Ask Amiqus - How do studios approach QA and localisation before release

Liz Prince our consultant managing the role
Author: Liz Prince
Posting date: 15/09/2017

When a good job has been done on QA no-one notices, but when it goes wrong it can make headline news.

Quality is part of the bedrock of a robust and reliable technical product whereas localisation quality facilitates enjoyment for your audience in any corner of the globe.

A challenge in recent years has been the increasing use of an early-access launch. New hardware and the advent of VR have also added to the scope, but if anyone can bring a robust, structured approach to a moving feast of game development then a QA can. We spoke to studios to get their take on these far-reaching, highly specialised components of game development. 

Timing is key
Ross McGhee is Marketing Manager at Pole To Win. As a leading provider of outsource services, McGhee has insight from a multi-company perspective;- "In our experience the approach very much varies from one client to another but the consensus is that whilst QA tends to be involved at a much earlier stage, Localisation QA’s involvement still comes in at too late a stage". McGhee is keen to expound the benefits of involving Localisation QA in the early stages of the design and development to ensure correct internationalisation. He told us:- "Championing Localisation QA best practises will maximise the impact of processes and eventually drive cost and time efficiencies down. Involving Localisation QA at an earlier stage will:

  • Help the team gain advance knowledge of the game structure features, release schedule to scope the requirements
  • Enable the team to rely on the Functional QA team’s expertise to identify suitable build/change list to start Localisation QA testing on (e.g. build stability)
  • Enable the team to use QA test plans to help build the Localisation QA testing schedule and plan adequately"

Richard Hylands, QA Lead agrees early approach is also needed from a software perspective;- "My approach is to integrate quality assurance into the development cycle as early as possible. QA should understand the design and features of what it is testing at concept rather than waiting until the hard work of creating the content has passed. The aim of this approach is to create software that is stable and also aligns with the design from day one. By doing this we can ensure there are no surprises later in the development cycle where defects can be very costly". 

Know your audience
Olly Hart, QA Manager told us that social and mobile developer Outplay takes quality extremely seriously; "so do our players – our games are enjoyed all around the world!". Hart believes this is due to the extensive effort and time that the team put into testing and localising games for a number of different countries; "Outplay recognises that quality and localisation play a huge part in connecting with our audience around the globe, which is why we dedicate ourselves into making sure that our games are great right from the initial release".

For Western developers, the five core languages that are used in commercial territories are known as ‘EFIGS’ which stands for English, French, Italian, German and Spanish. However these are very much considered the basics. "We aim to launch every game with localisation beyond standard EFIGS" says Hart, "and this requires co-ordination and effort. Our process begins with a large team of dedicated in-house testers, who form a part of the game teams. This close interaction with both the developers and other testers means that a high flow of information is maintained at all times – which is vital in such a fast paced environment".

Hart also believes that for Outplay, the team’s diversity plays a huge part in testing, and that this naturally helps with localisation too. "Outplays multicultural team means that in the run up to any game launch, we have native speakers who can assist us in making our game easy to understand – no matter where you are or what language you speak. Getting our games ready in this fashion involves a lot of both manual and automated testing. These custom tools are developed alongside the game, so that when it comes time to test localisation, the team can work efficiently and without being hindered".

Same process – different games
Daniel Flanagan sheds light on how AAA developer Codemasters shapes the expansive and detailed process of QA and localisation on a large-scale;- "The core portion of the in-game text is normally completed for the Alpha milestone in English, at which point we would begin the translation of our target languages. Maintaining a consistency with the translations across title updates is key, so great care is paid to previous editions of the franchise – again, this also helps to retain the style and characteristics within each of our titles". Critical paths can vary under the QA umbrella depending on the feature being tested as Flanagan explains "Localisation QA starts once we have all of the localised assets available in game – all of our localisation testing is outsourced and so the testing window is not as broad as our main QA testing; first passes of the foreign languages are done in-house in order to catch any immediate issues with overlaps or truncation".

