Myself Saugat Mahat from pokhara..



Thursday 2 February 2023

Mobile Game Testing for Android and iOS

According to Newzoo , there are around 2.5 billion gamers in the world. Not all of them are fans of mobile games, but this niche already represents 45% of the global game industry and is worth around $68.5 billion. Mobile gaming can grow to a $196 billion market by the end of 2022. According to App Annie, smartphone users spend 74 cents of every dollar in the app stores on games. Releasing a game app without critical bugs is a sure way to improve user acquisition and monetization. It also means that comprehensive testing is essential, and most likely, you will need professional software testing services to help handle it. But first things first: let’s figure out what to check in mobile games. Regardless of whether you have to inspect an Android or iOS game app, the process and challenges will be very similar.

MOBILE GAME TESTING CHECKLIST 1. Gameplay & Logic By playing a game like a regular user, a QA engineer can determine gaps in its logic, find non-useful features, check levels for difficulty, etc. to optimize an app for enhanced user experience. The mobile game QA process should start with incomplete game versions so that the team can find algorithms bugs at the early stages. Sometimes there are walls and floors located in the wrong places, incorrect maps, characters unable to walk, jump or use weapons, etc. 2. Graphics Smooth responsive graphics is one of the core criteria of positive user experience. A list of graphic bugs features irregular texture, distorted images, and different types of visual glitches. Sometimes these bugs are just frustrating, but they can also put a character in a disadvantageous position or make it impossible to proceed to the following levels. 3. Functionality QA specialists need to verify that all playing modes, character statuses, and features are available. One of the common issues that give gamers a real headache is a saving glitch. Losing progress you’ve been working on for hours is an extremely painful experience. Issues with in-game purchasing are one more crucial functionality that needs a careful check. Players should be able to upgrade and shouldn’t lose money due to failed operations. 4. Sound Music creates the effect of user presence in the game, and that makes games different from other apps. An error in sound coding can result in a gameplay mismatch with music and voice commands. Audio effects bound to wrong scenes ruin the atmosphere. Incorrect directions make it difficult or impossible to move on. Default device language that doesn’t match game language settings talks some abracadabra. 5. Texts Captions are sometimes misplaced or don’t appear on the screen at all. The lack of directions doesn’t let a player move forward. Localization bugs work a bit differently, displaying texts in a language a user doesn’t understand. The effect, however, is pretty much the same. 6. Multiplayer Mode Some of the most popular games – from Mario Kart Tour and NBA Jam to Scrabble GO – are multiplayer. The multiplayer mode has become valued more than ever during the lockdown when gaming became one of the few forms of socialization available. This trend will stick, at least for a while, so it’s better to let users compete online without problems. 7. Social Media Integrations Hyper-casual games often go viral thanks to in-app social media buttons and the invite feature. People who don’t consider themselves gamers can spend hours on Candy Crush or Fruit Ninja. Sharing records on Facebook helps keep proud and attract new users. So properly working social media integrations are a win-win. TYPES OF TESTING TO USE FOR MOBILE GAMES So how to do mobile game testing? There are two methods applied to mobile games (though not only). 1) Black box testing is the inspection of functionality without paying attention to the code. A QA engineer mimics the behavior of an average user. It’s like a closed beta test of mobile games. This method covers: registration functionality; buttons (if they are clickable and with correct texts); sound; routine for passing levels; progress-saving feature, etc. 2) White box testing focuses on game architecture and systemic aspects. It requires knowledge of code, databases, software libraries, game engine, etc. White box testing takes place during the early stages of unit testing, and that’s what we’ll start with. Unit Testing Straight to the important nuance: unit testing is not a task for a QA company. It is run by developers. They examine separate code components – units, the smallest testable parts. The check-up of every specific feature and method allows tracking how the slightest changes affect code as the whole. Unit tests reduce the cost of fixing mistakes and hasten development. GUI Testing Graphic user interface is what you see on the screen. GUI testing is essential for all kinds of software, but paramount for games. Among the other things, QA engineers should check: image recognition; interface layout; colors, fonts, and alignment; screen orientation and resolution; navigation and controls; menu structure and functions; transition between game stages. User interface tests help detect camera angles mismatch, check game speed, training mode features, etc. Functional Testing Functional testing inspects the specifications outlined in the requirements. At this stage, a QA engineer checks every element of the game flow, including: install/uninstall feature; loading time and timeout; all kinds of messages (error, confirmation, etc.); push notifications; animations, audio effects, and texts; app behavior on the background; behavior in critical conditions (poor network connection, low charge); recovery after a crash. Performance Testing This type of testing estimates overall game performance – app speed, responsiveness, and stability – in order to optimize it. The tests look into CPU and memory consumption, battery usage, network connectivity, number of users that can play on a server, response and recovery time, peak load and stability, etc. Localization Testing 47% of the global games market belongs to the Asia-Pacific region with the rest almost evenly distributed between North America and EMEA countries. Only 4% of users are located in South America. To reach different markets, developers should convert an app into a language of the local gamers. Localization doesn’t only imply translation but also considers local time, currency, date format, etc. Some markets require additional customization, like right-to-left text support in Arabic countries and compatibility with a sophisticated keyboard in China. Compatibility Testing Cross-device support goes beyond the install/uninstall process. A game is supported by different mobile devices if all its features work flawlessly on each, without distorted graphics, glitches, or any other bugs. DIFFERENCES BETWEEN IOS AND ANDROID GAME TESTING The elements to check and types of testing to apply to Android and iOS games are the same. Still, there are factors that influence testing on each platform, affecting the scope of work and capacity planning. Diversity. There are fewer iOS versions, so it takes less time to test an iOS app. The Android situation is the opposite. Besides, new Apple devices come with new versions of OS, while Android devices don’t. Some of them don’t support the newest OS versions. App design. Apple’s software and hardware are made for each other. It is easy to understand the design of any iOS app, while Android manufacturers can customize OS versions for their hardware. Screen resolutions. Android smartphones come in a way more screen sizes, resolutions, and layouts. Such diversity increases the number of potential bugs. Updates. Apple is the only manufacturer of iOS devices, and it can guarantee simultaneous and rather frequent updates. Android updates take more time and depend on a smartphone manufacturer. App stores. Users can install iOS apps are only from the official Apple Store. Android apps are available at Google Play Store and other websites. Both Android and iOS apps undergo a review from official distribution platforms, but Apple takes it more seriously. DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A REAL DEVICE, EMULATOR, AND SIMULATOR There are hundreds if not thousands of smartphone models. Testing an app on each is impossible and needless. Virtual devices (emulators and simulators) often become an alternative to popular smartphone models, although there is a fundamental difference between these QA resources. Real devices are actual phone models used for testing. They provide highly accurate results but are rather expensive. Emulators mimic every aspect of the software and hardware behavior of a device. Many of them are available for free. Unfortunately, emulators work slowly, cannot reproduce some features of a native device, and may be incompatible with certain app elements. Simulators mimic only software without taking into consideration CPU and battery usage, cellular interrupts, etc. The results may be difficult to analyze due to incomplete data. Virtual devices can’t replicate real user conditions, but they are better for debugging. Real devices are faster and provide accurate results, but they aren’t always cost-efficient. For effective game app testing, mobile game testing companies find an optimal combination of both. BOTTOM LINE Mobile game testing is a bit different from mobile app testing in general. Games offer more variables and user scenarios, as they encourage players to be unpredictable. Gaming apps prioritize features that aren’t that important for regular applications, like graphics and sound. Still, there is a simple formula for high-quality game app testing: years of experience + diversity of real devices a team possesses. Luckily, we’ve got both 🙂
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