Management

[翻譯] Let’s talk about why QA sucks


本文轉錄自gamasutra

已獲得作者同意翻譯

http://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/168223/Opinion_Lets_talk_about_why_QA_sucks.php

Opinion: Let’s talk about why QA sucks
by Brandon Sheffield

April 12, 2012

Opinion: Let’s talk about why QA sucks
為什麼品保總是這麼爛

[“Quality assurance is an incredibly important pillar of game development, and the industry as a whole does not treat it accordingly," argues Game Developer magazine EIC Brandon Sheffield in this op-ed originally printed in the April 2012 issue.]

Maybe you’re an artist. Maybe you’re a coder. Maybe you’re a designer, or a producer. Maybe you’re all of these. But chances are, if you fit into one of those categories, you have a career path of some kind set before you. You can become an effects lead–you can move laterally and become a tech artist. Learn some behaviors and become an AI-oriented designer.
美術員,程式,企劃或製作人,都有機會在事業上更上一層樓。也許變為一位特效美術,或AI企劃。

Your QA team doesn’t have a career path though. Quality assurance is one of the most important aspects of game development, and all we encourage our QA staff to do is move “up and out" of the QA slog, if we inspire them to move up at all. Many QA professionals talk about “getting out" and moving to the production or design path. Don’t you want good QA folks to keep doing QA? Shouldn’t they enjoy and want to start in their jobs? Isn’t there something wrong with this picture?
但品質確保團隊卻永遠都沒有升遷,即便品保是遊戲開發的最重要的面向之一。我們給品保團隊的唯一出路就是鼓勵他們離開,也許變成企劃或程式。總之就是沒辦法在品保上提昇。難道這就真是個屎缺?

Get Bonus

Your QA staff is your front line of defense against bad reviews. Obsidian creative director Chris Avellone recently mentioned that the company didn’t get a bonus for Fallout: New Vegas because the game missed its Metacritic target of 85 percent by one percentage point. They had to reduce staff as a result.
品保成員是面對惡評的第一線。Obsidian公司企劃Chris Avellone最近才提到他們公司沒有拿到Fallout: New Vegas的獎金,因為這個遊戲差一個百分點沒有達到Metacritic的85分的水準,導致要裁員。

Game reviewers play a lot like testers sometimes. They push against boundaries, and find those things you’re pretty sure nobody will ever bother to do. They complete quests in the wrong order. They jump over a wall and trigger a cutscene that wasn’t meant to happen for hours. In short, they break your game, then call it buggy. What does that do to your Metacritic score?
遊戲評論家跟測試員很像,他們在遊戲中使勁尋找問題,故意亂接任務,還到處鑽場景的漏洞觸發不該發生的過場。總而言之,他們亂玩遊戲還說遊戲充滿臭蟲,最後就導致評論分數很差。

Not all bugs can be prevented, but with creative testing and enough time (that’s the kicker!) you can get most of the showstoppers. Everyone knows QA is important, but let’s really think about that. Is your QA team inspired to think creatively, and go that extra mile? Are they treated like important members of the team?
只要用好方法測試加上足夠的時間,臭蟲並非無法避免。大家都知道品保很重要,但是如果品保團隊表現很好的時候他們有得到足夠的獎勵嗎?

Most QA is hired from a pool of fresh-faced kids who just want to get into the industry any way they can. They are passionate about games, but aren’t sure how to break in, so they take the QA route. Maybe they’ve heard about game designers who started as testers. What they don’t want to do is stay in QA forever. And why would they? The hours are long, and the pay is the lowest in the game industry, at under $48,000 average across all years of experience, almost $30k under the next-lowest discipline. Many are hired on contract, at low wages, then get let go when a project is complete.
大多數品保團隊都是從想要到這個產業的新鮮人中招募。他們雖對遊戲充滿熱情,但不得其門而入,所以只好從品保開始做起。但是他們不想永遠待在工時長,薪水低的品保團隊。業界平均年薪四萬八,而品保的薪水大致在三萬以下,大多數是約聘的,專案結束就失業。

Does this sound like a job you’d want to stay in? Or a job where you’d be incentivized to think creatively? Is this job with a career path? If the biggest incentive you’re given is to become a lead and then move to another department, how much can you really care about working in QA?
也難怪這就不是個會讓人投入的工作,當然也不讓人想激發創造力。沒有發展,也不受到關愛。

How many times have I heard “the dev team" and “QA" spoken of as though they’re different things? In many companies there’s a physical wall between “the developers" and QA, if not an entire building. QA is part of the dev team. Why is there this mental space between the two?
有多少次我們把開發團隊與品保團隊分開來說,很多公司甚至就是把他們區隔在不同的區域,甚至建築物。品保應該是開發的一部分,為何有心理上的距離?

