Sims 3: Showtime
Sims 3: Showtime was the first of three expansion packs I was part of while at EA. I was brought on to EA as a contractor, but by the end of this project I had been promoted to the Quality Assurance Lead for the Sims 3 franchise at EA Salt Lake. The great thing about quality assurance on a project like the Sims, is that you are part of the project from early brainstorms through the final gold master.
At EA Salt Lake quality assurance made a point to be in the design brainstorms so that we could discuss those ideas, and evaluate what issues might be found with those designs within an already complex engine. The other great part of these projects, was being the voice of the end user! The Sims 3 has a gigantic user base and extensive forums. A lot of our job was to be part of these forums and understand the wants, desires, and needs of this player base. It was fun to do that research, as well as hire testers that were actual Sims players. Because of these common interests, and camaraderie this was one of the most entertaining teams I have worked with.
With Showtime specifically my role was mostly establishing processes. Since this was the first Sims 3 Expansion Pack for EA Salt Lake, there was not a lot of process in place. Test Plan Templates, Feature Risk Breakdowns, and other documents were all created (and used throughout the other Sims 3 Expansions to come). In addition to these documents, my other responsibilities were to manage the black box test team in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and get the game through the certification process.
Quality Assurance Lead