We’ve been discussing different aspects of developing mobile games and testing various required structures and the infrastructure needed to create more durable mobile games. The feedback we’ve received has been overwhelmingly positive and we urge you to connect with us because we’re determined to continue providing our knowledge, top practices, tips and tricks , and other useful information regarding the development of more mobile-friendly games. Let’s take a look at the ways that testing can add value to the development process of mobile games as a whole – and which are the top crucial factors to think about.
Moving across the mobile game development chasm
The majority of testing of mobile games is conducted manually, which isn’t a good way to cover everything. Effective mobile game testing should result from a structured and methodical approach, the making use of automated testing framework(s) as well as seamless integration into your agile approach.
Additionally there are many test automation frameworks that were initially designed for native applications (or elements of web apps) which is one reason why the biggest myths in the mobile game industry is that test automation frameworks don’t adhere to game testing standards in that certain native UI elements and their IDs, attributes, and so on. are not immediately identifiable. This isn’t the case, and many of these frameworks provide great methods to test games for mobile. For instance, they can be tested using features for image recognition.
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When testing is involved the basic idea behind the process is to have bugs found and documented in order developers can eliminate these bugs. Thus, some of the metrics employed for testing software such as the amount of bugs discovered and the amount of test cases that are created are fantastic, but do not reflect the value of testing . Because of this, QA is not considered to be a successful and efficient effort for companies. However, the rapid feedback from gamers via App Markets and worries regarding user retention, it has altered the way that serious mobile game developers approach testing. Feedback and ratings that are not good leads to a decrease in downloads, and ultimately leads to the game to be a fraudulent investment.
Can crash reporting aid you? Absolutely however it only gives you with information about why your game on mobile doesn’t function or crashes, or that users experience other issues which is already for you to fix it. Your game is now open to the public, negative feedback is available publicly and fixing the problem won’t necessarily help. In certain cases, poor reviews or reputations can make it impossible to get the next game accepted, or at least not being able to get the game out in front of hundreds of millions of players.
3 Key Factors to Increase Value of Mobile Game Testing
The added value of testing into the development process is as evident through its effectiveness in speeding up production (improved production) and the ability to publish your work earlier (time-to-market). The ‘improvements’ that are made can be directly measured by the value of:
Your effectiveness in your QA in identifying and developing to fix the flaws. This is the. most important factor in the cost of mobile application or game creation. The direct cost of errors have direct impact on your bottom line such as the costs of fixing the defect due to testing, the expense to fix and verify crash reports that come from the market, as well as the loss of customer acquisition costs (CPI) and the loss of value over the life of the customer (LTV that affects top-line).
In many cases, efficiency is easily overlooked as a cost-driver, however, if you put your numbers honestly in the open you’ll see that bug fixing is taking up many developers’ time and could cause delays in the release. This amounts to loss of revenue and customers.
Costs of time-to-market directly impact your bottom line. Time is an essential attribute not only to compete but also for generating profits as quickly as you can. When you start your game, each day counts because you begin earning revenue sooner. The most important indicators are the monthly/daily acquired user (MAU/DAU) and the average income for each (daily daily active) user (ARPU ARPDAU). Keep in mind that delays in publishing don’t result from testing if your development process allows for agile testing and development.
Many game designers do not estimate the effect of delays. However it’s easy to determine the impact on each day of delays to your overall profit. Manual testing – even on mobile games can slow the launch further. The solution is flexible, automated test-driven development that includes continuous integration continuous testing, continuous testing and quality control for real-world devices throughout the development process.
The effectiveness of your Quality Assurance. This is by far the most obvious way to impact you bottom line. The best way to examine the effectiveness is to measure the value of manual testing with the costs associated with test automation tools and automation costs. Although this will only give you the cost estimates for financial purposes however, it is essential to take into consideration other factors that are not considered. The standard approach to the testing of mobile games, and to this day is the crucial testing and QA tasks are completed at the end in the process of development. We have discussed the concept of an agile approach to mobile game development, and the best way to maximize the advantages this approach could bring – and also improve the efficiency of your QA.
How can you add value to the The Game Development Process?
Effectiveness. The easiest method to overcome the issues related to effectiveness is to incorporate game development and testing processes into a seamless agile development. This enables you to automate a huge number of different types of tests, using real mobile devices (all sorts of those) and check code after every build (daily/nightly/weekly builds). The efficacy has three advantages and attributes listed below:
1. Instant feedback on any defects. Mobile development provides an added dimension of automating the process on the actual devices your users use. From the perspective of developers immediate feedback regarding defects boosts productivity by a significant amount, as you have the code you last worked on fresh in your mind. Who can remember what you ate for lunch two weeks ago, vs. today?
2. Effectiveness in defect identification prior to the release will result in lower failures in the field. Gaming apps are among the most vulnerable as well as have the worst rate of crashes of all app types. Take an example: A mobile game that has 50k monthly active players submits two hundred crash reports each month. If you’ve got 3 games in the marketplace this is 6,600 crashes each month. If the analysis-fix-verification takes around 1h, the cost is huge. It is not due to engineering costs however, but due to the expense to the reputation, lost users , and possibly lost revenue.
Conducting testing on real mobile devices prior to release could have enhanced the game and helped to make the game more stable, and the performance of the development could have improved by about 2-4. Monitoring after launch is obviously important, but you must not be in a reactive mode when it comes down to identifying defects as it can cost you a great deal.
