As an experienced software developer, do you wonder what it’s like to work with artificial intelligence for games, but can’t be bothered changing careers? Well, here’s how to make sure you never make it in the field of game AI!
This week’s question on AiGameDev.com comes from Abhijeet: “I am a Software Engineer working in HCL. I am interested in AI game programming. I have developed one or two basic games but I want to get on the right track.”
1) Don’t Learn from Others’ Experience
If you want to learn everything the long and painful way, your best bet is to ignore the wisdom of others. Specifically, you should then avoid:
Reading post-mortems on Gamasutra.
Browsing through the GDC archives.
Skimming through the AI Wisdom books.
2) Never Participate in Discussions
If you want to keep your current career, it’s best to stay away from anything relating to game development and artificial intelligence. These are the problematic sites you should never visit:
GameDev.net’s forum on AI
The GD-Algorithms mailing list on Sourceforge.net
3) Avoid C++ Any Chance you Get
There’s no denying it; C++ is a standard in the games industry, so if you want to prevent your career from taking off, you should never go near it.
Don’t practice it on a regular basis. It’d be terrible if you knew tricks to debug and optimize C++.
4) Ignore other Programming Languages
Much experience in computer science has made its way into less popular languages, which are great sources of inspiration for building AI interpreters. In particular, languages like Scheme, Forth, Prolog or Erlang are simple and have important lessons to teach you. Watch out for those!
You should also keep an eye out for more mainstream languages like Python or Lua. These are used increasingly often during game development, so avoid them if you want to be a useful addition to a team.
5) Never Implement Popular Algorithms
You won’t get very far if you don’t know the most commonly used algorithms in games. Specifically, in order:
A* search algorithm.
Finite State Machines
The more often you implement these techniques, the higher the danger of you being a useful employee in a game studio.
6) Avoid Reading Academic AI Books
These days, it takes more than just hacking old-school algorithms to be successful in industry. If you acquire the years of experience from AI research, you’ll run the risk of finding useful solutions to common problems.
7) Ignore White Papers on Artificial Intelligence
There are papers for a majority of problems you want to solve. A useful skill to have is being able to search for papers easily, and find interesting ideas quickly. You don’t want this if you want to keep your current career.
As such, I recommend you block the following sites on the computers you use:
Finally, here are 5 tips that show you the opposite: what you should do to get into game AI programming!