Oswald Rant: I Can Beta Test

During the development cycle of Urban Terror Beta 2, Silicon Ice Development took on community gamers as “beta testers.” Some will contest that development has gone downhill since the release of Beta 1.27, but beta testers have been involved in every release since Beta 2. Those beta testers came to be known as the Quality Assurance Team, who work on testing releases before they are released to the community at the end of a development cycle.

In order to dispel some of the myth, here are a few facts about the gamers who make up quality assurance.

Myth: You have to be a kiss ass, brown nose or “suck up” to the development team to be included in quality assurance testing.

Fact: There is no application to join this group of gamers, development team members agree upon someone and offer them the opportunity to act as a tester.

Myth: The gamers that make up quality assurance are not “skilled” and are just friends of the development team.

Fact: The gamers SID have represent a cross section of the community and include a wide range of skills, system specs and Internet connections.

Myth: Testers do nothing but play the mod, that is why there are so many bugs when SID releases a new version.

Fact: QA gamers are continually testing and reporting issues and problems to the development, while working with the team to resolve these problems before releasing a build.

Not really sure what resolve that will provide to the community as most everyone who contacts me or another team member, feels they could have caught a bug that QA or SID missed. We have seen this for months now. It goes something like, “Oswald, I should be a beta tester because I would have caught [insert bug here] and I am a skilled gamer who knows what to look for.” Some might have a valid case too, but for the most part the development team is very pleased and trusting of those gamers who are involved in our development for Urban Terror.

Up until this release, SID never really announced the members on the QA Team. If a gamer wanted the community to know, then it was up to them to make that known to the community. Even now, if there is an issue with any gamer on the QA Team, then issues should be directed to Silicon Ice Development and not the QA Team member.

We also ask the QA Team not to give “too much” information out the community when it comes to testing. It also goes without saying that any files or information released to them prior to an official release should not be compromised. Again, this is a touchy area, as can be difficult to judge someone’s character and integrity over the Internet. QuakeCon helped to add a few new members, as SID was able to meet a few face to face, which usually provides some reassurance.

During this last development cycle the quality assurance team played an imperative part to our development. Many of them have been involved for close to a year and have dedicated as much time as some of those on the development team. Staying up long hours with the coders and SID members in order to resolve problems at that eleventh hour of development.

This group of people have a huge responsibility and have been able to take much of the sometimes, harsh criticism in stride. Looking back at the end of this development cycle and the release of Beta 2.6, it was not more than one hour before the bug issues came rolling in. Along with the phrase, “How could you miss this during testing?” *sigh* As for this last cycle, we are still looking into the causes, in order to answer, “why.” We have thoughts and theories, but will keep them internal until we can confirm them.

Looking back on development with and without the quality assurance team, this group has taken a very active roll in the mod. I don’t think any of us on the development team could think of development without their support, effort and attitudes. They truly have played a big role in the success of Urban Terror.

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