Game Testing Year 0
Bugs and Defects
When making a game we sometimes don’t fully check the code to make sure everything in the game itself is working, which can relate to problems further down the line for consumers as even though there are a few different types of bugs they all cause the same problem of disruption when found during play. This doesn’t just occur in indie games, some triple A titles that have been released for the public from companies like Activision, Nintendo, Sony, Square Enix ect still have little defects within them and are usually recording on ‘Let’s Play’ videos found on Youtube or when we ourselves have played them. However this doesn’t mean the companies aren’t exactly doing anything about it, usually they hire BETA testers for their games that must play through the game giving any type of problems within the game that then the company can quickly act upon. As I said before there are different types of bugs and defects in which we must explain and if possible screenshot.
Types of Bugs/Defects
Crash bugs are probably one of the most dangerous things to have in a game as it can disrupt the hardware by locking or even resetting it. Usually most of these are don’t make it into release but they are known to be one of the hardest to fix and player themselves may not even know that this is a bug because of what it does. Personally this has happened to me when I was playing Spyro the Dragon: A Hero’s Tail, after collecting 70 Dark Crystals I still had to find Light Gems and complete mini-quests across the dragon realms, however it was only after I found all the Dark Crystals and saved my progress in Dragonfly Falls and booted up the game the next day did I find it had delete my saved file and acted as though I just brought the game.
However it has been stated that although if you can’t screenshot the bug then it probably won’t be classed as one. I played this game back in 2005 and even though I still have it I haven’t played on it again since this happened to me, and it’s happened a few times on the same game. Although I can’t prove this there was a discussion on forums about something similar that’s happened to me.
A forum feed explaining about a save bug in Spyro the Dragon: A Hero’s Tail.
Another example of a crash bug would be the released version of Final Fantasy VI on Android and Google services, halfway through the game where a battle between Kefka and General Leo in Thamasa would crash during the cutscene which made the game unstable and eventually crash. Already Square Enix has promised consumers that they’ve taken notice of the bug and have set about fixing it so that people can return to their last point and continue playing. Since then there hasn’t been another crash problem within the Final Fantasy VI game.
The gameplay in Final Fantasy VI before the crash bug begins.
These bugs aren’t as bad as Crash bugs but can still cause a lot of problems within the game. They’re known to stop the player from continuing on their quest or have changed the game for the players. This could turn up where bosses seeming exceedingly overpowered, NPCs not triggering quests or maybe in a certain part of the level the character won’t be able to go through doors or get stuck underwater where they can’t swim? It’s basically where the player is simply stuck in a rut and there’s by no means of escaping.
An example would be when Capcom transferred the game Okami from PS2 to Wii there were a lot of bug running rampant, one of them was a severe bug that could easily be triggered and has been reordered on Youtube. When you enter the first town don’t speak to an NPC known as Mrs Oranges, instead get rid of her washing line by using ‘Rejuvenation’ technique and then do the ‘Morning Sun’ technique, afterwards go talk to her and she will say the wrong dialogue at the wrong time which has been known to freeze the game or hinder you later on where you have to reset your saved file.
If you talk to Mrs Oranges first dialogue
Talking to Mrs Oranges for Severe bug dialogue
Then in most of the early Spyro games the biggest set of bugs was the swimming in the air ‘glitch’, which could be classed as a Severe/General or Minor bug- it all depended on whereabouts you were and what would happen. For example in Spyro the Dragon: Year of the Dragon you could cause a Severe bug to happen in the world: Bamboo Terrace where you dived into a certain waterfall feature and gently fell off the game would think you were still swimming and you were able to swim across the whole of the game level. Although this was great to explore what you’re up against it meant you couldn’t engage in what you were supposed to do in order to complete the realm and be on your way back to the main world. After this bug it rendered you helpless in this world that the only way out is to make sure you had a saving point before entering Bamboo Terrace and restart the game.
Although it’s not very clear you can see here Spyro is swimming in mid-air.
These bugs are not as much as a threat as the other two and even though they’re in a game, they can still allow the player to progress onwards even though some things are wrong. General bugs can come in the form of things becoming stuck in the floor or maybe mid-air? Some could be where doors don’t open/close correctly or maybe even allow the player to continue through the game without having to do previous quests.
In Kingdom Hearts: Dream Drop Distance, when Riku is soon to face Ansem, if you go to one of the floors in Castle Oblivion first rather than confront Ansem and open up a chest it makes the spirits that follow you sink to the floor and will continue to until the next loading screen as shown here.
If we look at the T-Rex spirit behind Riku, you can see he’s halfway through the floor. If you follow the link in the bibliography you could watch the rest of the video to see both spirits moving in the floor.
