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Want to help, but...

HyperSonic XP

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...the job I want isn't on the application.

I want to be a game tester. In games I play, I tend to stray from the main objective and find every last bug. I've already found very many in AOM. Too bad the patches fixed them... Anyway, in RTS's there always seems to be something that was not intended by the developers that makes the game more difficult.

One example of that is in AOM. If you try to make a scout go to a corner of the globe, he'll go right through enemy lines and get killed if you don't notice. They could have added something that will make them avoid that on long trips and take the safest possible way to the place you want to go.

Also, in other games, I manage to find several floating buildings, how to make cars fly, and how to make the outer-level area navigable. Bug finding is something I'm quite good at.

So, WFG, can I have a job?

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Hmm, while we're on the subject, allow me to dispel the myth that QA (in the mainstream gaming industry) is simply an opportunity to play a game before anybody else does, and is something highly desirable. "You get to play games all day and they even pay you for it? You're in nirvana, man!"

Or to resurrect my driving metaphor from an earlier article: "This lucky guy gets to drive a prototype Ferrari hot off the assembly line before the company has begun final manufacture? We curses him, my precious. We hates him forever."

Er, yeah, but this isn't a fully functioning Ferrari identical to what the "end user" would see. If it was, there'd be no point in testing it. Our erstwhile tester is the human equivalent of a crash test dummy (and in the industry gets roughly the same rate of pay and unpaid overtime).

When he starts driving this bootilicious "wonder", he'll find the seat adjustment controls are totally out of whack. The fuel meter shows his speed. Punching the cigarette lighter opens the bonnet. The image on the rear view mirror is reversed. The wheels don't spin unless he's on a road with a name starting with W. It's not uncommon for the engine to fail when he flashes his headlights. And if he ever reaches 120mph in 4th gear, the brakes stop working.

Oh, and he has to make sure that the airbag works under all conditions. The hard way.

And he'll have to somehow get this smoldering wreck to a halt so he can write out reports and hopefully not endanger his life/PC the next time those problems are found and fixed (assuming he's provided enough information that the problem can be replicated and repaired, and that the programmers have time to do so).

Although fixing that first layer of bugs tends to unleash ten more, and he'll have to find those too, often in the same places he looked yesterday. :P

It's the tester's job to go through all this hell so *you* don't have to. Day after day. Month after month. For the pay of a clerk at Virgin Megastore.

Sure, playing games is fun. Playing the same game ten hours a day for six months, pushing your avatar against every collision boundary and trying to do every crazy thing a user could do under every possible configuration, and having no choice but to come into work tomorrow and do it all again under increasing deadlines, that's a *job*.

But you know what's the worst thing? After playing Generic Shooter VIII under those conditions for half a year, you'll probably shudder every time you pass its gamebox on store shelves. You'll certainly have no desire to ever play it (or possibly anything similar) again. And though you really loved that series, you're probably not that keen to play the sequel anymore either.

When you spend your days finely dissecting human entrails, somehow your fellow man don't look quite so attractive anymore. Sometimes it's better to only see the surface veneer.

Thanks for listening. Just wanted to put things in perspective. :P

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That depends on your defenition of fun. If you find it a highly rewarding experiance to put your time and effort into something you're passionate about and keep it that way for 2 years until your product is finished, then yes, it would be a very fun and educational experiance.

If you expect to be able to play a game for free before anyone else, then it will be a very borring and frustrating experiance.

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