Monday, July 23rd 2018

Five Years Too Late, Typo Fix Offers Improved AI in Aliens: Colonial Marines

It has been a long five years since Aliens: Colonial Marines launched as a hot mess. Being critically panned by gamers and critics alike. One of the reasons behind the negative reception was the game's poor AI. The Xenomorphs had a tendency to run straight into gunfire. Or worse yet, would stand around or group up making them easy targets. Suffice to say the Xenomorphs were far from scary. A typographical error has been discovered as the reason behind some of those issues.

As noted on the ResetERA forums, a post by jamesdickinson963 on the ACM Overhaul ModDB page traced the problem to a spelling error in a single line of code within the game's ini file. The code shown below has "teather" instead of the proper "tether". This simple mistake in theory, results in the "zone tether" failing to load the AI parameters attached to the broken bit of code.
Original Code: ClassRemapping=PecanGame.PecanSeqAct_AttachXenoToTether -> PecanGame.PecanSeqAct_AttachPawnToTeather
Fixed Code: ClassRemapping=PecanGame.PecanSeqAct_AttachXenoToTether -> PecanGame.PecanSeqAct_AttachPawnToTether
Once the spelling mistake has been fixed it does seem to improve the game's AI, as corroborated by PCGamer's short video clips. In terms of improvements, the Xenomorphs tend to behave in a more aggressive manner, taking less time to attack the player. They also flank, leap and chase more often. Moments where the AI feels lost or confused still happen but the frequency is reduced.

If you have Aliens: Colonial Marines installed give the fix a try and let us know if you see a difference.
To change the code go to: My Documents\My Games\Aliens Colonial Marines\PecanGame\Config\PecanEngine.ini
Sources: ModDB, via PC Gamer
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11 Comments on Five Years Too Late, Typo Fix Offers Improved AI in Aliens: Colonial Marines

#1
RejZoR
I find it strange that no one from personnel dedicated for Ai noticed this before. I mean, if you make alien behave in certain way and then it doesn't, wouldn't you notice that? And then QA in the end. Also, don't they have any debugging for the code? I mean in terms of having unknown parameters in the code and that not showing up in bright red when you compile the thing? I highly doubt they write INI files by hand...
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#2
StrayKAT
Hah... all that drama... because of a typo.
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#3
sutyi
RejZoR
I find it strange that no one from personnel dedicated for Ai noticed this before. I mean, if you make alien behave in certain way and then it doesn't, wouldn't you notice that? And then QA in the end. Also, don't they have any debugging for the code? I mean in terms of having unknown parameters in the code and that not showing up in bright red when you compile the thing? I highly doubt they write INI files by hand...
Take a look at Gearbox Softwares track record, last decent out-sourced work they did was Half-Life: OF and BS. Anything after that is not their own IP is just a steaming pile of you know what.

SEGA should have sued GB and Randy out their respective socks for their BS.
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#4
VulkanBros
It has been a long five years since Aliens: Colonial Marines launched as a hot mess. Being critically panned by gamers and critics alike. One of the reasons behind the negative reception was the games poor AI. The Xenomorphs had a tendency to run straight into gunfire. Or worse yet, would stand around or group up making them easy targets. Suffice to say the Xenomorphs were far from scary. A tyopgraphical error has been discovered as the reason behind some of those issues.
Is the red text a typo? ... or intended :wtf:

Sorry :rolleyes: couldn't resist .....
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#5
silentbogo
Typos had very little to do with it's ultimate failure. It's just a shitty low-effort game.

Heck, just look at S.T.A.L.K.E.R.:SoC I've fixed quite a few "typos" myself, once the resource unpacker became available.
Just reading the LUA source was funny enough on its own. Some scripts in the early development (and some unused legacy crap) was written by random students from Kharkov and Kiev, and included some lame bugs like using uninitialized variables (which caused frequent crashes on several maps), inventory bugs, dialogue tree bugs (some were looping before patches or also caused crashes). The game was and still is fun, but it was one giant "typo" upon release (even including the THQ release in US)....
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#6
lexluthermiester
RejZoR
I highly doubt they write INI files by hand...
You'd be surprised how often it's done by hand. But what's more surprising is that it was never triple checked. When I worked at a game dev company back in the day, all of the code, config routines included, were quadruple checked, then checked a few more times just for good measure.
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#7
Static~Charge
Speaking of typos....
crazyeyesreaper
"the Xenomorphs tend to behave in a more aggressive manor"
manor, noun - a large country house with lands; the principal house of a landed estate.
manner, noun - a way in which a thing is done or happens.
;)
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#8
natr0n
Reminds me of mistranslated/interpreted text throughout history.
Posted on Reply
#10
FordGT90Concept
"I go fast!1!11!1!"
natr0n
Reminds me of mistranslated/interpreted text throughout history.
Donkey Kong was supposed to be Monkey Kong but Japanese/English fouled it up.
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