Guest Lecture: Mobile Phone Games

Due to the widely varied nature of mobile phones as gaming platforms, the project workflow is somewhat different to a that for a normal game. Developers start with a popular high-end and low-end phone, and develop baased on their abilities, before branching the prototypes out to create more variants. The same basic game will often be massively different in appearance on different phones.

Furthermore, it’s important to ensure that the game interacts correctly with the phone in its role as a phone – for example, it must be correctly interrupted when the player recieves a call, but without losing their progress. Testing this functionality is organised by an entirely seperate team to that which tests the game itself.

In addition to those prevalent among the games industry as a whole, there are a number of additional hurdles a mobile phone game must clear before it can be launched. It has to work on a certain number of different phones, in order that it can plausibly have a wide enough user-base to profit. It must also pass the certification tests mandated by individual mobile phone manufacturers and service providers before they will agree to its being published for their phones.

It’s not all more difficult though: unlike porting a game from, for example, PC to 360, or PS3 to Wii, converting games between mobile phone platforms isn’t a massive undertaking most of the time, it’s now semi-automated.

The stringent requirements that phone games are held to however, mean that QA is just as rigorous as for a larger game. Best practice is to desynchronise the platform variants, and test the functionality of earlier versions while the code is being adapted for other phone types.

When applying for a job working in QA with a mobile phone games company; be honest. Don’t write pages of rubbish about what you learned from your part-time job at Tescos. Know the company you’re applying to, and how they work – then think about how you’d approach the same job.

Published on January 6, 2010 at 9:52 am  Comments Off on Guest Lecture: Mobile Phone Games  
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