What does an artificial intelligence (AI) programmer do?
AI programmers create the brains of the game. The non-playable characters (NPCs - the ones that are not controlled by a player) need to make decisions and behave in ways that are believable, exciting and present the player with varying degrees of challenge. The role of the AI programmer is to write the code that outlines the way these characters operate. This gives the impression that NPCs have thought and emotion.
AI programming is a highly specialised area, however, there is often overlap with physics and gameplay programming. The exact scope of the job varies from studio to studio.
What’s an AI programmer good at?
- Programming: have a very high-level of programming ability, adapt new scripting languages, understand the requirements and constraints of games consoles, PCs, handhelds and mobiles
- Maths: have outstanding maths abilities, strong analytical and problem-solving skills
- Psychology: understand how characters are likely to behave
- Knowledge of gameplay: understand how the behaviours of the characters will enhance the player’s experience and strengthen the authenticity of the game
- Innovation: be able to develop cutting-edge systems and use them in a creative way
- Communication: be able to share expertise in writing and verbally with other members of the team