The games I tested
On my previous post I shared my overall experience while I worked at SEGA in London. Today I’ll go into a bit more detail on the three games I worked on.
To give you an idea, the testing process involves following scripts designed to specifically test all aspects of the game, as well as free playing in creative ways to try to break the code.
As bugs are found, they are logged on a system with a description of the issue, steps to recreate it, as well as screenshots / video capture when possible. All this information is then relayed back to the developers, who have to make sure the bug is repeatable and thus fixable. Finally, testers receive an updated version of the code to perform regression testing, to make sure the issues are fixed.
Having covered the basics, let’s move on to the games I worked on:
Alien vs. Predator
- Platforms tested on: Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC
- Type of testing: Functionality and Localization (see Remembering my time as a videogames tester for definitions).
I probably spent about 75% of my time at SEGA working on Aliens vs Predator (AVP for short).
This was by far the most fun I had while actually working, mostly because of the multiplayer component. Having 18 people at the office “””working””” on a deathmatch simultaneously led to all sorts of craziness at times. Anyone walking in would have believed we were on a break!
I also spent a decent amount of time testing the single player component. This game has three campaigns: one for humans, one for xenomorphs and one predators. My job was to make sure they were all “finishable” by the player, on ALL difficulty levels. Things got frustrating at times, because the game was just too difficult at certain points. Here’s where your experience as a player comes in during the interview process.
Sonic & SEGA All-Stars Racing
- Platforms tested on: Wii, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3
- Type of testing: Functionality and localization
I got put on this game part-time while I was also working on AVP to support functionality and localization testing.
For functionality, my role involved ensuring the game played well with different kinds of TVs, cables and at different resolutions, testing every combination.
Most of my time was spent on the Spanish localization, though. Similarly to how I tested AVP, my role was to play the game on different configurations and game modes, but my main focus was to ensure all texts and voice samples showed up when needed.
If a piece of text in a menu was still in English, or in any other language, I would have to report it. Same with dialogue, specially if the subtitles didn’t match what the on-screen characters were saying at the time. Many times I would find problems with subtitles themselves, simply because the translations in Spanish would take up more room than the English ones (as Spanish generally uses more, longer words).
My favorite part of testing this game was to hang out with a mostly international crowd, which was a great learning experience. It was also fun to learn how players would curse in other languages when they lost in multiplayer!
Napoleon: Total War
- Platforms tested on: PC
- Type of testing: Functionality
Testing this game was my greatest challenge, because I was never too big on Real-Time Strategy (RTS) games, and to this day I really suck at them! After getting past the initial hump, I started to really enjoy the game, developing my own strategies and techniques, and seeing results became very satisfying.
My main learning experience here was that being open-minded about specific games or genres can have its rewards. Just because a type of game seems intimidating or confusing, it should not put you off from at least giving it a shot. You never know, you may just find a new favorite game! It goes without saying, this is pretty good life advice in general as well :).
I remember my time at SEGA fondly, and I certainly am glad I had my shot at working in the videogames industry. The atmosphere and colleagues made it a really great fun place to work. I’ll never forget how during our scheduled breaks, some of my colleagues would bust out copies of Street Fighter 2 and fight each other, and I would think how that didn’t really count as a break.
However, the greatest thing I took away from my experience was how freaking good I got at Aliens vs Predator, and that by the time it released, I kicked so much ass online, I would constantly get hate messages calling me cheater and all sorts of names. Such joy…
I've been a gamer since the SNES days and Donkey Kong Country was the first game I ever owned.
I currently work as a management consultant, and my console of choice is the Nintendo Switch, which I carry with me during my travels.