Roll Call Interview Series - David Jenkins (Lead QA)
Name: David Jenkins
Job Title: Lead QA
Time at Roll7: Just over a year
Fav classic game: Yoshi’s Island
Pets: Have had cats, but none right now
Hi David - tell me a bit about working in QA here at Roll7 - what does your day-to-day look like?
Hello! Well, the job of QA in general is to assure the quality of the game - as the name suggests. I think that’s very much true of QA at Roll7, in a way that it maybe isn’t so much elsewhere - QA here isn’t just about fixing things that are broken, it’s about genuinely making the game the best it can be. So if it’s going in the game, QA is involved in some way… and actually, sometimes we’re involved in things that aren’t even going in the game at all! We jump in with various bits and pieces, like recording in-game video to use for marketing footage.
QA isn’t only about logging the bugs we find - it’s also important that we can help suggest possible fixes or reasons for a bug. It’s a bit of a Sherlock Holmes job, in that way.
I know you’re involved in the nitty-gritty of QA a lot of the time, but as the lead, you also have a management role which is part of your work - what does that involve?
Mostly a bunch of meetings! I end up being the point of contact between QA and all the other teams fairly often, and if somebody needs to pop in on a design meeting or see what the coders are up to, it’s probably going to be me. It’s my job to keep on top of where all the different teams are at and to make sure that QA can be proactive about investigating any new additions to the game - new mechanics, levels, art… all of that. My speciality is in Compliance QA, and if there’s one thing that’s taught me, it’s that it’s best to preempt an issue early on - rather than trying to fix it all at the last minute! So as a lead, a lot of my role is just oversight and time management for myself and my team.
I think I speak for everyone at Roll7 when I say we couldn’t function without the amazing work you and your team do - what makes a good QA tester?
As a QA tester, I spend a whole lot of time trying to work out what weird and wonderful things gamers might do - what speedrunners or people who love to find strange exploits or bugs might be able to run into if they really put their minds to it. And, in a nutshell, those are the very people who we’d love to see working in QA! Other than that… Tin-Tin (one of the QA team) often says ‘I don’t find bugs - bugs find me’. I think that’s an experience many of us QA tester types have run into over the years. So if you like breaking games, and you seem to wind up running into all the annoying bugs your friends manage to miss… maybe QA is for you!
You know, I do tend to end up with games crashing a lot myself… but I think that has more to do with my poor beleaguered five year old laptop than my QA qualifications! What was it that made you want a career in games, and in QA specifically?