Timelines, Assessments and Test Plans: A Case for QA Planning – Part 3

Last time around in QA Planning, we discussed some of the components to include in your Testing Timeline and gave a few tips and tricks to make your planning as efficient as it can be, and we gave some rough time estimates for some. For this week’s installment, we’ll finish with a few more components. Different components, same insights! 


In the planning phase, outline a roadmap for implementing and testing trophies, activities, and achievements. Set clear objectives for each, ensuring they align with the game’s narrative and encourage player exploration. Establish a systematic approach to confirm unlockability and proper implementation. 

How to Plan

Create a comprehensive list of achievements aligned with the game’s progression. Develop a testing plan that simulates various player scenarios to unlock achievements if possible. Assess the impact of achievements on player engagement and identify potential challenges in unlocking them. Once your list is complete with these factors in mind, verify that all achievements are unlockable by having someone run through them. 

Synergies: Synergies are generally difficult to plan with Trophies/Achievements. We would normally recommend doing those as a single task since it can be time-consuming. That said, you can look at balancing while doing them to ensure they’re neither too easy nor hard to acquire.  


The importance of having localized playthroughs factored into your planning can’t be overstated. Define a schedule for testing in all localized languages, accounting for potential adjustments to accommodate cultural nuances and linguistic variations. 

How to Plan

Collaborate with localization teams to create a language testing plan. Establish a timeline that aligns with development milestones, ensuring that localized content is integrated seamlessly. Plan for playtesting sessions with native speakers to validate the cultural and linguistic appropriateness of the game if the budget allows. Too often we hear of lazy translations that take away from the narrative immersion of a game, ultimately taking away from the experience your game is meant to provide.  

When considering having your localization looked at, define clearly what needs to be tested: is QA validating that the text strings are present? Translated? Well written? What is the level of information you want your testing teams to validate? 

While it can vary substantially depending on the mandate and the type of game, an industry average has us at around 800-1000 words per hour, per language. If your game has 20,000 words, divide that number by 1000 and you should have a rough idea of how long it takes to verify a single language. In this case, we’d be looking at around 20 hours + its playthrough length for a story-based game. If all content is accessible (like in a Sandbox game or through debug, for example), the playthrough length factor can be ignored.  

Synergies: Not so much of a synergy as much as a “nota bene”, remember to check all of the Menus and Options, as well as UI/HUD!  


Network and Controller Disconnections

Anticipate disruptions and plan for network and controller disconnections. Develop protocols to display appropriate messages upon disruptions and prioritize stability in the face of unforeseen events. Establish clear guidelines for maintaining a seamless gaming experience, even in less-than-ideal network conditions. 

How to Plan

Collaborate with network engineers to create a contingency plan for disruptions. Define clear communication protocols and error messages for players. Establish a testing schedule that simulates various network scenarios, ensuring stability and responsiveness. Plan for regular reviews with the development team to address any emerging issues promptly. Involve external QA teams with expertise in network testing to validate the game’s resilience to various network states. 

Synergies: This works wonders with online features and some elements of UI. Make sure to check their desired accessibility/functionality once a network has been disconnected, and once it’s back on. 

Online Features

For games with online features, establish a timeline for the planning and testing of leaderboards, lobbies, voice chat, text chat, and other online functionalities. Allocate resources and define testing protocols to emulate your regular user experience.  

How to Plan 

Collaborate with online services and multiplayer development teams to create a comprehensive timeline. Define testing criteria for each online feature, ensuring compatibility with different platforms. Establish regular testing sessions to simulate real-world online scenarios and identify potential issues. Plan for ongoing reviews to address evolving online gaming trends. Involve external QA teams with expertise in multiplayer testing to assess the robustness of online features in diverse scenarios. 

Synergies: This component can count for a big chunk of time if there are online facets in your game, so it generally is tested on its own to allow multiple scenarios to take place. If there are no online features, consider incorporating it during full playthroughs. 


The Finer Details

The final hammer strikes onto the nail of a masterpiece, the finer details are ever important for player immersion. They involve finished animations, cutscenes and cinematics.  

How to Plan

Establish animation guidelines and testing criteria. Develop a plan that spans the entire game, focusing on critical moments and diverse player interactions. Schedule regular reviews with your team to address animation-related feedback and refine the playthrough plan based on emerging insights. 

Synergies: This is often done as one of the very last components, checked during a full playthrough.  



And thus our excursion into effective QA planning concludes after its third instalment. We began with forging a Timeline based on your production milestones, which was ascertained with a QA Assessment. We ran through popular components and gave some tips to factor in for your Test Plan and Timeline, exploring possible synergies for each.  

As you can see, strategic planning for QA is much more than playing the game and trying to “break it”. It’s a well-thought-out process that’s crucial to any game’s success. We’ve all heard nightmare stories of a game that was meant to be groundbreaking, only to be met with bad reviews once it’s out into the wild due to poor QA planning. We hope that you’ve gained a bit of insight through this not-so-short text and that it will help facilitate your planning process. We know how difficult QA can be to organize, and we aimed to provide you with a bit of insight through this text. 

Remember: Quality Assurance isn’t just testing. It’s equal parts execution, equal parts planning. The better your test plan, the better your results! 

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