In an interview with the Train2Game blog last month, Valve’s Chet Faliszek revealed that testingto be an important part Counter-Strike: Global Offensive development. Now other leading Valve developers have given further insight into how testing works at the studio.
Gamasutra report that speaking at GDC Online in Texas, Valve writer Erik Wolpaw said they take it very seriously. They start testing internally during game’s early development before bringing in testers from outside the studio.
“We definitely do playtest. We’ll ask people after they play to recount the story to us and gauge their comprehension of their experience…” he said.
Of course, Valve fans among the Train2Game community will know the developer like to put humour in their games. However, Wolpaw added that testing this aspect of game design can be difficult.
“Comedy stuff is tougher [to evaluate] because it’s more subjective and it’s really hard to gauge peoples’ reaction,” he said.
“Pretty much no one that played Portal 2 cracked a smile, but testers still said the game was funny. It’s hard to tell if a joke is failing or not.” Walpaw added.
Nonetheless, the testing process is useful to Valve and they’re happy to make changes if something isn’t working.
“We fail all the time, we just don’t advertise it too much,” said studio writer Marc Laidlaw.
Excerpts of the GDC Online Valve Q&A session can be found on Gamasutra and it should make interesting reading for Train2Game students, especially those on the Game Design course.
Of course, Valve aren’t the only game developers who value playtesting, with the Train2Game blog recently reporting that Bioware see it as a key part of developing Star Wars: The Old Republic.
Flower and Journey developers Thatgamecompany have also stated that testing is a crucial part of the game design process.
So Train2Game, what are your thoughts on the testing process at Valve? How important is it to get both an internal and external opinion on games in development?
Leave your comments here on the Train2Game blog, or on the Train2Game forum.