Following a process doesn’t mean identical game experiences however as Flanagan points out:- "Each of our titles has a distinct style and feel to the presentation; we work hard with our localisation partners to ensure that these styles and the presentation as a whole is kept as close as possible and retains the highest level of quality. Maintaining a constant level of communication with all areas of development during the localisation process is a key factor to ensuring that we deliver the same level of quality across all languages".

All the studios concurred that the bridge between the dev and QA teams is key to keep the overall product on track. Outsourcing provides access to specialist expertise, though relies on strong relationships and a full understanding of the game proposition as Flanagan explains;- "We have a select few trusted vendors that we work with for translations, VO recording and localisation QA testing. Working on specific franchises keeps the quality high and consistent, providing all territories with the same extremely high standards that we set ourselves".

Indies and smaller studios
Even though the scale might be smaller, for a game to reach it’s full potential QA and localisation is just as important for smaller developers. Ian Masters, Creative Director of Quiz Tix offers an SME perspective;- "As a small indie mobile dev Google Play's release management system has quickly become an essential part of our QA process. The ability to have alpha and beta users who receive pre-release updates automatically is brilliant but the best part is staged roll-outs. This allows us to push new features and release builds to a small portion of players first, often surfacing any issues before they ever reach 95% of players. It's impossible to ever guarantee a build is bug free so these two tools have helped immensely."

Andrew Bennison, founder of Manchester based Prospect Games shared his view;- "Some indie developers consider that designing and making the game is far more fun than QA and localisation. Fast forward in time and this negligence will hurt your team in the long run as you scramble to fix old bugs and hastily implement poorly translated text". Bennison describes a learn from his early experiences with Unbox: Newbie's Adventure; "We populated the levels with characters, signposts and diaries full of fun text for players to read but we never considered at the time how much that would cost to translate - imagine our shock when we received quite a hefty quote! The best way to approach QA and localisation is to start both as early as possible" concludes Bennison;- "Ensure you have a pipeline for testing builds from day one and write text with localisation in mind".
In an increasingly crowded games market, with so much choice the importance of player experience is greater than ever. Early integration, adherence to the game’s vision, robust processes and dialogue between the dev and QA teams are all key features of success. As Richard Hylands surmises;- "Quality Assurance is a high-value service and very much part of the whole development process".


This article by Amiqus was originally published abridged in Develop Magazine September 2017 p38.

--relatedposts-postpage

Read more...

Artificial Intelligence
WHAT DOES THE GAMES INDUSTRY REALLY THINK ABOUT AI…?

Teaser

Blogs

Content Type

News

07/05/2024

Summary

Games studios have long been utilising AI, with the technology having revolutionised– positively – areas from NPC behaviour to game analytics. But what do game devs think about how AI may impact

Teaser

Read full article
Liz Prince

by

Liz Prince

Liz Prince

by

Liz Prince

What Do Game Devs Want from Their Next Job?
THIS IS WHAT GAMES DEVS ARE LOOKING FOR IN A NEW JOB (AND IT’S NOT WHAT YOU THINK…)

Teaser

Amiqus News

Content Type

News

24/04/2024

Summary

We’ve just carried out a straw poll of games professionals on LinkedIn, asking them what the most important thing is that they look for when considering a new job role. Over 400 to

Teaser

An Amiqus straw poll reveals what games professionals ar looking for on their next job

Read full article
Liz Prince

by

Liz Prince

Liz Prince

by

Liz Prince

International Women's Day 2024
INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY: TIME TO LOOK BEYOND THE TOKEN GESTURES

Teaser

Amiqus News

Content Type

News

05/03/2024

Summary

Teaser

International Women's Day - It's time for change not cake...

Read full article
Liz Prince

by

Liz Prince

Liz Prince

by

Liz Prince

Some Positive News For The Games Industry
AND NOW FOR SOME GOOD NEWS…

Teaser

Amiqus News

Content Type

Blog

23/01/2024

Summary

If you’ve been reading some of the commentary about the games industry of late, you’ll be forgiven for thinking that we’re in a downwards spiral of doom and gloom.It’s true: times are tougher

Teaser

Times are tougher for the industry than they have been for many years. We’ve seen projects cancelled alongside redundancies and restructuring... but surely we need a little positivity to allow us to better tackle the challenges ahead?

