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Day 4: Game Testing

I read an amusing anecdote in Game Testing: All in One about Astrosmash, one of the best selling games released on Intellivision back in 1981.

The game’s programmer made the assumption that no one would ever score 10 million points and so he didn’t write a check for score overflowing.

Sure enough, weeks after the game was released customers began calling the game’s publisher complaining that when they scored more than 9,999,999 points, the score displayed negative numbers, letters and symbol characters. Oops!

This was considered really good graphics back in the day

The importance of game testing cannot be overstated. And that is my clumsy segue into saying that I’m officially a game tester now! Okay, not really…but kinda?

I responded to a posting from an indie developer requesting testers for their pre-alpha build of a 3D tower defense game and had a chance to play, log errors and provide feedback.

Early build of “In Defense of Aliens” by Kicksome Entertainment

This was an interesting opportunity and a challenge to not only try to discover bugs but to recreate the error on subsequent playthroughs.

I wonder how many opportunities exist for game testers to work full-time remotely and how I could get started. Anyone have any tips? It would be ideal to be in a game related position while developing rather than working where I do now.

In any case, I’m thinking about printing out the “You’ve got money” email notification and framing it for inspiration as my first game related income. 😉

With that fun – er, I mean educational – diversion out of the way, I’m back on track with Unity’s introductory course. I’ve completed the first section, Using the Unity Interface. Next up is the 2D Game Kit.  

I’m wary as it appears the 2D Game Kit can be manipulated all without writing any code…which is what I wrote about yesterday and why I was going to avoid visual scripting or drag and drop tools in the first place.

The reviews on the asset store page are exactly what I’m afraid of:

As a “kit” that lets you build a 2D game very similar to what’s available in the kit, it makes a lot of sense. As a learning tool, it doesn’t make a lot of sense.

As I mentioned, there’s a lot of content that you can modify a bit, but since the project teaches you how to manipulate the projects instead of building one, you’re pretty limited. The changes will be mostly cosmetic versus being able to build a truly original experience off of the kit. It’s disappointing that I can explore this project but still have next to zero idea how to actually build a game of my own. This is one of the first official learning projects on the website, and after going through a few of them, I still couldn’t tell you how to set up a full 2D project, anything about file structure, importing sprites, animations, building a scene, creating a tile map, setting up controls, or just about any other basic thing I need to do to build a 2D game.

I might have to curate the courses to develop a learning path that makes sense for me.


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