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We meet CRYENGINE QA Tester Alexander L'Heureux to discover his journey from fixing cars to working in games!
There are many different roles in the games industry and many different routes to becoming part of it. Today we're chatting to CRYENGINE QA Tester Alexander L'Heureux about his journey from diagnosing cars to QA testing CRYENGINE. We find out what makes the role so satisfying and his tips for those who want to follow in his footsteps and get into the industry. We have remote and onsite job openings across all disciplines, including CRYENGINE QA, so if you're inspired to make your way in games, read on to find out more and check out our careers page.
Hey Alexander! Can you tell us about your background and your journey to CRYENGINE?
I was born in Canada and spent most of my youth in North America. Then, my family found their way to Germany about a decade ago, and I've been here ever since. Most of my hobbies revolve around everything to do with the great outdoors, cars, or video games. Whether camping and finding scenic places in nature, going for a joyride, or burning a weekend with my friends playing video games all night, I became heavily invested in those interests.
I originally pursued a career in the automotive industry, studying mechanics, electronics, and software for your average everyday car. I was fascinated with the diagnostic tools and troubleshooting methods to find, solve and repair issues. So, I come from a bit of a gearhead background but am equally invested in video games.
As time passed, I found my body wasn't all too happy with the labor intensity involved in working on (and under) cars all day. With my family being rooted in the video game industry, I was fortunate to have a lot of insight into what it's like. So, I gave it a shot! I tried to find something that would allow me to pursue my knack for finding issues and came across a QA position at Crytek.
I was surprised to see how much of what I learned from diagnosing software for cars could be carried over to this role. Even so, I had a lot to learn, but the onboarding was amazing. It's great having such supportive colleagues. Everyone is always ready to lend a helping hand, and the team dynamic feels very 'family-like.'
What are the main priorities in your role?
As a QA tester for CRYENGINE, I perform routine checks to determine whether the software works as it should. Whether it's updates, new implementations, or simply tweaks to the tools in the engine, we give it a couple of rounds in the ring and beat out anything we can find to make sure it's running smoothly. As a team, we work closely with the developers, tracking and ticketing issues encountered on our mission to constantly improve CRYENGINE. There's always something new on the horizon we can look forward to.
Some days, we simply go through a long checklist. On other days we get creative and try different approaches to squeeze out any bugs. It's far more varied work than people might assume a QA position to be. We have times where, for example, when releasing an update, we'll have to bunker down and hold the fort, pushing every button and slider to ensure it all works before giving the green light. Other times we have more breathing room and can work on projects and new feature implementations.
It's satisfying when you finish testing something, see the results working as it should, and the list of issues you found being marked as "Fixed." And I also enjoy it when I find something that's completely broken. There's a sense of pride when pointing out to the others in CRYENGINE QA, "Look how badly I broke this!"
What does a regular day at CRYENGINE look like for you?
It starts with getting the newest build of the engine. We keep up to date on tracked issues, work on our checklists, and test the latest changes. We either work on a task together as a team or have our individual responsibilities. We must be flexible and ready to jump on the next thing at a moment's notice depending on what needs to be prioritized. Despite sounding a bit back-and-forth at times, there is a lot of clear communication from the developers we work alongside in the CRYENGINE team. No issues are left unclear, and everything works out at the end of the day with a simple tap on the shoulder or ping for a question. We reach out to our developer colleagues as regularly as they reach out to us.
What does it take to do your job well?
The motivation to continue learning the software and strong pattern recognition are key traits to succeed in this job. Having a solid techy background definitely helps. Sometimes you have to "open your eyes" and look again at issues because the details matter. You could have missed the smallest detail, like a text not showing correctly or a minor rendering issue that might go under the radar, so staying focused makes the difference.
What advice would you give to people who want to get into QA?
Download CRYENGINE! It's right there on the website, and the internet is packed with tutorials from our hard-working documentation team, our YouTube channel, and the community. Having a bit of coding knowledge is always a plus, and understanding what's going on in a line of code goes a long way when trying to help identify an issue. Other than that, having in-depth experience with any software helps ease the learning curve when picking up CRYENGINE. You could be a Photoshop expert, for instance, and I guarantee some of those skills would carry over somehow!
What are you playing at the moment?
These days I am getting my butt kicked by a bunch of kids on Splatoon 3, but I am enjoying the game regardless. I've always had a love for shooter games. I was raised on Halo and couldn't tell you the number of nights I have spent playing with my friends. Couch co-op and party games are always a blast. I've played every Crysis as well. The Nanosuit's voice is still the most badass way to know I just turned invisible. I love racing games too, and I really need to play NFS Underground 2 again... The mods for it nowadays are amazing!
Want to get into the games industry in QA? At Crytek, we value diversity, and actively encourage people from all backgrounds and experience levels to apply to our available jobs, so join us over at LinkedIn and check out our careers page.
If you have questions or feedback about CRYENGINE, let us know in the comments, on the forum, or via Facebook and Twitter. You can pick up tips and tricks about our game development, ask questions, and more by joining our community and the CRYENGINE development team over on our official CRYENGINE Discord channel.
If you find a bug in the engine, please report it directly on GitHub, which helps us process the issue quickly and efficiently. You can find out how to submit feedback on GitHub, and access CRYENGINE source code, here. Don't forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel, where we host a range of content, including tutorials covering all aspects of the engine and game design. Want to show your love for CRYENGINE? Pick up merch over on the official online Crytek Store.
What kind QA is this if you can't even see that the editor can't scale with the desktop DPI? Working with it on 4k monitor is a bad joke. Everything is too small to read or too big to work with.
It is not clear whether the programmers are working slowly, or whether the testers are bad at finding bugs.