In the last blog, I discussed the difference between mobile app testing and mobile game testing and the challenges that game testers often encounter.
So, in this part, we'll discuss the key areas in mobile game testing, which might be similar to the last part, but we'll go in-depth in this blog.
Key Areas of Mobile Games Testing
The key areas are the important approaches that greatly contribute to effective and systematic results. Let's look into some of the best practices used in mobile game testing.
Graphics performance is the most obvious topic when it comes to games. It is one of the major parts of a game that contributes to user engagement.
Let's say a game provides multiple graphics settings with HD 30 fps to 4K 60 fps. Every device might not support every single graphics setting provided. In such cases, the game should be smart enough to suggest graphics settings based on the device or disable the unsupported settings.
A game should not always focus on a single graphics setting that looks awesome. This can cause lags during the gameplay in low-end devices due to heavy graphics.
The GPU (Graphics Processing Unit) of mobile phones is mostly used while playing games. There could be a chance that games with high-quality graphics run the phone GPU at the highest clock rate. If this case is not handled properly, the phone can overheat and cause lags in-game and in the device's performance.
Hence, game testing requires testing on several devices and graphics performance testing requires the log of the vital device parameters. For example, CPU and GPU consumption, device temperature, data consumption and battery usage.
User Interface (UI)
UI means the user-friendly characteristic of software. UI testing is the most crucial part of any software testing. UI testing includes screen orientation, ease of use, background effects, colour effects, resolution by the display, animation effects, onboarding, audio segments, font alignment and many more. Navigation of the system should also be checked at the same time, which includes the pattern of display and loading time.
Since UI is one of the most important things to get the right user experience, a game tester must ensure that device fragmentation does not affect the UI of the game. Let's break down UI into sub-parts and discuss.
The game's onboarding experience is so important that it might deserve a separate section. The onboarding experience is essential since it helps users get familiar with the gameplay. It should always be simple and precise and let the new user win. For example, a new user onboarding a LUDO game must be the winner, regardless of his steps and tactics. Lastly, onboarding should not be too short to miss out on the information about the game and should not be too long to get bored.
If you are a game enthusiast, you must have encountered screen orientation issues in many games. Games must handle the condition of both landscape and portrait orientation. Development should always be carried out considering what is supposed to happen when the screen orientation is changed during gameplay. So, the screen orientation testing is something a game tester should not miss.
Layouts and Elements
Every element and layout in a game should follow symmetry, whether in colour or font. Mobile games should use a colour that is not tiring to the eyes. The main challenges in layouts and elements testing are device fragmentation and screen orientation. Collect as many devices as possible and do the testing to ensure maximum efficiency.
Ease of Use
Buttons on mobile phones should be placed in the accessible position for ease of use. Suppose you are playing a shooting game, and the shoot button is in the centre of the screen where your finger does not reach. The position of the button makes the button difficult to access, and you will not want to play that game. So testers should also closely look into the game's ease of use.
Screen resolution sometimes causes the graphics to get stretched. Every one of us knows how dissatisfying that experience is. Even after the use of auto-scale, screen resolution should be closely tested.
Almost every game has some animation effect in the gameplay, lobby, or home screen. Device fragmentation, different screen resolution and orientation might affect the animation effect, which should be analysed properly during mobile game testing.
Functionality is the quality of being suited to serve a purpose well. Games consist of a 'Menu' function with numerous sub-functions with different works. In mobile games, you can only imagine how much functionality the game will offer depending on the genre. Game testers should focus on whether or not each function is serving the purpose well. Imagine the misery if any function of the game does not do the job it was supposed to do.
Meet someone from a popular mobile game development company and ask them about the countries from where their game experiences the highest traffic. They will reply with the name of at least 3 to 4 countries. Popular mobile games have a large market and hence many language support. A new game with the support of more than one language means a large market value in the coming years.
It is quite hectic work, but localisation must be tested very thoroughly. Sometimes you will not get the exact word you want to express in another language. It is the responsibility of the mobile game tester (in collaboration with the content management team) to provide the right meaning of the words included in the game.
Multiplayer testing is seriously an important approach in mobile game testing. I have discussed them in the previous blog as well. A multiplayer test needs several real-time human counterparts and is a total nightmare. Sometimes you encounter an issue that you could never replicate.
A lot goes on in the backend with connectivity, synchronisation, requests, push and pull and many more during multiplayer. Normal black-box testing might not always solve the issue of multiplayer. If you are into white box testing or an SDET (Software Development Engineer in Test), it would be easy to ensure the quality of multiplayer functions.
Testing is a complex task itself. Moreover, game testing is a nightmare, so even fifty blogs could not cover everything regarding mobile game testing.
The challenges discussed in the previous part and key areas discussed in this part of the blog will provide a general idea about the important things to consider when testing mobile games. Lastly, I always say research and learn as much as possible to stand out uniquely in your field. The same applies to the game testing field as well.
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