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READ BEFORE POSTING: Halo PC/CE FAQ & getting Campaign in Custom Edition
TABLE OF CONTENTS
1. System Requirements
4. Tips and Tricks
5. Halo Trial
6. Halo Custom Edition
7. Halo Editing Kit
8. Console (kicking and banning)
9. Command Line Parameters
10. Making Videos and Taking Screenshots
11. Red Vs Blue
12. Halo Books
13. Video Cards and Drivers
1. SYSTEM REQUIREMENTS
The official system requirements for Halo PC are as follows:
- Microsoft« Windows« 98SE/Me/2000/XP/Vista*
- PC with 733 MHz equivalent or higher processor
- 128 MB of system RAM
- 1.5 GB available hard disk space*
- 8x speed or faster CD-ROM drive
- 32 MB T&L capable video card required
- Sound card, speakers, or headphones required for audio
- Microsoft Mouse or compatible pointing device
- 56.6 Kbps or better modem or LAN for online play; broadband to run a server
Also, Halo requires DirectX 9.0b or higher. The installer for DirectX 9.0b comes bundled on the Halo CD.
For Halo CE, you need 450 MB of hard disk space, plus additional space for each map you want to install.
For the HEK, you need 510 MB of hard disk space, plus an installation of Halo CE, plus additional space for the maps you want to make.
One profile uses 4.5 MB.
One saved checkpoint uses 4.5 MB.
One custom gametype uses 8.5 KB.
* = Adjusted from the official requirement list
HBO - halo.bungie.org; a great Halo website.
Kill Combos - A kill combo is when you get a double kill, a triple kill, a Killtacular, a Killing Spree, or a Running Riot. Double kills, triple kills, and Killtaculars are when you kill 2, 3, or 4 people quickly. Killing Sprees and Running Riots are when you kill 5 or 10 people without dying. After you get a killtacular or running riot, you will keep getting killtaculars and running riots until the "combo" is ended.
LAAG - Abbreviation for Light Anti-Aircraft Gun. It is the chain gun mounted on the back of the warthog.
Lag or Latency - By definition, both lag and latency are something's inability to keep up with something else. Lag is commonly used to refer to the internet connection falling behind. Lag can also be used to refer to the game being slow, but is typically not used in that manner. If you want to refer to the game being slow, and not your internet connection, either is acceptable, as long as you are clear which you are talking about.
MC - Abbreviation for Master Chief, the main character of the game.
MP - Abbreviation for Multiplayer.
Noob- A noob is someone who believes that they are better than everyone else, but is usually quite the opposite. When a noob is killed, they will often call you a cheater and/or quit the game. When used to describe someone or something, it is always meant to be an insult. In addition, it can also be used as a generic insult. Also spelled n00b.
Newb - Not to be confused with noob, a newb is someone that is new at something. While calling someone a newb is not specifically an insult, some people may still be offended by it.
ODST - Abbreviation for Orbital Drop Shock Troopers. Also known as "Helljumpers".
Ping - Ping is the amount of time it takes in milliseconds for data to travel from one computer to another. It is usually best to join games that have a ping of less than 500.
Shee - A shortened form of the word Banshee.
SP - Abbreviation for Single Player.
Stunts - A stunt is when you do something that isn't killing. An example of a stunt would be a bunch of people shooting rockets or throwing grenades at a Warthog to see how high they can get it. Each server has its own rules, so be sure to follow them if you want to participate in the stunts, else you might get banned from the server. HBO has loads of videos and screenshots of people using glitches to their advantage.
TK ľ Abbreviation for Team Killing, which is when you kill one of your team mates. It often leads to getting yourself banned from the server, longer respawn times, and/or pissing people off.
Q: What are the differences between the XBOX version and the PC version?
A: Halo PC Has 6 new multiplayer maps (Ice Fields, Death Island, Danger Canyon, Infinity, Timberland, Gephyrophobia), 3 new multiplayer vehicles (Rocket Warthog, Banshee, Covenant Gun Turret), as well as 2 new multiplayer weapons (Fuel Rod Gun, Flamethrower). Single player is exactly the same.
Q: Any other minor things that are different from the XBOX version?
A: You can keep multiple checkpoints in one profile, so if you have several favorite moments of the game, you don't need an individual profile for each checkpoint.
Q: I can't find a co-op option. Am I missing something here?
A: Unfortunately, co-op is not in Halo PC or CE.
Q: What is the difference between Halo PC and Halo CE?
