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Game Testers: Key Technical Skills

Thursday 26 of November, 2020.
Reading Time: 5 minutes.
By Soledad Martínez Navarro



Currently, game testers have become an essential part of app development teams. To ensure its success, a videogame must be high quality, intuitive, and attractive for users. In this article, we will be discussing all the technical skills that are essential for game testers and that must be applied to guarantee a bug-free game, or at least, a game with the least possible number of errors. 

A game tester needs to own their work. This not only involves doing their job but being responsible for the quality and timely delivery of results. Attention to detail is another important skill. A game can fail if a tester doesn’t assume the responsibility of a task and pay adequate attention to detail. A tester must make sure all aspects of the work are performed correctly, testing the game’s images, texts, controls, sounds, scenarios, requirements, and functions. 

A willingness to understand games in terms of design is another necessary skill for testers. They must know the answers to questions such as: what graphics were used in the game’s development? What programming language was used? What tools were implemented? This helps when it comes to writing up bug reports, improving readability, and making it easier for the developer to understand the problem and find the issue in the code. In this way, a tester contributes to the creation of several scenarios in terms of design that widen the scope of testing options for the game. As a complement to this skill, testers should have a keen sense of logic and reasoning. This is very important since they need to understand how the game works, its logic, and the objective it is meant to fulfill. These aspects, as mentioned above, will be used to estimate possible scenarios and to guarantee a game with the least number of errors. 

Another ability to consider is a tester’s problem-solving skills. A good game tester uses an approach that pays close attention to problem-solving, applying algorithmic thinking to create usability tests as well as analytical and critical thinking; this helps to assess the problem and make decisions in a logical and methodical manner.  With a logical approach, testers contribute practical solutions to problems they may encounter in the development phase of the game. 

In addition, computer and videogame industry knowledge are also critical for a tester to be successful. A tester must understand the importance of quality assurance testing since a game brings in more income when an application meets the user’s expectations. On the contrary, the losses generated by a low-quality game with lots of errors can be exorbitant. 

An understanding of a software’s quality control processes is the essence of videogame testing. A tester must have a good knowledge of what’s involved in the QA process, how game revision and auditing function, how to verify all procedures and previously established standards. Most importantly, the tester must ensure problems are identified and resolved. In the same manner, a tester must be able to work under pressure and meet deadlines. All videogame requirements established in the planning phase must be met and the game must achieve the highest quality standards possible in the allotted time. This means a tester’s ability to work alone or as a member of a team, under pressure and within deadlines, is of the greatest importance. 

The patience to perform repetitive tasks is an essential skill for every gamer since, no matter the game, they will have to test the same screen many times. This implies solid communication skills and knowledge, excellent powers of observation, and requires lots of calm and perseverance.

A crucial skill when it comes to performing highly technical tasks is flexibility and being able to adapt to different processes. A tester must be capable of working in a productive and flexible manner, adapting to changes that arise during a project. In addition, they must adapt to possible new work scenarios and multiple challenges, as well as to responsibilities and work hours in order to meet the requirements that guarantee a high-quality game.

Likewise, knowledge of technology is vital. Although it’s true that videogames and their technology evolve constantly, it’s essential for a tester to have basic knowledge of current technology. They must keep up to date on new technologies and acquaint themselves with the technology used to create the game as well as with the devices that are used as game accessories. Additionally, a tester must be familiar with games and playability, this requires a deep knowledge of how videogame design works, since each brand operates under its own characteristics. Operating characteristics must be taken into account to ensure the game is compatible with the console it is meant for. Having programming and coding knowledge is also important since this can be helpful when making changes - for example, in the user interface of a web application - using developer tools. A game tester can provide additional information about an issue when creating a bug report, which means that learning the basic concepts of programming will help differentiate them from other testers and broaden their scope. Lastly, but just as importantly, a tester must have a good understanding of hardware components. It’s key for them to know the details of a game device as well as of the integrated software that handles the game installation. 

Working as a game tester is an interesting job not only because of the opportunity offered by the growing market and the interesting challenges of testing a videogame but because of the engaging learning opportunities. It is a role that demands a commitment of time and effort. A tester must have several essential skills and must be in constant communication with other testers and other members of a work team. In general, testers must be capable of understanding a game’s functionality and must be familiar with the technology of existing games on mobile devices, desktops, consoles, and other controllers. They must be patient and understand that they will need to deal with all kinds of complexities in the testing process. They need to identify issues, assess an application’s unknown behavior, create new scenarios, and test existing scenarios. 

Technical skills are essential to enhance the testing process and to evolve as a professional, providing greater added value to game development teams. But, most of all, testers must be prepared to apply their knowledge and critical thinking skills to problem-solving.

 

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KEY TAKEAWAYS

  1. Due to the fact that only high-quality videogames succeed in the market, game testers have become an essential part of app development teams.
  2. Some must-have technical skills for game testers include attention to detail, understanding game design, knowledge of the computer and video game industry, flexibility to adapt to different processes, and deep knowledge of technology (including programming and coding).
  3. Technical skills are essential to enhance the testing process and evolve as a professional, providing greater added value to game development teams.

 

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