Making Apps: Testing
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In order to test your first game drafts, you must own the devices on which the game will be played (or at minimum have access to those devices). This is a very expensive part of game making; you must make sure your game will play and play right on all devices to avoid putting out a game that does not work on several devices. Doing that runs the risk of bad reviews, lost sales and more money to fix the problems later.

There are a few options for testing your games;

1. Purchase popular devices. For example, with Apple, you need to ensure your game will play on 3GS, 4, 4S, 5, iPad and iPad mini. Those are a lot of expensive devices which hopefully you own some of. You can purchase used devices on Ebay for cheap as long as you are willing to be smart and find the best deals. Hell, you can even by devices that are fully functional but happen to have a cracked screen or whatever. As long as the device works, and you can test, it's a good device to buy! The same goes for Android- you can get lots of cheap phones for Android on ebay. I suggest buying multiple screen sizes from the smallest screens to the largest screens. Yes, I know that is a lot of money to spend on devices but you need to ensure that your game works across multiple devices! There is no way around this.

2. If buying devices is not an option, ask friends to test for you: You can ask your existing friends and family to test your game for you on their devices; this is a great way to get feedback about your game and also get your game tested on multiple devices. Just get ready to get a lot of feedback that may or may not be welcome (althought all feedback should be welcome I think but it's your game).

3. Set up a job on Elance or Odesk to test your games on specific devices. If you have several devices to test on, but you want to test further on other specific devices, you can set up a cheap job on Elance, Odesk, etc. for someone that owns the device to test your game. Look at other ads for game testers to get a feel for what you can get out of the job. You can also provide surveys on your game, ask the tester specific questions you want answers to. The sky is the limit!

Whatever route you go, you will need to get the game into devices to test:

1. Apple devices: For you to test your app on Apple devices, you must first create a list of available devices to you. Try to do at least one of each of the existing devices or as many as you can (But you don't need to test the game on five iPhone 4S devices, just try to diversify your device testing so it covers as many existing devices as possible). Once you have a list of available devices, you need to get what is called the UDID from each device. This is a long number that is used to identify the device. An easy way to find the UDID on each device is to download a free UDID finder app through the app store. The app finds the number and you can email it to yourself or have your friends email it to you. When your developer is ready to send you a draft of the game, he or she will send you an IPA file. This file can be emailed to you. You simply open the file and it will open in iTunes. When you connect the phone to iTunes with the USB wire, iTunes will recognize your phone. Simply click to view the "Apps" in that device and search for your test app. There will be a button that will allow you to install the app. Simply sync and your app should download. Remember, this will only work with those devices you sent the UDID to your programmer to. Another very easy method is using a service called Testflight. It's a third party company that allows your to download test apps without the need to connect your phone to iTunes. Ask your developer if he knows how to use test flight and go this rote if he or she says yes. Trust me, it's as easy as getting an email, registerting, pressing a couple of buttons on your phone and bam! The test app is downloading on your devices!

2. Android is much easier to test on. Your programmer does not need any special codes. He or she will simply send you a file by email or attached on the Odesk, Elance message area called an APK. You simply open that APK on your device and it will download. When you first download it, the phone may pop up with a message that you cannot download third party apps because of your settings. The devices should lead you to an area in your device settings that lets you agree to download third party apps. Once you agree, then you can download the APK freely and test your game.

Test your game thoroughly; test your game in every way possible and jot down all the bugs you found. The best way to capture bugs is to record bugs on video and send them to your programmer. The programmer will then have to work to correct those bugs and send you a new draft. Keep at it and keep testing to ensure you work all bugs out. The worst thing you can do it put out a game that has bugs because users are vocal and will let you know via a bad rating.

SECRET BONUS! Want to learn a cheap way to test your games that I have used without spending a dime? I will share this secret with you but I need a favor from you. Please honestly rate any of my apps including this one, and write to with the name of the app you rated, your username name in the app store and the words "testing games for free" in your email. I will send you a secret I have used to test games at no cost! Also look for more secrets in other posts!

Making Apps: Testing