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Method in Madness

Hello and welcome to a new installment of the "zOMG! Behind the Scenes" series! Today we would like to share with you the different testing strategies that we use while working on zOMG!. QA is often a very structured approach and below you will see how we use different testing methods to cover as much of the game as possible prior to releasing a new update for everyone to enjoy.

  • Acceptance Testing
User Image Whenever we receive a new build we first have to ask: "Is this build stable enough for us to test?" To this end, we conduct acceptance tests on new builds in order to determine what shape they are in and whether we can work on them. User Image
Roughly speaking, our acceptance test is a long checklist of basic game features, functions and abilities that we look at before we work on any updates that were included with the build. With the game as big and complex as zOMG!, new updates may break existing features in ways that are not readily apparent. We check the game fundamentals early in order to give the developers the most time to work on any problems that may arise from the changes they have included in a new build.

  • Functional Testing
User Image After we make sure that the new build is in good shape we take a look at the list of changes that were introduced. We conduct functionality testing in order to see how the new features or changes actually work in the game and whether they meet the description provided to us by the designer.
While running these tests we may take either a positive or a negative testing approach in order to maximize coverage and find as many bugs as we can. If we are doing positive testing then we follow provided directions and try to play by the rules. In contrast, negative testing has us do our best to break the game and its new features as best as we can!

  • Regression Testing
User Image Regression testing serves two important goals: to make sure that a bug fixed by a developer has actually been fixed and to verify that this fix doesn't breaking anything else. Each member of the QA team is responsible for regressing his or her own bugs and they do so by trying to reproduce what caused the original issue in the first place. If we fail to reproduce the problem and we don't see anything broken in relation to this bug then our regression test is a success! User Image
We do our best to run these tests as soon as we receive an update that contains the fix because fixes sometimes fail. If we are still able to reproduce the issue in the game then we send the bug back to the developers so they can take another stab at fixing it.

  • Monkey Testing
User Image The QA team engages in monkey (or ad hoc) testing when we are in between builds or waiting for an update. Sometimes these tests are targeted (for example: coverage of all quests in a specific zone or testing of all Power Ups), however most often we take this time to explore leads that have been provided to us by player reports or to follow up on potential issues that we saw while performing any of the above-described tests. Monkey testing can be very interesting as this is the area where we can be most creative in how we construct our tests or approach a given problem. While testing computer games is often far removed from the way regular players enjoy the game, monkey testing is an area where we tend to have the most fun while finding bugs.

  • Beta Testing
User Image Beta testing with the help of beta testers is, by far, the most powerful and far-reaching testing approach at our disposal. Every person who plays zOMG! contributes in their own way to improving the game! Many users post their game feedback or bug reports on the forums and we draw from these to refine the gameplay and identify bugs that our small team may have otherwise missed. Folks who prefer to simply enjoy the game also help us by providing us with patterns and statistics that can be used to improve different aspects of the game. User Image

This week's article gave you a glimpse into the five testing methods we use most often while working on zOMG!. We'll be happy to take any questions you might have! Check back next Friday for a new article in this series that will describe how we file all the bugs that we find!

Previous topics:
zOMG! Behind the Scenes - The Great Cycle of Builds
zOMG! Behind the Scenes - Toolkit of Trade

No way, I'm more first! ninja
first post

Edit: you don't count, kuzuan.. since it's your thread! scream

Edit 2: also, sometimes we bi-pass these testing phases for what's known as a "hot-fix." If it's something terribly urgent which may blow up the servers and bring down Gaia... we make a fix on the fly so that we could implement it right away to the live servers. Fortunately, this doesn't happen very often.
Ralph Raff's avatar

Friendly Entrepreneur

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no way, I am first, am a regular user, As you said [JK ], it
s his post his don't count, and you are a dev/artist as well so yours neither... jajaja...

Now seriously, just got reminded of something to ask Kuzuan, will PM you, will be brief.

*hat off* Neat addition to what all of you go thru, Kuzuan 3nodding
lol People with special brackets under their usernames duking it out over who gets first post... Love it.

I'm far too fascinated by these Behind the Scenes threads to think of any questions at the moment... I'm both envious of your job and just a tiny bit glad that it isn't my job. It seems like a ton of work to try and find things that are broken, and I'm sure it can get frustrating at times, but it sounds like it would be incredibly fun and rewarding, doing something that directly effects the game and helps make it better.
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we know you love all us beta testers! 3nodding
Haha. Don't ya just love the beta testers?

Amazing "Behind the scenes" once again
Developer scuffle! :O

And interesting thread as always, especially with the nice touch of pictures :]

Just one question here.... how goes progress on the big update that's coming up?
Tarot Rune's avatar

Invisible Visionary

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Developer scuffle! :O

And interesting thread as always, especially with the nice touch of pictures :]

Just one question here.... how goes progress on the big update that's coming up?

speaking of, if you know anything about it, mind sharing? i've seen a few mentions of a big update lately.. but havn't been able to look into it or attend any meet-ups due to work lately. User Image
Erynne's avatar

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This was utterly cute. Utterly.
Lol, first page!

That's cool!
User Image
gawd I love this emote.

I'd love to hear some stories about specific bugs =O
DrQuint's avatar

Girl-Crazy Ladykiller

Emote power upped 240%.

Also, Quality Assurance are monkey. We're lolcats.
this should be in the sticky blaugh


holy snap, i made first page, so im gonna make it count. ive loved the behind the scenes series in the sticky, and im really glad that the zOMG crew is being so vocal mrgreen

this was a wonderful post. thoroughly enjoyed reading it. keep up the excellent work everyone. the game is GREAT, and all your hard work is very much appreciated. THANK YOU ALL FOR DOING WHAT YOU DO!!!
Mav--Alex's avatar

Distinct Lunatic

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Still awesome behind the scenes looks.
i do find the increase in emotes disturbing ninja

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