The artificial intelligence (AI) programmer has a special function in computer and video game development. He or she creates characters who have a number of choices in their response to the actions of the game players. No matter what actions the characters take, they must still behave in a logical fashion.
The concept behind using AI in video and computer games is to have the characters behave in a similar fashion to the way a human would. One of the underlying principles that an AI programmer uses in his or her work is that there is system with a series of rules which are entered into a database. When the game has to face a specific situation, it uses the information in the database to choose the solution and act on it.
In a situation where the database set up is a large one, there are many choices available for the game to choose from. This gives a certain level of unpredictability that makes the game experience more exciting for players. The ultimate goal is to produce something that is akin to the possible ways that a human would respond to a particular situation.
People who want to work in this specialized area of computer and video game programming must be highly-skilled programmers to work in this area. Part of the AI programmer’s job duties may include working on pathfinding, which is a way of plotting the best route between two set points. This type of programming is commonly found in real time strategy games.
One of the common features of real time strategy games is large portions of open terrain in the game playing field. While it is a relatively simple function for a programmer to have a game character navigate across an open area, it requires a certain level of skill to avoid traffic jams when a number of characters or objects are in close proximity to each other.
The best route to becoming an AI programmer is to get a good general base of knowledge and some experience working in the industry first and then starting to specialize in this area. Spending some time on the job developing the skills necessary to write quality code will only benefit the programmer as his or her career develops.
An undergraduate degree in Computer Programming or Game and Simulation Programming is a good place to start for future AI programmers. These programs give students a good knowledge of computer languages and mathematics. To develop skills in the AI portion of a computer or video game, the graduate should work on their own projects so that they have something to show to a prospective employer. That way, they have experience working through all the elements involved in working on this aspect of the game, including how to solve problems that will come up in the process.
A junior AI programmer will earn approximately $50,000 per year, while senior-level workers can earn up to six figures. Here’s a little more information about AI Engineer pay: