Game Development Reference
attacking strong arguments, or miss logical fallacies committed by the
opponent, making the entire exercise slower and less productive.
There must be diversity of thought among debaters. This means that
participants have different knowledge, opinions, experiences, and assump-
tions. This allows them to find weaknesses in others' ideas that they could
not find in their own. Sadly, diversity of thought is rare in organizations
because people tend to hire others who think like themselves. It takes
specific effort to foster it.
Both debaters must be respectful. They must be able to separate their
personal feelings from the logical process of debate. Otherwise, the pro-
cess can destroy their relationship and become counterproductive.
Finally, the debaters must not fear one another. Debate is easily cor-
rupted by power imbalances. The person with less power will not debate
honestly for fear of retribution. This is why debate is best conducted among
people who have no power over one another at all. For a boss to debate his
subordinates, he must first prove his evenhandedness. Some bosses don't
do this. They punish people for disagreeing, even if they do it involuntarily
by sighing angrily or rolling their eyes. This makes people go soft on the
boss's bad ideas, which makes the debate less useful.
We've looked at playtesting already. It's the most important kind of test-
ing in games, but not the only one. There are a variety of kinds of testing
which each return a different kind of knowledge.
Usability testing is a method borrowed from software design which
focuses on interfaces and controls. It's similar to playtesting in that it in-
volves putting a realistic user in front of the interface to see how he tries
to use it.
QA testing is done by dedicated testers and is focused on finding tech-
nical bugs. It's essential in any video game production process.
The term focus testing is often mistakenly used as a synonym for play-
testing . This is incorrect. Focus testing is a form of market research in
which participants discuss various product ideas in a group. It doesn't
require a working game.
In game design, the term metrics refers to data that is automatically collect-
ed from play sessions. The game might record objects looted, challenges
failed, completion times, enemies defeated, areas explored, or a hundred
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