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Guide to Testing for mission designers

Keywords: Patience, Time, Circumspection, Purposefulness

  • Never be afraid of testing. Always be straightforward and logical: If you think that part is buggy and you are afraid that you discover that you did something wrong, other people, who played that mission will warn you and that's most inconvenient.
  • Do not be afraid of time: the more time you spend to look after your mission the better it will become, the more ideas you will get how to make it better.
  • Never, never, never get annoyed by a bug you can fix. If a debriefing shows up at a bad time every time you test your mission, keep cool. Open up the debriefing window, look at the SEXP tree and think slowly, logically and first of all, calmly. The more time you spend with a bug the more chance you have to fix it. If you manage to fix a problem that you had been fighting with for hours, you will feel more deliberated.
  • Never be satisfied: Always want to add new things. If needed, sit ten, twenty or even thirty minutes looking onto the boring grid of FRED while thinking into the possible ways of adding new items. Look into the Events window and zoom in/out at the ships and an idea will soon come what to add.
  • If testing makes you sick, consult your General Practician
  • Use the Designer's notes! Note down bugs you do not want to fix in the moment you discovered it, note down anything you will want to add. Keep erasing your notes as soon as they become obsolete. Do not let others see your mission until there are any notes left. This window can also be used to communicate with other mission designers, if not only you have been assigned to that mission.
  • Concentrate on fixing only one bug: Do not try to fix multiple bugs unless you are sure it won't need any testing after you have fixed it(typing mistakes, no ships in escort list, etc).
  • Never release a mission without testing its last version twice or three times. A seemingly minor change like changing wing delays can result in unexpected difficulties.
  • Never be the sole tester, give it out to others, preferably from any skill level, to test for difficulty, pacing, etc. What works for you, might not work for others.

See also

General hints
Typical mistakes
Tips for mission balancing