A: "Halo PC" is used to refer to the retail version of the game that you purchased. "Halo CE" is used to refer to Custom Edition, which you download off of the internet (see Custom Edition section).
Q: What are the controls like?
A: The controls are all fully customizable.
Q: How long does it take to beat Single Player?
A: On Normal difficulty, you can complete the game in about 4-6 hours.
Q: How many people play every day?
A: On Halo PC, about 2000 players and 750 servers. On Halo CE, about 100 players and 100 servers. On Halo Trial, about 1000 players and 200 servers.
Q: Are there bots in MP?
A: Out of the box, no. There are mods and maps for both PC and CE that contain bots. However, don't expect to be able to customize the bots.
Q: Can I run the game windowed?
A: Yes. Use the "-window" command line parameter. See the command line parameter section.
Q: When selecting which gametype to use in a multiplayer game, there is a little lock icon in the picture. What does that mean?
A: It simply means the gametype is read only, meaning if you go to edit it, you must save your changes to a new gametype.
Q: In multiplayer, I'm shooting the person, but none of my shots are registering! What's going on?
A: Halo PC has terrible netcode. That's not my opinion, but a proven fact. As such, unless you have a ping of zero, it's all just a guessing game. You need to shoot where the person will be, not where they are. Because every server is different, it would be impossible to tell you how much to lead your shots. Just experiment for a while to find out.
Q: I can only see a few servers in the in-game list, and I know there are tons more. How can I fix this?
A: First, make sure you have the latest version by running the updater. Second, make sure all your filters are off by clicking on the "FILTERS" button at the bottom of the screen. Third, make sure none of the column headers are green. If they are, click them to turn off those filters. If you are using a no-cd crack or any other crack, try getting rid of that too. If you still don't see lots of servers, you probably have a problem with your firewall or router. Go to www.portforward.com and forward your ports.
Q: People can't join my game, or I can't join other people's games. How do I fix this?
A: Try forwarding your ports. Go to www.portforward.com and follow the directions there.
Q: How do I find my game's version?
A: Go to your Halo directory (default is C:\Program Files\Microsoft Games\Halo), right click halo.exe, and click on "Properties". Next, go to the "Version" tab, and look at the very first line labeled "File Version:".
Q: Are there cheats for single player?
A: In Halo PC, there are no cheats. If you get Custom Edition and add the SP maps to it, you can use lots of cheats with devmode. See the section on Custom Edition, as well as the Console section.
Q: I remember being able to reload, exchange weapons, and perform actions all with one button. How do I make the game do it again?
A: Simply set the button you want to use to the "ACTION" button, and it will do all 3 actions.
Q: How do I get all those weird characters or symbols in my profile name (for example: ├▀š)?
A: Click on your Windows Start button. Click "Run...". Type "charmap" and hit OK (For Vista, type "charmap" into the search box). Find the character you want, and click it. It should be highlighted and enlarged. Now look in the lower right corner of the Character Map program for an Alt+#### code. Now, go into the profile naming screen in Halo, and press that Alt+#### code, using the number pad on the right side of the keyboard (be sure Num Lock is turned ON). For example, ž is Alt+0167, so, while holding ALT, press 0167 on the number pad, then release ALT to make the character appear. Not all characters work though, so if you release ALT and nothing appears, the game won't let you use it.
Q: I have a really nice saved checkpoint that I really like. Is there a way I can prevent it from being changed or deleted?
A: Yes. First, go to the Load Game screen, and click ONCE on the checkpoint you don't want to be changed. Now, look on the right hand side of the screen for a date and time. Now, go to the saved checkpoints folder on your hard drive (it is My Documents\My Games\Halo\savegames\<Halo profile name>\checkpoints\). Change the view to details by going to the "View" menu, and choosing "Details". On the right is a column labeled "Date Modified". Find the checkpointX files (where X is the number of the checkpoint, and ignore the autosaveX files) that have the same modified date as the checkpoint you don't want to be changed. You will find two files for each checkpoint. Right click on the two files, go to "Properties", and check the "Read-only" box at the bottom for both files, then click the OK button. Now, there is no way to delete the saved checkpoint from within Halo, not even if the entire profile is deleted. To undo this, just follow the same steps, only uncheck the "read-only" box.
Q: What about profiles and multiplayer gametypes? Can I do the same for them?
A: Unfortunately, no.
Q: All the Master Chiefs I see are [color]. Aren't they supposed to be various different colors?
