Q&A with QA Lead, Kim Morrison
On a small development team, not enough can be said about the importance of our internal testers.They are tasked with repeating the most menial of tasks to weed out bugs, and they spend hours trying every crazy thing a player could attempt. They work hand in hand with nearly every department of development, and are a key factor in getting builds ready for our Pre Alpha testers to get into the world. It doesn’t stop there either. They then venture through bug reports, testing everything reported, as well as finding the cause of issues to report back to programers and designers. Our incredible tester team is led by Kim Morrison, a veteran of Visionary Realms, who we sit down with in this month’s developer focus. Let’s peek inside the world of QA, and Kim’s journey with Pantheon thus far.
It’s my pleasure to spend some time with you today, Kim. Thank you for your time. Can you please start by talking to when/how you joined the team and your role in development for any newer members to the community?
Being a veteran to the project, what are some fond memories or moments you have working through development that you can share with the community?
We have some inside jokes that are fun and one in particular has become quite popular within the community relating to Roenick. One day I might give my side of the story behind Roenick’s first on-screen, in-game death. I believe it was at PAX. I hear one community member has mentioned publicly that it could be my fault? Pfft! Anyone who knows me, knows I’m a great healer! But, I’ve digressed, there are many many great memories so far and I know there will be many more made in the future.
One of your many key focus items is partnering to greenlight builds for our PreAlpha testers to get into. With the new HDRP build coming soon, what does it look like for you and your team both prior to getting into the build, and once you get your hands on it?
Once we get our hands on the build, it is full steam ahead! We will spend the next several weeks to months working through our test plans, iterating with dev and giving feedback. This means we will cast and use every ability hundreds of times in different conditions, we will trade and gather and do the repetitive and more mechanical and purposeful testing procedures. We will submit and help prioritize bug reports. I’ll invite members of the dev team to test with us occasionally to demonstrate where some of our feedback is coming from, do team building and give them a chance to observe players running through the content they have created. But it is also important to understand that part of testing is also playing the game organically. I will definitely be bringing back our internal static group to do organic game play once or twice a week. During these play sessions we do not use developer commands and it is a great way to find bugs we weren’t particularly looking for and to gather intel for feedback. I will also start gathering data and thoughts to share at our PA planning meetings.
I imagine during submitting feedback on builds, there are a multitude of partners you take in the development and technology side, what’s it like to have so many moving components when giving feedback and important fixes? Who are some of your key partners on the team, outside of your QA team?
When Pre-Alpha sessions go live, can you talk about what makes a Pre Alpha tester’s bug report more helpful for your team? What advice can you give testers in submitting the best bug reports?
Once a Pre-Alpha session is finished, what’s the average load of tickets your team has to go through, and what’s the typical turnaround time?
Once we have all the valid bugs identified, we give each bug a priority based on our current development cycle and what is forthcoming in scope. For instance, it did not make sense to prioritize network related bugs last year knowing that new network code was in the pipeline. For this reason, it is possible and expected that some bugs might be persistent through multiple PA sessions as I noted in my last answer.
Being a veteran to the team, as we work towards the HDRP build, what can you tell the testers, and overall community, about what the upcoming future holds?
Thank you Kim for sharing some tips to bug reporting, and allowing us to look behind the curtain at the process you and your team go through. We are thankful for you and your team’s work, as I’m sure the community is when they get to get into the world thanks, in part, to your team’s efforts.
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