Another General bug is found in Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess where after galloping through Hyrule Field and going down the stony path towards Kakriko Village, if stop near the bolders and back up your horse Epona into them then jump off backwards onto the boulders, climb up and then fall off into the kill zone when you regenerate Epona will be in mid-air. Now although this could be argued a Severe bug it doesn’t stop you from carrying on with the game; all that you would need to do is simply call Epona again with a piece of grass or the whistle Ilia gives you and call her and off you again.
Epona is clearly floating in the air and is able to fly around all of Hyrule.
Minor bugs can be found in the BETA release of the game and are the most common to appear alongside Cosmetic and General bugs. These are easily fixable and be small things such as a character doing a different animation than should be or an NPC being somewhere they shouldn’t be. An example of this could be found in Okami, before facing the boss battle you can turn back and look to collect all the Stray Beads but when you go to Ryoshima Coast an NPC known as Urashima will appear there but more chubby and sometimes in a faint blue hue. If you decide to talk to him or go around him it is possible he can freeze the game but this doesn’t always happen yet the real NPC is elsewhere in the game so this means it’s a minor bug.
Even though no one has taken a video of this there is a huge forum post about it and how many different people have experienced the same bug but in different ways.
In Darksiders 2 when you enter a certain battle as Death you will be surrounded by enemies and although there is a certain grip you could use to destroy the creatures more easily, during this certain play in the game it won’t let you hook onto the enemy and you have to destroy them without it although when entering a different battle you’re allowed to use the grip on the same enemies but just in a different place. This is a minor bug issue that can easily be resolved and doesn’t really hinder the player’s progress unless they rely on that motive.
Here we can see the grip icon showing on the game, yet the player is unable to grab the enemy.
Cosmetic bugs are again found usually in BETA testing and they can range from something as simple as a tear in the map of the game to maybe some suggestions of how the game could be improved. For example when playing Year 0 one of the suggestions that I thought of was if there wasn’t any enemies in the game and it still says ‘Enemies Turn’, why should it con tinously have to say that? Surely because there is no enemies you don’t have to waste time by going through a turn-based sequence if the other party isn’t there? Or if you still have to say ‘Enemy’s Turn’ at least speed it up so players don’t get bored playing the game.
This here is a quick demonstration of what’s been happening in the game with no enemies.
Then again in Year 0 another suggestion might be that the enemy has to move if they instantly ended their turns twice in a row? Otherwise this could go on and on until someone in the game actually moves, if you think about it, it can be a little unfair as it means that we as the player have to keep moving whilst the others stay stationary which doesn’t make the game any more enjoyable.
So far when trying to take over the city or forest I have to keep going until I either get killed or the enemy decides to act instead of skipping turns.
There are four operating regions throughout any game that will represent bugs before being tested, as game testers our job is to not down any problems within any of the regions, yet what are the regions?
Pregame is basically where before you even start the game there could be something wrong with it that stops you from even playing it. It could well appear on the dashboard of your console where it stops you from loading the game because of an .exe error. If you’re on the computer and you’re downloading it off places like Steam there might be a problem with the app not downloading properly and even freezing up your computer, tablet or mobile phone- although caution it could be a problem with the hardware itself. Another example would be during the testing on Year 0, one of my bugs was even though I logged into the actual testing of the game, it wouldn’t let me log into the forums although some may argue this is an in-game problem as well. For cartridge games it again might be a problem with starting the game as the cartridge is corrupted, or possibly the settings have changed and do no longer meet the requirements needed.
Even after typing in my username and email address it wouldn’t let me log into the forums to discuss problems within the game that I’ve found.
Another pre-game problem that could be mentioned is on the PS3, if you scroll across to where your game disc is to be played you can see that the game Singstar has already been downloaded. However once you press to start the game it crashes the Playstation 3 system and forces it to shut down, as this game has been downloaded onto the system and refuses to work when asked to start it is a pre-game
Singstar is one of Sony’s most popular game franchises that include the whole family and closely resembles Guitar Hero and Rock Band. The only way to receive this is if you sign up to the PSN network and it should come free depending on the version, yet people have reported problems that when opened it causes their console to crash and restart itself.
Game start is the period of time in which the player starts the game to when they start playing it and bugs could appear during the loading screens, so for example during Year 0 it asks us to go into 3D mode, however as soon as we chose this option the game would freeze and it would be a matter of restarting. Another bug could be during customisation methods when the player wants to design his avatar there could be glitches when trying on new outfits, colours or re-building the build of a character. For example in Spyro: Dawn of Dragon when you had obtained the second design of armour and tried it all on then decided you wanted to change the helmet with design 1 and the braces from either design 1 or 3, the game would freeze and the player be brought back to the menu. Other times it resulted in the console crashing completely.
