When people hear “automation,” they might think of an assembly line with different pieces of machinery conducting specific tasks. While that is the general definition of automation, it also applies to software.
Today, machines and computers perform the time-consuming and tedious tasks that humans often mess up. With machines testing software, correcting errors, and enhancing infrastructure, automation grants humans the freedom to focus on projects that require creativity or critical thinking.
As video games deliver more ambitious and expansive experiences, automation plays a pivotal role in making a game its best. Often, it keeps developers from making the same mistakes over and over, speeds up production and helps companies publish their games promptly.
Here are a few areas where automation has helped the gaming industry.
Testing a game for bugs is probably the most time-consuming, monotonous task in game development. For this reason, gaming publishers often conduct beta testing. From the big names to indie houses, these publishers typically hire hundreds of people to test their games to assure there are no glitches before release.
Quality assurance is vital for gaming companies because it will make or break customer relationships. If a game crashes, gets stuck in a loop, or any bug complicates a gamer’s experience, they’re unlikely to buy another game from the company. They could also tell their friends about their negative experiences, which could affect the company on a massive scale.
For a long time, beta testing was the only way to ensure that a game was fit to be published. Now, with the help of artificial intelligence, developers can implement automation to speed up the quality assurance process. However, automating games isn’t as easy as it is for apps and other software.
Due to most video games’ complex infrastructure, developers have to consult a thorough framework.
Test Automation Framework
A test automation framework acts as a road map to help developers streamline test automation. It consists of tools, test scripts, procedures, and descriptions of the people needed to realize the testing process.
Writing a solid test automation framework is a lot like when a good digital marketer writes a solid piece of email copy. It can be used again and again, only requiring tweaks as needed.
A practical framework also makes it easier for developers to conduct manual testing. With the help of a comprehensive framework, they can identify issues, where those issues are happening and how to adjust code to improve the game.
As mentioned earlier, testing games is slightly different from testing other software. That’s because every game requires new code, so developers can’t use their test automation framework for an entire game. However, there are large pieces of games that can be, which is where reusability comes in.
Developers can design reusable components in their tests to increase productivity and decrease workload. They can also implement functions that hide code details from automated tests to make tests more reusable.
In the iGaming industry, reusability is especially useful. For games like roulette, which have several varieties, reusability helps developers to create different versions of a game faster than if they had done it from scratch. Today, we can find 4 different versions: the original roulette, the American version, the high roller version and the European version.
Cost of Production
By automating specific systems, gaming companies can cut labor, equipment, training costs and more. Although implementing automation requires a sizeable investment at first, it quickly pays off.
Since automation reduces repetitive tasks, employees can focus on more exciting challenges. Also, because human employees and computers are conducting larger workloads, there is less downtime.
Automation is helpful for developers because it allows them to do their jobs more efficiently. It also relieves them from mind-numbing tasks, giving developers a fresh perspective and taking creative approaches to work.
Helping Developers Build Better Games
Reasonably, many people are suspicious of automation. As technology advances, 81% of employees worldwide worry that machines will take over their positions.
While that is a logical step, automation does the opposite. It creates more jobs. On top of that, automation taking over the remedial tasks puts people in higher-level positions to create a more stimulating working environment.
What’s more, there are specific tasks that machines aren’t capable of. Computers are information processors. They can only respond with the information that has already been fed to them. They are not like humans, who break the rules to create new ideas.
The human touch will always be a necessary part of game development.