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SDOAT #5: Testers, assemble!

Assemble

These guys have assembled. Will you?

Now that I’ve written a few posts, I’ve come to realize something. Since my personal experience is limited to only a small handful of different developers, I have little insight into how other QA teams actually work around the world. And that is odd. I know more about the writing process for Dragon Age: Origins than I know about the QA team at the game company next door.

As a professional, your own field should be your area of expertise  There should be nothing you know more about, and no one should know more about it than you. But I can’t remember when last I saw an article about testing in mainstream industry media (short of some recent blog posts by Bioware’s Tulay McNally). I’ve eyed through numerous Post Mortems for games I didn’t even know existed, but I have no idea which test methods are most commonly used in the industry.

There are, however, some lights at the end of this tunnel. In my city – which I will refrain from telling you the name of in order to remain mysteriously in the shadows – QA testers from the gaming industry as well as other software companies are currently starting up regular networking beer nights in order to get to know each other and talk about our shared profession. It’s great to be able to share our knowledge and thus decreasing the need to keep reinventing the wheel. Plus all the best conversations happen over beers.

This blog column itself was started as part of the build-up to the Game QA & Localistion Forum in London next month, which is another major step in the right direction – (if you’re involved in games QA in Europe, you really should be there).

I must say that I personally really look forward to discussing experiences and tips with the other attendees (oh yes, this mysterious blogger will be there). Getting testers and localization professionals from different companies and countries together will without doubt be very positive in many ways – on personal levels as well as for the future quality of the products we work with.

Polar

If a Polar Bear can use a cellphone, so can you!

However, merely talking among each other is not enough. I would also like to see more people writing articles and blog posts, posting videos and making speeches for everyone to see and read. I think people get how game design or creating concept art works by now – it’s time for us to shine. Time for developers as well as gamers to understand that most of us are not lazy college students – far from it – and that our hard work matters.

It will take time, but I think it will be worth it. Our test methods will become more refined if we can work on them together rather than alongside each other. Also, I believe that if more people would understand QA testing, more people would respect and get interested in it, which in the long run would make it easier to find even better testers.

It’s a win-win-win situation.

And that’s where I’ll leave you this time. See you in two weeks!

- The Secret Tester.

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