You wanted to know everything there was about the different positions in the Wakfu team? Here is a series of interviews that should answer most of your questions and give you a glimpse of the world inside the video game industry!
Adam, lead tester at Ankama will lead the way!
Adam’s desk is frighteningly immaculate - there is only three screens, two keyboards and… a Gobbowl Ball! Which he uses to keep his team in check and make sure that his end of the open space is as quiet as the sea!
Hello guys, could you please introduce yourself to the community?!
Hello, my name is Adam and I’m the test lead for the quality assurance team.
Could you sum up your profession for us?
My job consists mainly of managing the QA team and finding bugs on the different ongoing Ankama projects.
What is your curriculum (degrees, prior employment)?
My studies really have nothing to do with video-games - I actually studied in commerce. As for my previous employers, I worked for Eidos, Ubisoft and many other gaming companies.
What experience do you have with video-games, both on a professional and personal level?
I’ve been playing games since video games emerged really and have been working in this industry for almost 14 years now.
What made you decide to work in the video-game industry and in this exact position?
I was lucky to witness the birth of that media and, from an early age, have always been fascinated with video-games in general and all of the possibilities they opened up. The thought of not working in that field was simply inconceivable to me. I didn’t start out as tester but as tech support for a video-game publisher. Soon, there was question of testing the games and since I would usually find untypical bugs, evolving to testing happened very naturally.
Can you tell us exactly what your profession entails?
My job is to look after testers in the quality assurance team - divide the work evenly among them and solve the different issues that might come up – also and foremost to test the Ankama games.
What skills and knowledge must one have to do your job?
What the job of tester requires is motivation and a lot of curiosity. We don’t play, we push the game to its limits and that requires a lot of imagination. Otherwise it's like any other job, except that this one requires knowledge of the video game industry. Knowing your field is always an asset.
Could you describe a typical day for us?
A typical day testing Wakfu? That’s a good question. Wakfu is a very important project for Ankama. Days spent here are usually pretty busy. We test and test relentlessly, we do bug reports, we give our impressions to the Wakfu team (who just love it when we do!). We fight Turtle for him not to erase our characters and more.
What tools do you normally use?
Our tools? Whoa there are many! We all have both PC and Mac operating systems for one, a bug tracking database, Microsoft’s office suite and some developer tools. In short a lot of things.
How many people work on your team? What organization is there and what is each person’s role?
In the QA team there are seven testers including myself. Each tester has a specialization depending on the game. We make it so that each tester is unbeatable on one part of the game, that way, if there’s something that’s a bit off, they will detect it immediately. For example, there’s nothing that Meluze doesn’t know about PvP and Necros is usually the mounts expert when there are some.
How many projects do you work on?
We are currently working on three projects - Dofus 2.0, Dofus Arena and of course, Ankama’s future addition to the family: Wakfu!
What facets of your job do you prefer? Which ones don’t appeal to you as much – and why?
The job of tester is one that has the advantage of being in contact with almost all services of a production. It’s very motivating and interesting to see worlds come to life and have an active part in it. For the not so pleasant part, I think it would be grinding your teeth and getting stuck on a bug for hours, sometimes days if it’s important. It’s not really enjoyable to be on the same problem for hours on end. But once we figured out how the problem works, it’s pretty rewarding.
What problems or difficulties are you usually confronted with?
Like with any other profession we are bound to be confronted to hurdles. They can vary a lot though. For example, a bug who didn’t seem important at first, can suddenly take on a whole new when mixed in with another one.
What advice would you give those who wish to do this job?
First, you have to complete your studies and graduate - Tester is a real profession, remember that. Also, you need to be really passionate and have a good culture of games in general. But first and foremost, you need to be highly motivated. In our field motivation is the main thing that drives us.
Could you share an embarrassing story about yourself, related to your work?
There’s one that’s actually quite embarrassing and dates back to when I first started my career and was still working as a hotline technician. A woman called and said that she cannot get a picture of the game on her television. I spent about an hour troubleshooting the problem with her, and at some point a bit out of the blue, I asked: “Actually, madam, where are you putting the CD?” And against all odds, she answered “well… in the Hi-Fi Stereo system”. It took me an hour to figure out that that sweet lady was trying to play the playstation game in her stereo… old colleagues still remind me of that incident… I feel shame :'(
Do you still play video games when you get home?
It would be a lie for me to say no. Yes I play a lot outside of work hours. But my number one priority is and remains my sweetheart. Sometimes after a long day’s work, I no longer want to see a joystick or a keyboard, but this happens only on very few, seldom, occasions.
Do you play the games that you work on?
Sometimes, but that’s a pretty rare occurrence. It’s better to step back from a project that’s already taking you so many working hours than.
What is your favorite game of all time?
Oh that’s a tough one… I’d say… the monkey island series, definitely!
Is there any truth in the legend that says that testers should hit every wall in a video-game?
Actually it’s not a legend, so yes indeed it can be true. These types of tests are called ‘collision tests’ and, depending on what project the testers are working on, they might be asked to do it.
And if I may be so bold: what do testers eat? :p
Bugs, more bugs… candy, coffee and soda.
The question that every player would like to know: you really paid to play?
Yes, my employers generously give me a salary every month so that I can sit around and play… Of course not!! Testers spend a lot of time skimming through the database and writing extensive reports. It’s true that we’re always logged in, but it’s not to level or whatnot. Our responsibility is to make the game as clean and bug-less as possible.
And finally, what message would you like to leave the community?
A message for the community? I hope you guys have as much fun exploring the World of 12 as we do! Also, don’t hesitate to give us feedback - good or bad!