Who Are Game Testers?

There are some people who absolutely love playing video games. Naturally, the perfect job for this person would be video game testing. While it is fun work, it is also a serious job. Game testers are responsible for testing through all the steps while it is still in the development phase. Since it may be full of bugs, it is essential for a game tester to have patience.

Game testers must be organized and disciplined because they need to follow strict procedures. This job is not just about generating the highest score, but rather following a precise course of action to determine if the game is functioning as intended. An eye for detail is a must in this position, as is a cursory understanding of game programming and game design, so that any flaw found can be documented and fixed before the finished product is sent to market.

Video game testing is serious business. All testers must have a working knowledge of computer hardware and software. In addition, excellent communication skills are needed so that he or she can note the flaws in the game and evaluate/communicate its overall performance to designers. Therefore, testers must posses great eye-hand coordination and effective communication skills.

Bringing a new video game into the marketplace is time-consuming and expensive. Writers create the game’s characters, and illustrators give them life. Code programmers create the world the characters will operate in. Typically, game testers are introduced to the game early in the development process to help iron out flaws along the way. Game testers are called on often during the development stage to test the game at certain intervals and ensure quality.

Video game developers take the testing process seriously. Should a flawed game be sent to store shelves it can cost the manufacturer in terms of both lost revenue and a tarnished reputation. Hardcore video game enthusiasts want their games to work perfectly. Lose the gamers trust, and the game company risks losing market share. Yes, testing is serious business, and the worst case scenario is recalling a defective game from store shelves.

Game testers are problem finders. Some game testers only test the software, while others test for hardware compatibility and potential issues. Repetitive testing is applied to make sure problems do not crop up. If problems do arise, it might only happen in certain situations, and the tester is responsible for finding and noting the defect. Hardware tests might be implemented to the controller to see how the game performs under heavy use.

Many enthusiasts may think being a tester is all about playing. Some testing can be menial; for example, an entry-level tester may be required to turn the console on and off hundreds of times. Another tester might be asked to download movies while playing, just to see how the system responds.

However, if you are an individual that enjoys gadgets and tedious detail, then perhaps the career of video game tester is the job for you. You will have an inside look at how video games are tested for market, and furthermore, you will know what video games are coming out before they are actually released.

Wholesale Video Games – More Gaming For Less Money

The world of video games has increased greatly in scope in recent years. The capabilities of hardware and software have grown incredibly along with the variety of games that you can play. Compare an older game platform with a modern one and you will easily see the difference.

Anyone who has been a gamer for several years will have noticed how much the video gaming world has expanded. Improved hardware and software combined with the power of the internet has made it possible to create virtual worlds where gamers can live in the guise of a virtual character that they create and control. By making more games available at a lower price, wholesale video games will expand this universe even more.

If you are not that interested in buying the latest games on the market, but are more interested in buying several older ones at once, then buying wholesale video games will appeal to you. You may even be able to make money to pay for your gaming habit by buying the games wholesale and then reselling them online to make a profit.

Purchasing wholesale video games is a great way to get a lot of gaming pleasure from a small amount of money. Buying them in quantity gets you a lot of games for a lower investment than you would get if you bought them one at a time at retail cost.

Those people that are playing those games in this fashion, when you don’t have the latest game it is alright because by the time their finished playing the game before, the newest games are not the newest anymore. This is very true for sports games that come out every year. The current year will be out of date by the time your ready to play the game if you take your time trying to finish the previous year.

Online playing has changed video games, even the re-playability of the games. There are always new challengers and new challenges out there with the online gaming system, which furthers the amount of time a player will continue playing a game. This continues the argument for continuing to play the online games you purchased at a cheaper price that will save you money in the end and buying wholesale video games.

What Is a Game?

We probably all have a pretty good intuitive notion of what a game is. The general term “game” encompasses board games like chess and Monopoly, card games like poker and blackjack, casino games like roulette and slot machines, military war games, computer games, various kinds of play among children, and the list goes on. In academia we sometimes speak of game theory, in which multiple agents select strategies and tactics in order to maximize their gains within the framework of a well-defined set of game rules. When used in the context of console or computer-based entertainment, the word “game” usually conjures images of a three-dimensional virtual world featuring a humanoid, animal or vehicle as the main character under player control. (Or for the old geezers among us, perhaps it brings to mind images of two-dimensional classics like Pong, Pac-Man, or Donkey Kong.) In his excellent book, A Theory of Fun for Game Design, Raph Koster defines a game to be an interactive experience that provides the player with an increasingly challenging sequence of patterns which he or she learns and eventually masters. Koster’s asser-tion is that the activities of learning and mastering are at the heart of what we call “fun,” just as a joke becomes funny at the moment we “get it” by recognizing the pattern.

Video Games as Soft Real-Time Simulations

Most two- and three-dimensional video games are examples of what computer scientists would call soft real-time interactive agent-based computer simulations. Let’s break this phrase down in order to better understand what it means. In most video games, some subset of the real world -or an imaginary world- is modeled mathematically so that it can be manipulated by a computer. The model is an approximation to and a simplification of reality (even if it’s an imaginary reality), because it is clearly impractical to include every detail down to the level of atoms or quarks. Hence, the mathematical model is a simulation of the real or imagined game world. Approximation and simplification are two of the game developer’s most powerful tools. When used skillfully, even a greatly simplified model can sometimes be almost indistinguishable from reality and a lot more fun.

