General information

Subject type: Mandatory

Coordinator: Adso Fernández Baena

Trimester: Third term

Credits: 4

Teaching staff: 

Marc Miquel Ribé

Teaching languages

The materials can be provided in Catalan as well as in Spanish or English. 


Specific skills
  • E1. Demonstrate knowledge of the history of video games and analyze the reference video games with arguments based on evaluation criteria contextualized in the historical and cultural framework.

  • E2. Design the mechanics, rules, structure and narrative of video games following the criteria of gameplay and balance to provide the best possible gaming experience.

  • E3. Identify the type of player and design the game experience according to its psychological characteristics.

  • E5. Write the specifications of a game and communicate them effectively to the team of artists and developers and other members involved in the creation and development of the game.

  • E15. Design and plan quality assurance strategies, test and data analysis of video games and interactive products.

General competencies
  • G1. Demonstrate having and understanding advanced knowledge of their area of ​​study that includes the theoretical, practical and methodological aspects, with a level of depth that reaches the forefront of knowledge.

  • G2. Solve complex problems in their field of work, by applying their knowledge, developing arguments and procedures, and using creative and innovative ideas.

  • G3. Gather and interpret relevant data (usually within their area of ​​study) to make judgments that include reflection on relevant social, scientific, or ethical issues.

  • G4. Communicate information, ideas, problems and solutions to a specialized and non-specialized audience.

Transversal competences
  • T1. Communicate in a third language, preferably English, with an appropriate level of oral and written communication and in accordance with the needs of graduates.


The subject "Quality Assurance and Game Balancing" offers the student a learning of two of the latest areas of game production before it is available on the market. It is composed of two blocks, one for each area, in which the most relevant concepts and methodologies are presented in order to understand the state of the game. In other words, with regard to Quality Assurance, the various black-box testing tests (combinatorial tests, flow diagrams, test trees, among others) are discussed, which will be tested in the practical part of the subject.

As for Game Balance, it starts with the analysis of game mechanics and its structure in order to understand which of the three types of balance can fail (lack of uncertainty, inequality between players or dominant strategies). The aim is for the student to be more prepared when proposing effective changes to balance the game. The subject consists of two assessment tests in the form of an exam and two in the form of practicals.

Learning outcomes

At the end of the course students must be able to:

E15.1 Design a video game quality assurance strategy.

E15.2 Design the corresponding analyzes for a correct monitoring of the product once launched on the market.

E15.3 Plan and develop the game data analysis process.

E15.4 Interpret the results of the game analysis and design strategies to improve the game.

E3.1 Describe the type of player for whom the game is designed

E2.4 Balance a game or a level of play considering all available parameters and variables and thus offer a satisfactory gaming experience at the required level of difficulty of such level, part or all of the game.


Working methodology

  1. Master class

  2. presentations

  3. Question-based learning

  4. Small group laboratory

  5. Research and critical reading of articles

  6. Case study

  7. Video capsules


Block 1: Quality Assurance
Topic 1: Why quality matters

  1. What is quality in games?
  2. Quality matters
  3. How can we improve quality
  4. Different types of tests
  5. Approaches: Blackbox and Whitebox
  6. Be a black box tester.

Topic 2: How to approach QA

  1. Ad hoc tests
  2. Technique planning
  3. Combinatorial tests
  4. Test flow chart
  5. Whitebox type tests
  6. Test trees

Topic 3: Looking for bugs (for life)

  1. QA and QM: equipment, phases and documentation
  2. TDD and testing plan
  3. Testing phases
  4. Quality management measures
  5. Automated testing
  6. World of testing


Block 2: Game Swing
Topic 1: Introduction to game swing

  1. The teaching of game balance is the teaching of game design
  2. What is not game swing
  3. The five questions of the game swing
  4. Games as systems
  5. Types of swinging games (or purposes)
  6. Absolute game swing and perceived game swing
  7. How can a game be balanced?
  8. Balancing experiments of typical games
  9. Balance Design Document (BDD)

Topic 2: Sustained uncertainty

  1. Initial level of the challenge
  2. Increasing the level of challenge
  3. Dynamic challenge adjustment
  4. Emergency and open worlds
  5. Fight positive feedback loops
  6. Non-skill based actions in multiplayer games