Read full article
Liz Prince

by

Liz Prince

Liz Prince

by

Liz Prince

#EqualPayDay
EQUAL PAY DAY: TIME TO MAKE FLEXIBLE WORKING THE DEFAULT?

Teaser

Amiqus News

Content Type

News

22/11/2023

Summary

Today (November 22nd) is the day when, because of the gender pay gap, women overall in the UK stop being paid compared to men. This means:At the current rate of change, the gender pay gap won'

Teaser

Read full article
Liz Prince

by

Liz Prince

Liz Prince

by

Liz Prince

TIGA Winners 2023
Another Award For The Trophy Cabinet 🥳

Teaser

Amiqus News

Content Type

News

21/11/2023

Summary

The whole team at Amiqus is absolutely delighted and honoured to have received another award, this time the accolade of Best Recruitment Agency at the TIGA Games Industry Awards 2023.Awards li

Teaser

Read full article
What's Next? Unlocking A Complicated Industry
Unlocking A Complicated Industry

Teaser

Blogs

Content Type

News

17/10/2023

Summary

The Value of Working with a Games Recruitment Agency There has been a lot of sad news recently about redundancies and restructuring within the industry, and our thoughts go out to

Teaser

Read full article
Liz Prince

by

Liz Prince

Liz Prince

by

Liz Prince

Facing redundancy can be daunting. Here are some top tips to help you get back on track...
Navigating Redundancy in the Video Games Industry: 7 Essential Tips

Teaser

Blogs

Content Type

News

05/09/2023

Summary

Facing redundancy can be daunting. I'll cut to the chase with my top tips to help you navigate this situation: Take Your Time to Reflect and Regroup: In the midst of a career trans

Teaser

Read full article
Alan Dixon

by

Alan Dixon

Alan Dixon

by

Alan Dixon

Amiqus Wins Recruitment Star Award 2023 at Develop: Brighton
DEVELOP:BRIGHTON: WHAT A GREAT FEW DAYS! (AND ANOTHER AWARD FOR THE TEAM!)

Teaser

Amiqus News

Content Type

News

19/07/2023

Summary

The Amiqus team has just about recovered from a super busy and exciting few days in Brighton for the Develop Conference and Awards. The icing on the cake for us was picking up the

Teaser

Read full article
Liz Prince

by

Liz Prince

Liz Prince

by

Liz Prince

How to Stand Out From The Crowd - Landing That Job

Teaser

Blogs

Content Type

News

12/06/2023

Summary

We’re often asked by candidates about how they can stand out during the job application process. With over 20 years of experience as a specialist games recruiter, we’ve got an arsenal of killer

Teaser

Read full article
Liz Prince

by

Liz Prince

Liz Prince

by

Liz Prince

--relatedjobs-nosvg

Related Jobs

Design Manager

Salary

to £100k (Dependent on experience)

Location:

Leamington Spa, Warwickshire

Specialisms

Designer

Design Director

Location

Midlands

Job type

Permanent

Salary

£80 - 90,000

£90 - 100,000

£100,000+

Description

Design Manager from a AAA design background to manage a team of ten working on an open-world action adventure title. Midlands based, hybrid working, salary to £100k plus benefits.

Reference

9122

Expiry Date

01/01/0001

Simon Pittam

Author

Simon Pittam
Apply now
Senior UI Programmer / Engineer (Video Games) – Hybrid in Guildford

Salary

Salary up to £76k DoE

Location:

Hybrid (3 days a week onsite in Guildford)

Specialisms

Programmer

UI Programmer

Location

South East

Job type

Permanent

Salary

£40 - 50,000

£50 - 60,000

£60 - 70,000

£70 - 80,000

Description

Senior UI Programmer for a AAA PC / Console Dev, Hybrid onsite in Guildford.

