Train2Game interview with Trion Worlds Senior QA Tester Karl Tars – Part 2

End of Nations is an upcoming MMORTS from Petroglyph Games and Trion Worlds. The game was on display at the Eurogamer Expo, and the Train2Game blog caught up with Trion Worlds Senior QA Tester Karl Tars to find out more about the game, QA Testingand how to get into the industry.

In the second part of an in-depth three part interview, Karl Tars tells the Train2Game blog about the team behind End of Nations, the importance of beta testing during game development and how it can be useful for those with aspirations to work in the games industry. Read the interview below, or on the Train2Game Scribd page.

Part 1 is available to read here on the Train2Game blog.

Tell us about the team behind End of Nations

The way it works is Petroglyph Games are the developer, that’s a studio founded by a bunch of former developers from Westwood Studios, the guys who did Dune and Command & Conquer. So veterans’ of those games are designing and developing the game. Trion Worlds is publishing, we’re giving them the servers and a lot of the back end infrastructure that makes the game work. That’s the studio that’s behind it.

When is End of Nations scheduled for release, will there be a beta?

We have a beta coming up, so if you go to www.endofnations.com you can sign up for the beta right now. If you have an existing Rift account, that account will work for End of Nations as well. We’ll have more information in the next few months as we don’t have a confirmed time for that for the release, but it’s going to be a lot of fun and I’m looking forward to playing it on my own!

How important is the beta for the game development process?

Betas are really critical in terms of making sure the live servers can handle the real loads that players will put on our servers. We can test some of that in our labs but we certainly don’t have the manpower to try having 100,000 people connecting at once and with every single weird configuration of computer that’s out there. We don’t have the resources regularly do that.

Also, as clever as we are in QA, we’re not as good as every single player out there. We’re not going to be able to figure out all the interesting ways of using abilities that just break the game and make it un-fun for the other team. And so it’s also really important to have people go out there and try random things and finding ways of exploiting it so that we can tone those down or make them work within the system so it doesn’t feel unbalanced.

Is getting involved with beta testing a good way of getting a job in QA?

It can be. It used to be that was one of the primary ways of getting in in older days. However, more recently betas have become almost a marketing type of thing where the majority of people playing in a beta, they don’t really want to test, they just want to play the game early and see as they like it more like a demo than a testing environment.

However, if you can find a lot of good bugs and you can report them to the team in a good way, you can develop a fairly good rapport with some of the developers and that can get you in.  And if nothing else it gives you a chance to see these incomplete builds where it’s more likely to have bugs in it and so you can learn how to deal with that type of thing.

It’s definitely a way of getting in, but I wouldn’t say it’s a good way of doing it these days, but it’s definitely a good way to practice, get started and if you apply to the same company that you did a beta for, you can say ‘hey, I found this bug and these are the steps for it.’ That’s going to really impress the QA leads who are reviewing it and saying ‘This guy knows exactly how to write a bug report, he knows our game, he knows how to look for a bug and report it.’ That’s really what’s going to get you in.

Part 3 of our interview with Trion Worlds Senior QA Tester Karl Tars will be available soon. End of Nations is scheduled for release next year.

Leave your comments here on the Train2Game blog, or on the Train2Game forum. Part 3 of the Train2Game interview with End of Nations Senior QA Tester Karl Tars is here.