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When we play a game, we never think about the fact that it has so few bugs. We only focus on the game. The reality is that hundreds of hours are spent on testing. Although the life of a QA (quality assurance) tester may not be glamorous, GameDriver hope to make it a little easier.
Eponymous IX, GameDriver’s new testing software, works with 2D, 3D and AR/VR games. It performs local or remote testing for PC, console, mobile, single and multiplayer games for Windows, MAC, Andriod and iOS. The new test suite is fully compatible with the Unity engine and also works with NUnit, Jenkins, MSTest, BitBar, and Oculus. If you don’t see your engine in this description, check back, as GameDriver plans to cover more engines, including Unreal.
In addition to releasing Eponymous IX, GameDriver announced that they have closed their funding round. The company received an investment of US$2 million from lead investor Panoramic companies. This capital will enable product expansion and business growth.
“Panoramic Ventures already has an active presence in test automation, so GameDriver fits perfectly into our portfolio,” said Dan Drechsel, general partner at Panoramic Ventures. “We are excited to be part of a major step forward in solving the many challenges facing testing processes in the gaming industry. GameDriver’s suite of automated testing tools is set to see significant growth and accelerated adoption and I’m excited to help GameDriver’s passionate team at this stage in the life of the company.
We had the chance to speak with Rob Gutierrez, CEO and Co-Founder, and Shane Evans, Chief Product Officer and Co-Founder. Check out our conversation below.
GamesBeat: What is your personal history with video games?
Shane Evans: I’ve been a gamer for as long as I can remember, starting with my PC Tandy-1000 and classics such as Centipede. Then I got my first console which was the original Nintendo and I’ve been hooked ever since. I always wanted to make games but didn’t have the technical ability, so when platforms like Unity started to emerge which lowered the barrier to entry, I decided to dive in and learn.
Rob Gutierrez: The first console we had in my house was an Intellivision in the 80s and even as a child I was addicted to the technology. Later, I chose a career in IT because it was a good way to combine my hobby with work. The most impactful game for me, however, was World of Warcraft. It was in Azeroth that Shane and I first met, formed a guild together, and started thinking about game mechanics from a more strategic perspective by leveraging “creative uses of game mechanics ” during raid encounters.
GamesBeat: What got you into the field of test automation for games? Was there a specific time?
Shane Evans: This was while I was learning how to develop a game in Unity as a hobby project, something I have very little talent for after all. When it came time to test my creation, I looked for what I expected from my 10 years in software and it’s quite standard for web, mobile, and most commercial application development, test automation. At the time, I couldn’t find any tools for the tester other than people telling me to “play the game”. And so I started looking to create a better way and bring my experience in automated software testing to this space.
Rob Gutierrez: For about a decade I worked in sales and marketing with the HP/HPE/Micro Focus portfolio of enterprise software automation tools. Shane and I were in regular contact while he worked on his hobby project, and during a gaming session one night he told me about the issues he was having testing his game. We had already 20 years of combined experience in test automation and might be the best people to fix it.
Using Shane’s game, we started looking at what could be automated versus what couldn’t, and then we started market research to understand why a product like this wasn’t on the market. We had experienced first-hand how automation transforms software delivery, so why wasn’t anyone doing it already? Shane reached out to Phillip, who he had worked with before, to help determine if what we had in mind was possible and from there the GameDriver vision grew.
What we found was that the problem of testing immersive experiences like games was different than in business. In video games, there was a level of speed and accuracy that mobile app or web app testing simply doesn’t see.
For example, if a tester is trying to validate a web form, whether it takes one second or five seconds to lock onto an object doesn’t matter. In a game, however, if the player has a skeleton charging at them wielding a sword and it takes them two or three seconds to find their shield, the storyline is broken.
Philip understood that the challenge was different from what had been done in the past and started working on it diligently, and at the same time completely reinvented the relationship between automation, object identification to reach a new level accuracy and speed for testing. paradigm.
GamesBeat: You currently fully support Unity. Do you intend to go further in Unreal?
Shane Evans: Yes! We designed GameDriver to be cross-platform and portable to any game engine. The HierarchyPath language, which is core to our capabilities and provides the interface for working with game objects at runtime, has been tested with Unreal, and we hope to have something more to share on that front in the near future.
Rob Gutierrez: Unity is just the starting point of the GameDriver platform. With a footprint of over half of all games and a very supportive community and partner ecosystem, it was a natural place to start for us. The same problem we set out to solve is not limited to Unity, however, and our technology is remarkably transferable. Unreal is already in flight and we have no reason to believe that we can’t support nearly all proprietary engines.
GamesBeat: How much time does your product save an average business?
Shane Evans: On average, our customers save over 50% of the time spent on manual testing, with a few claiming over 85%. More importantly, they are able to increase their testing coverage to include more scenarios and platform tests that would otherwise be missed, simply by automating the repetitive tasks associated with daily manual testing. This is especially important in LiveOps testing, where rapid release cycles can put a strain on testers who need to ensure that existing features work and new features have the intended impact.
Rob Gutierrez: The efficiency gains are dramatic: 85% reduction in testing time. This is just the beginning of why automation is necessary in game development. As a project progresses, the amount of testing that must be done to validate a release increases dramatically, but the finite resource of testers stays about the same. With GameDriver’s automation, the time invested in producing a test can be deferred to help level the load at the end of the test cycle. No matter how effective, testers only have two thumbs to test, and with the reach of games releasing simultaneously across multiple platforms and hardware configurations, it’s impossible to keep up. By reducing the amount of redundancy in the testing process, GameDriver supports manual testers by repeatedly checking minor details, giving them more time to address issues that require human intervention.
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