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Aliens: Colonial Marines sucked because of this one-letter coding typo

By Shawn Knight · 17 replies
Jul 14, 2018
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  1. Aliens: Colonial Marines launched in 2013 as the sequel to James Cameron’s 1986 film Aliens. It was featured as one of our most anticipated games of the year but as anyone that’s familiar with the title will tell you, it ended up being a huge letdown for a number of reasons – one of which was the terrible AI.

    Gearbox Software, who outsourced much of the game to other studios during development, included a “tether” system when assigning AI commands to the game’s enemies. The system is said to be responsible for controlling enemies’ tactile position adjustments, patrolling and target zoning.

    In other words, it tells baddies how to behave and put up a proper fight. The problem is that it never worked as intended due to a one-letter mistake in the game’s code.

    As highlighted in a post on Mod DB last October, a line of code in the PecanEngine.ini (typically located in My Document\My Games\Aliens Colonial Marines\PecanGame\Config) incorrectly spells the word “tether” as “teather” as highlighted below.

    ClassRemapping=PecanGame.PecanSeqAct_AttachXenoToTether -> PecanGame.PecanSeqAct_AttachPawnToTeather

    Due to this simple typo, the engine never attaches the tether system to the bad guys. Instead, they just kind of run around clueless, not really knowing how to behave.

    The game will set you back $29.99 on Steam, so being able to grab it for just a few bucks represents a significant discount. It still may not be worth your time or money at the cheaper rate but with the AI fix (we also hear the full fan patch from Mod DB is a must-have), it could be worth a spin.

    Permalink to story.

  2. Vulcanproject

    Vulcanproject TS Evangelist Posts: 715   +1,012

    Ha that's incredible. The entire complex AI system that no doubt cost a fair bit in working hours to develop is totally disabled because of one letter out of place. It severely compromised the gameplay.

    Kind of shows how difficult it can be troubleshooting modern games, especially ones that have been assembled from the work of various teams. No one person knows the code inside out and only inspecting it carefully can reveal issues.
    ghostf1re, drufense, Reehahs and 6 others like this.
  3. Cycloid Torus

    Cycloid Torus Stone age computing - click on the rock below.. Posts: 4,003   +1,177

    Incredible 'ouch'. The debugger needs a debugger.
    Reehahs, senketsu and Jamlad like this.
  4. Dimitrios

    Dimitrios TS Guru Posts: 445   +318

    Game wasn't that bad to be honest. I bought it on sale from STEAM last year or two for a few bucks.
    MaikuTech likes this.
  5. VBKing

    VBKing TS Enthusiast Posts: 60   +28

    Wait, what???
    Your OPENING paragraph says the game is on sale for $2.99.
    Your LAST paragraph says the game will set you back $29.99.

    Is that an accidental TYPO or an on purpose one since the story is about a Typo???
  6. Julio Franco

    Julio Franco TechSpot Editor Posts: 8,224   +1,261

    Haha, that'd have been a great idea, but no, the story is correct. On Steam the game is more expensive, while fanatical is selling it at a hefty discount.
    Capaill, Reehahs and Polycount like this.
  7. texasrattler

    texasrattler TS Evangelist Posts: 668   +258

    It just shows you devs can be so lazy and incompetent. They knew the AI wasnt working but never looked into, that's just sad.
    Some modder ends up finding the code. Dev should be ashammed of themselves. Game needs to released by dev for free with fix.
    Hopefully the dev responds n at least fixes the game. Especially since it was a game breaking feature.

    I believe it was the watered down graphics that ultimately ruined the game. There was a big controversy over it when it was being released. Months prior to releasing the game showed very good graphics but when released, horrible graphics compared to what had been shown.
    ForgottenLegion likes this.
  8. texasrattler

    texasrattler TS Evangelist Posts: 668   +258

    If you go to MOD DB site, there is another typo which someone else had found n posted.

    This typo is in the DefaultEngine.ini, in your Steam\steamapps\common\Aliens Colonial Marines\PecanGame\Config\ directory

    I've found out ClassRemapping=PecanGame.PecanSeqAct_AttachXenoToTether also has a typo on the exact same line as the AttachPawnToTeather typo. It says ClassRemapping=PecanGAme with a capital A in Game which could potentially be causing a problem as well. (lower the A to "a" yes)
  9. ForgottenLegion

    ForgottenLegion TS Guru Posts: 390   +398

    Gearbox have no shame.
  10. MaikuTech

    MaikuTech TS Evangelist Posts: 1,062   +186

    I did the samething last christmas it really is a good game, but good god, if you close it out wrong, it will force restart over and over again.
    Don't even think about using mods to readjust ai difficulty or make it look a whole lot better with hd mod packs without it looping forever.
    Dimitrios likes this.
  11. Dimitrios

    Dimitrios TS Guru Posts: 445   +318

    I vaguely remember mine acting funny but thank god my windows 7 firewall pop up and stopped it from restarting nonstop . It just did it once or twice.
  12. Puiu

    Puiu TS Evangelist Posts: 3,374   +1,825

    Even with that tweak it's still a really bad game.
  13. MaikuTech

    MaikuTech TS Evangelist Posts: 1,062   +186

    Heh to you it is but to me nah, if the damn thing wouldn't do a constant reboot, I'd play it a whole lot more. -_-
    I looked at some other alien games on steam and most of them didn't tickle my fancy. =/
    The only other thing that pisses me off is, is the friendly ai doesn't know when to help you out or not.
    Nine times out of Ten it wants me to go first and be a meat shield, rarely will it help to take off swarms off my ***.
    If it wasn't for the shot gun being there.... ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
  14. roberthi

    roberthi TS Addict Posts: 398   +124

    Just saw an article just like this recently published. These authors must be getting a cut off this somehow. I wouldn't trust some random site like that to take my credit card details. This, plus that mod's been out for a year now.
  15. mcborge

    mcborge TS Guru Posts: 568   +463

    I've given the game another go on the strength of this article with both the Ini fix and the fan overhaul, and apart from some random hitching the game runs a lot better now. There's no restart loops or crashes at all so far and the xeno's aren't just popping up in front of you as they once did making them so much easier to track in a fire fight.
  16. MaikuTech

    MaikuTech TS Evangelist Posts: 1,062   +186

    If you don't mind pm which mod you are using.
    I think the hd mod and ai difficulty mod I applied maybe the real issue.
    Besides I am itching to get back into it while playing metroid samus returns.
  17. mcborge

    mcborge TS Guru Posts: 568   +463

    I'm using the mod linked in the article and just followed the AI fix also in the article. The current fan mod version is v5.
  18. MaikuTech

    MaikuTech TS Evangelist Posts: 1,062   +186

    I'll check back sometime next week and let you know what may happen but I've already been here and got that mod.
    It hasn't been updated since october so I'll see if its the same problem again.

    mcborge likes this.

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