Play Your Game, Skeleton
This post is as much for me as it is for you, dear reader (skeleton). In an earlier post I sang the praises of QA. We've brought Reboot to QA four times now and it's been great to orient our game in terms of design. But this past Saturday, I came away from QA feeling unsatisfied as a programmer. It felt like our QA results were not as useful or as effective as previous QA sessions.
On every QA tester survey the team has put together, we have asked a question about bugs that were encountered, with a simple yes/no/maybe selection, and then a written section for testers to go into more detail if they feel so inclined. This survey results from this most recent test were the worst we've had so far percentage wise.
The fact that the bugs exist is not an issue, I understand that these issue will arise over the course of development; most of the ones present in this build were fairly minor and require only minor fixes. The reason this information didn't sit well with me was because of how it adversely impacted the testing data we were trying to gather, and as a result, skews how we respond as a team to that data. And sitting in my room after QA, going over the results in my head, one thought kept jumping out at me. The team and I could catch and fix many of the minor bugs that hinder testing by simply playing our game. A 30 minute session by even just one team member would be invaluable. It wouldn't make our bugs disappear, but it would help identify some of the game's rougher edges and maybe give us time to sand them down before the next round of testing.
Play your own game as you're making it. A revelation, I know.
I've been turning the though around in my head for at least a day now, and I think maybe taking a step back from QA one weekend, and just having the team play the game could yield valuable to gather bug information and to gauge the team's feeling about how the game is progressing.
There are many pieces of feedback that we receive that could be addressed before we ever bring the game to QA. Doing so would free up our testers to focus on how they feel about the experience we're crafting, and less about the buggy bumps in the road. I've got a strong suspicion that playing your own game can clear the way to obtaining cleaner, clearer test data and from there, provide a greater ability to pivot the game onto a path from good to great.