Gaming IQ catch up with Stefan Posthuma, Senior Director of Engineering, Electronic Arts
View the collection of Stefan's interview below.
What impact do you see automation and machine learning having on the delivery of quality to the player?
I believe that the use of AI in automation and testing will allow QA to shift away from the manual black box testing to more of a subjective way of testing that will answer questions like, is this a fun game? Is it well balanced? Is it an actual good experience for our players?
Automation will take care of the thousands of hours of functional testing, soak testing, performance testing. We can now use bots to do multiplayer testing, scaled up to hundreds of players if need be, something that is actually not possible, really, feasible, with manual QA testing.
If you think about, automation generates a lot of data. We now can have QA analyse this data and draw far deeper conclusions and feed that back into development and then design.
So that means that QA will become far more specialised, no-one has to really worry about the black box side of things and might be doing things like data analysis, they might even train machine learning models to do the analysis for them.
So, yes, I think if you extrapolate that in the future, I think that’d be very interesting to see where we end up with that and AI and automation are definitely the tools to get there.
What’s your favourite release that you worked on personally, and why?
I'm most proud of the work we did with Battlefield 5. That was really the first title at EA where we fully realised the abilities of our test automation systems and we developed technology called Autoplayers, which are bots that can play the game.
These bots were used for anything from full on multiplayer soak testing with 64 players, to single player playthrough, as well as individual test cases that were used for things like, drive a tanker on a level and blow up everything you can find.
This resulted in thousands of hours of automation that was used by our development team, as well as our QA team and ultimately gave us better… More stable mainline, fewer defects and a better experience for our players.
What’s the biggest development you expect to happen in the video games industry within the next five years?
I think the biggest and most exciting thing over the next five years in game development will be AI. We’re using it today, these bots that can play our games that we use for testing, but there’re many other ways we can use AI in game development.
Think about machine translation for localisation, think about speech generation for our NPC’s and other characters. But more importantly, think about AI assisted content creation.
Our games are getting bigger and more complex and I think there’s more and more expectation in the market to have more rapid delivery of content, updates, patches and so on.
Having AI assist our content creators with generating things like terrain and characters and animation is huge. I think that’s a tremendous opportunity there and we’re certainly experimenting with that at IHA at this time and I think that’s where we can get the biggest bang for our buck.
So, yes, I really look forward to seeing what it looks like five years from now. I think game development will change quite a bit.
To find out more about Stefan’s speaking slot at the upcoming Game Quality Forum Global (25th -27th June, Amsterdam), download the agenda here.