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A single typo wrecked Aliens: Colonial Marines and people are handling it fine

Screen Shot 2018-07-14 at 12.40.55 PM

In what feels like The Games Story Of The Year, during the Steam summer sale the much reviled Gearbox title Aliens: Colonial Marines was marked down to a stupidly low three dollars. A modder happened to notice that in the INI file for the game, there is a single typo that is — get this — responsible for many of the awful AI choices that the xenomorphs make in the game… like running directly at you on their hind legs instead of crawling on the walls and using ducts to surprise you. A once horribly broken game is now… functioning? Thanks to a single letter? Sure. That’s about at 2018 as a games industry story can get.

Why did this happen? Who knows. Honestly, who would put their name on something and not double check evary single line for typos?

People are handling it fine:

I can only assume this most recent tweet is Randy Pitchford’s response to the incident?

Modder “TemplarGFX” found the bug in October 2017, and explained it on ModDB:

Inside your games config file (My Document\My Games\Aliens Colonial Marines\PecanGame\Config\PecanEngine.ini) is the following line of code :

ClassRemapping=PecanGame.PecanSeqAct_AttachXenoToTether -> PecanGame.PecanSeqAct_AttachPawnToTeather

I’m sure you’ll notice the spelling mistake

ClassRemapping=PecanGame.PecanSeqAct_AttachXenoToTether -> PecanGame.PecanSeqAct_AttachPawnToTether

If you fix it to look like the above and then play the game, the difference is pretty crazy!

Why is this line important? There are two reasons :
1) AttachXenoToTeather 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!

Now a poster on ResetEra, named “JigglesBunny”, has brought this back into the public attention, writing:

“Knowing full well how absurd this sounds on the surface, I took it upon myself to reinstall the PC version of the game, look at the .ini file and check myself. Sure enough, a single letter typo was found exactly where he claimed. I was in disbelief. As recommended, I fixed the typo, saved it in Notepad and booted the game up.

“The improvement is immediately recognisable in your first encounters with the Xenos. While they still charge you perched on their hind legs, they now crawl far more often, flank you using vents and holes in the environment and are generally far more engaged and aggressive. Five years after release, a single letter managed to overhaul the entirety of the enemy AI behaviour in the game.”

Does this mean we’re in for a renaissance for Colonial Marines? Is it a good game now or just a slightly better game? See for yourself by checking out our video analysis…

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