Cynder and Spyro had armour customisations each that could easily be swapped around. Yet if you were to swap the armour in the style above then you would be brought straight back to the menu.
It might after watching all the cut scenes or the tutorial of how to play the game; the player must choose the option to either recap through what’s been said or press play to begin. Sometimes the play button will not appear so you have to go back through the whole process again.
In Spyro the Dragon: Year of the Dragon, many reported problems with the first loading screen of the game ‘glitching’ as half-way through the cutscene/ loading screen it would freeze up the game until you reset your Playstation 1 or 2
In game is pretty much when most things tend to go wrong and pop up, this could be from something as simple as blood spurting out a skeleton to an area where it’s non-playable or even a task not being able to complete because you have to interact with an NPC character.
In Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess after you return from saving the last spirit creature you will be taken to a cut scene where you have to save Midna from Zant, before you trigger the cut scene however you must save in a certain part of the area. After the cut scene you find you’re human again only your limbs are in the same skeletal mesh of a wolf and when you move it is as though you’re a wolf. To get rid of this means you must restart the game.
The game wanted Link to be in wolf form but instead it tried to re-figure his human body into that of wolf’s or sometimes this was the opposite way around.
Another problem Nintendo discovered in a Zelda game was during Skyward Sword you come across a mission of getting all the dragon spirits in three areas, however there must be a set order in which you travel to the areas and sort out the problems. If you didn’t go to Faron Woods, Eldin Volcano and lastly Lanaryu Desert then you wouldn’t be able to travel to the last place you haven’t solved and be forced to re-start where you last saved. Eventually Nintendo distributed a mod for this but for most people it ended up being too late.
Taken directly from IGN, this here shows how to overcome the problem in Skyward Sword, nowadays though there is a patch to stop this from happening.
Then again in Spyro: Gateway to Glimmer, during the exploration of a world for gears or even games you would come across a large pool of water within a cave where there was treasure at the bottom. After defeating the enemies you would usually go down and collect the treasure (well I did at least), down there is a thief in which you can hit and he drops a gear or more treasure, after chasing him around for five minutes my character stopped swimming and ran around as though he was on dry land not in water, after trying to fly your way out and jumping it meant restarting to the last saved point.
Although it’s not very clear here, Spyro is underwater and there isn’t any bubbles coming from him and his dragonfly, Sparx, isn’t in a bubble either when he usually is.
Finally this where any bugs that might appear is at the end of the game where the credits come in and we have to watch who created before re-starting the game or leaving it there. Sometimes after completing the actual game it unlocks new bonus items so for example in Wind Waker HD, it meant when they completed it the first time people where allowed to wear Link’s pyjamas instead of his hero garb and do the quests all over again.
For example in Pokemon Red a post-game glitch was once you completed it and chose to stay as the same trainer you would enter the first town with a Pokemart, step in and step out then throw your ball into water, run away from the ‘bug’ Pokemon and then go into your inventory where you now have 9 Master balls instead of one. For another example in Spyro: A Hero’s Tail once you destroyed 70 dark crystals and saved your game and ended your session playing on it, once you came back to play on it the game had reset itself and deleted any saved files you might have had.
Usually in the Pokemon games you’re only allowed one Master Ball. By looking at this we can see the game has given the player 9 and in some cases 93 Master Balls which is not supposed to happen.
It also includes when the game actually shuts down and saves progress, in Pokémon X and Y it meant that when you completed a certain mission during the BETA, saved in Lumoise City and shut down the game, the game would freeze for ever so Nintendo had to give a patch to correct this game.
Although Nintendo has given a patch for this bug, many reports around the internet popped up on how to avoid this devastation bug that causes your game to freeze for ever.
To find bugs though we need to set off a trigger so that we can see how the bugs flare up in the game, however just like the different types of bugs there are different types of triggers and ways we can trigger bugs in the game.
Configuration triggers are known to take place in the ‘Pre-Game’ region and can include device/ environment settings that are used before even running the game like game platform and softwear versions. Screen resolution, audio systems, patches, operating systems, patches, date and time and even language settings are all configuration triggers. On the other hand this can include external devices such as game controllers, keyboards, speakers, headsets, mice and even monitors.
Start-ups can be used in the ‘Start Game’ regions of a game and triggered by user-initiated or caused by the gaming platform. If the process of start game is interrupted it might be the operating system is not complete and may or may not run at all which is where these bugs come from. The triggers might also include loading, creation, entry to the game, transitions or delaying.
