Post news RSS Dev-Diary: Testing Gamedec isn't easy

We've asked our tireless QA representatives about their heroic job to keep Gamedec free of bugs and how their daily routine looks like. To make it easier to read, let's do it as a Q&A session.

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We've asked our tireless QA representatives about their heroic job to keep Gamedec free of bugs and how their daily routine looks like. To make it easier to read, let's do it as a Q&A session.

QA Team in this article:

  • Marlena Kasińska

  • Kacper Byrdziak

  • Szymon Misztal

How to test a game with an extended branching system? What causes the most difficulty in the whole process?

>SZYMON: Basically the testing process suffers from the same problems as the production itself. Gamedec is a game genre we don't have much experience with, and then there's the sheer scale of the project. We don't have ready-made and proven solutions at our fingertips. We have to experiment a lot, we often make mistakes, and we change things very often. Our main problem in QA is that we are at the very end of the production chain, so any changes affect us and force us to adapt. More changes.

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>MARLENA: A lot of changes in a project. A well-tested project requires you to be up to date all the time, and that's not always possible.

>KACPER: I would say lack of time, but it's a standard-issue in gamedev, as well as in other creative industries. I think the biggest problem is the complexity of the branching system mentioned above and keeping the storyline consistent from case to case.

Routine in QA department seems to be one of your biggest enemies. What are the processes to fight it?

>SZYMON: I don't know of any process to combat it. You can try to nonstop juggle your schedule and the things you work at so that you're constantly dealing with some change. You can also try to escape to another project or change positions. Unfortunately, QA work is a very repetitive and monotonous job. I myself have a problem with it and my only relief is to move on to the test automation subject in which I am absolutely fresh - but unfortunately for that you need to have proper conditions and... time.

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>MARLENA: This question is a bit related to the mentioned difficulties. A lot of changes in a project is also an advantage because it doesn't allow to get bored for a longer period of time.

If there are repetitive elements it doesn't bother me too much. I like to have a planned time for a few days ahead and I don't mind the routine if it already appears.

Sometimes it happens that I feel bored with testing a particular thing, but I try to think that sooner or later I will finish testing it and I will be able to do something else. If it is not very important at that moment then sometimes I take a break to test something else and I come back to it after some time.

>KACPER: I try to divide my work into different smaller tasks instead of spending many hours on one big task.

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What are your biggest challenges because of the vastness of the game's branching?

>MARLENA: One of the biggest challenges is checking out all the available branching in interactions. Extensive and sprawling interactions are up to several days of work, and it takes a lot of time to understand how different choices affect each other within not only that particular interaction, but also the other interactions throughout the game.

Mostly I start by looking at the documentation and dialogue structure in Artica and then try to go through all the lines of dialogue in different ways checking that everything makes logical sense, triggers in the right place, allows the player to get the right information, and get through the whole dialogue without problems.

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>KACPER: Due to the fact that Gamedec is an RPG game with a non-linear plot, there is a possibility to choose many non-standard paths for passing a given level of the game. With over a dozen different professions to choose from, the player can ultimately go through the game in many different ways, each time choosing different solutions and attitudes towards NPCs.

The difficulty in testing the branching choices results mainly from the number of possible combinations that the game provides. The more branching choices, the more dependencies between them, variables, blueprints, etc. Another challenge is the text itself, which is abundant in Gamedec.

The codex, deduction system, professions, and most of all the dialogues provide a huge amount of words, which have to be checked from different angles many times.

And finally - is it true that QA department doesn't play games after their release because they know them by heart?

>MARLENA: As far as I'm concerned, I mostly do, but it's not entirely because I know them by heart. It's hard for me to look at a game as a casual player rather than a tester. Automatically when you play a game that you've tested, you notice what's wrong, you figure out what might not work and what might look better. It is hard to play such a game just for fun. Besides, a game that you've tested is usually no longer able to surprise you with anything and the way certain game mechanisms work is no longer a mystery.

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>KACPER: You definitely need a break and some time off from the project but fortunately RPGs are so unique that you can come back to them and try them in many new ways discovered by other players.

>SZYMON: I don't know if everyone does, but I personally wouldn't play for the very reason stated in the question. But unfortunately, not all of us have the pleasure of "choice", because postrelease is another phase of work on the game and in the end, someone of us has to play it or test it while putting the final build in the store or while preparing for a patch.

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If you'd like to talk with our team members, want to ask a question to the Author of the Gamedecverse (Marcin S. Przybyłek), or chat with enthusiasts like you - join our Discord channel.

discord.gamedec.com discord.gamedec.com

Stay safe!


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