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Getting a job as an AI programmer for games

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Hello! I love programming, but my biggest interest is in AI programming, especially for games. My question is, what is the baseline requirements to get a job as an AI programmer for video games? What should I know how to do before I apply? I can do some simple things like pathfinding and creating a checkers bot. What should I be expected to know at my first AI programming job?

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AI is in general needed for most games, the smaller ones like mobile games might need a much simplyfied AI where larger games as for PC and Console systems may need a much larger AI. It depends primarily on the type of game; a Candy Crush wouldnt need any kind of AI where a Horizon Zero Dawn needs a massively performance optimized Ai system.

Starting as general or gameplay programmer you might get into this kind of profession if you want. There are always studios without a profesional Ai team or increasing there teams (if existing) to enter. You should also know Behavior Trees and FSMs as they are used mostly in game AI for achieving a good balance between gameplay and difficulty. Especially Unity3D and NodeCanvas, and Unreal Engine 4 and its build in Behavior Tree system are commonly used when not working in a company with a custom engine (and propably custom AI system) so you should know how to use both, add new actions and performance optimize your AI in there architecture. Unreal Engine may be a bit easier to go for because of there open source and architecture where Unity3D is a kind of lifetime job to get optimized when your AI grows too much

Also commonly used; Path Finding algorithms aka a* and co. There are always reasons you need a path following, path finding in your AI as same as some kind of memory mapping to let your AI remember certain important points. There was an article on this topic a while ago here on GDNet

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