Testing is the backbone of today’s development world. If you look back to the early 2000s, you’ll find that 70% of projects were either cancelled or suffered from major delays. The adoption of testing, especially automated testing, allows for quicker time to market, even if there are delays in the development lifecycle.
Manual testing services are still a popular choice, and it’s not uncommon to hire a third-party company like this for app testing services.
But the real time saving is possible when automation is in place.
Automated Testing in Today’s Biggest Games
The biggest titles in the world are using automated testing to ensure that their games meet the high standards of their players. League of Legends (LoL) is one of the most popular games on the planet, and Riot Games, the game’s developer, wrote a post on their automated testing process.
The team, back in 2016, claims to run over 100,000 test cases per day using test automation.
When conducting tests on such a large scale, it leads to:
- Fewer bugs
- Greater player satisfaction
- Fewer delays
As games continue to expand in size, the automation process is the only one that makes sense. It’s almost impossible for humans to conduct testing at this scale.
What Steps to Take to Add Testing Automation to Game Creation
Automation can occur on multiple levels, from unit testing to continuous integration (CI). CI is the most popular form of test automation and allows for rapid testing as the source code is updated.
Implementing CI requires you to:
- Find and use a version control system that works well for your team
- Put CI in place to test the source code
When developers start updating code, the CI will be responsible for merging this code in a way that doesn’t cause issues or lead to conflicts when code is committed. The way these tests are run is simple:
- Developers have a system in place where the code is committed to the version control system
- Code is committed dozens or hundreds of times per day
- When a new comit is found, the automated tests will start to run
These tests will be responsible for finding issues and bugs in your code. It’s estimated that when the code is run through CI, it will lead to code corrections up to eight times faster than code that is never run through automated tests.
If all of the code is sufficient, you can deploy the code to production manually.
Automatic production commits can be made, too. When these automated deployments occur, it enables fast fixes that provide the best experience for players.
Custom Automation Testing Systems
A lot of tools and practices can be put in place that allow for multiple layers of automated testing to occur. When your team decides that you need more than just unit testing and the occasional third-party tests.
Massive games, such as LoL, will often start developing their own testing and verification systems. These systems can be massive and complex. The LoL testing system is a robust system that the team put in place.
It’s important to note that there will be overhead involved in creating these tests initially. A lot of teams will be reluctant to build out these systems because they’re tedious, but the initial time spent will lead to much lower overhead and time spent on:
When creating tests, it’s possible to use your own variables and settings to test out different maps or boards at will. The ability to adjust different parameters for different test cases allows teams to:
Linear tests can be put in place that allow for continued assurance that code is clean and bug-free. It’s important to realize that code will need to be updated and added over time. It takes a lot of initial work to build these tests, but they will add to the game’s creation and offer a very high level of validation.
Reports and results will be sent back to the team so that if there’s an issue, the team can make changes and less buggy code reaches the actual production level.
Testing is the key to high-end game development. While automation may not be a good option for all tests, it can save a lot of time, resources and future capital.