Hello People of the Fog,
Today we’re taking you behind the scenes of an essential part of our game development: Quality Assurance Testing. We all understand “quality assurance” as a concept, but we wanted to know exactly what it means to a testing professional. Our QA lead Bradley gave us the full picture of how his team squashes Dead by Daylight Mobile’s bugs.
What information do you look for first when receiving player reports?
Our Live QA team usually keeps an eye on the community reporting. The first thing they look for is whether there is only a single report or multiple reports. Sometimes, it might just be one person having issues on their side, so they check that first.
If there are multiple reports, the investigation goes deeper. We start asking questions like: “What device are they using?” “Is it occurring only on a specific device?” “Can we get more information on how they were able to reproduce it?”
They also get Player IDs if needed; this enables the development team to investigate deeper into the backend.
We take every player report seriously. You can really see the Dev and live QA team jump into action when reports come in.
Unfortunately, we do not have every device on site that people are using in the wild and sometimes there are specific devices that have specific issues. The programmers check if they can figure out what is causing the issue, and in most cases, we try to get our hands on the problematic devices to investigate further.
What are the biggest challenges of Mobile QA?
Time. As DbDMobile grows, new things are constantly being added. Having to fit everything into a relatively tight schedule can be hard. In QA, we would keep testing the build even longer if we could, because we want everything to be perfect. But time doesn’t always allow for that.
There are many outside sources that can affect the build. Not only do we have to worry about having a working build but, sometimes, there are problems on the server side or backend issues. There are many systems working together; they all need to work in harmony for the build to function properly.
Another challenge is testing everything on both platforms. This is important to do because a feature can be working on iOS and not working on Android, so we really need to validate everything twice.
What are the additional challenges of QA on a live game?
There is a little more stress when you are working on a live game. You want to make certain that when you push an update you aren’t releasing something that is going to break millions of accounts, or block fans from playing.
The benefit in all of this is having a community that gives us feedback when the build goes live. We really count on the community to help us and they do. Players experiencing major issues are always sending us information and this is super valuable. So, a big shout out to them for their help!
What led you to become a QA tester? Was it something you were always interested in?
I personally wanted to be a part of game development and QA is a great place to get an overview of the complete process. I’ve been in this position here at Behaviour for almost 20 years, so it really has kept my interest!
Most of the QA I know are gamers. If you have a passion for games, you want to be a part of a team that helps create them. I think that’s how it starts for many of us.
Of course, we get the common stereotype of people saying, “Aww you are so lucky, you get to play games all day,” or “That isn’t a real job.” QA is an important part of the process, and from my view, is one of the most important domains in game development. You can program and add anything you want to a game and it will be cool, but if it doesn’t work, then it’s definitely not going to work with players or reviewers.
I like to look at QA testers as if they were editors for a newspaper. You have the journalist writing up the stories, you have the artists planning out the layout and providing the pictures, and then you have QA, the editors, checking in to make sure that everything is correct.
What is something you wish players knew about the quality assurance process?
That we’re on their side; we want the game to be as bug free and amazing as they do.
There are a lot of processes that we need to go through to achieve this. I don’t think many people know exactly what goes on behind the scenes unless you work in the industry.
We work hard to make sure everything is working, but things will inevitably slip by. We will get to all the issues in time.
What’s the funniest bug you’ve seen in your experience as a QA tester?
There has been a lot of crazy stuff on DBD, in general.
The funniest bug I’ve seen recently on a project was, upon loading the game, the main character was, like, 200 times larger than normal. It was hilarious. For Mobile we’ve had our fair share of funny issues too, like an invisible killer.
It’s fun because you never know what can happen during development.
QA is a major step in creating any successful game. We hope this interview gives you a better sense of how our QA team approaches their work. Let us know if there are any other development departments you’d like to learn about!
The Dead by Daylight Mobile Team