Martin Slater's killer Bioshock post-mortem at the most recent Game Connect didn't just highlight the less glamorous aspects of DirectX 10 - the 2K Australia lead programmer also discussed the issues facing quality assurance, and how important good QA is:
There's a nasty trend in the industry right now, QA is not taken seriously enough. It's not a career for people, it's a step up for people coming out of AIE [Academy of Interactive Entertainment] , coming out of Qantm, coming out of wherever. Their first taste of the games industry is a stint in QA for six months on 15 bucks an hour, [where they]knock out some bugs until they've been known and hopefully chat it up with a few of the other people and get a job.
According to Slater, QA needs to be taken seriously, not only as a crucial aspect of development, but a career as well. Currently, it's perceived as a rung on the ladder to a "better" position - one that has nothing to do with QA.
More from Slater after the jump.
As an industry, we need to start promoting the idea of career QA development and that means increases wages and increasing the respect QA get. And that respect will come with the professionalism that actually comes with it being a career.
It's sad to think QA is not considered a serious career choice. I can imagine testing for bugs all day, playing the same game over and over again, would quickly make you want to play Russian Roulette with a gun that has bullets in every chamber.
Slater wants to change this perception.
These people are there to save our arses ... we shouldn't be writing stuff that we expect to be failed in QA. They are there as the shit kickers at the back - they catch the crap. They can save your life if you treat them nicely.
Slater feels the solution is to provide those in QA with options - a light at the end of the tunnel, something to work towards.
It's a big problem in the industry, and it's just an underappreciated, undervalued and underfinanced area. We need that kind of people and a career path though QA so people stay there - we don't just lose the experience ... and have to get fresh people in again.
Martin Slater - telling us how it is. If only others developers were so honest and open about the real problems facing the industry.
Oh, and Martin: Where's your developer profile dude? Inquiring minds want to know if you have a love of ye olde furniture too...