It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy. If you think the QA kids are scrubs, stop hiring scrubs. If you want people other than scrubs to apply, there needs to be a fundamentally different way of thinking about the entire department. If QA is thought of as a viable career path, and a truly important part of game development, it won’t be considered lower-tier, and your games will get better, because creative people will be thinking about how to improve your games and processes.
這種想法就阻礙了成長,我們認為品保都是些毛頭小子。從聘僱的時候就該停止這樣想。假如我們希望他們能表現得更好,從根本就該把他們納入部門裡面。假如我們視品保為可成長的職業,是開發的其中一環。就沒有低人一等。遊戲越做越好的原因在於團隊內的人員都在想如何把自己工作做好。

At Valve, for instance, everyone has specialties, but everyone is a developer. Everyone plays the game all the time, and thus everyone is QA. That’s not so bad, is it? How can we reach this level of integration in our own companies?
雖然每個人都有他們的專長,但每個人都是開發者,每個人隨時能玩自己的遊戲,也因此每個人都是品保。如何在公司內部達到這種整合?

Quality time

The first thing to do is to change the company culture and mind space surrounding QA. Invite QA leads to important meetings. Creative meetings! Make sure you, or your leads, speak of QA with the same respect you’d have for any other discipline. Make sure your entire team is speaking to everyone else on the team, and regularly.
第一件事就是改變公司文化跟心理中對於對於品保的一切。邀請品保負責人到重要的會議裡面來。確保對團隊領導者溝通時跟其他人一樣保持一樣的立場與原則。確保整個團隊的訊息一致且時常保持一致。

Next, offer an appealing career path within QA. Certainly there will be generalists that check everything, and some general leads. At the same time, QA professionals that are interested in music should essentially be part of the sound team, working to develop an audio map to test against, with the power to implement changes. Those with a tech bent should be speaking regularly with the leads in that area to monitor frame rates, and suggest areas for reducing load. And so on and so forth.
第二,讓品保有未來的發展,例如成為音樂團隊的重要成員,能有權力決定事情,如制定適合測試的音域。有技術背景的人則與開發團隊作整合,監控遊戲的畫格數,有減少讀取的建議空間。

Finally, don’t lay them off when a project completes! If you want loyal employees, your company should be hiring for the long term. You should be recruiting QA professionals with a variety of skills that can be applied across the project, like you would in any other discipline. Unless your team is gigantic, you likely don’t hire an artist who is only good at rigging. It’s a specialty, sure, and you rely on them for that. But when it’s time to do a bit of modeling, or mocap cleanup, they can be counted on. So too should it be for your QA staff.
最後,不要在專案結束後就捨棄他們。假如我們希望員工有忠誠,就必須長期僱用他們。品保成員在募集時的專業也都必須全面顧及,就像僱用其他成員一樣。除非你的團隊超大,否則理當不會有一個美術人員只做蒙皮的動作。蒙皮當然是一種專業,但是當建模,動作擷取時也都會依賴同一位人員。用同樣規則對待品保人員。

If you really need to ramp up and down our QA, use external QA groups managed by your permanent internal QA team. If you think of any members of your team as an expendable resource, they will not do their best work for you.
如果真的必須要動態的增減品保團隊,使用公司內部長期僱用但動態支援的品保團隊。如果我們認為團隊的成員隨時都可捨棄,當然成員不會盡力為你服務。

This is only the start of the discussion. QA is an incredibly important pillar of game development, and the industry as a whole does not treat it accordingly. If you want to see your next bonus, maybe it’s time to change all that.
我希望開啟這個討論,品保對遊戲開發是難以置信地重要,這個產業理當視其所以。假如你想要拿到獎金,也許該是時候改變了。

Related news:
Game Developer magazine EIC Brandon Sheffield announces gradual departure
Reminder: Game Developer magazine’s annual salary survey ends Friday
Game Developer’s April Issue Showcases Super Meat Boy Postmortem

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