We’ve been discussing different aspects of developing mobile games and testing different architectures and systems to build more durable mobile games. The feedback we’ve received is fantastic and we invite you to connect with us since we’re committed to providing our expertise, the top practices, tips and techniques and a host of other pertinent 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 indicators to think about.
Moving across the mobile game development chasm
A lot of testing of mobile games is performed manually, and does not provide a reliable method to ensure that everything is covered. Effective mobile game testing must stem from a structured and organized approach, the using automated testing framework(s) as well as seamless integration into your agile processes.
In addition the majority of test automation frameworks were initially designed for native applications (or elements for web applications) which is one reason why the most common misconceptions for mobile game developers is that test automation frameworks don’t adhere to game testing standards which means that native UI elements such as their IDs, features, and so on. can’t be immediately identified. However, that’s not the case. Many of these frameworks provide great methods to test games on mobile devices. For instance, they can be tested making use of image recognition capabilities.
When testing is involved the basic idea behind the process is to have bugs found and documented to ensure developers can eliminate the bugs. Thus, some of the metrics used to measure software testing like the number of bugs discovered and the amount of test cases developed – are fantastic, but don’t show the value to testing. As a result of this, QA is not thought of as a profitable and efficient effort for businesses. However, the rapid feedback provided by gamers using App Markets, and the concern about retention of users has changed the way that serious mobile game developers view testing. Feedback and ratings that are not good leads to a lower number of downloads, eventually leading to the game to be a fraudulent investment.
Can crash reporting aid you? Absolutely however it only gives you with the knowledge that your game on mobile doesn’t function or crashes, or that users experience other issues or experience other issues. It’s too to be too late. Your game is now made available to the public, and negative feedback is available publicly and fixing the issue won’t always make a difference. In certain cases, poor reputation or ratings can prevent you from getting new titles accepted, or at least not being out in front of hundreds of millions of players.
3 Tips for Increasing Value of Mobile Game Testing
The added value of testing into the process of development can be as evident through its effectiveness in speeding up production (improved production) and the potential to launch your product earlier (time-to-market). The ‘improvements’ that are made can be directly measured in terms of worth:
The efficiency of your QA on identifying and developing to fix the flaws. This is the. most important factor in the cost of mobile application or game creation. According to the report, direct costs of defects can have an immediate impact on the bottom line of your business, such as the cost of fixing the flaws 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) as well as the lost value over the life of the customer (LTV which affects the top line).
In many cases, efficiency is an easy thing to overlook as a cost-driver, but if you place your numbers honestly in the open it will be apparent that bug fixing is taking up the developers’ time, and can cause delays in the release. This amounts to loss of revenues and customers.
Costs associated with time-to-market directly affect your bottom line. It is essential to have time not only to compete but also to earn profits as quickly as you can. When you begin your game, each day counts since you start earning revenue sooner. The most important indicators are the monthly/daily acquired user (MAU/DAU) and the average revenues for each (daily actively) user (ARPU ARPDAU, ARPU). Keep in mind that delays in publishing aren’t due to testing – provided that your development processes allow for agile testing and development.
Many game designers do not consider the effects of delays. However it’s easy to estimate the effect of every day of delay on your bottom line. Manual testing – even on mobile games – can slow the launch further. The solution is flexible, automated test-driven development that includes continuous integration with continuous testing, and quality assurance for real-world devices throughout the development process.
The efficiency of your Quality Assurance. This is the obvious way to impact you bottom line. The most effective way to examine the effectiveness is to evaluate the cost of manual testing to costs associated with test automation tools and automation expenses. While this only provides the estimates of financial costs however, it is essential to look at other factors that are not considered. The standard approach to test-based mobile gaming, which is in the present is the crucial testing and QA tasks are completed in the most recent phases in the process of development. We have discussed the concept of an agile approach to mobile game development, and the best way to reap the full advantages this approach can provide – and help improve the efficiency of your QA.
How do you increase the value of 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 unified agile process of 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 attributes and benefits:
1. Instant feedback on the presence of defects. Mobile development provides an added dimension of automating the process using real devices that your end users use. From the perspective of developers immediate feedback regarding defects boosts productivity by a significant amount, as you have the code that you just wrote fresh in your head. Who can remember what you ate for lunch two weeks ago, vs. today?
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2. The effectiveness of defect detection prior to the release can lead to lower failures in the field. The gaming apps are most vulnerable with the most rate of crashes of any type of app. Take an example: A mobile game that has more than 50,000 monthly active users submit two hundred crash reports each month. If you have three games available 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 of the company, the loss of customers and the possibility of losing revenue.
Testing on actual mobile devices prior to release could have enhanced the game and ensured that the game was stable, and the efficiency of development would have increased by about 2-4. Monitoring post-launch is important, but you must not be in a reactive mode when it comes down to identifying defects as it can cost you lots.
