Video Game related jobs.

Discussion in 'Video Games and Technology' started by Recall, Oct 21, 2009.

  1. Recall

    Recall Player Select

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    Ever since i was young I was always amazed that people could test video games, find bugs and glitches and be paid for it. It sounded like an amazing job.

    But how would a person actually have gotten that job? Its not as if you can go get a "Video game tester" degree and you usually don't just generally apply as its something you would never see advertised.

    So whats the crack how do people become video game testers? Or even break into the gaming industry apart from having a deep knowledge of a shit load of comuter languages?

    Its something i'm never gonna do in my lifetime but would be cool to know what the process is.

    I do like Wikipedia's starting entry for it.

     
  2. tikgnat

    tikgnat Baweepgranaweepninnybong. TFW2005 Supporter

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    Being a tester is the easist way to get into games, but the job itself sucks.

    You don't need any specific skills, no real knowledge of computers except how to use word processors and maybe a spreadsheet.

    Playing a game all day might seem fun, but we're talking hours and hours of a specific type of play to try to break the game. Everything you do has to be logged as well.

    To get a tester job all you need to do is send in a CV which doesn't make you sound like a psycho, and impress at the interview.

    When I was a games designer I knew the testers and they ALL wanted to get out of there, to be artists, designers or animators.
     
  3. McBradders

    McBradders James Franco Club! Moderator

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    Horrible job unless you can get one doing approvals for a platform holder. Testing for a developer or publisher is pain.
     
  4. Recall

    Recall Player Select

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    Its the definition of a job though really, its just because we assoiciate games with fun we assume testing them would be too.

    If you don't mind me asking was it difficult for you both to get into the games industry or was it just like working towards any goal, and hard work paid off?
     
  5. McBradders

    McBradders James Franco Club! Moderator

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    Personally I was incredibly lucky that I was that enthusiastic at the start that doors opened for me to move beyond testing. My start was with a platform holder, though, so I was always testing different games for short periods of time. Had I gone in with a publisher there is no way I would be where I am today as I would have hated my job.

    When I was doing publisher testing I was lead so it meant very little testing and more to do with organising and compiling people and bugs.

    Testing should not be your goal, but the first step on a longer career path in to production or design. If you're at all artistically or math inclined, go to university.
     
  6. samtheman

    samtheman Well-Known Member

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    With my luck I'd probably be testing the next My Little Pony game or something to that extent.
     
  7. sgchr

    sgchr Member

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    It's not that fun being tester, unless you really like what you do and you try to make a difference, to make a game better than it is. Anyway, from my experience, there are no courses to become a tester, you have to play a lot of games and have a critical eye. Regularly, Ubisoft and other companies will 'recruit' interns... There's no pay, but that's how you learn exactly what you need to do and if you're good at what you do, you might just get lucky and they might hire you. Applying for internship at a game developers is the first step. Good luck!
     
  8. Lunar Archivist

    Lunar Archivist Well-Known Member

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    I worked as a tester for three years. There're two types, whose names are pretty self-explanatory:

    1. Functionality tester: They're responsible for checking the game mechanics and physics. After making sure that a regular playthough is possible, they try and do everything to crash or break the game by testing the programming limits, i.e. backtracking, doing crazy stunts, seeing if collision detection is working properly, seeing if it's possible to fall out of the game world, etc. To do this job, you need to be able to think outside of the box, have a lot of skill, and a kind of innate "sixth sense" for experimentation. You also need a damn thick skin and an immunity to boredom, because you may be stuck on the same title for weeks, months, or even years. Also, be prepared for frustration. The Terminator:Salvation video game, for example, used to have a level where you could battle a Harvester, but, after too many testers complained it was glitchy and unplayable, the developers removed it from the game rather than fix it. :banghead: 

    2. Localization tester: They're responsible for making sure that all the in-game text is correctly translated into a given language. This means reviewing all in-game dialogue, text screens, menu, submenus, item descriptions, trophies, achievements, error messages, etc. and making sure that there are no spelling, punctuation, or grammer mistakes, incorrect characters displayed, text overruns or cutoffs, untranslated parts, etc. To do this job, you need to have very good language and grammar skills, a good eye for detail, and the ability to work around problems. For example, you might need to come up with shorter synonyms if a given word is too long, work around the limitations imposed by text being a composite of several strings, etc. Also, you're responsible for making sure that game terminology adhere to guidelines and documentation put out by Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft. The most boring aspect of the job actually involves doing stuff normal players don't do, like yanking out Xbox 360 Memory Units while game saves are in progress or even sitting there and reading error messages triggered by, say, Nintendo DS wireless server connection or hardware failures.

