What if there are some areas that needs betterment in order to achieve a healthy testing group without a need for a ‘lead tester’ title? After some thought, it is my presupposition that no one should fulfill the ‘lead tester’ title. Days of deliberation and examining since my last retort, I have started conceive that there’s some areas of serious lacking. These areas, once resolved, should ultimately achieve a proper motivated group of testers without needing a lead tester. Though, as much with changes and progression throughout history, it’ll be an a deceleration movement in the beginning but once in motion there should be an incline of activity. Such areas that I believe that needs critical overhaulment involves enrichment communication for the testers
, improved developers and tester relationships
, broaden dedicated gameserver clusters
for testing, and possibly reinstate Project Leader
Add a new sub-forum for testers to uphold discussions and various other needs for better communication.
Communication, seems to be stagnant when it should be more active than the community itself. Currently, communication amongst the testers seems to be only focused on one area – a dormant IRC channel [ #ZaTesting ]. While having this channel is certainly a plus for additional services available, but it’s not enough for holding discussions in a general matter over an issue or a collection of issues. Therefore, there should be some sort of a sub-forum dedicated to testers for holding discussions and various other needs. Understanding that one does exists already[1
], this seems to be oriented for the public eyes and not as much for testing
. To add further, without excluding the Zandronum Tracker service, the tracker service will always be the front-end of discussion about a specific reported ticket. But, however, sometimes the tracker service can be very incomprehensible for most and especially for new-comers that want to make a report or help out with the development. If an issue is carried onto the forums for testing, this should help keep the team focused – this will, however, require a bridge from both ends, one side for the development cycle while the other end is for the ordinary test users for simple convenience. Having a new sub-forum dedicated for actual testers will leave room for better communication amongst the testers while discussing various topics as required.
Moreover, the current testers and developers don’t really communicate outside from the Tracker. Although this isn’t really an issue – but an effect of the current situation with the entire testing group
. As there’s a dwindling effect of activity for testing discussions on the Zandronum Forums, there stands no bridge of communication between the testers and the developers. Once a house of discussions exists, it is primitive that the developers should reach out to its testers and establish a dialog.
In addition, there needs to be a dedicated cluster of gameservers for testing.
SkullTag, including Zandronum, is centered to Multiplayer games, and is typically where testing is crucial. If there is absolutely no available gameservers using the latest testing builds, hardly anyone will be willing to host their own due to various reasons, such as, but not limited to, home-connection limitations. Having just, at a minimum, one dedicated server specifically for hosting a cluster full of gameservers using the latest testing builds, this will give those within the testing group and aboard the ability to try out the current or the most recent developmental build. Thus, as an effect, will help out the testing cycle as there will be available gameservers to test the builds.
However, perhaps instead of looking for a Test Leader title, maybe it is time to bring back ‘Project Leader’ position.
The last person to fulfill this role, during the development of SkullTag 97D, was Rivecoder. From this writers experience, wither biased or not, this character seemed to keep everything inline by keeping the testing team focused, worked with the development of the engine, organized testing events, and gave out positive hype of the latest work within the latest development. Perhaps someone that is well externally motivated, progressive, and talented might be able to help encourage and motivate people, which with that alone, should be able to end most of the stagnant activity that seems to be current today. Of course such role has more tasks than what is described in this post, however such tasks are beyond the scope of this discussion. However, perhaps it might be worth to atleast consider reopening the title to someone that can keep everyone on track.
In conclusion, there might be other areas that will help enrich the testing group within the community without having to resort to needing a lead tester. Such areas that will need improvements on is communication that will involve a new sub-forum for the testers and developers to communicate on various subjects, developers and testing team working together by establishing a dialog with each other – when the time comes, a dedicated server for hosting a cluster full of gameservers using the latest developmental builds, and – perhaps reconsider ‘Project Leader’ to keep everyone organized and engaged with the community and project.