Exception triggers are used for the ‘In Game’ region of the game meaning the player will notice these a lot more and can be in the form of unnecessary exceptions, errors that can stop the player, exceeds, NULL problems, recovery, unavailable, blocked and prohibited problems. External conditions that are not controlled by the game might be complications like network problems.
Stress triggers force the game to be put under a fair amount of work and can be found not only in the ‘In-Game’ but ‘Game Start’ regions. Now the conditions will depend on the hardware or software resources and can be in the shape of memory, screen resolution, file sizes, disk spaces, loads, speed, capacity, limits and network speed. It might be for example there are too many enemies that are spawned up in the game that will corrupt the game.
Normal triggers again take place in the ‘In-Game’ operating region and refer to using the game apart from any configuration, stress or exception conditions such as demos or tutorials- similar to what you find in a game manual. Most testing completed is using normal triggers as it’s based on how we would play the game anyways instead of keeping an eye out for defects like the others, so whatever bugs that do appear are to be expected.
Restart triggers are finally found in ‘Post-Game’ regions and happen in a result of ending the game, quitting quests/missions, turning off your device, ejecting the game disk ect Usually games will ask you to save your progress whilst other simply save as you go along then there’s those that won’t save until you’ve hit a certain point in the game. If none of this is done accordingly it will cause the player the stress of losing their progress.
Test phases are simply where you plan your game into different sections before it’s released and is extremely helpful in keeping progress of your game.
Once the creators have made a specific part of the game or the game they freeze the code so they don’t put anything new in until everything that they’ve already done has been tested.
BETA and Alpha Testing
This is where most of the testing goes off, it’s basically where game testers begin to find any bugs within the code and report them to the creators who in turn note down what’s there and what they need to fix. Usually BETA testing is first so that most of the bugs can be found in the game, afterwards when the problems are found and fixed Alpha is next which is to repeat the testing phase and find any new bugs that have since popped up from the BETA, or where the coding team may have accidently missed a bug reported during BETA stage.
Code- Release is where you begin to fix any bugs in the any of the operating regions, so the coding team will un-freeze the code and tweak it or add in pieces that may be missing or have to be changed so the game actually works correctly or a lot more better because of people’s suggestions. Usually after this is done the code is ‘re-frozen’ so that Alpha testing can begin and the same process happens again if anymore bugs appear in Alpha.
Now that everything has been tested and the game seems to be working smoothly with no bugs appearing or stopping the player, the game itself is released onto the shelves so that many people across the world can enjoy it. Sometimes this can happen for a demo in which everything of the above must be repeated when the whole game is produced.
The Bug Reporting Process
When testing a game our main objective is to hunt and track down any bugs we find within the game that can cause problems further on down the line, this can range from something as simple as blood spurting out of a skeleton to full scale Crash bug that completely shuts down the game. When we find these bugs though we may not know how to report them. When testing Year 0 our main place to report bugs was to our Tutor or on the Legendary Games: Year 0 forums however there’s a certain style in which we must write them in.
First off describe the issue’s category like what kind of bug it is? Possible glitch? Game crash? And discuss on how you could possibly recreate the same problem to happen again and how you’ve managed to create it. Explain what OS your running the game on so for example it could be on a mac, linux, Microsoft, android so that the creators can simplify what game it is if released on multiple platforms, or if it’s actually your hardware that’s the problem.
Now describe what the problem is and if there’s any more information that can be given to the team- give it! Screenshot your problem if possible and send it to the creators. Another way in which you can test bugs is pretty much the same as what I’ve already discussed only it goes like this:
When a game is ready to release its BETA or have added something new into the code and have not yet tested it, they will tell their testers where to find the new pieces or the bug and what you need to test them with. For example in Year 0 if we look at one of my problems it could be where I have to sign up and then test the forums log in just to check it works, or they could’ve added something new in there.
Pretty simple, as it’s where you begin to prepare for testing this game and this can be a range of things. If we go back to my example I would have to prepare by getting an email address ready the internet servers up so that all that’s left is to simply register then go to the forums. Another example could be with localisation of the game, if someone was to make sure the words matched the words of another language you would bring someone in who could speak both languages, or maybe give one who can’t a dictionary.
Now this is where you begin to test the game. It could be during your planning stage you know exactly where to go to find the bug and decide what type it is. If this is the case it means you have to test around the bug to see if it stops your progress in the game. In Year 0 it came to a point where no matter where I put my Scavengers the enemy would always skip their turn, yet at the same time I couldn’t shoot at them. Then I travelled around the map trying different angles of shooting and getting shot at, in the end I had to return to base and re-try.
