“Automatically Detecting Visual Bugs in HTML5 <canvas> Games” accepted at ASE 2022!

Finlay’s paper “Automatically Detecting Visual Bugs in HTML5 <canvas> Games” was accepted for publication at the International Conference on Automated Software Engineering (ASE) 2022! Super congrats Finlay and co-authors Mohammad Reza, Stefan and Markos! This paper was a collaboration with Natalia Romanova and Dale Paas from our industry partner Prodigy Education.

Abstract: “The HTML5 <canvas> is used to display high quality graphics in web applications such as web games (i.e., <canvas> games). However, automatically testing <canvas> games is not possible with existing web testing techniques and tools, and manual testing is laborious. Many widely used web testing tools rely on the Document Object Model (DOM) to drive web test automation, but the contents of the <canvas> are not represented in the DOM. The main alternative approach, snapshot testing, involves comparing oracle snapshot images with test-time snapshot images using an image similarity metric to catch visual bugs, i.e., bugs in the graphics of the web application. However, creating and maintaining oracle snapshot images for <canvas> games is onerous, defeating the purpose of test automation. In this paper, we present a novel approach to automatically detect visual bugs in <canvas> games. By leveraging an internal representation of objects on the <canvas>, we decompose snapshot images into a set of object images, each of which is compared with a respective oracle asset (e.g., a sprite)
using four similarity metrics: percentage overlap, mean squared error, structural similarity, and embedding similarity. We evaluate our approach by injecting 24 visual bugs into a custom <canvas> game, and find that our approach achieves an accuracy of 100%, compared to an accuracy of 44.6% with traditional snapshot testing.”

A preprint of the paper is available here.

“Identifying gameplay videos that exhibit bugs in computer games” accepted for publication in the EMSE journal!

Dayi’s paper “Identifying gameplay videos that exhibit bugs in computer games” was accepted for publication in the EMSE journal! Super congrats Dayi, and what a great way to wrap up your PhD!

With the rapid growing market and competition in the gaming industry, it is challenging to develop a successful game, making the quality of games very important. To improve the quality of games, developers commonly use gamer-submitted bug reports to locate bugs in games. Recently, gameplay videos have become popular in the gaming community. A few of these videos showcase a bug, offering developers a new opportunity to collect context-rich bug information. In this paper, we investigate whether videos that showcase a bug can automatically be identified from the metadata of gameplay videos that are readily available online. Such bug videos could then be used as a supplemental source of bug information for game developers. We studied the number of gameplay videos on the Steam platform, one of the most popular digital game distribution platforms, and the difficulty of identifying bug videos from these gameplay videos. We show that naive approaches such as using keywords to search for bug videos are time-consuming and imprecise. We propose an approach which uses a random forest classifier to rank gameplay videos based on their likelihood of being a bug video. Our proposed approach achieves a precision that is 43% higher than that of the naive keyword searching approach on a manually labelled dataset of 96 videos. In addition, by evaluating 1,400 videos that are identified by our approach as bug videos, we calculated that our approach has both a mean average precision at 10 and a mean average precision at 100 of 0.91. Our study demonstrates that it is feasible to automatically identify gameplay videos that showcase a bug.

See our Publications for the full paper.