DGC Ep 043: TIE Fighter Bonus, The QA Perspective

Welcome to a bonus episode examining 1994's Star Wars classic TIE Fighter. We welcome two guests, Reed Knight and Darren Johnson, who worked in QA on the original titles and co-led the QA team on the Collector's Edition. Dev Game Club looks at classic video games and plays through them over several episodes, providing commentary.

TTAJ: 14:24

Podcast breakdown:
0:29        Interview segment
1:10:00   Break
1:10:22   Outro, Next time

Issues covered: Tim introduces QA as a discipline, Reed self-introduction, QA being in start credits of Full Throttle, Tim's interviews, Darren self-introduction, early history of Reed and Darren in QA, games that are fun to test months in, score competition, day in the life of a tester, bug entry process, having only one computer for entering bugs, "anti-speed runs," thinking in terms of triggers or events, gluing events together, getting the editor and looking for bugs, finding voice lines that had never fired in original TIE Fighter, finding bugs that weren't literally visible in-game, non-crash "A" bugs, Reed disputes Brett's account of an "A" bug, Darren defeating Darth Vader, best gaming moments, the lengths you go to to break a game, "SUM PIN TO DO," missing a bug because you haven't gone far enough, fighting for bugs on behalf of the player, suggesting technical solutions from QA, healthy tension between departments, "upstairs," Kerner Blvd, adversarial advocacy vs. regulatory capture, maintaining objectivity, balancing games from test, lead tester importance as ship date looms, maintaining loyalty to the QA team, turning to the Dark Side, getting QA consensus, "once a tester always a tester," humility vs arrogance, direct discussion with testers, every 1000th bug, golden age, free range testing, working on a platform title (due to license holder requirements), compatibility, quantity of bugs in modern day, playing console manufacturers off against one another, day one patches, usability issues, playing XvT co-op as former QA, TuneIn and Amazon Echo.

Games, people, and influences mentioned or discussedRogue One, Toy Story, Buzz Lightyear, Emperor Zurg, Dark Forces, Full Throttle, Tim Schafer, Metal Warriors, Big Sky Trooper, Jedi Knight, Indiana Jones and the Infernal Machine, Stormfront Studios, Eragon, Don Daglow, Smithsonian, Leap Frog, Duke Grabowski, Bill Tiller, Gene Mocsy, Hal Barwood, Zelda, Indiana Jones Desktop Adventures, Yoda Stories, Afterlife, Day of the Tentacle, Dave Grossman, Mad Otter Games, Disney, Brian Kemp, Larry Holland, Totally Games, Dan Connors, Mark Cartwright, The Last Starfighter, Fallout 3, Todd Howard, Daron Stinnett, Starfighter, Brett Tosti, Galactic Battlegrounds, Battle for Naboo, Obi-Wan, Bill Roper, Tim Cain, Bethesda Game Studios, Nintendo 64, Shadows of the Empire, Livia Knight, Telltale Games, Sean Clark, Tabitha Tosti, Battlehawks 1942, Their Finest Hour, Secret Weapons of the Luftwaffe, Ico, Fumito Ueda, BlueTieCasual.

Next time: Interview with Larry Holland!

@brett_douville, @timlongojr, and @devgameclub