launch a project
For those of you who like the idea of building your own game but are a little hesitant about coding and art, this might be a bold proposition. These aren’t easy things, but the good news is that you’re not looking to be a programmer or an artist here.
Your goal is to be familiar with all the building blocks of the game , to show what it takes to go from concept to product. A good QA person knows what can go wrong at any stage of the development process, and if they have even a superficial understanding of it, be advantageous.
What this essentially means is that you don’t have to reinvent the wheel when doing this process. There are countless tools and resources out there that can help fill your gaps in bringing your ideas to life.
Here are some examples of such resources.
● Make games without programming:
- Flowlab.io (Free)
- Using Bolt with Unity (Free)
- Using Blueprints with Unreal Engine 4/5 (Free)
- RPG Playground (Freemium)
- RPG Maker (Paid)
- Gamemaker Studio (Paid)
Free game art resources:
Set a realistic scope
Think of the game you want to make. Simplify it, simplify it again, simplify it again, and you’re probably left with more work than you think. You don’t make Skyrim 2 alone. If it’s your first attempt, you might even struggle to make a Snake game.
Even if it could be done, it’s overkill for the purposes of a QA portfolio. What you’re trying to do here is prove that you’re aware of how games are developed and all the problems that can arise along the way .
When you’re making a simple game, you may find yourself focusing more on one particular mechanic than another. And sometimes you get so focused on that that you forget to develop other parts of your game and lose momentum. But that’s not a bad thing, and your hard work won’t go to waste. There is something to be learned there. Knowledge of the development cycle should be useful in the future.
Share your work in trial and error to implement the mechanics. The work you’ve done is still alive, and the development cycle for a single feature is something you’ll encounter in QA work as well.
log a bug
Postmortems are notorious for being a great post-project look back at a game’s development cycle, but it’s not just for big studios. You too can create your own content based on what you’ve done, what you’ve learned, and how you can do better next time.
The key is to be as concise and clear as possible. Try to focus on the problems you faced, how you solved them, and how you sorted out the bugs. Game companies use products like JIRA and Azure to track work in progress and tasks, so sorting out bugs is important.
If you don’t have these right now, you can emulate them with something as simple as Google Sheets. Below is a typical template of what an industry bug report looks like.
- Bug Title : Include Tags (Briefly describe the problem and include tags in square brackets like [UI] or [Gameplay])
- Severity : (How likely is it to affect the core functionality of the game? 1 is fatal, 5 is not likely at all)
- Priority : (How important and how soon should it be fixed? 1 soon, 5 at some point in the future)
- Version number : (This part is important in the real world. Game fixes are often rolled out in subsequent versions of the product. For example, a bug may appear in V1.0.1 and be fixed in V1.0.2. )
- Features Affected : (What exactly does this bug affect? Does it affect player movement? Does it affect UI? This will be similar to the tag I put in the bug title)
- Recall rate : (How many times did you reproduce it out of x trials? A good number of trials is 5)
- How to Reproduce : (Step-by-step what someone would have to do to reproduce what you discovered. I’ll mention loading saves, how to press buttons, etc., but skip superficial steps like connecting a controller, inserting a disk, etc. unless it’s a key step for the bug you’re reporting I don’t mind)
- Expected result : (In an ideal world, what should happen when you follow the reproduced steps?)
- Actual Results : (In the real world, what happened when you followed these steps?)
Importantly, while severity and priority may seem similar, they are actually quite different. If you find a bug that crashes your game, but can reproduce it only 1 out of 10 times, then in this case it’s high importance and low priority.
The same is true for the opposite effect. The main menu may use the old logo. This is less serious because it doesn’t affect the performance or playability of the game, but it’s something you want to get rid of when you ship your game, so it’s a higher priority.
A bug report written with this in mind might look something like this:
- [System] [Menu] The quit game button crashes the game when 27 keyboards are connected.
- Severity: 1
- Priority: 4
- Version number: 1.0.1
- Affected features: System
- Recall: 5/5
- How to reproduce:
- Expected result: Game crashes
- Actual result: The game did not crash and returned to the menu screen
The above is a modified interview question from my first QA assignment. I was given a problem and asked to write a bug report for it, but was not given anything like a template. I had researched bug reports the day before, so I had a vague idea of what was required.
Building a ‘portfolio’ is a daunting task, as QA training and certification opportunities for new hires are scarce in the QA industry.
Entering the process of writing a report like this and exhibiting it together with the work is not only an indication that the work is being produced with a defect in mind, but it is also an approach of actively documenting it. Also, having this report as part of your portfolio is a great idea. And knowing how to write a bug report will prepare you for interview questions.
Also, consider writing a bug report for a game made by the company you’re applying to. Whether or not it’s a bug that actually exists in the game is up to you (if you’re faking it, make sure it’s hypothetical). But showing that you know what the company does and that you can apply your newfound bug-reporting expertise to the company’s product will help you get noticed.
Please be aware that this information is not guaranteed to be read by the person you would like to be hired. But it’s a great way to set yourself apart and show how you think.
choose a platform
Now, in order to present your work, you need a place to put it. Take advantage of our wealth of free website building and hosting services, and use our plethora of templates. If you’re stuck, you should look at other people’s portfolios in the industry and see if you can match the general style they’re looking for.
Don’t forget to include a video of your work as well as the final project available for download. The person looking to hire you may not have time to download and play your project.
Also, please attach the document you wrote. If you’re writing a bug report for a game made by an applicant, it’s worth including this in your application as well.
Building a portfolio takes time, and there’s no guarantee that you’ll get the job you want. Still, it’s worth making. There is a clear lack of QA training and certification for those just entering the industry. If you can show that you understand how games are made and how to effectively report bugs, you’ll do a better job overall.