Quality Assurance | Backstage Toontown
Posted by The Toontown Team on September 18, 2021 at 2:00 PM
Hi! My name is Augie Doodle! Many of you may already know me already as one of Toontown's Moderation Leads, but that’s not the only thing I do. I also lead Toontown Rewritten’s Quality Assurance Team! Founded back in 2019, this team was created to bring together members of the community who are willing to test new features for the game before they are released to the public, as well as investigate any pesky bugs that are reported to us by the rest of the Toontown community.
To start, let's take a look at where testing Toontown has been. From there, I'll talk about where we're at today!
Testing on Toontown Online
Back during the Toontown Online days, public testing was done using the Toontown Test Server -- colloquially known as Test Town. It was an invite-only server where active community members could apply to test new content and tweaks for the game before public release. The members of this server ended up being a very tight-knit part of the Toontown community, and the testers were able to work together to find bugs, give feedback on releases, and schedule group testing or other fun events on the Test Town forum on Toontown Central forums -- which is now known as MMOCentral Forums! They also had chances to work directly with the developers of the game on tests or just to hang out with the testers. I still remember when I hosted a holiday party on the Test Server one day, and the whole development team of the game showed up as a surprise!
Forming the Quality Assurance Team
When I was tasked with designing and creating the Quality Assurance Team in late 2018, we modeled it very closely to how Disney had set up public testing, inviting select members of the community to our QA server. This runs in its own environment separate from where the public plays, so what we do there has no impact on the live game. Unlike Disney’s setup, however, we wanted to ensure that QA Testers are more integrated with team development.
All of our testers have opportunities to work with the development team while testing the game. Rather than just having an email form to communicate, we have a Discord server that the QA testers can use to communicate with anyone on the team, file bugs and feedback, as well as get messages from us on new things to test! We also use this Discord server to schedule group testing and to more easily communicate with one another during tests. We've also made things easier for testers by supplying them with Toons on the QA server that have completed all the mainline ToonTasks and have earned skilled gags -- allowing them to jump in and test later content right away. We also have the ability to set up Toons with different stats and progressions, which was useful when we QA tested the Crash Cashbot event back in early 2019.
How Quality Assurance Works Today
Today, the QA Team does both casual playtests of new features and formal release testing. For playtests, we work very closely with the Game Design team to schedule playtests of new features and collect feedback while development is in progress. This happens in major projects before formal QA testing happens after development is completed.
As one of our organizers, Dynaboom and I work closely with each other and the development team to set up testing plans for each release to determine what needs to be tested in each release. Sometimes, it’s just the features that are changed, but sometimes we have to test the full game if there are any engine-level changes or other changes that our Technical Operations Team does to the game’s underlying code. All testers have the ability to work with standard sets of test cases for each feature of the game and the ability to create their own test cases. Last year we started using Notion, a personal and team organization tool, to store and track test cases and progress of testing of each release. We also started using Notion for the tracking of bugs found by testers during pre-release testing or reported by the public after our testers are able reproduce it themselves.
We have also implemented a formal process for release testing to determine when releases reach our QA Team and live servers, which helps ensure quality releases to our players. We use an internal server for initial development and testing within the development team. When a release is ready for wider testing by the QA Team, we then put it up on our QA server. Once all testing is done and all code has been signed off by leadership, we're finally able to release the update to the public!
All of this work we do is for the benefit of our players, because we want to ensure that the game works great for everyone!
Join the Quality Assurance Team!
At this point you may be thinking, “This sounds great! Can I help test Toontown on the QA Server?” Well, today I am pleased to announce that we are now accepting applications to join our Quality Assurance Team! We are looking for passionate players of the game that know the game very well and have played for a long time, as well as experienced QA or beta testers of other game or app projects. Plus, we'd love to have those who were active in testing the game back in the Toontown Online days. We also have a need for players and parents of players with disabilities to join us as accessibility testers to help us improve Toontown’s accessibility. We want to make the game more enjoyable for everyone!
If you want to apply to be a Quality Assurance Tester, just click on the button below to view the application -- then send us your responses via Email to [email protected]. We look forward to hearing from you!