Unveiling the Immersive World of VR: QA Tester’s Perspective - Tamara Whymark
Tamara Whymark - Project Lead QA at XR Games - tells us about how she transferred from retail to the games industry, why test plans are crucial, and how quality assurance is the perfect route into games development.
What I love about VR is how immersive it can be. Being able to put on a VR headset and be transported into completely different surroundings is a whole new level of gaming.
Working in QA, what I love most is being able to watch the game slowly progress throughout the development process. There’s a lot to QA other than just testing and playing the game, from being able to understand the compliance needs of different platforms so the game can release, to giving feedback and user testing to other departments (Design, Art etc).
Test plans are integral to a well-organised and thorough inspection of the game. It allows us to visually see more in-depth results of different cases that are made in order to identify problematic areas of the game. You get to do all this while watching the game slowly mould into the final shippable product.
Previously, I hadn't had any experience within the gaming industry nor any relevant higher education when I initially applied for XR Games, and had only worked in retail & management prior to being a QA Tester. However, I gained skills that were transferable to the role; such as being able to work time effectively and efficiently, understanding priorities and good communication skills to be able to liaise with not just the rest of QA but all other departments.
One of the most challenging aspects of QA is having to be tenacious when testing. You can come across bugs that have super low repro rates, or that only work under very exact particular conditions - which can take a lengthy amount of time to confirm fixes for, but the feeling afterwards when it’s fixed is certainly rewarding.
Lastly, QA can be seen as a brilliant avenue to diverge into other QA specialities or avenues such as; User Research, Release Manager, Production and many more. We communicate with each department, allowing us the possibility to explore and gain insight into all fields of the gaming industry.