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Gearbox Software caught a whole lot of flak when it released Aliens: Colonial Marines back in 2013 for the Xbox 360, PS3 and PC. The game was riddled with bugs, performance issues, and an overall lack in quality that didn't quite represent what Gearbox demonstrated at a previous E3. But, what if I told you that the game actually was a lot better than what people said and that the quality wasn't actually that bad, but all of that was undermined by a single typo? Well, that's exactly what happened. It turns out that Aliens: Colonial Marines has gotten a lot better all thanks to a typo fix.
Kotaku is reporting that one of the biggest issues that plagued Aliens: Colonial Marines was fixed... by modders... last year. The game is known for having horrendous AI, but a modder managed to fix the problem by removing an 'a' from the AI call function. In one of the initialization files for the game located in the configuration folder, there's a line within the PecanEngine.ini that calls for the AI to tether to a spawn sector. The line in the file mistakenly read PecanSeqAct_AttachPawnToTeather instead of PecanSeqAct_AttachPawnToTether.
Modder JamesDickinson963 did a blog post about the fix that he discovered over on the Moddb website back in October of 2017, explaining that the typo by Gearbox caused an error in the AI sequencing, forcing the AI spawns and behavior to act rather... stupid.
The fix makes it so that the AI spawns actually execute tactical prowess within select combat zones. Given that the typo prevented the line from executing, it meant that the AI acted rather stupidly in Aliens: Colonial Marines, not moving to their proper positions or getting stuck on geometry often. This was caused by the fact that the proper tactical instructions weren't being given to tether said instructions to certain combat zones.
As pointed out by JamesDIckinson963, when the typo is fixed and the pawns are tethered to the zones, it creates a seamless gameplay experience where the AI tactically maneuvers around the stages, flanking, dispersing, and being a lot more aggressive and dangerous.
In the Kotaku piece they tested the differences in code on the first level of the first-person shooter, but didn't say what the difficulty setting was on. Even still, during the first level they noted that in the original version the xenomorphs would hop down and sort of stand still and wait to be killed. With the typo corrected, the xenomorphs would hop down from the wall, shuffle and dodge some of the bullets, and attempt to do a last ditch attack before dying.
The article states that the differences aren't huge, but if there are different pathfinding nodes or AI script modules for different encounters later in the game, this could play a big difference in the quality of the gameplay. I imagine some gamers more inclined to go back and play through Gearbox Software's sci-fi shooter from start to finish with the typo corrected will probably find more differences in various stages.
Of course, it's a shame this typo wasn't found earlier, otherwise it could have made a huge difference back when the game first came out in early 2013.