A Small Coding Typo Caused Major Problems for Aliens: Colonial Marines

A Small Coding Typo Caused Major Problems for Aliens: Colonial Marines

Aliens: Colonial Marines was one of the more notable failures of the previous console generation. However, a modder’s work at fixing the games flaws has found a small typo that greatly improves the enemy AI when fixed.

Still not great, but it’s a start.

Aliens: Colonial Marines was a first-person shooter game made in 2013 by Sega and Gearbox Studios. Fans were initially excited for it because of a very nice demo, but behind-the-scenes production was messy. The game’s failure resulted in a lawsuit claiming false advertising, which cost Sega $1.25 million in a settlement. One of the game’s main issues was the enemy AI. In the demo, the Xenomorphs were highly clever and dangerous opponents. However, in the full game, things like this happened:

In a thread on ResetEra, a user describes how they found a post on ModDB from late October last year. The post was made by a modder who has been working on fixing Colonial Marines for several years. The post explains some of the code and just what happens when you misspell the word tether. Here’s the code as it is in the original game (bolded for emphasis:)

ClassRemapping=PecanGame.PecanSeqAct_AttachXenoToTether -> PecanGame.PecanSeqAct_AttachPawnToTeather

And here’s his explanation:

1) AttachXenoToTether doesn’t do anything. Its basically empty or stripped

2) AttachPawnToTether does ALOT. It controls tactical position adjustment, patrolling and target zoning

When a Xeno is spawned, it is attached to a zone tether. This zone tells the Xeno what area is its fighting space and where different exits are. In Combat, a Xeno will be forced to switch to a new tether (such as one behind you) so as to flank, or disperse so they aren’t so grouped up etc. (*disclaimer* this is inferred opinion, I cant see the actual code only bits)

Whenever the game tried to do this, nothing happened. Now it does!

The ResetEra thread confirms that the enemies seem much more intelligent. A video comparison from PC Gamer also backs this up. The AI still reportedly has some decent jankiness to it, but it’s certainly an impressive improvement.

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