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Thread: The QA Mindset - The art of Reporting Bugs -

  1. #1

    The QA Mindset - The art of Reporting Bugs -

    To the Moderators, you might want to consider adding this to the Sticky Collection

    OK, first off, let me say that I feel sorry for all of you who are having problems with Titan Quest. It's a pretty sweet game, and I know it must be VERY frustrating to not be able to play. We have all been there with one game or another at one point in our gaming lives.

    I have tested games professionally in the past so I'd like to impart a little wisdom on The Art of Reporting Bugs.

    If we seriously want the Devs and QA at Iron Lore to know where to look in order to fix some of the issues we are having, we have to report problems in a proper manner.

    This means we need to supply INFORMATION on the bugs. Simply stating that the application is crashing, freezing, stuttering or doing cartwheels is NOT ENOUGH. The QA guys can't really do anything to reproduce and narrow down the problem areas with those kinds of statements.

    If you see a thread with a title that matches your problem, please post there and avoid starting a new thread. Keeping the info in one place makes it easier for everyone.

    #1 System Specs

    The first thing to mention when logging a Bug Report, is the platform the application was tested on. This means your Systems Specs! Post as much info as you can in this regard.

    If you do not know what your Sys. Specs are, here is an easy way find them:

    1-Click Start
    2-Click Run
    3-In the box that appears write: 'dxdiag' and press OK

    Presto! System Information.

    Ideally, you can write down the info from the SYSTEM, DISPLAY and SOUND tabs found in the DirectX Diagnosis window.

    #2 Bug Type

    This helps to quickly introduce what type of bug you have encountered. This can be useful to add in the title of the post. This helps the poor Dev in charge of looking for sound bugs to rapidly scan the message boards for something that might concern him ( Rock on Sound Guy!! )

    Examples of bug types would be:
    Crash: Game Crashes to Desktop, computer reboots
    Freeze: Game Stops responding
    Performance: Game FPS, unusual Hard Drive use
    Video: Visual anomalies
    Sound: Sound anomalies
    Item: Bug with an item or item property
    Mastery/Skill: Bug with the skill effects or trees
    Character: Loss of character for example
    Quest: Problems completing quests

    #2 Bug Description

    This is important, listen up.

    Here is where you try and DESCRIBE what happened. I'll say it again here. Simply saying you crashed is not very helpful. Try this kind of approach instead.

    'I was exiting a cavern, and right at the door leading back outside, the frame rate suddenly dropped. The application froze for a few seconds before shutting down and dropping me on the desktop'

    What I just wrote is not even very detailed, but it's so much more helpful to the Devs and Testers than simply saying that you crashed. This way you are giving them a few clues as to what is the possible cause of problem. (Managing resources while changing from indoor to outdoor environment for example.)

    The more details you can provide at this point, the better. Can't stress this enough.

    Were you holding down a specific key on the keyboard ? Were you moving with the Mini-Map up? Were any spell effects up on your character? Did you have pets out? ANYTHING you can add might be helpful, it's odd how some seemingly unrelated elements may combine to cause a bug!

    #3 Steps to Reproduce

    Steps to Reproduce are a debugger's dream and a Testers' best friend.

    With steps to reproduce, a tester can go up to a programmer and say:

    ‘Hey man, I have this bug nailed down, all you have to do is press CTRL+K+6+Left Shift while shooting a Fire Based Terrion Attack and the bug happens 100% of the time!’

    At this point, they usually glare angrily at the smug tester for giving them more work to do, but they don’t have an excuse not to fix the bug as they don’t have to waste time isolating it. That means the patch can come out THAT MUCH FASTER!

    So, when listing Steps to reproduce, try to be as accurate as possible. Also, try to give the odds of the bug reproducing itself with the steps you just listed. Does it happen 1 out of 5 times? 5 out of 5 times? Was it a freak one-shot oddity of pure randomness?

    1- stand in any outside area
    2- put down a portal
    3- click on portal to activate it and press the esc key simultaneously
    4- notice the names of the portals do not appear in the Travel Interface

    Reproduces: 4 out of 5 times

    They want and need to know these things to fix bugs!

    If we all do our best to report issues following these guidelines, Iron Lore will be able to collect accurate information on the problems some of you are experiencing with Titan Quest.

    @Chooch, if there is anything you need to add, let me know!

  2. #2
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Amen to that.

  3. #3

    Re: The QA Mindset - The art of Reporting Bugs -

    Thanks BrAm for that near-flawless explanation of bug reporting. Having been a beta-tester (for commercial titles, games and shareware) since the late 1980s I have to say that's one of the clearest explanations of how to do it I've heard to date.
    I'm rarely here anymore.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Theo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2005

    Re: The QA Mindset - The art of Reporting Bugs -

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