In the past few years, Virtual Reality(VR) experienced a lot of popularity due to its innovative and different approach to experiencing games. Initially, it’s widespread adoption and application were considered to be very distant and unattainable, but those claims have been reasonably debunked. Right now, there are several companies that manufacture their own VR sets and many game developers are creating applications and games specifically for VR games.
As VR technology progresses further, the testing required becomes integral as well. Testing VR products need more attention as they are not usual programs with elements. There are several aspects that need to be considered before testing starts.
‘Presence Effect’ is actually one of the main goals of the game in VR. In this case, presence means the illusion you are subjected to, the illusion of another reality and not just being in a closed room but another life-like world.
During testing, it is crucial to check if the overall game functions properly but it is equally important to evaluate and depict your feelings as the game caters to audiences with special interests and preferences.
Although every game does not provide a sense of realism, it is difficult to trick our brains into thinking and reacting to worlds created within VR as reality. The kind of music accompanying the game also leads to the failure of the presence effect’ as it can confuse the player and prevent players from having a totally immersive experience.
Another aspect of VR game testing is the amount of time spent on the game itself. A playtime of 30mins or more becomes difficult physically and the chances of ‘virtual reality sickness’ increases.
Similar to motion sickness, the symptoms of virtual reality sickness are headache, disorientation, nausea etc. As a result, a tester cannot spend more than 30mins of it at a time and should have a break of at least 15mins between each session.
Additionally, testing becomes more accurate if there is one tester performing the in-game testing itself and another supervising the checking process and cataloging videos, logs, screenshots etc wherever necessary.
Specifics of VR testing
A lot of VR game testing depends upon the space available and high-level system performance. The tester should be undisturbed throughout the process as there is a considerable risk the tester can be injured or even led to damaging the VR set. Also, it should be assessed beforehand whether a personal computer is capable of overloading to the maximum extent. This means that if the frame rate is low then image quality in VR will also be poor causing discomfort and eyestrain on the tester.
Automated testing has very little use in VR testing. Automation is ideal for testing other types of functionalities but in VR testing the involvement of the tester is necessary as the entire technology is based on the player’s perception.
Bug reporting, however, is not very different from bug reporting in most game testing scenarios. A bug is found based on the specifications of knowledge, experience and various other parameters. A common misconception is that it is very difficult for developers to locate and understand any problems but in reality, everything is precisely defined: what, where and when.
In general, the development and rise of VR technology have led to game development becoming more interesting and diverse. But there are also new challenges to overcome, especially when it comes to testing. Software testing teams need to build completely different strategies, plan and evaluate the scope and timeframe while taking into consideration the prior experience with video games as well as the differences and nuances in the VR games process.