A: In SP, the Master Chief is supposed to be green with a golden visor. In MP team based games, the players will only be two colors, red or blue, depending on which team you are on. In MP Free for Alls, they will be the color they chose in the settings screen (White, Black, Red, Blue, Grey, Yellow, Green, Pink, Purple, Cyan, Cobalt, Orange, Teal, Sage, Brown, Tan, Maroon, or Salmon). If he isn't those colors, you have a problem with your graphics card. Try updating your drivers first, and then ask here.
Q: It says "Your CD Key is Invalid." What do I do?
A: First thing first, uninstall and install Halo again. Make sure you typed your valid CD-KEY correctly before hitting the NEXT button. If you typed the CD KEY correctly, and still get this message, someone is using your CD KEY at that time. Either try to get online and hog the CD KEY for yourself by staying online for a long period of time, or contact Microsoft Support and see if they can give you another valid CD KEY. Also, for computers with more than one operating system installed, you may get this when trying to run Halo while booted into the OS that you didn't install Halo under. To fix this problem, simply install the game under the second OS.
Q: Can I change my CD-KEY?
A: Unfortunately, the only way to change your CD-KEY is to completely uninstall and install the game again.
Q: I lost my CD-KEY. Is there a way I can find out what it is?
A: Yes, but only if you still have Halo still installed. Simply visit the following link, run the program and hit "Scan". Find Halo in the list and below it you will see your CD-KEY.
Q: I'm using the Halo Trial. Is there a way to skip the advertisement for the full version when you quit the game?
A: Simply press Alt+F4, or use -novideo (see command line parameters section).
Q: Is there a charge to play online?
A: No. There is no additional charge to play online.
Q: Do I really need to use the GameSpy Arcade program (or any other 3rd party server list program) to play online?
A: No. In fact, if you don't do an express install, you can even choose not to install GS Arcade at all. As a matter of fact, using the GameSpy Arcade is actually worse, for three reasons. One reason is that GameSpy Arcade does not check for updates to Halo PC or CE, while the in-game server list does. Another reason is that the GameSpy Arcade list might list servers that are a different version as you. Since you won't be able to join these servers anyway, there is no point in even showing them to you, like what the in-game server list does. Another reason, is that for some reason, GameSpy Arcade is classified as spyware, and will cause antivirus programs and spyware scanners to go crazy.
Q: What is a dedicated server, and how can I get my own?
A: A dedicated server is a server that is always running. A host can be on it or not, but the majority of dedicated servers don't have their host there for the majority of the time. To get a dedicated server, you can either find a website that will let you set one up on their computers, or you can download the program yourself, and host the server directly off of your computer. To download the program for Halo PC, visit http://www.microsoft.com/games/halo/downloads.aspx.
You do not need to download the maps if you have a retail version of Halo PC installed. For Halo CE, the dedicated server comes bundled with Halo CE's install. You can find it in the Start menu. There is no dedicated server for Halo Trial.
Q: When trying to join my own dedicated server, I can't. How can I join it?
A: Go into Halo's settings and change the network ports to something other than the defaults. 58XX works for me.
Q: I was playing a multiplayer game, and it said I was killed by "The Guardians", but there was no one in the server by that name. What's going on?
A: When you see this, it simply means that the game could not determine who killed the player, and no one got credit for the kill.
Q: How do I turn off the auto-ban?
A: While there is no way to actually turn it off, you can change its settings to make it not work properly. All you have to do is set SV_TK_GRACE to a value greater than SV_TK_COOLDOWN. (See the console section)
Q: The text in multiplayer is having problems displaying correctly, or it doesn't display at all. Also, when I go to type something, the grey box appears at the bottom of the screen, but nothing happens when I type. How can I fix this?
A: Go into your Halo PC directory (default is C:\Program Files\Microsoft Games\Halo\) and run msxmlenu.msi. After the window opens, follow the instructions to install the software. If it already is installed, uninstall it and install it again by opening msxmlenu.msi a second time. This also works in reverse. If you want to remove the text in multiplayer, uninstall it and leave it uninstalled. However, should you keep it uninstalled, you won't be able to coordinate with your teammates, or have casual conversation at the end of games, unless you have another means of communicating.
Q: I'm running Windows Vista, and it tells me that I need admin rights to install the update, but I am logged on as admin!
A: In order to install the update, you'll need to download the file manually from any website that has it, then right click it and choose "Run as Admin".
Q: Does Halo support Anti-Aliasing or Anisotropic Filtering?
A: Halo does not support Anti-Aliasing, but it does support Anisotropic Filtering.
Q: Is there a friends list?
