Any piece of software requires rigorous testing to make it perfect. Games are no different. The more you test it, the more bug free your game will be. But you can’t just go out there and ask random people to test your game. That will fill your checklist with feedbacks you don’t want to hear. In this post, we will see how you should go about testing your game and where to find Playtesters.
Things required to Playtest?
Playtesting is a big process. You should properly plan and implement it. Let’s take a look at things that you will need before you start sharing your game for playtesting.
- A way to share your game. You can host it on any online platforms like Google drive and share the game from that.
- Encrypt the game executable. Make sure no one is able to reverse engineer the game from the executable file.
- Collect emails of the testers. You will need to interact with them if the feedback is not clear. Also, these emails will help you to market your game during the initial launch.
- Setup a way to get feedback. It can be a simple email with complete report or a Google form.
Once you have all the above things in place the next phase is to decide how many levels of testing are you going to do. Generally, there are multiple levels of testing for AAA games. But this is not feasible for an indie developer. The best way is to alpha test with free testers and then beta test using professionals.
What a Playtester needs to test?
Once you are ready with the infrastructure required to test a game. The next step is to make an outline of what you need the Playtesters to test.
A typical game testing process will include the following
General Look and Feel
Every game is made with an emotion in mind. What did you want the player to feel when they start to play your game?
This is the first and most important part of game testing. If the game is not able to convey the required emotion to the Playtester then most probably it won’t be able to convince the player.
Ask the Tester to write at least 300 words on the overall look and feel of the game. What he/she felt when starting the game, how they felt about the story, gameplay and the end.
How long and how many levels to Play
Some games can have more than 5 hours of Gameplay but the Playtesters don’t Playtest for that long unless specifically asked to.
You need to tell the Playtester which levels you want the Playtester to play and which levels they can skip. If you want the whole game to be tested then you can specify that too.
Most of the time we ask Playtester to test some specific Gameplay that includes some special features like powerups or boss fights.
Remember if your game level unlocks only after you complete a level then you need to provide the tester with a completely unlocked version or a way to unlock them when needed.
Performance Metrics to measure
Depending on what type of game you are making its important to know the performance metrics. For example, if you have made a First Person Shooter for Mobile then you need to know the following parameters
- Frames per Second- The consistency of FPS is very important if your game is lagging at some scenes then the tester needs to record that. It will be better if you can give then an agreeable range of Frames per second.
- Heating- It’s important to measure the heat produced after every 5 minutes of Gameplay. Also, if the phone is unbearably hot after 15-30 minutes of Gameplay then you need to work on optimizing your game.
How many devices to test on?
If your game supports multiple devices then it’s better to give the full list to the tester. Also, if it’s a mobile game then it’s better to test the game in both high- and low-end devices.
If you are going with a freelance tester then it’s better to hire multiple Playtesters for different devices. It’s also important that you give then device specific instruction for testing.
Where to find Playtesters?
If you are a big company with lot of employees then the best thing to do will be to hire inhouse Playtesters. For indie developers with tight budget, Reddit sub-reddits are a lifesaver.
One important thing to note is you cannot give specific instruction to free testers. If you are looking for specifics in the report then it’s better to hire a professional Playtester.
sub-reddits for free Playtesting.
- r/freegames– They play anything that’s free.
- r/game dev– Try to include a story of game development otherwise they won’t consider your post.
- r/indiegames/– They love new and free games.
- r/beta – Best for testing any software.
- r/testflight– Less response but worth the try.
The other option for Free Playtesting is getting Family members and friends to play your game.
Hire professional Playtesters
Professional play testers will give you compete details of what they will be testing and their report will be very useful to make your game bug-free. You can hire professional testers from freelance platform like Freelancer, Upwork and Fiverr. I have hired many Playtesters for my game from Fiverr. I found it to be better if you give them the details for what you need in the test report rather than going with what they offer.
The cost of playtesting depends on how deep you want the tester to test your game. If you are looking to test the overall aesthetics and usability of your game then you can find testers for as low as $5 on Fiverr.
Other Places to look for Professinal Play testers
There are many websites that help you play test software. Since games appeal to a wider range of people you can try out these websites for Playtesting your game.