Automated Testing Process Roundtable

Notes from a roundtable discussion moderated by Andrew Fray at GDC 2019 For more, see autotestingroundtable.comFirst steps getting started with testingFirst decide what you want out of testing; if you want a rock-solid engine, need unit tests (despite it being hard on a legacy engine)Unit testingAnalyze how long it takes you to go through a … Continue reading Automated Testing Process Roundtable

Paid Acquisition on Mobile: A Scrappy, Practical Guide

Notes on a talk by Mike Gordon of Iron Horse Games Iron Horse has had 11M installs, mostly on Android, mostly paid acquisition Marketing in 3 phases on Google Play Google Play organic installs are significantly higher than Apple ROI tends to be better Open beta Don’t treat this as a test platform, because you … Continue reading Paid Acquisition on Mobile: A Scrappy, Practical Guide

Preventing Bugs: The Dark Matter of QA

Notes on a roundtable discussion at GDC 2019 Run by Chris Rando (@Rodneysquint)IGDA QA communityQA Mixer first floor of Marriot MarquisHow do we articulate how QA prevents bugsBug preventionDoing acceptance testing—QA sets the criteria to decide when something's done (rather than just doing some testing when the devs say it's done)QA involved in game design … Continue reading Preventing Bugs: The Dark Matter of QA

Decorticating “Dead Cells”: A business & marketing deep dive

Notes on a talk by Steve Filby of Evil Empire & IndieCatapult, formerly Motion Twin at GDC 2019 BackgroundMotion Twin did F2P browser games, tried to move to mobile F2P/premiumThrew out everything to make Dead Cells for PCLeft in 2016 to start marketing agency Indie CatapultStarted Evil Empire recentlyHow we made Dead Cells a hit … Continue reading Decorticating “Dead Cells”: A business & marketing deep dive

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”

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