[MUD-Dev] Quality Testing

Michael Tresca talien at toast.net
Thu Oct 18 06:51:56 New Zealand Daylight Time 2001

Dave Rickey posted on Wednesday, October 17, 2001 10:04 AM

> It was suspected (by those testers who were also in IT) that when
> EA gave the order to ship UO that they were essentially "kicking
> it out the door".  QA was telling them that to properly test just
> what was in front of them in October 97 was going to take until
> mid 98 or later, if nothing changed in the meantime.  EA wasn't
> willing to keep funding it, so the game had to go to the stores or
> be tanked completely.  Just a theory, but one that fits.

> I wasn't kidding when I said that if Camelot hadn't been made by a
> team of 30, it would have needed over 100.  That's if it could be
> done at all, the way that traditional QA would have slowed down
> the revision cycle might have made it literally impossible to
> *ever* release it (by stretching out development to the point that
> by the time the original design was ready, it was outdated).  We
> ran a turnover cycle (concept to code to content) *daily* at some
> points.  In a traditional QA approach, it could have taken a week
> just to figure out how something was going to be documented.

Okay, THAT's disturbing.  If I understand this issue correctly: 1)
an effective QA methodology doesn't apply to a game with a bazillion
variables in it.  2) if you were to use said QA methodology, it
would unacceptably delay the game beyond its release date -- such
that it might no longer have a competitive edge.

This leaves us with the "let the players test it" approach, which
I'm all for with Beta tests.  But how effective are betas in
cleaning the game up enough for release?

I'm wondering if this doesn't warrant a different sales approach,
where you offer a game at half price or free for the first five
months to "get it out there," thus satisfying the release schedule
requirements, but at the same time, level-set player expectations so
they know the game isn't perfect.

We've seen over and over the "rush to market" and the surprisingly
high level of tolerance consumers show for a game's flaws.  Then
Anarchy Online came along...

Mike "Talien" Tresca
RetroMUD Administrator

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