Topic 3: Equality between players

  1. Temporal asymmetry: advantage of the first movement
  2. Asymmetry of characters in power games and turns
  3. Character asymmetry in physics and real time-based games
  4. Internal asymmetry of the characters in the group
  5. Team and game asymmetry in multiplayer games
  6. Asymmetry of characters in games based on persistent worlds

Topic 4: Equivalent strategies

  1. Object-based strategies
  2. Action-based strategies
  3. Situation-based strategies
  4. Time-based strategies
  5. Economic strategies
  6. Gaps: strategies based on exploitation and metagaming


Learning activities

The learning activities of the subject are divided into a block for Quality Assurance and a block for Game Balancing.


Block of activities of (QA): Report and presentations of QA.

A1. Group work. QA Documentation: Test Plan and Quality Plan. (Evidence of learning outcome E15.1 and E15.3)

The activity consists of the design of a video game quality assurance strategy. This is why different types of documents are required to be made based on a set of quality metrics and technical aspects of game development. The paper also requires the choice and development of methodologies for testing.

A2. Laboratory practices. Development of Methodologies. (Evidence of learning outcome E15.1 and E15.2, E15.3)

The activity consists of reviewing different testing methodologies applied to a game designed by the student, as well as other popular ones on the market. It seeks to work on concepts such as black-box testing and white-box from analysis to proposal.

A3. Partial examination. (Evidence of learning outcomes in this blog)


Practice block 2 (GB): Report and swing presentations.

A4. Laboratory practices. Study of the type of player, the game elements and the structure of main mechanics. (Evidence of learning E3.1 and E2.4)

The activity asks the student to use the concepts studied in previous subjects in order to analyze the game in its design complexity and seek to understand the relationships between mechanics in order to, on the one hand, see which ones can have more relevance in the swing, while on the other hand, understand if they are appropriate to the type of player for whom the game is focused.

A5. Group work. Assessment of swinging in a board game and a video game. (Evidence of learning E2.4, E15.3, E15.4)

The activity seeks the student to make on the one hand an analysis of the different types of swing in a board game and in a video game using their own experience, after having made the analysis of the corresponding mechanics. Subsequently, different types of changes are proposed which, through a playtesting session, will be checked to see if they favor the balancing state of the game. 

A6. Final exam. (Evidence of learning outcomes in this blog)

Evaluation system

The grade of each student will be calculated following the following percentages:

A1. Group work. QA Documentation: Test Plan and Quality Plan. 12,5%

A2. Laboratory practices. Development of Methodologies. 12,5%

A3. Partial examination. 25%


A4. Laboratory practices. Study of the type of player, the game elements and the structure of main mechanics. 12,5%

A5. Group work. Assessment of swinging in a board game and a video game. 12,5%

A6. Final exam. 25%

Final grade = A1 0,125 + A2 0,125 + A3 0,25 + A4 0,125 + A5 0,125 + A6 0,25



  • It is necessary to obtain a grade higher than [4] in the final exam to pass the subject.

  • An activity not delivered or delivered late and without justification (court summons or medical matter) counts as a 0.

  • It is the student's responsibility to prevent plagiarism in all its forms. In the case of detecting a plagiarism, regardless of its scope, in some activity it will correspond to have a note of 0. In addition, the professor will communicate to the Head of Studies the situation so that measures applicable in matter of sanctioning regime are taken. .

  • In the activities carried out in groups, the teacher will be able, according to the information at his disposal, to personalize the qualification for each one of the members of the group.



  • It is necessary to obtain a mark higher than 5 in the final exam / equivalent test of recovery to pass the subject.
  • The mark of the resit exam will be applied only to the theory mark.
  • In case of passing the recovery, the maximum final mark of the subject will be 6.

A student who has an NP in the final exam or equivalent test, is NOT entitled to take the retake.




Levy, L., & Novak, J. (2009). Game Development Essentials: Game QA & Testing. Cengage Learning.

Romero, B., Schreiber, I. (2021). Game Balance. K Peters / CRC PRess.