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25 Jul 2024, 00:00:00 (PRT)

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Reviving The Testing Team
Posted in: Uncategorized
Posted 2023-12-24 at 13:48 by Suchar


Why is it needed?

Testers are one of the foundations of any game development team. They ensure a high quality of updates by noticing inconsistencies, finding errors, causing crashes, and detecting bugs. They keep an eye on what we, the developers, think, and do and how we implement our ideas into the final product everyone enjoys.

A shortage or a complete absence of testers creates a long list of issues. The consequences of that affect everyone:
  • The player base receives updates that are not properly tested. Sometimes players have to pay a heavy price for that in the form of game-breaking issues, including game crashes in the most extreme cases.
  • The developers have to spend additional time testing their content. It is a waste of time and resources that otherwise could have been allocated for the development of new features, new content, or improvements to the already existing systems.

This is not something we have ever wanted. Unfortunately, it has been the reality of our work for over half of the last decade. Now, we are aiming to rebuild the testing team and bring it back to its former glory. We have reformed the old, extremely outdated, complicated, and inefficient tester recruitment system to make it internally transparent for all developers and contributors as well as making it more candidate-friendly and easily accessible. Let me elaborate on these points a little.
  • Transparency: Recruitment is no longer solely dependent on the Lead QA and his availability. This bottleneck has cost us significantly over the years. Learning from that lesson, all developers and contributors have been given access to the tester recruitment system and can now assist Lead QA whenever it is necessary or beneficial.
  • Accessibility: The old recruitment system was based on a very old forum form which caused multiple issues on many levels. First of all, it was not compatible with our idea of a new level of transparency in recruitment. Besides, from a technical point of view, it required special care from [R-DEV]Senshi, our website administrator, adding additional workload. The form was also very outdated and it would require some attention if we were to keep using it. As a result, we have abandoned the form completely and now tester applications can be posted in the new PR:BF2 Bugs subforum, following the template in one of the pinned threads. That way, people who report bugs may stumble upon tester application guidelines and perhaps consider joining the team.
  • Candidate-friendly: Apart from simplifying recruitment procedures, we are currently working to improve the structure of the modding documentation as a whole, including our internal documentation on tools and procedures. As of now, we are planning to make certain parts of that documentation public to provide an overview of what being a tester is, hopefully, to catch the attention of everyone interested and let our potential candidates know what they may expect. You can already read about it in the (already mentioned) pinned thread and in the next part of this dev blog, below.


How do you perform your duties as a tester?

Stage 1: Preparation
Before you can test anything, you need to prepare game files.

As a tester, you are given read-only access to our SVN repository which you may download using TortoiseSVN. The application itself is installed just like any other piece of software. Then, you download the repository following our detailed internal tutorials which explain how to copy and paste a few links and press a few buttons.

Once the repo is downloaded, the next step is building game files. It is automated and can be done with just a few clicks, thanks to PR Build, our internal multi-purpose tool. You select what files you want to build and then wait. Even an old and slow HDD can build all files in less than an hour. For newer systems, it takes just a few minutes.

If you encounter any issues or difficulties, we provide technical support. Once everything is done, you are ready to go.
Stage 2: Testing
We may differentiate between specific testing tasks and just playing around, trying to break the game. Testers do both, finding issues and then testing fixes. You might be tasked with checking whether a new vehicle has its systems properly configured, you might be told to load in a map and see if it still crashes or you might be asked to have a look at kit geometries to investigate whether anything is missing. When you don't have any specific tasks assigned to you, you can always just launch the newest repo version and look for issues or check Redmine for any issues you could have a look at. When we finish testing sessions, we might have a little skirmish on a new map or with a new faction.

If you cannot attend test sessions (especially due to timezone-related issues or lack of time), we will always find something for you to test individually. Testing alone is just as important as testing in a group.

Almost all of our communication occurs in a written form (on Discord, forums, and Redmine), we communicate orally only during test sessions.

Who are we looking for?

When I joined the Project Reality Team as a tester back in February 2018, without any prior modding knowledge or experience whatsoever, at no point did I expect that one day I might be a developer, dedicating a significant amount of effort to creating content, providing improvements to the game and interacting with the community. I can confidently say that anyone can follow the same path with enough motivation. You should keep that in mind if you are not certain whether you should apply due to a lack of skills or any previous experience.

We are seeking dedicated individuals who want to join the Project Reality Team as testers and assist us in the game development process. If you consider applying, read the pinned thread carefully and follow the instructions if you decide to give it a try.

Long Live PR!
Updated 2024-01-15 at 01:02 by Suchar (Updated links)
Views: 32036 | Comments: 1

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Total Comments: 1
  1. Old Comment
    Arab's Avatar
    Originally Posted by Wicca View Comment
    Lazy devs, can't even test the game themselves
    I'll have you know I test the game way more than anything
    Posted 2024-01-24 at 00:13 by Arab Arab is offline

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