The truth about localisation and QA

The truth about localisation and QA
Michael French

By Michael French

July 20th 2007 at 2:04PM

Develop presents a special investigation into a much-ignored area of games development

Two special features now available to read on Developmag.com offer a unique insight into best practices and correct strategy for the much-overlooked, but nevertheless compulsory, fields of localisation, QA and testing.

Although clearly not as hotly watched a field as design, art or audio, games localisation and testing is all important. Without it, games can't stand on the global stage - they can't even stand, as bug-testing irons out most problems so games will run.

The first of our reports points out that the growing scale of the entire games industry, and the increased size of game development, has meant demands for much heavier involvement from localisation and QA houses - and much more collaboration form games studios.

“We work with a number of companies from the early stages of development to aid them in getting things in place for when the time comes to start localising,” says Vickie Peggs of Partnertrans in our Mind Your Language feature. “This works so much better for the end product, but isn’t used widely enough.”

Meanwhile a dedicated localisation tutorial by audio specialist Side examines a variety of approaches to getting voice recording right - and the key message is that studios must understand that as much effort should go into a game's post-production as goes into its development.

"When it comes to foreign language versions it is not uncommon for scripts to simply be sent out to the territories with few of the controls or quality checks demanded by the original," says author Andy Emery.

"The localised version may have the same beautiful graphics, sweeping orchestral score, creative sound design, and yet be ruined by a poorly translated script, bad overall sound mix or inferior vocal performances."

The rest of his piece offers a guide to getting production right and the various approaches available when localising game audio.

Our localisation sector guide can be found here - the tutorial can be read here.