Saturday, January 19, 2008

The Video Game Tester

The role of the video game tester in development primarily involves analyzing video and/or computer software to document software defects as part of a quality control process. It’s a dream job for gamers. Being a video game tester is a highly technical field requiring gaming expertise, diagnostic competence, and the ability to endure long hours. Software can take from one to three years to develop. The video game tester enters in later in the development process. Sometimes he or she enters from halfway to eighty percent into development (it starts this late because there is nothing to test) They get new builds from the developers on a schedule (daily/weekly) and each version must be uniquely identified in order to map version errors. The video game tester gets a version and they begin playing the game. Then they must carefully uncover and note any errors. Then they are expected to uncover bugs, art glitches, logic errors, and level bugs. When a video game tester is documenting his finds he will document it in writing. Sometimes they have a harder time documenting the finds. It may take them several paragraphs to describe so a developer can find the glitch. On larger software with video game testers they must first determine whether the bug has already been reported by another tester before they can log the glitches. Then when a glitch has been reported as corrected, the video game tester has to return and verify the fix works. Testing for the video game tester can sometimes become arduous as the tester deadlines grow closer. There comes what is commonly referred to as crunch time where developers, designers, programmers and artist work twelve to fourteen hour days and the tester must work just as hard. At this point the tester will be testing late-added features and content. Sometimes while this is happening staff members from other departments of the company may contribute and help the video game tester by testing themselves. This helps handle the large workload. All of this works in harmony as the game is brought into fruition. The video game tester is just as important as the other staff members at the game company. Many of the console manufacturers like Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo, will require from the video game tester, video tapes of software play. This is something they ask for when they agree to publish the software. These videotapes are usually arranged and created by the video game tester. This is yet another bonus for the video game company that hires the video game tester. Once again, the video game tester plays a very important role. Without the video game tester it would be sufficiently difficult for a software company to complete the creation, production, and publication of a video game. The video game tester is integral to these processes. Many companies are looking to hire the video game tester but there are few ways for outsiders of the industry to participate as a video game tester. If you or someone you know are interested in video game testing read the author’s bio for a link to one of the best options for becoming a video game tester. Author Bio: C. Hopkins is a college professor living in Dayton, Ohio. He is an avid gamer and spends his summers away from school being a video game tester for Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo. He is using the money he makes from being a game tester to build a giant arcade for his hometown of Dayton so everyone can enjoy video games. He also recommends The Game Tester Guide for anyone who wants to be a game tester. C. says it is by far the easiest way to get your foot in the door of the game industry and secure a job as a game tester.

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