Automated Testing of Gameplay Features in “Sea of Thieves”

Notes on a talk by Robert Masella (@ZipLockBagMan) of Rare/Microsoft Studios Wanted automated testing on all parts of the code, incl. (notoriously difficult to test) gameplay featuresChallengesComplexity from open world designConstantly evolving game-as-a-serviceWanted to cut releases in a week... can't spend weeks on testingWhy use automated testingManual testing slow, unreliableSubtle bug in AI behavior gets … Continue reading Automated Testing of Gameplay Features in “Sea of Thieves”


Steam Business Update

Notes on a talk from GDC 2019 To be a good platform, need to:Create value for players and devsBest experience for a given gameGrow the addressable marketInvent new ways for devs to make customers happy...over the long termE.g., Steam Link Anywhere automatically makes your game more valuable—no integration costs for devsComing soonSteam Events: communicate to … Continue reading Steam Business Update

Design by the Numbers: Using Data for Good

Notes on a talk by Evan Losi of Scopely at GDC 2019 Play tests only take you so farCapturing analyticsTrack everything—every time a player does anythingEverything a person interacts withWhich screens they openWhat activities people takeResources (what players earn and spend)Look at the aggregated dataKey metrics/KPIsEnd results of player behaviorRetention, conversions, ARPU/ARPDAUEverything sums up to … Continue reading Design by the Numbers: Using Data for Good

Ship Faster, Crash Less, and Retain Players

Notes on a talk by Dallas Dickinson of QC Games (Developers of Breach) and Abel Matthew, CEO of Backtrace, from GDC 2019 When you build new stuff, it crashesWant to prioritize crashesTracking crashes both in their own stack and in UnrealProcess (unidirectional flow here)Trunk development (70% of dev time spent here)New system devMain dev branch—nightly … Continue reading Ship Faster, Crash Less, and Retain Players

“Marvel’s Spider-Man”: A Technical Postmortem

Notes on a talk by Elan Ruskin of Insomniac Slides (PDF)Engine began life in FuseMuch more open world than they've used before (5 km across)154MB of source code (.h and .cpp)Frame breakdown33 ms/frameGPU renders 1.3333 frames behind the CPUPost-processing happens at the start of a frameMain thread3 ms streaming asset setup/teardown, initialize/destroy actor10ms update gameplay … Continue reading “Marvel’s Spider-Man”: A Technical Postmortem

A Survival Guide for Game Developers

Notes on a talk by Richard Vogel of Certain Affinity Observations:You have a 90% probability of being laid off within your first 5 years at least once.Your average lifespan in a company is around 4 years.Change is inevitable.E.g., today we have streaming coming, VR, AR, etc.Game companies have little to no onboarding, training, mentoring, or … Continue reading A Survival Guide for Game Developers

Automated Testing Implementation Roundtable

Notes on a roundtable talk at GDC 2019 Again, see autotestingroundtable.comHow do you define a sufficient level of test coverage?Aim to cover 95% of the weight of the code based on what gets run/used the mostCover the hotspots/inner loopsAdd tests as a part of every refactoring, bug fixBest place to start is to figure out … Continue reading Automated Testing Implementation Roundtable