For the forums it would mean registering and then trying to get into the forums, if it worked then there’s nothing left to do otherwise if it didn’t we would have to go to the next step.
Again this part is pretty simple where we type in all what I’ve explained already about the bug, where it is and how can it be shown again if possible?
Once the creators filter down what are actual bugs in the game compared to what could be mere suggestions, it’s up to them to repair the bug they’ve found in the game. Sometimes it might be they have to redo it after BETA if there’s that many or they’re able to fix it whilst BETA is still going on.
Now all that’s left is to repeat the whole process again until no one finds any bugs.
Bugs/Defects and Suggestions I’ve Found in Year 0
1. 1. Category: Cosmetic
How to redo: Happens every turn.
OS: Windows 8
Problem: Why aren’t there any enemy troops and yet it says ‘Enemy’s Turn’? Does this mean there are supposed to be enemies there and they’re not? Or is this what you guys have planned? Personally if it’s been planned this way I think maybe it should be altered as it wastes time when you’re trying to collect resources or when you’re moving around in your vehicles.
2. 2. Category: General
How to redo: When you want to go into 3D mode and press the button for the mode to start.
OS: Windows 8
Problem: When I asked to go into a 3D mode during the start of Year 0 it froze up my laptop and wouldn’t let me. I repeated this a couple of times just to make sure it wasn’t just my hardware.
3. 3.Category: Minor
How to redo: Unknown
OS: Windows 8
Problem: Another problem I’ve had is when you get close to certain buildings you can’t have a turn you have to end it and then wait after the ‘Enemy’s Turn’ to go and sometimes you have to do this a couple of times. So far I’ve experienced this in the ‘Lost City’
4. 4.Category: Cosmetic
How to redo: When searching for the probe first time, connect to the truck first instead of the probe and try to detach. It won’t happen so you have to return.
OS: Windows 8
Problem: When going into the Desert to retrieve the probe, I decided to bring back the truck first thinking I could leave it near the edge, grab the probe and come back for it later? But you can’t so I had to return back to get the probe- maybe this could be something you could alter as some people prefer to gather the resources first and then do the mission which in a way is backwards, yet it’s not going to make people go back and forth for the main objective.
5. 5. Category: Minor
How to redo: After sending the first truck to the base, return for the probe and attach yourself to it. After that enemy turn, go to move and your turn will be skipped.
OS: Windows 8
Problem: When going to retrieve the probe, I clicked to move and it wouldn’t let me? Instead it completely skipped my turn and went straight to ‘Enemy’s Turn’
6. Category: Minor
How to redo: Follow last steps
OS: Windows 8
Problem: Trying to retrieve the probe with the truck in the desert but it won’t let me, it keeps saying I have to end my turn. So I do and I come back to the same conclusion, is it because I’m in the wrong part of the map?
7. 6. Category: Cosmetic
How to redo: When you’ve attached your Harvester, put it near your Scavengers or other way around.
OS: Windows 8
Problem: A suggestion might be to have the ‘Harvester’ icon in a different colour so you don’t accidently click on it when you wanted the Scavengers.
8. 8. Category: Cosmetic
How to redo: Once you’ve completed the first set of missions.
OS: Windows 8
Problem: I think I’ve completed the East City place, on the map its green but still flashing is this supposed to happen?
9. 9. Category: Minor
How to redo: Unsure
OS: Windows 8
Problem: During one of the missions in Year 0 when you invade the bottom half of the town, your opponents will end the turn, then when you end your turn straight after they do again.
1. 10. Category: Minor
How to redo: Go to the forums
OS: Windows 8
Problem: Even though it I’m logged into the game it won’t log me into the Year 0 bug forums and I’ve tried with my username, email and made sure my password is correct. All it says is I’m not found.
2. 11. Category: Minor
How to redo: After completing the first set of missions, go to one of the city missions to take capture of the place from Marauders. Once in there go between one of the buildings and bushes. Let the Marauders shoot at you.
OS: Windows 8
Problem: After being shot at by the Marauders, it said they missed my team of Scavengers however they didn’t as they all died and then got blown up. Yet you can still see them in the game and the Marauders are still running around.
Discalimer: I do not own any of the below nor make money from this. Anything that I’ve used from these links have been used to support my assignment purposes only! All rights belong to the respected owners.
18. http://my.safaribooksonline.com/book/programming/game-programming/1592003737/defect-triggers/ch15lev1sec4#X2ludGVybmFsX0h0bWxWaWV3P3htbGlkPTE1OTIwMDM3MzclMkZjaDE1bGV2MXNlYzImcXVlcnk9 (Used on 4/2/14 at 16:17)