"What could go wrong?"
It’s 9.25 am. I have a look at the Testing column in our task tracking software, HacknPlan, to see if there's any left over tasks from yesterday. An invisible force begins moving the tasks around, and then Nina messages to say that she's tidying it up first. Stand Up is in 5 minutes. Coffee seems like a good idea.
9.54. Standup is over. There's a dev blog due soon, but the dev team has been testing and polishing for the last four weeks, so I haven't written one—incremental improvements to the game aren’t the most exciting things to show off.
"I could do a diary of a day of playtesting" I say.
"A manager tests the game" says our game designer MJ. Everyone laughs. What could go wrong?
This will be my second day of playtesting, ever.
Sam also decides a hot drink is a good idea, and wants a peppermint tea.
"Alright, the bug tickets in "testing" in HacknPlan should be good to go", types Nina, our Quality Assurance analyst.
Here I go!
9.59. I begin updating the build of the game Sam made last night. Two minutes later, the update is complete. I select my first ticket to try my hand at: [TUTORIAL UI]: Text clips. I think I know what that means...
10.05. I suddenly remember I should have hit the track time button.
10.07. I also remember I need to note which build I'm on. How do you find that again…? Nina would know, but don't want to ask her yet another stupid question. Given that the builds are a sequence of numbers, it must be one number higher than the one I was using yesterday. Right?
10.10. I knew I'd find it.
10.28. I have successfully reproduced a bug! I’m feelin’ like a pro. Except I'm not quite sure where to send the ticket... Oh well, I've asked The Boss (aka Nina). Next one!
10.35. I become aware that my Spotify "enhanced" gym playlist is playing the theme to Captain Underpants. What the heck?
10.38. I've gotten through two or three more little tickets already, but I keep forgetting to add myself as the ticket’s user when I pick them up. That's gonna confuse the other people testing today… oops!
10.40. My hand is starting to hurt and I realise that my break reminder app, Stretchly, doesn't work when I've got something fullscreen. I change it to override Do No Disturb settings. Let's see if that helps.
10.58. Nina is getting a lot of questions as I’m not the only relative newbie testing today, so she's made us a very clear and detailed document about how and when to raise a ticket correctly. By the way, you might be surprised how much game development happens in Google Docs!
11.15. Have to add my player.log to a bad bug. Some of you might know about using player.logs when reporting bugs, if you’ve been in our Discord—it’s a great way for our programmers to figure out approximately where something has gone sideways. But my player.log is taking forever to upload.
While I wait I read the forms I have to fill in for our insurance, and for NZ Trade & Enterprise—another important part of running a studio and making a game. Unfortunately for me, they're still just as complicated as they were yesterday.
11.47. When I come back to the game it's sunset. Have I said how much I love how pretty this game is?
11.59. I have to go and take the cat to the vet. Don’t worry, it’s nothing serious.
13.49. As I suspected, the cat is gonna be fine, he just needed antibiotics. Then I went and posted some goodies to various remote team members around the world. I’m writing this while waiting for my cafe coffee before heading back to the office.
15.04. It took me a good 40 minutes to check the next optional ticket. Whew. I honestly don't know how Sam and Isaac managed doing all this with just the two of them, no QA team at all, working on our original game Before We Leave.
15.07. On the other hand, the next ticket was something I'd just seen during the previous playthrough. I tick that off with a mental flourish.
16.35. It takes as long to write a good ticket as it does to uncover the bug. Have you ever seen those videos of dads following their children's written instructions on how to prepare various simple recipes? I feel like that.
17.23. I wrap up for the day. The day went incredibly fast and I enjoyed it so much I’ve actually offered Nina my services as a QA intern if she needs one, though I’m not sure whether this would make her life easier… It was really nice getting to see the result of everyone’s hard work first hand, and to be part of the organised chaos that is game development.