    So yes, it's not all fun and games.
     
  9. tikgnat

    tikgnat Baweepgranaweepninnybong. TFW2005 Supporter

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    I got into the games industry incredibly easily.

    I'd just finished my Architecture degree, and sent off literally 3 CV's, 2 to Architecture firms, and 1 to a well established games company on a whim.

    I got one rejection and no reply from the Architects, and an interview from the games guys.

    2 Interviews and 2 months later I was a designer at Argonaut. 3 years later I was made redundant. Its a long story and I can recount it if you want. Suffice to say, it wasn't fair and I'm still surprisingly narked about it.

    I ended up not going back to games, despite a couple of attempts to get another games job, because at the time the industry was in a bad bad way. Even now things are massively different to when I was there.
     
  10. Fez Findie

    Fez Findie Well-Known Member

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    This is just what I remember readin' about in a couple of articles years ago, but... okay, memory is really shoddy, but what I can tell off as a main reason for why story writing and such tends to be barely passable by itself is because all the coding and other things involved in development of the game takes so much time that even the top guys on the project do not have time for literature at all, leavin'em on the level of a 15-year old when it comes to storywriting skills.

    Not my best post I've done, I admit, but I think that may have been at least half-related, at least if any of you dreamin' not only gettin' to get involved in game development, but also eventually tryin' to make a game with a good story as well...
     
  11. smangerbot

    smangerbot The Holy Zombie Jesus TFW2005 Supporter

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    i like the way you use ' instead of g's.

    just sayin'
     
  12. DaggersRage

    DaggersRage Autistic bastard.

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    After I get my digital media degree I plan on going to EA to do game testing and see if I can work my way up from there. I've had some friends who worked at EA already and they said the game testing was horrible, but I want in to get my foot into the industry. Sound like a good plan?

    It also cant be worse than the job I already have.
     
  13. McBradders

    McBradders James Franco Club! Moderator

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    It sounds nothing like a plan. What is your actual plan, you know, beyond testing?
     
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2009
  14. DaggersRage

    DaggersRage Autistic bastard.

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    Hmmm, good point. Guess I dont know which department of game development I'd want to go yet and I'm still just breaking the ice as far as my degree goes.
     
  15. Prowl

    Prowl Well-Known Member

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    Somehow, DR, I think you'll do well.

    I loved the time in gaming, it's what got me into Austin. I was getting paid to have fun, but now I'm enjoying animation and editing. Just the right amount of creativity and I'm not too worried about my company going under any time soon (cross fingers).
     
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2009
  16. Liege Prime

    Liege Prime Well-Known Member

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    Around here (Seattle) getting a testing job isn't that tough and it really isn't that bad of a job. At least, a lot of testers I know seem to like it.

    For Microsoft, I think you would go through these guys:

    Jobs.Volt.com - Welcome

    Generally, you go through a temp agency. The jobs aren't often reliable unless you get a permenant position, which is pretty rare. So, a lot of them will work for a month then not work for a few weeks and go back for another game and such.

    I love working in the game industry since that's what I always wanted to do, but it's very cometitive, and with schools churning out new graduates each month across lots of countries with more up-to-date knowledge on a lot of programs, it isn't getting any easier. But, like I said, testing still seems to be easy to get into and you don't need any real background in the industry.
     
  17. DaggersRage

    DaggersRage Autistic bastard.

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    Is there any special name for the story writers for a game? I've been taking script writing classes, not code script just script, and would like to apply my skills in that somewhere as well.
     
  18. Liege Prime

    Liege Prime Well-Known Member

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    You can simply be a "Writer", but this is something you want to check on job sites or with specific companies you're interested in and see what kind of openings they have. Most writers do more then write though, inluding coding and organizing VO's and interviews and such.
     
  19. Prowl

    Prowl Well-Known Member

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    The writer for freelancer had a great job. He not only wrote the overall story outline, but he also wrote all the damn potential lines NPCs could give you. Sounded like a fun job.
     
  20. McBradders

    McBradders James Franco Club! Moderator

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    Dude, if you want to write, write. Do not aim to "write for games" because it pays terribly, very, very, very few companies hire a full time writer. Get good at your craft then look to do a game as a side project or as a freelance project by trading on your good name as a writer.

    Looking for an "in" as a Tester will very likely get you nowhere toward where you want to go.

    If you're serious about getting in to games then I strongly suggest finding a good school with a dedicated games course. If you're creative head toward design, if you have 3D or 2D skills, do art... math, code... writing isn't an in, not any kind of reliable or bankable one anyways.
     

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