When small things are huge

On December 6, 2011, in Error Handling, Software Testing, by Kristjan Uba

The situation:

A game developer has been making continuous expansions for its game. Introducing cool new features, creating better immersion and giving players new ways of having fun in the sandbox.

With one of the latest expansions they also included a smaller update, fixing handful of small things that had been in the game for more than 3 years. And when I say small things I mean small things like:

  • Showing a tool-tip in a accounting window
  • Option for autominimizing a small menu window when activating a feature
  • Ability to drag-select instead of shift or control select in certain cases.
  • Moving information from one tab of info screen to the main part of the info screen.

You get the picture now. Very small changes in the huge game-world. And what happened?

The players rejoiced over these. The praise went much further compared to the new features introduced in that expansion. By a order of magnitude.

Take a note software developers, fixing small things can be much better for your public image than making new features (and new bugs). It is wise to occasionally take a look at those known,  low classified, errors and put some effort into fixing them. Specially when planning a quality update – trying to fix long-standing ‘serious’ issues – keep in mind that if those were easy to fix they would have already been fixed. The effort might be better used for something else.

Take a note testers, like small fractures in the road grow into huge potholes with few winters – in time, small problems grow into really big issues. It is our job to demonstrate that these little things are important.



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