Beta Testers Are Good At Breaking Things

That’s one side of the story. The other side is that without testers and testing we would miss tons of obvious bugs. Testers are gift.

Now, the dark side of testing is that… people want to try and break things. Few hours ago I did some ad-hoc testing to see if the technology was in shape. When I told people to “come here (link)…” I didn’t managed to say “…and listen to the instructions” when hell break loose. Sort of. All testers started simultaneously do random things. One guy started hiding pieces, another one started flipping them and so on. It was like watching kids who just got access to candyland.

Well, hell didn’t break loose – this is for what purpose I wanted these guys to help me out. I wanted them to come to the playground and try break things. I didn’t say that, I sort of expected them to try different things.

After I let these guys fool around, I told them to join to the next room and wait for the instructions.

That almost worked – until one guy couldn’t resist temptation and started moving pieces around. I tried to get these folks to send me screenshots (and got 2) and eventually located two important bugs. And after started fixing these bugs, I found couple of more additional ones.

Testers – especially new ones who haven’t seen what you’ve done – want to try things and play around. I’ve done testing for various groups and when I’ve carefully explained beforehand what we are supposed to do and how things work, I’ve got people to pay attention.

People are curious. One guy kept asking “okay, but how this works for The Infected? Are these representing some sort of barricades?” even though I repeatedly said that “this is purely a tech/networking test” and I believe I added that “the graphics don’t represent any of the Infected gameplay”.

It’s good to see that these guys are interested about my game, but for the next testing session I believe it would be useful to have art that I plan to use in the game (and not just some random Star Wars characters)

(By the way: in case you want to test my game, please feel free to join The Infected steam group – I’m announcing testing opportunities there and inviting people who happen to be online to test the game)

Juuso Hietalahti


  1. I find testing also quite easy, since I want to try all kind of extreme and impossible things. Most programs are never really tested by my standards before they are released.

  2. Our bug database has some nice quotations in the header. One of them is “We didn’t break it, it was already broken when we received it”.
    This is what testers do. They play the game in ways you couldn’t imagine. When I started beta-testing my game I was convinced it had only one crash bug. Boy, I was wrong!
    My test: Single Player -> New game -> OK -> Play
    Their test: Single Player -> Back -> Help -> Back -> Options -> Back -> Help -> Back -> Single Player -> New game -> Back -> New game -> OK -> CRASH!!! (out of memory)
    Oh well… It’s their job to crash it, it’s our job to fix it.

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