A: No, but there's nothing stopping you from downloading gaming programs with friend lists like Xfire (http://www.xfire.com).
Q: When I join a game, I get a message about the client being a different version than the server. The in-game updater doesn't say anything, and if I manually run the updater, it says I am already up to date. What gives?
A: The most common cause of these problems are no-cd cracks. When you use them, you need to find the version of the crack that matches the game's version. If the versions don't match, you'll most likely encounter this problem. Therefore, simply removing the co-cd crack or any other cracks you have will resolve the problem.
Q: I was messing around with modding a map that came with the game, and now the map doesn't work properly, or I just want to revert back to the original map. Can I just get the one map file instead of reinstalling the whole game?
A: Yes. For Halo PC maps, the files are on your Halo CD in the folder named "FilesCab". All the maps are spread throughout 6 cabinet files, so use WinZip or WinRAR to open one of the cabinet files, and see if that file has the map you want. If not, go back and try another cabinet file. When you find the map you want, extract it from the cabinet file, and then place it in your Halo PC map folder. For Halo CE maps, open the install file with WinZip (WinRAR won't work for this), and find the map you need.
Q: What is a clan, and how can I make my own?
A: A clan is simply a collection of friends made over the internet (or real life) that like to play together as a group. To make your own clan, just come up with a name for the clan and get members. While there is no official registration process to be recognized as a clan, most clans require the players to add a certain tag to their name to symbolize they are from a certain clan.
Q: Can I have more than one copy of Halo installed?
A: Yes. Simply copy C:\Program Files\Microsoft Games\Halo to another folder. This is especially useful if you want to have two different versions installed. Take note, however, that simply copying the folder only works from within the same operating system. If you want the game in another operating system, just install it under that OS, then copy it.
Q: How do I see my frames per second?
A: Either press CTRL+F12, or use the console command "rasterizer_fps".
Q: When starting Halo, I get a message saying "Hardware acceleration maybe disabled. Please run DXDIAG." How do I fix this?
A: First, simply restart your computer. If it's not fixed after Windows starts back up, continue reading. Now, try updating the game to the latest version. Either find the update on the internet, or manually run the updater in the Halo folder. If it still doesn't work, keep reading. First, right click on My Computer, and click Properties. Next, go to the Hardware tab and click the Device Manager Button. Near the top is a section titled "Display adapters". Expand this section by clicking on the plus sign to the left. Make sure none of the sub-items are disabled or have conflicts. If they are disabled, they will have a red X on top of the icon. Right click on the disabled item, and choose Enable. Restart your computer, and check to see if Halo works now. Right click on an empty part of your desktop, and go to "Properties", then the "Settings" tab, then the "Advanced" button at the bottom, then go to the "Troubleshooting" tab in the new window. Make sure the slider is all the way to the right side labeled "Full". See if the game works now. If not, click your Start button, click on "Run...", type "dxdiag" without the quotes, then click OK. On the new window, go to the "Display" tab(s). About half way down is a section labeled "DirectX Features". Make sure all 3 of the settings here are enabled. If they already are enabled, disable them all and reenable. See if the game works now. If not, see if reinstalling DirectX from Microsoft's website works. If it still doesn't work, try updating your video card drivers.
Q: What does it mean when I get a box saying "Gathering Exception Data..."?
A: This means that something happened that shouldn't have, and the game crashed because of it. The most common cause is improper modding. If this makes the game unplayable for you, the easiest way to fix it is to uninstall the game and install it again.
Q: I found two maps with file names that aren't map names. Are these super secret maps or something?
A: carousel.map is the file name for Derelict, and putput.map is the file name for Chiron TL34.
Q: Can PC players play with MAC or XBOX players?
A: No. The PC version plays with the PC version, the MAC version plays with the MAC version, and the XBOX version plays with the XBOX version. However, even if they could play together, there is no way of telling the difference anyway, other than just asking the person.
Q: I'm trying to install the HEK, but it gives me an error saying there is not enough space on drive X, and that it needs 0.0 MB. If it doesn't need any space, why is it giving me this error?
A: Actually, the size is just too small to be seen with a single decimal place without rounding. It actually needs about 85 KB in the same folder that the install file is in, before the install process can even begin. That means you can't run the installer from a CD or anywhere else that you can't write to.
Q: In Halo CE, it tells me I need to update my game at the bottom of the internet lobby, but the updater won't update my game. What do I do?
Just ignore the message at the bottom of the internet lobby; it will keep saying that no matter what you do. If the in-game updater says you are up to date, then you are up to date.