3. Loss of CPI as well as LTV. You’re aware of the amount each installation will cost you, and probably know what is the LTV that your customers use. If your game crashes after the release, it’s likely that you’ll be unable to recover both CPI as well as the LTV of the user or all users who are using the model. It is strongly recommended to add your CPI and LTV for every failure that happens in the field in order to comprehend the consequences of crashes.
Being proactive and employing a the true Agile development methodology, with a continuous game testing using real mobile devices will result in more top-line growth and an enhanced bottom line as well being happier developers. Every developer would like to work on new features instead of repair existing features in fire-fighting mode, based on the crash reports being reported by the market. Remember! Manual testing isn’t flexible, and is not the answer to these points. You don’t get instant feedback. If you’re looking to test your game by hand using the top 50 to 100 devices, for example, the expense of doing it bi-weekly as well as monthly, is costly and almost impossible.
Time-to-Market. The shorter time to market can increase your bottom line. The sooner you launch your game, the earlier you begin earning revenue. If you are able to release your brand new game – or an older game that has new features monetized two weeks earlier than the previous release using agile, and automatic mobile tests, you will have 14 days removed from each release cycle. If you have 6 releases each the year (every for 2 months) this is an annual savings of 84 days.
The math behind lost revenue is actually quite simple:
Imagine 100,000 average daily users (DAU)
Imagine $0.05 average daily income per users (ARPDAU)
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 in your portfolio the total amount would be approximately $2 million from a faster time-to market.
This can be achieved by slashing two weeks per 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 by integrating development and testing. This is the case with any software development. However, for mobile app development it’s the only method to complete development effectively. There is a wide variety of platforms used by end users (e.g. diverse devices that use different software and hardware configurations) and your games need to support an ever-growing amount of complexity in games that must be tested on these devices for each new release.
You can automate a massive amount of testing and you can do it on actual devices following each new code check or nightly builds. This will reduce the development-testing process, speed up defect fixing and lead to a better overall performance.
The speedier time to market helps keep your competition in check. Your competitors won’t have an opportunity to market their own products more than yours, which is an issue when your releases begin to fall off. You will be able to release more frequently with greater confidence in how good your products.
Productivity. Quality of assurance (QA) is an essential element of making and maintaining games that are successful on mobile for millions of players. One of the key metrics used during the process of creating games is QA’s efficiency in its ability to identify and eliminate bugs in games prior to they reach the hands of players. This kind of efficiency 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 discovered following the go-live release
Customer satisfaction rating For example, complaints to support from customers, issues that are reported to app stores, overall rating of the game
The quality of the deliverables and the documenting issues – how easy the developers can grasp the issue and create an appropriate fix based on documents
The number of test cases that are added per day of time
The unique challenges to mobile game development and quality assurance are the diversity of devices and the various operating systems as well as hardware configurations, carrier and OEM customizations. These factors increase the difficulty of QA and can lead to longer development times (time-to-market) and higher field crash rate (lower customer satisfaction and deinstallations which can impact your bottom revenue) and more costly customer support costs (more complaints from customers) and a sloppy development teams (dealing with issues from customers instead of. creating the latest features). To increase QA efficiency, teams have to be able to access real devices – exactly the same ones that the end-users utilize.
The developers and QA teams must have access to these devices when they have a problem while developing, and they have to fix problems 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 it is possible to automate testing, and test it on actual devices following every code update or nightly builds. This will speed up your development-testing cycle, increase the speed of fixing defects and lead to a higher bottom line.
If you use a cloud-based solution to develop mobile apps and for QA performance for your entire team is likely to be improved substantially: The price is less than manual testing, the developers are more content (instant feedback on the latest software without the hassle of dealing buying when purchasing new devices) The product owners are more satisfied (higher customer loyalty, greater LTV, quicker time-to-market) and customer service is better (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 methods to improve the processes for developing games on mobile. If you stick to the three elements and follow an rapid process of constant testing, you’ll quickly see advantages and develop more robust games. This is a checklist of things to do for you to take the next step with higher quality:
If you are thinking of automating the majority of your testing, and choose one of the top open-source testing frameworks 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 agility of the organization (even give developers the responsibility for the creation of automated tests)
Utilize continuous integration as well as continuous tests. testing is a continual process in agile , and will give you results on a daily basis
Integrate your test management system to increase communication and transparency within the entire organization. Tools should allow for a seamless flow of collaboration
Instant accessibility. The teams working on development do not have the time to deal with lengthy sales cycles, procurement processes for every device and tool. Select a solution that offers quick provisioning, without waiting for equipment procurement, internal or external processes.
The most crucial tool: Tools are important 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!