3. Loss of CPI as well as LTV. You are aware of how much each installation costs you, and probably know what is the LTV for your players. If your game crashes after the release, it’s very likely that you’ll have to forfeit both CPI and LTV of the user or all users who are using the model. It is strongly recommended to connect your CPI plus LTV for each incident that occurs in the field to determine the effect of any errors.
Being proactive and using a the true Agile development methodology, with a continuous game testing using real mobile devices will result in an increase in top line and a significantly increased bottom line aswell being happier developers. Every developer would like to work on new features instead of fixing existing ones in firefighting mode, based on the crash reports being reported by the market. Remember! Manual testing isn’t flexible, and is not the solution to those previously mentioned issues. You don’t get instant feedback. If you’re looking to test your game by hand using top 50-100 devices for instance, the cost of doing this bi-weekly, as well as monthly, is expensive and almost impossible.
Time-to-Market. The shorter time to market can increase your profit margin. The earlier you start your game, the earlier you begin making money. When you launch your new game or an old game that has new features monetized 2 weeks before the previous release using agile, and automatic mobile tests, that’s 14 days removed from each cycle of release. If you have 6 releases each calendar year (every two months) this is an annual savings of 84 days.
The maths behind the loss of income is quite straightforward:
Imagine 100,000 average daily users (DAU)
Imagine $0.05 average daily revenue users (ARPDAU)
(x) 14 days (x) 6 releases/year (x) 100 000 (x) $0.05 = $420 000/year/game to your total revenue.
If you own five games that totals around $2 million from faster time-to-market.
It is possible to achieve this by cutting down two weeks from each release cycle. Some games are not directly revenue-generating, so you should replace ARPDAU with a specific value for every mobile user.
Also, time-to-market efficiency is increased through a unified development and testing processes. This is true for every software development process, but for mobile app development this is the only way to conduct development in a timely manner. There are a lot of platforms used by end users (e.g. diverse devices that use different software and hardware configurations) which means that your games need to support an ever-growing complexity of games that must be tested on these devices with each release.
It is possible to automate a large amount of testing and run it on actual devices following every code update or nightly builds. This will reduce the development-testing process, speed up defect fixing and lead to a better overall performance.
A faster time to market also ensures that your competitors are kept at bay. Your competitors won’t have an opportunity to market their products over yours, which is an opportunity when your releases begin to fall off. It is possible to release more often with greater confidence in high-quality products.
Productivity. Quality control (QA) is an essential element of developing and maintaining games that are successful on mobile for millions of players. One of the measures during the process of creating games is the QA’s effectiveness in its ability to identify and eliminate issues in games before they reach the hands of gamers. This kind of performance of quality assurance is assessed using various metrics such as:
Bugs found rate : how quickly the QA team discovers bugs in the testing process per minute spent on testing
Post launch, issue rate is high – how many issues are identified following the go-live release
Rate of satisfaction with the customer For example, complaints to customer support, problems that are reported to app stores, general ratings for the games
The quality of the deliverables and the issue documentation – how simple the developers can comprehend the issue and create an appropriate fix based on document
The number of test cases that are added per day of time
The main challenges that mobile game development and testing are the variety of devices and the various operating systems as well as hardware configurations, carrier and OEM customizations. These factors increase the difficulty of QA and lead to longer development times (time-to-market) and higher field crash rate (lower levels of customer satisfaction, and consequently impacting your bottom revenue) and higher support costs (more complaints from customers) and a sloppy development teams (dealing with issues with customers, instead of. creating the latest features). To increase QA efficiency, teams have to be able to access real devices – exactly the same devices that users use.
Development and QA teams require access to the devices when they encounter a problem while developing, and they fix issues after launch or are receiving complaints from customers. The earlier the issue is discovered and fixed, the less expensive it is of fixing the issues. To make sure that bugs are found efficiently You can automate the testing and run it on real devices following every code update or nightly builds. This will speed up your development-testing cycle, increase the speed of fixing defects and will result in a better bottom line.
Utilizing a cloud-based platform that focuses on mobile development as well as QA performance that your staff will increase significantly: The cost is a fraction of manual testing process, developers are more content (instant feedback on the latest codes without the hassle of dealing with buying new devices) and the product owners are more satisfied (higher customer loyalty, greater LTV, quicker time-to-market) Customer service is more pleasant (fewer complaints from customers) and, perhaps most important of all your customers are happy because they don’t get angry because of “not operating on my gadget”.
There are many ways to enhance the developing mobile games process. If you stick to the three points and adhere to the rapid process of constant testing, you’ll quickly see advantages and create more durable games. This is a checklist of things to do to help you build games of higher quality:
If you are thinking of automating the majority of your testing. Choose one of the great open-source testing frameworks that are available for the most widely used mobile platforms.
Beware of the completely unnecessary lock-ins to vendors by using standard language (Java dotnet, perl PHP, php, Python and ruby) There’s a huge pool of developers who use these languages to tap into.
Automate as much of the testing process to increase the efficiency of the organization (even give developers the responsibility for developing automated tests)
Continuous integration as well as continuous tests. testing is a continual process in agile , and will give you results 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Integrate your testing management systems to increase cooperation and transparency across the entire organization. Tools should facilitate a smooth flow of collaboration
Instant accessibility. The teams working on development do not have the time to deal with long sales cyclesor procurement procedures for every device and tool. Pick a service that provides rapid provisioning that does not require waiting for equipment or procurement, or internal processes.
The most crucial oneis that tools matter but how you use them is more important. Tools are important, however, how you utilize them is what will determine the success of your project.
Happy Mobile Game Testing!