Aliens Colonial Marines AI Improves After Fixing One Typo

A string of controversies has followed Aliens Colonial Marines since its release in early 2013. Lies, a lawsuit, canceled versions, and more made the game live in infamy long after most other critically panned games would have been forgotten. Its bad artificial intelligence was chief among the complaints as the game turned cinema’s deadliest lifeform into little more than an annoying cat. It turns out, according to some users on ModDB, it’s mostly because of one, single typo in the game’s code.

This all began with TemplarGFX’s PC mod and its mission to overhaul Aliens Colonial Marines and let users experience the game “how it should have been when it first released.” After digging through the game’s code, user jamesdickinson963 found something interesting worth pointing out and made a post explaining his findings in October 2017.

The game’s files have the following line of code:

“ClassRemapping=PecanGame.PecanSeqAct_AttachXenoToTether -> PecanGame.PecanSeqAct_AttachPawnToTeather”

Notice the spelling error? Correcting “AttachPawnToTeather” to “AttachPawnToTether” makes the xenomorphs more agile since it “controls tactical position adjustment, patrolling, and target zoning.” The spelling error strips out that more intelligent behavior. Although, as he points out, this is just what he initially gathered from looking at the data.

However, he was more concrete the next day. He stated that the xenomorphs were “much better and approaching you without getting shot” and will “move between cover more, and if you try shooting them, they flank and displace.”

This stayed relatively quiet for months until ResetEra members recently shed some light on it. Some have been slowly fixing this typo and giving it a try. User JigglesBunny booted up the game after correcting the error and claimed that the “improvement was immediately recognizable.” They explained that “they still charge you perched on their hind legs,” but they also “crawl far more often, flank you using vents and holes in the environment and are generally far more engaged and aggressive.”

As jamesdickinson963 points out, it doesn’t completely fix the game. Humans are unaffected by the change and the xenomorphs are still prone to standing around. And, since this requires tampering with the game’s code, console owners are out of luck. But this is an improvement. A silly improvement that should have been caught along with the rest of the game’s issues, but an improvement nonetheless.