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In game Bug and Feedback system for Unity

This blog piece is taken from our weekly blog posted on our site www.dreamharvest.co.uk - This week one of our programmers, Sven, discusses the system that we created for our testers to provide bug and feedback reports from within our game, Failure.

As we wrote some time ago in another blog post, Justin involved some of his student in testing Failure. This lead us to think about what would be the best way for our testers to report bugs to us. We needed a way for the testers to report bugs which was easy to use and didn’t need much explanation.

BugreportThe first idea was to simply give the testers access to our JIRA to report bugs and give general feedback. This would work fine if you consider the workflow should be:

  1. Tester plays game.
  2. Tester notices a bug.
  3. Tester switches to the browser, where JIRA is already loaded.
  4. Tester reports bug.
  5. Tester continues playing.

That is the theory, in reality we don’t have professional testers so there is a good chance they won’t do this. What often happened was:

  1. Tester plays game.
  2. Tester notices a bug.
  3. Tester continues playing.
  4. Tester finishes playing.
  5. Tester opens browser.
  6. Tester tries to remember the URL for our JIRA board.
  7. Tester has already forgotten half of the bugs he wanted to report.

At first glance that doesn’t seem to be to bad. You could even consider this a feature as non ‘important’ bugs will not be reported. But the point of having testers is to find the small bugs. It’s pretty easy to find a bug which crashes the game when you press a button, we wouldn’t need testers if we wouldn’t care about the small bugs that aren’t obvious.

What we needed was an easy way for testers to report bugs, which didn’t interrupt the game too much and was easy to use for the tester.

The solution

Bug form
In-game bug report form.

We decided it would be best if they could report them directly in the game, so there is no need for them to open another tool to report them and they can report them right when they happen without too much interruption.

So we started to looking around what was available. There are a lot of tools like GameAnalytics or Unity Analytics which are great, but they don’t offer the functionality to get actual user feedback. Also we couldn’t find anything else which provided the functionality we needed.

Luckily the solution for our problem was really simple. We wrote a simple UI and send the data directly to JIRA. As we’re already using JIRA for managing our internal bugs and features so why should we start to use another tool for user bugs/feedback?

Bug in Jira
The reported bug in JIRA.

Also this made the workflow for us pretty easy. Once a tester reports a bug we have it in JIRA and can review the bug report. Once we verify it really is a bug we merge duplicate reports into one new bug ticket and transfer it over to the backlog for within our main JIRA Agile project. It’s good to keep our main development JIRA project separate from the reports generated by the testers as it allows us to determine what is truly worthwhile to carry over to the Agile board and what might need additional testing before being verified as a problematic bug.

While we implemented this only a short time ago it seems to work pretty well for us. More importantly our testers use it and we get more and better bug reports than before. Right now there are still a few missing features, like the possibility to upload screenshots, which we’ll be adding soon.

Ingame feedback
Feedback form

Considering JIRA is such a widely used bug tracker we were surprised to not find anything on the Unity Asset Store. Isn’t anyone else using a similar in-game system for bug reporting/feedback?

We’re considering improving it further with the possibility of releasing it on the Asset Store, if there in enough interest in it. This here we need your opinion. Would an in game feedback and bug reporting system be helpful to you and your team? What additional functionality would you want / need with a system such as this? Vote in the poll on our site found here

If you have any further questions about the system drop us a message.

Until next time

Sven

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