At Indium, we have a rapidly growing game testing division. To stay relevant in today’s constantly evolving gaming industry, we decided to operate our own Game Testing Academy to help our people understand the finer nuances of a robust game testing process.
There are four critical skills any game tester needs – attention to detail, analytical thinking, patience and discipline. Over the years, we’ve also realized that if one is a gaming enthusiast, it does not necessarily mean he or she will make a good game tester.
The game tester’s role is a critical part of the game development process. The tester works hand-in-hand with the development team, staying nimble in finding bugs, making suggestions and must have the ability to think like both a player and the developer. The tester must help the development team understand the cause of the bug. On the other hand, he or she must have the ability to adopt different playing styles.
At Indium’s Game Testing division, we’ve accumulated over six years of experience in the art and science of running a robust game testing process. Over the years, we’ve also realized that this is a booming industry, especially in the video and mobile gaming segment.
According to a recently published IBISWorld report, the gaming industry grew at a CAGR of 9.1 per cent from 2011 to 2016, generating a revenue of $22 billion. According to the report, there are over 30,000 companies working on the game development and, cumulatively, the industry spends around 28 per cent of its overall revenues on wages for its game developers. But the overall success of a game lies in the quality of the final product and that is where the role of Game Testers becomes crucial.
Of course, there is a splurge in the number of video games across genres, increase in gamers and a corresponding increase in both no. of updates to a game and newer versions. Additionally, we’ve hundreds of mobile devices, with varying screen sizes and operating systems. And, needless to say, the Game Tester’s job is not easy. Currently, there is also very little Test Automation in the process, therefore, the need for top-quality people has gone up considerably.
iGTA was set-up to meet this demand – for both quality and quantity of testers. The curriculum was set-up, keeping in mind the future of the game testing industry.
The training process at iGTA focuses on enhancing the following skills sets, through a combination of classroom sessions and practical assignments.
Observation Skills: Game testing needs the tester to be able to watch out for bugs and hurdles to a smooth play. This needs deep observation skills and careful attention to detail. Once a bug is found, the tester also needs to be able to communicate to the developer its cause, to expedite the process of fixing it.
Troubleshooting: One may stumble upon bugs in unexpected ways. It needs insight to be able to reproduce the steps that led to the discovery of the bug. A tester needs to be able to retrace the path that made them encounter the bug in the first place.
Analytical Thinking: Of course, the straight play is fun. But testing requires one to go back to each level and play it in many different ways. For each level, you have to be able to write test cases, envisaging multiple scenarios and game paths for optimum testing success. Beyond analytical thinking, it requires the key skill of patience, a missing element unless trained for.
In addition, game testing needs skills that enhance a tester’s overall performance as a team player.
Working in a Team: Testing could involve single-player or multi-player games. In any case, the tester needs good interpersonal skills to be able to deal with demanding clients as well as work with colleagues to be successful. At iGTA, we impart these skills through carefully curated practical training and mock projects.
Communication Skills: Both oral and written communication skills are important to be able to communicate effectively with clients in other geographies, write test cases and document test strategy.
Work ethics and managing deadlines: This goes without saying, but for a successful game testing process, this becomes extremely crucial. The developer is waiting to hear about a bug as soon as the tester finds one; It is then immediately fixed and tested again. The build-test-build-test process cannot slow down and an efficient tester is at the core of this.
And, of course, technical skills: Knowing the different hardware, scripting languages, the specifications of each, UI rules as well as being able to troubleshoot hardware issues are essential skills for a game tester. Localization testing needs mastery in the local language while compliance testers need to know the certification process of various constructors.
A curriculum, built from years of practical experience
In the last five years of game testing, we at Indium have observed, experienced and learnt the ropes of game testing, and the process continues. The learnings have been codified into a curriculum and delivered through our Indium Game Testing Academy (iGTA) for aspiring game testers seeking a career in Gaming Quality Assurance. Our veterans, who have 8-14 years of experience, train the aspirants with an appropriate blend of theoretical and practical knowledge. The trainees are also exposed to mock projects, thus helping them focus on crucial aspects of the game/entertainment industry.
We have a state of the art gaming lab for live training with 300 devices and 250 resources, and the exposure and experience make them ready to take up game testing jobs in Indium itself and other gaming companies, as well.
The iGTA course is responsive to the ever-changing testing needs of the gaming industry, getting updated every time there is a new technology – software or hardware. The academy also helps the current team members upgrade themselves through refresher courses to remain relevant and agile. With gaming becoming critical, the need for qualified testers is going to be on the rise, and we at Indium are ready to fulfill this need.
Certainly, we realize the opportunity in the game testing space and are leaving no stone unturned to grab it with both hands.