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6 Things How Test Automation Can Significantly Improve Mobile Game Development

by Ville-Veikko Helppi on 08/14/14 01:29:00 pm

The following blog post, unless otherwise noted, was written by a member of Gamasutra’s community.
The thoughts and opinions expressed are those of the writer and not Gamasutra or its parent company.

 

Many things make a difference when mobile gamers select which game they download from app market. Naturally, the reputation of any game developer is important, but by far more important factor for the maximal exposure for hundreds of millions of users are those user ratings and comments given in Google Play or App Store.  Those either put the game in front of those downloaders – or not.

If you game crashes, is otherwise buggy, doesn’t load quickly, or user experience isn’t up to snuff, users will leave your game. And most of the cases they go away angry, writing negative (=justified) feedback about the game in reviews.

Let’s look at 6 aspects - coming as a benefit from test automation - that can help you to build a better, way more robust Android games for those who decide the success of your games – the actual gamers. Keeping these gamers happy in every circumstance and every aspect of user experience makes your game successful and downloadable for large audience. 

#1: RECORD AND PLAYBACK OF USER INTERACTIONS MAKE IT POSSIBLE TO TEST ON HUNDREDS OF REAL MOBILE DEVICES AT THE SAME TIME

Game engines – such as Unity3D – are awesome and enable you as a developer quickly to take the weight off from developing graphic algorithms and routines to focus on game and gameplay itself. Many of those game engines and complementary tools provide primitive tools to test your game before releasing it. However, not any single of those game engines provide a test automation approach to the problem, capability to record user interactions and then playback those on real devices – the very same devices that those feature-savvy gamers use.

Tools like Testdroid Recorder can quickly provide you that helping hand and enable you record-and-playback approach for your mobile app testing. Check it free of charge from Eclipse Marketplace.

#2: TESTING LOCALIZATION, ACCESS ALL POSSIBLE DEVICES AROUND THE WORLD

Diversity is a great thing, but even better in mobile app testing. For many mobile developers it is not possible – not at least without travelling to specific country and acquiring devices – to access those devices that are used in these different countries. For example Japan, the most lucrative market for mobile games. Not the paid-apps, but the largest amount of revenue is generated from freemium apps in Japan. This yields about serious game-playing going on. And your game gets one shot – are you ready to confront those gamers without testing on their devices?

Well, the great news is that you can access all of those popular Android devices at Cloud, instantly and any time of the day. Test localization using real devices from these regions, and your game will be surely more robust!

#3: TESTING PERFORMANCE: APP & ACTIVITY LAUNCH TIME - AND RESPONSE TIMES

Consistent performance across all different software/hardware combinations that those end-users use is naturally one of your top targets. As many things make an ideal Android device for gamers  – such as processor, GPU, display resolution, OS version, OEM customizations, dependencies to other SW/HW – not all those devices are capable to run all games without problems. Typically, input, controls, graphics performance among many other things either make your game usable across those devices, or not. Make sure you conduct performance testing in earlier phase of the development to avoid bottlenecks in your game!

With help of devices on cloud, you can instantly run your Android game on all relevant devices and ensure 90-95% coverage of global Android users.

#4: TESTING PAYMENTS, FINANCIAL TRANSACTIONS

In-app purchases are in steep growth and every game developer is looking the way to monetize content in their games and because of this those payments needs to be enabled through app. Naturally, there are easy ways to implement in-app purchases using Google APIs and also some external providers can help you to get up and running with this. Even this can be tested on cloud, with the real transactions, before publishing your game. 

#5: MAKE SURE ALL WORKS WELL: LAYOUTS, RENDERING, INSTALLATIONS, UX 

Developing games for mobile is totally different ball game than developing for web or even for consoles. Game engines and complementary tools provide an excellent way to create your game on desktop and quickly test it on actual device. But again, performance capability of device and many things associated with it can make your game run very differently on those devices. That is not something that can be tested on emulated or simulated environment.

All Testdroid products can help you to make your game super robust – and it has worked for so many game developers building the most popular games for Android.

#6: TEST FOR SECURITY, UNDERSTAND YOUR LIABILITY AND THREAT OF 3RD PARTY COMPONENTS

Remember Heartbleed? Just one example of why everything about third party or open source components included in your game must be tested for security. Security is important but equally important are liabilities and safety aspect of your game.

Got questions? Please let me know!


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