The Keywords studio in Katowice, Poland is one of our ‘home-grown’ facilities and offers services in Functionality Quality Assurance (FQA), Localization Quality Assurance (LQA) and Player Support.
Recently we spoke with three ‘Testing’ staff members to gain an insight into what it’s like working in QA roles to help ensure video games are free of defects and perform the way developers envisage.
All based in Katowice, Lukasz Szewczyk is a QA Manager, Paulina Smyczek is an LQA Associate Lead and Matylda Mizera is an FQA Associate lead.
Here’s what they had to say:
Describe your role. What does a typical day involve?
Lukasz: As QA Manager, I am responsible for the Functionality QA department, and making sure that everything runs smoothly and is up to our standards. This role allows me to interact with clients, QA PMs, leads, seniors and testers every day, which is one of the things that I love about this job.
Matylda: Associate Lead is responsible for a project’s testing team as well as communication with the client. I distribute tasks among testers and report daily results of their work. However, each day is different in FQA and brings new challenges and surprises. There’s no place for monotony here.
Paulina: As with everyone in an LQA team, I take part in verifying whether the translated versions of the game have any issues that could negatively affect the players’ experience. What I like most about this role is that we can influence the linguistic aspect of the game, I also enjoy that most of us are friends outside of work.
Is there a specific area of your work that you enjoy focusing on?
Matylda: Cooperating with my team makes me happy. Usually testers know more than their lead about the tested title, as they have contact with it on a daily basis, so discussing with them ideas that could improve testing is important for the project. Also, I love watching my team grow and gain more and more experience.
Lukasz: I love to share my knowledge and have the ability to create and grow teams specifically for each client and their needs. Working closely with clients based on ‘partnership’ and ‘one-team’ principals allows us to create a team atmosphere and deliver quality service.
Tell us a bit about your career to date.
Paulina: I have been working at Keywords Studios for more than a year. I started shortly after the Katowice studio opened and began my adventure in the Player Support service line. I chose to move to the Localization QA department, as it better matches my experience and interests.
Lukasz: I lived in Chicago for 20 years and came back to Poland in 2011 for an extended vacation, which resulted in me staying here on a permanent basis. I found a job as a Functionality QA tester in Warsaw with another company.
From 2012 until October 2019 I worked there as a tester, senior QA tester, QA Project lead, QA Project manager and finished as a Service delivery manager. When the opportunity arose, I joined Keywords Studios family in Katowice as a QA Manager in October 2019.
Matylda: Like Paulina, I started my career as a Player Support specialist in October 2018 and in June 2019, I became an FQA Tester.
The move was suggested to me and I was a little hesitant at first, as this was something new and I had little previous experience in the field. However, friends persuaded me to take on the challenge and it turned out to be a great decision.
What changes have you noticed in video games development recently?
Lukasz: The biggest trend happening right now is the implementation of automation in the QA process. Many developers and QA providers are looking to adopt this testing style into their testing processes.
Paulina: Virtual reality is growing fast, which is understandable because of the appeal of being transported into a completely different, virtual world. Each VR game increases in quality and next year should bring new and improved experiences.
What was the first video game you played?
Lukasz: The first game I played was on tape on Commodore 64, called ‘Karateka’ [1984 martial arts action game].
Paulina: ‘Captain Claw’ [1997 2D side-scroller]. My sister and I received it as a Christmas gift. We really enjoyed the jumping cat that fought with the dogs and birds, and other creatures. As a platform video game, it gets more and more difficult to pass each level with multiple obstacles and enemies.
Matylda: The Sims 1 [2000 life simulation]. Building houses was my favourite thing to do. Exchanging expansion packs was also a great way to make new friends in the primary school!
And what is your favourite video game of all time?
Paulina: Europa Universalis IV [2013 grand strategy]. In my opinion, it is one of the best strategy video games. It took me a long time to master but it was worth it. The developers do their best to make sure you don’t get bored of the game, as they create more and more DLCs to make it even better.
Matylda: Mass Effect trilogy [third-person RPG] — amazing story and characters. I shed a tear multiple times playing that game.
Lukasz: My favourite video game of all time is Zelda: Ocarina of Time [1998 action-adventure], although Mario 64 is very close. Being a Nintendo kid growing up, N64’s Zelda was in a class of its own for graphics and the story.
Finally, what tips do you have for someone hoping to work in Testing?
Lukasz: Testers are the foundation of your teams. It’s important that your foundation is strong and that people continue to get stronger by being provided with development paths and areas to grow. These people can one day become future leaders in your organisation.
Paulina: Be always updated on new developments and follow the industry trends, find games you like and constantly expand your lexicon.
Matylda: Playing games and testing games is not the same thing but it can bring the same amount of fun and satisfaction. If you have the opportunity to work as a game tester, go for it. It’s a great way to start in the video games industry and you can make a lot of friends!