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Surplus

07/11/13

Surplus

New comics every Tuesday & Thursday


Tales from the Trenches

How to make a game bug free.

Working as QA on a large title for a sugar-daddy publisher that had very deep pockets, but knew next to nothing about a proper game production schedule and would force ridiculous milestones on the studio. For most of the project, most of the studio had been working solid 70-80 hour weeks, and QA was working 60-72 hour weeks. Depending on how hectic things were, we were working 10-12 hour days, 6 days a week. This went on for 6 months by the time I left.

We were coming up on a major milestone where our publisher wanted us reporting zero bugs, like a beta. The game was far, far away from being able to do this. So two higher-ups in the studio, like elves in the night, went into the database and started deleting entire swaths of bugs from the database. The next day the bug database was considerably lighter, and the two higher-ups sent out a celebratory email that we were reporting zero bugs, and we were all given cookies.

The problem is we were reporting zero bugs on a game where we still couldn’t play all the way through the base story line from start to finish without using debug commands or cheats, and without coming across a major blocker or the game crashing. The next day the two higher-ups actually PLAYED the game, then came back and tore our QA manager a new one about how bad the game was, and how DARE the bug database lack these 3,000 bugs they had just found while playing through the game. QA manager turned around, yelled at QA for making him look bad, and made us all stay until the wee hours of the morning doing a full level-by-level sweep of the game to re-bug all of these issues while he went home at 6.

I quit. From what I’ve heard, this sort of nonsense is still going on.