Reference

9062a

Expiry Date

01/01/0001

Lee  Burns

Author

Lee Burns
Lee  Burns

Author

Lee Burns
Apply now
Senior Tech Artist (Video Games) – Fully remote or Hybrid onsite (UK, Northeast) – Salary up to £60k

Salary

Salary up to £60k DoE

Location:

Remote Working or onsite Hybrid

Specialisms

Technical Artist

Tools Programmer

Location

Remote working

North East

Job type

Permanent

Salary

£30 - 40,000

£40 - 50,000

£50 - 60,000

£60 - 70,000

Description

Experienced Senior Tech Artist to work with one of the UK's top indie developers.

Reference

9123

Expiry Date

01/01/0001

Lee  Burns

Author

Lee Burns
Lee  Burns

Author

Lee Burns
Apply now
Senior Performance Marketing Manager

Salary

to £75k plus benefits

Location:

London, South East

Specialisms

Marketing Manager

Location

London

Job type

Permanent

Salary

£60 - 70,000

£70 - 80,000

Description

Senior Performance Marketing Manager to own and implement performance marketing for this mobile start-up working on a f2p football experience. London, hybrid working, salary to £75k.

Reference

9121

Expiry Date

01/01/0001

Simon Pittam

Author

Simon Pittam
Apply now
Engine Programmer

Salary

£55,000 - £78,000

Location:

Midlands or Remote

Specialisms

Engine Programmer

Programmer

Unity Programmer

Location

Remote working

Midlands

Job type

Permanent

Salary

£30 - 40,000

£40 - 50,000

£50 - 60,000

£60 - 70,000

Description

This is a fantastic opportunity to work on an amazing game with a high number of players (11 million a month!)

Reference

9027

Expiry Date

01/01/0001

Will  Hudson

Author

Will Hudson
Will  Hudson

Author

Will Hudson
Apply now
Unity Developer

Salary

£30,000 - £48,000

Location:

Liverpool or Remote

Specialisms

Gameplay Programmer

Programmer

UI Programmer

Unity Programmer

Location

Remote working

North West

Job type

Permanent

Salary

£20 - 30,000

£30 - 40,000

Description

This is a fantastic opportunity to work with a studio who are making amazing games

Reference

9072

Expiry Date

01/01/0001

Will  Hudson

Author

Will Hudson
Will  Hudson

Author

Will Hudson
Apply now
Senior Unity Developer

Salary

£55,000 - £70,000

Location:

Hertfordshire (Hybrid)

Specialisms

Gameplay Programmer

Lead Programmer

Programmer

UI Programmer

Unity Programmer

Location

South East

Job type

Permanent

Salary

£40 - 50,000

£50 - 60,000

Description

This is a fantastic opportunity to work for a studio who are developing a range of new games

Reference

9088

Expiry Date

01/01/0001

Will  Hudson

Author

Will Hudson
Will  Hudson

Author

Will Hudson
Apply now
Design Manager

Salary

£60,000 - £70,000

Location:

North East or Remote

Specialisms

Creative Director

Designer

Level Designer

Technical Designer

Design Director

Location

Remote working

North East

Job type

Permanent

Salary

£50 - 60,000

£60 - 70,000

Description

This is a fantastic opportunity to work with a studio who are working on an amazing range of new titles

Reference

9107

Expiry Date

01/01/0001

Will  Hudson

Author

Will Hudson
Will  Hudson

Author

Will Hudson
Apply now
Graphics Programmer

Salary

£55,000 - £78,000

Location:

Midlands or Remote

Specialisms

Graphics Programmer

Programmer

Unity Programmer

Location

Remote working

Midlands

Job type

Permanent

Salary

£50 - 60,000

£60 - 70,000

£70 - 80,000

Description

This is a fantastic opportunity to work with a team who have an industry leading title

Reference

9111

Expiry Date

01/01/0001

Will  Hudson

Author

Will Hudson
Will  Hudson

Author

Will Hudson
Apply now
Technical Artist

Salary

£45,000 - £55,000 + Bonus & Benefits

Location:

Remote UK

Specialisms

Art

Location

UK

Job type

Permanent

Salary

£20 - 30,000

£30 - 40,000

£40 - 50,000

Description

Technical Artist Unity C# Fully Remote within the UK

Reference

9047

Expiry Date

01/01/0001

Alan Dixon

Author

Alan Dixon
Alan Dixon

Author

Alan Dixon
Apply now