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process programming video games

The best tester I ever worked with

Reading an entry on James Bach’s blog reminded me of the best tester I ever worked with. It got me thinking about how he did it.

Reading an entry on James Bach’s blog reminded me of the best tester I ever worked with. It got me thinking about how he did it.

Like most testers, he had an uncanny ability to break the product: a co-worker calls this “Hands of Breaking.” But he also had an intimate understanding of the relationship between the code’s modules.

I never considered before how that was possible. He had no programming experience. He never looked at the code.

Perhaps something of the code’s structure pokes through into the product; something a tester can see that I can’t? Perhaps he can see it because he’s blind to the underlying structure and I can’t because I’m not. Whatever it is, more exposure, even to a broken product, seems to improve that awareness.

Maybe while I’m logging my defect reports I should take care to avoid supposing what the problem might be and just record what’s happening at the surface. Maybe I can also develop a tester’s eyes.

I’d forgotten about this experience until James’ article reminded me. How many other revelations lie hidden in my experiences waiting for the right cue to become clear.

By Paul Sinnett

Video game programmer

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