May 16, 2019 IN Game Dev Talks

Ready Tester One - How testers learn and grow

Learning and knowledge sharing have always been two of the top priorities for Pixel Federation. We are hungry for conferences, workshops, summits, forums, and other relevant industry events. We strive to improve our crafts, broaden our horizons and our quality assurance (QA) team is certainly no exception to this. The problem has always been that good events focused on QA in our region are very scarce and the ones focused primarily on video game testing even more so. Starting this year, we’ve decided to fill this void ourselves and organized our own event which we’ve named READY TESTER ONE: Game QA Meetup.

Keeping it rather small and with the sole focus on mobile video game testing, we’ve reached out to several QA leads and professionals in this field and we were lucky to land two great speakers. One of them was our own Pixel QA automation engineer Peter Miťko and the main speaker for the evening was Yannick Wiggers, QA lead from the German company Kolibri games, known for their massively popular titles – Idle Miner Tycoon and Idle Factory Tycoon. The event took place at our Pixel premises in Bratislava with around 60 attendees. Peter started with his presentation called Road to Game Testing Automation in Pixel Federation, where he presented his work at our company and the story behind the automation process currently underway in Pixel.

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There are several tasks that testers, but also members of other teams perform regularly, and they are either repetitive or prone to error. After careful analysis, Peter’s job is to identify processes that can be automated, and he creates tools or tests that perform these tasks. The tools we use for automation vary from project to project, as they are all made differently. For example, our front-end testing of tutorials or logins uses SikuliX which automates anything you see on the screen of your desktop computer running Windows, Mac or some Linux/Unix. It uses image recognition powered by OpenCV to identify and control GUI components. This is handy in cases when there is no easy access to a GUI's internals or the source code of the application or web page you want to act on. Peter also mentioned the results we’re having from automation and challenges we still must tackle.

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After a short pause, the main speaker of the event, Yannick, came onto the stage with his presentation called TESTING IDLE MINER TYCOON – One game, two years, 120 updates. He spoke about his journey into the world of video games and how he became a lead and afterwards, he fluently shifted into his main topic – Kolibri’s testing processes and workflows, which he described into admirable depth. Several differences between Pixel and Kolibri are quite striking. We update our games on Monday and Tuesday, so that we may repair any mistakes either right away or on the next day. At Kolibri Games, they update their games on Fridays and have weekend shifts to control the game’s status. They also hire part-time testers from schools, which Pixel doesn’t do. Though we do offer short term unpaid internships for our testing positions to try it out. Regular standup meetings between testers are very common at Kolibri and we’ve decided to adopt this approach too. It was great to listen to a different approach to game testing processes and it was very inspirational for all attendees, not only from Pixel.

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The impact of the two presentations has been very notable after the end of the official part of the event when the networking started. Many attendees remained at the event and fruitful discussions emerged on several fronts. At that point, we could see that the main purpose of the event has been achieved to the fullest. Ask questions, learn and share knowledge.

To summarize, we see the first READY TESTER ONE as a success. Great presentations, active audience, good food, and free beer. Now, let’s start working on a sequel!

Dokupil Michal

QA Lead

Quality Assurance Lead at Pixel with a strong focus on kaizen. Martial artist, Japan lover, photographer.