional and domain requirements
Step 4 – All the requirements must be complete, consistent and comprehensible
Step 5 – One must be able to spot the difference between customizable and conflicting requirements
Step 6 – Are there any interdependent requirements?
Step 7 – Bifurcate requirements on the basis of uniqueness, complexity, criticality
Step 8 – What is the overall theme? Have you pre-determined the characters, Animation, AI, Cinematic, Camera View, Gameplay and so more?
Now there is no cookie-cutter way or single approach when it comes to game testing. Further, I would like to mention the different types of game testing available.
Types of Game Testing
#1 Functional Testing
This is one of the basic yet interesting types of game testing found. Here testers most of the time keep looking for generic kinds of problems within the game or its user interface and graphics. Problems such as mechanic issues, stability issues, and game asset integrity are well taken care of here. Functional testing is probably done to enhance user-friendliness.
So what exactly happens here? The tester is supposed to check colors and backgrounds, menu structure, screen orientation, screen resolution, font size, alignment errors, usability, and system navigation such as loading time, timeout and display, sorting, confirmation messages, sequences, animations and audio elements aspects of the game, instructions, and dialogue messages.
Not just this, several other aspects such as user Interactions, User Interface, Transaction testing, Calibration and accuracy testing of mobile phone cameras, Screen resolutions, Mobile responsive design testing, and Audio quality Testing are well taken care of here.
#2 Compatibility Testing
The next type of game testing is compatibility testing. As the name implies, compatibility testing is all about seeing how compatible it is with different hardware, operating systems, applications, network environments and so on.
Now compatibility testing is conducted in two ways, first is known as a backward compatibility test where the behavior and compatibility of the developed hardware or software is compared to its previous or older versions. This one turns out to be much more predictable as one can estimate changes by simply looking at the previous versions.
Another type is the forward compatibility test where the behavior is compared to the hardware or software of the newer versions. Unlike backward testing, forward testing can be pretty tricky to predict as the comparison is made to the newest versions which are not known at all.
So before conducting any kind of compatibility testing, all the scenarios in which you want the application to work should be well-defined. Then the test plan is supposed to develop. Also, determine which are the most crucial issues and keep the less important ones aside. The testing environment should be set up in such a way that it simulates end-user experiences such as desktops, smartphones, laptops and tablets just to see what in the end the user might encounter. All you have to do is make sure to hire a software tester who is knowledgeable and experienced in understanding what expected behavior is irrespective of different configurations. All the bugs such as change in the font size or user interface or cascading style sheets, scroll bar, and content alignments found must be reported then and there.
#3 Performance Testing
As the name implies, performance testing is all about checking how the game is performed. It’s all about optimizing the overall gaming speed. So what exactly is performance testing all about? Well, it is a non-functional software testing technique that ensures high-end stability, speed, scalability, and responsiveness of the application developed. As mentioned above software testing was considered as an afterthought but not anymore. The ultimate objective of conducting performance testing is evaluating the app output, data transfer velocity, network bandwidth usage, maximum concurrent users, memory utilization, workload efficiency and command responsive times.
Steps to conduct performance testing
- Identifying the test environment and tools
- Defining what performance criteria is acceptable
- Plan and Design Tests
- Prepare test environments and tools
- Run performance tests
- Resolve and Retest
Whenever you conduct performance testing, try to separate it from the UAT environment. Also, try identifying the best testing tools to automate the plan seamlessly. Then, the next step is to run the test several times just to obtain an accurate measure of the application performance. Lastly, one should not make any changes especially in between the tests.
On and all, testing gaming apps has become pretty essential. After all, it’s not just about simply launching a game but offering an engaging experience like never before. So this is it for now! I hope now you will be able to create compelling experiences for your target audiences.