Head of Runescape Quality Assurance
Dean O – Jagex
00:00:02 My name’s Dean O, I’m RuneScape QA Unit Lead, and basically that means organising all the testing of the games, make sure there’s no bugs, and any mad glitches that might come up. You have to find all that, report it, get it fixed, before it goes out to the public. There’s much more to it than just playing the games, we basically have to go into it and look at it from a really logical point of view, how you could break it. Sometimes it becomes really mundane, I mean we’ll have to check thousands of items. For instance in a previous company I had to go through the whole of one certain game without saving or dying, and I managed to do it in 45 minutes, when it was guesstimated at 8 hours approximate game-play time.
00:00:38 Basically left school straightaway, pretty much, and went into the NHS just doing some basic data entry work, and saw an advert to test games, and get paid for playing games. So I took the role, and I was lucky enough to get the position of Games Evaluator, which basically meant I played a wide selection of games across all genres on a specific platform, and then had to give constructive feedback, compile dossiers. From there I moved into the functional side of things, which is more of the testing, looking for the bugs and stuff like that. So I really covered every area that QA has to offer.
00:01:10 In my current role I now manage a team of 12. Obviously that’s a lot different from when I was just a sole tester on my own. Now I have to instruct the guys, delegate the workloads, assign people to be liaisons, leads on certain projects, to make sure that I’m getting fed the information I need from every single project.
00:01:29 I’ve been playing games since I was probably about 5 years old, on really old formats and that. I always wanted to work in games having played them … I didn’t know what, because I didn’t know how the industry worked, how I’d get into it, so I thought I’d want to be a coder to start with. So I dabbled with code, I really didn’t like that, it wasn’t up my street, so I thought I’d look into the actually playing, testing, giving feedback, and actually shaping the game while still staying close to the game and being able to play it.
00:01:53 When I was at school I was interested in Computer Studies, obviously, Art – the general ones. But to be honest, I was more interested in playing video games, and I used to take video games with me to school, and take time off school to play video games. Probably not ideal, but that was my passion and that’s, at the end of the day, what I’ve done.
00:02:13 My friends and family didn’t think that I would ever get a job by playing games. I actually took six months off school to play a certain game, and my parents said you’ll never get a job doing that, and one day I did. So it was a really nice feeling.
00:02:25 I was currently in the industry, was managing a team, I was struck down, I was ill, I went into hospital, I was actually supposed to be brain-damaged and lose the use of my right arm. None of that actually happened and I come through it really strong, I was like the miracle kid of Guy’s Hospital. My heart stopped several times and that, and I had some major operations. Obviously the brain damage thing as well, I was really worried about losing my right arm, being right-handed, my first concern was how am I going to be able to play my X-Box? And I was actually looking at ways into basically using my feet to play the games, and stuff like that. I had to do a lot of exercises at home, I was off like for a long time basically, really just trying to recoup.
00:03:01 Coming back to work after the hospital experience I was kind of worried, but after basically dying and coming back to life, I’ve got a new lease of life, and I believe nothing can stop you once you’ve gone through that, so every situation at work, no matter how bad it gets, I can always look on the bright side of it, and just apply logic and get it done.
00:03:17 Also in my career I was lucky enough to go to Delhi to train up a Java Certified test house. And basically it had to train these guys up in games testing, being in India they’d never seen a PlayStation, let alone the stuff I was going to get them to test. So it was a real new challenge for me. Really good to go to a new country, and this is what working in the games industry has given back to me.
00:03:37 Where I see myself in five years, I’d like to be a QA Manager of a larger team, or multiple teams on multiple projects. I’m definitely proud of where I am, I don’t reckon to move for the foreseeable future, I’m happy to stay here in QA for the rest of my days.
Dean O is responsible for the quality control of RuneScape, a computer game from Jagex. “My friends and family didn’t think that I would ever get a job by playing games. I actually took six months off school to play a certain game, and my parents said you’ll never get a job doing that, and one day I did. So it was a really nice feeling”. Of course there’s a lot more to his job than playing games. He manages a team of 12 and they’re all checking and ironing out problems. “I’m happy to stay here in QA for the rest of my days.”
More information about Programmers and software development professionals
The UK average salary is £28,758
There are 37.5 hours in the average working week
The UK workforce is 47% female and 53% male
- Examines existing software and determines requirements for new/modified systems in the light of business needs;
- Undertakes feasibility study to design software solutions;
- Writes and codes individual programs according to specifications;
- Develops user interfaces;
- Tests and corrects software programs;
- Writes code for specialist programming for computer games, (for example, artificial intelligence, 3D engine development);
- Implements and evaluates the software;
- Plans and maintains database structures;
- Writes operational documentation and provides subsequent support and training for users.
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