Joe Hegarty is an AI Designer for Funcom's Age of Conan project. And, it appears, he loves his job. In a 'Day in the Life' article at TenTonHammer, Hegarty describes the sheer enjoyment he gets from breathing life into the inhabitants of Hyborea. From street preachers to wayward children, all the way up to Conan himself, his work makes the NPCs we'll be interacting with on launch day all the more meaningful.

The designer gives several examples of where you'll see his work in action, and even describes some of the behind-the-scenes mechanics driving the NPC's decisions. The designers at Funcom have a series of tools at their disposal, from in-house software to theoretical constructs. Hegarty mentions Maslow's hierarchy of needs as one of these supporting constructs; NPCs essentially have a priority list of needs, ensuring that you'll see them doing a variety of activities as you move through a given area.

Fascinating stuff, and with the Open Beta kicking off tomorrow, something we'll all be experiencing very soon.

This article was originally published on Massively.