ACM - Computers in Entertainment

Automated Bug Finding in Video Games

By Simon Varvaressos, Kim Lavoie, Sébastien Gaboury, Sylvain Hallé
Theoretical and Practical Computer Applications in Entertainment, [Vol. 15, No. 1]

DOI: 10.1145/2700529

Runtime verification is the process of observing a sequence of events generated by a running system and comparing it to some formal specification for potential violations. We show how the use of a runtime monitor can greatly speed up the testing phase of a video game under development by automating the detection of bugs when the game is being played. We take advantage of the fact that a video game, contrarily to generic software, follows a special structure that contains a “game loop.” This game loop can be used to centralize the instrumentation and generate events based on the game's internal state. We report on experiments made on a sample of six real-world video games of various genres and sizes by successfully instrumenting and efficiently monitoring various temporal properties over their execution, including actual bugs reported in the games' bug tracking database in the course of their development.

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