Why include software testing in AR/VR game development strategies and what risks to reduce to ensure the high quality of AR/VR-based software?
In the constant whirlwind of technological change, augmented reality and virtual reality have revolutionized various industries. The gaming world is no exception. With devices like Oculus Rift, the way people play games has completely changed. After donning a headset, users immerse themselves in a new world, one where they are physically active, playing in a multi-dimensional space, and enjoying increased interaction possibilities during a game.
No wonder people are so carried away with AR/VR games. Check it out: In the first three months after release, the AR-based Pokémon Go got 250 million downloads! The curiosity of users vis-à-vis these technologies could only impact the market. In the gaming industry alone, virtual reality is estimated to attract more $90 billion by 2026; the overall AR/VR technology market size will reach more than $450 billion by 2030.
Despite such renewed interest, AR/VR games are complicated and many software flaws can block a flawless user experience. In this article, I will discuss ways in which companies can improve the quality of gaming software with a focus on AR/VR.
Why include software testing in development strategies?
When properly implemented, Augmented Reality/VR can provide rich graphics and an engaging experience for gamers, contributing to the ongoing revolution in the gaming industry. But what will happen if the software performs poorly?
The greatest danger is Human health because an insufficiently tested AR/VR application can cause physical discomfort, ranging from dizziness to double vision.
Also, lagging sound or slow loading times will not help expand the customer base. For example, one of the recent updates of the headset had a visual bug that caused chromatic aberration (i.e. a situation where all objects had color fringing around their edges). Since this update is automatic, the only option users have until the next one is to avoid connecting to Wi-Fi, or simply stop playing the game.
4 challenges to consider to ensure the quality of software based on augmented reality / virtual reality
Testing a new technology like AR/VR can be compared to navigating uncharted waters. The process imposes certain challenges on QA teams that cannot be ignored.
- Cybersickness. During a short period of use, people may experience eye discomfort, seizures, and neck and back pain due to movement complication due to the weight of a helmet and disorientation due to the sequence of rapid movements in the game. So, I suggest that the engineers include breaks every 30 minutes to prevent dangerous symptoms.
- Plethora of gadgets related to virtual reality. The team should implement a quality assurance process that uses real-world device testing that includes mobile platforms, such as Google Daydream View or Samsung Gear, and traditional platforms, such as PlayStation or Xbox .
- Lack of space. The need for additional space is also crucial. QA engineers will have to travel a lot, and it’s worth providing a safe environment so that each person has at least several feet to effectively test an application.
- Hygiene. Another key point is to keep your set as clean as a pin. The eyes and face can be affected by bacteria and sweat, so it is recommended to clean the lenses and the device as often as possible.
Risks to Mitigate by Checking AR/VR Compatible Games
You may never get a second chance after making the first impression. So, to avoid spoiling the fun of your end users, which will lead to negative reviews, you can apply quality control to mitigate the following risks.
Functional validation ensures that the software meets the desired business requirements. During this process, it is possible to detect generic issues in graphics, game mechanics, audio-visual, stability and other aspects to prevent the game from crashing and freezing. After identifying flaws and passing them to the development team for fixing, test specialists typically perform regression checks to confirm that previously introduced enhancements work properly.
Regardless of the platform or headset chosen, a powerful immersive experience without desaturated colors or jerky graphics is a must for all gamers. Performing compatibility testing confirms that an AR/VR-enabled game works well with various hardware and game platforms. basic features like resolutions, audio, video, graphics, overheat, etc.
A successful user experience is impossible without processing digital data generated from user movements and properly applying 3D models to impose them on an image. If failures occur in this workflow, objects in a game may float and change their required positions. So during testing, QA teams have to move around unpredictably to check that game characters aren’t going through walls or falling through the floor.
Traditional and AR/VR games have a lot in common when it comes to accessibility issues. The first obstacle is visual. People with stereoblindness have difficulty perceiving 3D objects. Players with motor disabilities belong to the second group. For interaction, virtual reality involves the use of hands and legs.
According to Microsoft, approximately 450 million the players have a particular handicap. Accessibility testing is of great importance because gamers with disabilities can access experiences that are not available to them in the real world. Thus, the test engineers ensure that the software meets international virtual reality guidelines, such as Oculus’ Virtual Reality Controls (VRCs) or XR Accessibility User Requirements (XAURs).
The performance of an AR/VR-based game is a critical factor that ensures the software can withstand a large influx of players or third-party processes running concurrently with the game. During load and stress testing, QA engineers verify that the GPU, CPU, and servers can handle the user load under normal and maximum conditions, and ensure that the FPS (frames produced in one second) rate is above 60 to avoid motion issues VR.
Sometimes users spend more time identifying, for example, how to handle controllers, than playing a game. Or they struggle to figure out which buttons to press when options appear on the screen. Also, it is bad practice when users have to rely on the help of outside instructions after studying the tutorial. Therefore, QA teams perform usability testing to confirm that users are fully satisfied with interacting with a game and can easily use it despite having a poor gaming experience.
seven. Localization and internationalization
To assess the relevance of content while taking into account the cultural and linguistic specificities of a particular region, companies can cooperate with localization testing experts before a global software rollout. Within an AR/VR game, they analyze scripts and voice-overs to detect spelling or punctuation errors, lack of translation, truncated characters, problems writing digital formats, correlation of subtitles and audio, etc.
8. The integration
Integration testing plays a crucial role in assessing software production readiness. It helps identify any incompatibilities between a headset and a platform or issues within AR/VR gaming components in the early stages of development, thus avoiding costly defect repair after release.
For example, if a game has paid features, it is important to provide hassle-free payment by ensuring good integration with third-party payment gateway systems. Additionally, with the growing popularity of social media supporting online games, users may wish to share game results with other peers, which means QA engineers need to verify integration with social networks.
At the end of the line
AR and VR technologies have dramatically changed the gaming industry, helping gamers feel a physical presence in any simulated 3D world. However, to ensure full immersion in games, companies can strengthen their development processes with quality assurance.
The first thing to do is to organize a testing process which will not endanger the health of QA engineers. Then they can focus on mitigating common risks related to functionality, compatibility, accessibility, performance, localization, and more. softwares.