Next-Level Game Testing with Cyrex
24 March 2021
There are several stages of game development that are, or should be, key in validating a game for release. We are referencing three in particular. These are Focus Testing, Load Testing, and Penetration Testing. These cover the personal and player satisfaction, system and load satisfaction, and finally security satisfaction of your game.
We believe these three are key in releasing an engaging, stable, and secure final product. Cyrex wants to ensure that developers are happy with their final release and we can help in some of these steps.
Firstly, we need to elaborate on focus testing. It's an integral stage of game development and it typically occurs several times across development. Effectively it is personal and player validation.
This testing usually occurs at key junctions, with differing prototypes and states of the game such as concept, pre-alpha, alpha, beta, and so on. The game is tested on user experience, the general concept of the game, and its mechanics. A group, or several groups depending on the size of the game, are brought in to effectively taste test the game. Is it fun, are the mechanics intuitive or at least easy to understand and pick up?
It’s a key stage of the development process on validating the game for release. It is here you are tweaking and reworking existing mechanics and considering new ones. Without this test, you are releasing a game that hasn’t been experienced outside of your teams. A dangerous thing to do!
Load testing is a service that Cyrex can offer. It works both separately and alongside focus testing. During focus testing, you would have a limited number of players. During this stage, you could also engage in load testing to complement it.
Load testing is the process of checking how your system handles the expected load of users. It typically includes stress testing, which is just testing how much the system can take before breaking. Load testing checks what your system can handle with proper player behaviour. Cyrex employs a headless, server-side only load testing process. It is entirely simulated on the back-end, which allows us to deliver any number of ‘players’ you require.
Each ‘player’ will engage and fully interact with your system as an actual human would – they will interact with functionality in proper time. We automate the human element, allowing for realistic interaction at any scale you require.
Once completed, you will receive a comprehensive report of how your system handled the load. You will see precisely where it struggled and what functionality may need to be fixed or altered.
Lastly, we have penetration testing. By no means is this last in priority, quite the opposite. Penetration testing is the security step of development. For Cyrex, we employ a method called pair hacking – which engages a minimum of two ethical hackers at a time. These hackers then attempt to hack into your game and system, not to harm, but to find these vulnerabilities before they can be exploited. We offer a variety of packages in penetration testing which you can find here.
Penetration testing is hacking for good, finding the potential injection points and weak barriers of security. We then inform the developers of them along with advice and assistance on how to secure them. At Cyrex, our penetration testing services typically find 30+ bugs per test cycle in pre-release and 20+ in games already on market. At least one of these, in our experience, is a critical vulnerability that could be catastrophic to the game and business.
There are a plethora of reasons hackers might target your game. So, finding these potential vulnerabilities enables you to preserve the privacy and security of your team and your players. The aim of penetration testing is to leave your game safe from hackers and secure against cheaters. This way, you can keep your players as safe and happy as possible during their time with your game.
Focus testing is an often-used key component of game validation. At Cyrex, we believe comprehensive load and penetration testing are two key steps in producing the best result possible. Between realistic player interaction and a thorough pair-hacking penetration test, your game will be more than ready to face the world.