Senior AI Engineer
Spark Unlimited, Inc. - Sherman Oaks, CA

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Spark is looking for an experienced Senior AI Engineer. This is an opportunity for you to have a hand in creating a bold new take on 3rd Person Action Slasher with Horror elements for the PS3 and Xbox360. The Senior AI Engineer must own the quality and goals of the engineering department and lead their group to accomplish their goals. With input from team engineers, animators and designers, the Senior AI Engineer will implement cutting edge AI technology within the Unreal 3 engine.

Responsibilities
• Oversee all aspects of AI behavior development.
• Work closely with Lead Combat Designer, engineers and animators to design and implement cutting-edge, realistic, smart and intuitive AI solutions.
• Communicate with Game Director to create AI behaviors according to specifications and to maximize user experience.
• Design and implement solutions to create realistic motion and animations for AI behaviors.
• Implement and maintain strategic and realistic path finding and path following algorithms as well as formation and grouping algorithms.
• Create tools and user interface to easily author AI behaviors.
• Develop, maintain and extend current AI framework for multi platforms.
• Keep abreast of latest AI technology and technique and provide usability/feasibility analysis for the project's AI requirements.
• Develop and maintain network ready code to ensure that it meets multiplayer/coop functionality and requirements: client/server state replications, latency, synchronization, cheating, etc. etc.
• Write well architected, robust, and maintainable code with good coding standards for all platforms with an eye towards usability for multiple games.
• Maintain code performance through profiling and optimization.
• Contribute innovative and original ideas towards all aspects of game production and development.
• Participate in the development of core disciplines (gameplay, UI, graphics or multiplayer).
• Ability to lead, manage and guide other team members from various departments
• Actively seek review and input from team members.
• Assist in writing TDD for the game.
• Assist in creating schedule including helping others ensure their schedules are realistic and accurate.
• Create tools, features and engine components in other areas of development as needed with good coding standards.
• Provide documentation and support of implemented features.
• Communicate closely with Lead Gameplay Engineer and Technical Director regarding the status of assigned tasks as well as potential pitfalls that require redesign.
• Be proactive at fixing issues that are discovered.
• Provide user support in all aspect of the engine and its tools.
• Willingness to assist in all areas of game development.
• Work collaboratively with all levels of the development team, including active participation in Spark’s agile-development process. Cultivate a positive team dynamic, and exhibit a professional attitude by demonstrating a good balance between creativity and practical flexibility.

• An eye for detail and feel for good gameplay and AI behaviors.
• C/C++ proficiency and design skills.
• In depth knowledge of AI systems (Path finding, Path building, LOS, State Machines, Sensory systems, Group behavior, etc. etc.).
• Bachelor’s degree or higher in Computer Science, Computer Engineering or Software Engineering.
• Experience in the design and implementation of game systems, including AI and navigation systems, camera, rendering, UI, FX and game object management.
• Experience with memory management, multi-threading, cross-platform development and a working knowledge of 3D math.
• Must be comfortable working within, and enhancing, an established code framework.
• Ability to rapidly prototype new AI behaviors and turn these prototypes into robust, maintainable, shippable systems.
• Knowledge of client/server multi-player architecture.
• Ability to participate in gameplay design and follow specifications.
• Ability to openly discuss and review technical proposals, requirements, designs, algorithms, source code, and reference documents with engineers, content creators and managers.
• Creative, focused, results-oriented, self-motivated, resourceful problem-solver with excellent debugging and strong communications skills.
• Highly collaborative approach to development.
• Ability to provide realistic schedules.
• Demonstrated knowledge of good software engineering practices.
• Excellent communication, time-management and organizational skills. A strong ability to work across multiple disciplines to gather feedback and address cross-functional issues. Penchant for practical innovation and the ability to bring new ideas to the table.
• Passionate player of games with an ability to analyze competitive products for their strengths and weaknesses.

• Unreal Engine 3 experience or experience in maintaining/extending an existing AI framework.
• Designed and implemented (or maintained) a full featured AI system for a published AAA game.
• Experience with AI middleware.
• Xbox360 and PS3 development experience.
• Experience working in an Agile/Scrum development environment.

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