An agent-based simulation is one in which a number of distinct entities known as “agents” interact. This fits the description of most three-dimensional computer games very well, where the agents are vehicles, characters, fireballs, power dots and so on. Given the agent-based nature of most games, it should come as no surprise that most games nowadays are implemented in an object-oriented, or at least loosely object-based, programming language.

All interactive video games are temporal simulations, meaning that the vir- tual game world model is dynamic-the state of the game world changes over time as the game’s events and story unfold. A video game must also respond to unpredictable inputs from its human player(s)-thus interactive temporal simulations. Finally, most video games present their stories and respond to player input in real time, making them interactive real-time simulations.

One notable exception is in the category of turn-based games like computerized chess or non-real-time strategy games. But even these types of games usually provide the user with some form of real-time graphical user interface.

What Is a Game Engine?

The term “game engine” arose in the mid-1990s in reference to first-person shooter (FPS) games like the insanely popular Doom by id Software. Doom was architected with a reasonably well-defined separation between its core software components (such as the three-dimensional graphics rendering system, the collision detection system or the audio system) and the art assets, game worlds and rules of play that comprised the player’s gaming experience. The value of this separation became evident as developers began licensing games and retooling them into new products by creating new art, world layouts, weapons, characters, vehicles and game rules with only minimal changes to the “engine” software. This marked the birth of the “mod community”-a group of individual gamers and small independent studios that built new games by modifying existing games, using free toolkits pro- vided by the original developers. Towards the end of the 1990s, some games like Quake III Arena and Unreal were designed with reuse and “modding” in mind. Engines were made highly customizable via scripting languages like id’s Quake C, and engine licensing began to be a viable secondary revenue stream for the developers who created them. Today, game developers can license a game engine and reuse significant portions of its key software components in order to build games. While this practice still involves considerable investment in custom software engineering, it can be much more economical than developing all of the core engine components in-house. The line between a game and its engine is often blurry.

Some engines make a reasonably clear distinction, while others make almost no attempt to separate the two. In one game, the rendering code might “know” specifi-cally how to draw an orc. In another game, the rendering engine might provide general-purpose material and shading facilities, and “orc-ness” might be defined entirely in data. No studio makes a perfectly clear separation between the game and the engine, which is understandable considering that the definitions of these two components often shift as the game’s design solidifies.

Arguably a data-driven architecture is what differentiates a game engine from a piece of software that is a game but not an engine. When a game contains hard-coded logic or game rules, or employs special-case code to render specific types of game objects, it becomes difficult or impossible to reuse that software to make a different game. We should probably reserve the term “game engine” for software that is extensible and can be used as the foundation for many different games without major modification.

Clearly this is not a black-and-white distinction. We can think of a gamut of reusability onto which every engine falls. One would think that a game engine could be something akin to Apple QuickTime or Microsoft Windows Media Player-a general-purpose piece of software capable of playing virtually any game content imaginable. However, this ideal has not yet been achieved (and may never be). Most game engines are carefully crafted and fine-tuned to run a particular game on a particular hardware platform. And even the most general-purpose multiplatform engines are really only suitable for building games in one particular genre, such as first-person shooters or racing games. It’s safe to say that the more general-purpose a game engine or middleware component is, the less optimal it is for running a particular game on a particular platform.

This phenomenon occurs because designing any efficient piece of software invariably entails making trade-offs, and those trade-offs are based on assumptions about how the software will be used and/or about the target hardware on which it will run. For example, a rendering engine that was designed to handle intimate indoor environments probably won’t be very good at rendering vast outdoor environments. The indoor engine might use a binary space partitioning (BSP) tree or portal system to ensure that no geometry is drawn that is being occluded by walls or objects that are closer to the camera. The outdoor engine, on the other hand, might use a less-exact occlusion mechanism, or none at all, but it probably makes aggressive use of level-of-detail (LOD) techniques to ensure that distant objects are rendered with a minimum number of triangles, while using high-resolution triangle meshes for geome-try that is close to the camera.

The advent of ever-faster computer hardware and specialized graphics cards, along with ever-more-efficient rendering algorithms and data structures, is beginning to soften the differences between the graphics engines of different genres. It is now possible to use a first-person shooter engine to build a real-time strategy game, for example. However, the trade-off between generality and optimality still exists. A game can always be made more impressive by fine-tuning the engine to the specific requirements and constraints of a particular game and/or hardware platform.

Engine Differences Across Genres

Game engines are typically somewhat genre specific. An engine designed for a two-person fighting game in a boxing ring will be very different from a massively multiplayer online game (MMOG) engine or a first-person shooter (FPS) engine or a real-time strategy (RTS) engine. However, there is also a great deal of overlap-all 3D games, regardless of genre, require some form of low-level user input from the joypad, keyboard and/or mouse, some form of 3D mesh rendering, some form of heads-up display (HUD) including text rendering in a variety of fonts, a powerful audio system, and the list goes on. So while the Unreal Engine, for example, was designed for first-person shooter games, it has been used successfully to construct games in a number of other genres as well, including simulator games, like Farming Simulator 15 ( FS 15 mods ) and the wildly popular third-person shooter franchise Gears of War by Epic Games and the smash hits Batman: Arkham Asylum and Batman: Arkham City by Rocksteady Studios.