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Friday, February 1, 2002
 
MacSoft's James Robrahn Talks Quality
6:00 AM | Sean Smith | Comment on this story

Our friends at MacGamer talked yesterday with James Robrahn, Quality Assurance Lead at MacSoft, about the all-important but often unsung job of software testing.

Introducing Robrahn, Corey Tamás writes:

"I don't make the games you play, I make the games you play better."

This is James Robrahn's signature for his email, and it describes perfectly what he does. Rather than being the rock star programmer that makes a game which puts the industry on its ear, James quietly makes sure that those rock stars end up giving something worth having to the gamer. The job is called QA, and it stands for "Quality Assurance." What it means is that once a game leaves his hands, it works.

One of the ironies of software testing is that, like editing, you don't notice it when it's successful; at its most valuable, you aren't given occasion to pause and reflect on its value.

In their interview, Robrahn tells Tamás of one spectacularly unpleasant such occasion that he was able to spare gamers:

I did have one title that corrupted the hard drive structure; not even Norton or Disk Warrior was able to fix it. This bug was hard to track down. The only time the bug appeared is when you did not have the CD inserted and you hit cancel to the pop-up "Please insert the Game CD." This is the point when the hard drive structure was trashed.

What made it tough to trace down is the fact that you did not know the structure was trashed until you tried to restart the machine. Then you would only get a flashing question mark.

After some time I was able to finally narrow down what was causing the issue. I spent many hours reformatting my hard drive.

Follow the link below for the whole of this interesting interview.

MacGamer: James Robrahn Interview
MacSoft


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Archives  News  MacSoft's James Robrahn Talks Quality