Q: I find myself setting options via the console almost every time I launch the game, and I'm getting tired of it. Is there a way to make the settings stay set no matter how many times I open and close the game?
A: Yes, but to a limited extent. First, go to your Halo PC or CE folder containing the halo.exe or haloce.exe file. In this folder, create a text file called "init.txt". Inside the text file put the commands that you frequently type, each command on its own line. The next time you launch the game, these settings will apply automatically. While it doesn't work for all console settings, it does work for some. For you people that know MS-DOS, think if it as Halo's version of autoexec.bat.
Q: How do I set the Message of the Day in Custom Edition?
A: First, make a new text file (you can name it whatever you want) in the same folder as your haloce.exe containing the MOTD. Then, enable the console, and type "sv_motd <filename>".
Q: Is there a way I can use macros?
A: Yes, sort of. If you are willing to spend a bit of money, Macro Express (http://www.macros.com/) and Keyboard Express (http://www.keyboardexpress.com/) are good programs. If you don't want to spend money, ShortKeys Lite (http://www.shortkeys.com/lite.htm) is a good program. Regardless of which program you choose, you need to configure it properly in order to work with Halo PC or CE. You must use at least a 1 "microsecond" delay. Also, Halo has a slow response time to bringing up the console, so you will need to add unneeded characters, and then make the program delete them. The only downside with ShortKeys Lite is that you cannot use multiple keystrokes to execute the macro, such as Ctrl+4. You have to type something first, such as "ban", then the program will delete that and type what you programmed it to type.
Q: Is there a way to use a microphone to actually talk with my teammates, instead of having to type everything out?
A: Yes. You can use a 3rd party program such as Ventrilo (http://ventrilo.com/) or Team Speak (http://www.goteamspeak.com/). Consult the program's documentation on how to install and set it up.
Q: Will there be Halo 2 or Halo 3 for the PC?
A: Halo 2 is already released, so go talk about it on its own game board. Halo 3 hasn't even been announced yet, but when and if it does, it'll have its own game board too.
4. TIPS AND TRICKS
Backpack Reloading - Backpack reloading is a useful technique used for reloading. To backpack reload, press the reload button twice and then switch weapons. Wait until you think the weapon has reloaded, and then switch back, and the first weapon will be reloaded. You can also drop the weapon or get in a vehicle and it will still reload.
Better Accuracy - This applies to most weapons. Instead of just holding the trigger down, shoot in small bursts. For example, use one mouse click per bullet with the pistol, or only hold the mouse button down for 3 or 4 bullets with the assault rifle. You get the idea.
Fall Saving - To do a fall save, crouch just before you land, and you will take less fall damage if you do it correctly. Despite people saying that switching weapons quickly is another method to fall save, I have yet to see this method work in even the smallest amount.
Grenade Jumping - Throw either type of grenade straight down at your feet, and jump about .3 seconds before it explodes. If you do it right, the force of the explosion will launch you higher into the air, making for higher and longer jumps, however your shields and/or health will be depleted.
PFR - Mostly a stunts term, PFR stands for Plasma, Frag, Rocket. If you correctly throw a plasma grenade, a Frag grenade, and shoot a rocket, they all explode at the same time, creating an explosion with a lot more force than a single explosion. It is useful for launching vehicles, or getting yourself into high places. Your chances of surviving the blast are slim, unless you have an overshield and/or 400% health. Even if you survive the initial explosions, you still have to worry about taking fall damage.
Plasma Pistol Overcharge - If you press and hold the trigger with the Plasma Pistol, you will charge a ball of plasma that will completely deplete the target's shields, even if they have a fully charged overshield. Keep in mind, however, the overshield invincibility.
Motion Tracker - No, it's not a radar. It's a motion tracker. If you don't move at all, or move slowly while crouching, you aren't on the display. If you are unsure if you will show up, just look in the center of the display to see if a yellow dot appears.
Overshield invincibility - When you pick up an overshield, during the time that the overshield is charging, you are invincible. This is usually 2-3 seconds, depending on how much shield you had before you picked up the overshield.
Quick Reload - This should work for all guns that can reload except for shotgun. Press the reload button, and as soon as you see the clip going into the gun, either switch guns or melee. The reload would save you a bit of time. It's often better to switch weapons than melee.
5. HALO TRIAL
The Halo Trial is the demo for the game. You can use it to evaluate the game to see if you like it, and to see if your computer can run the game before spending the money to purchase the full game.
You can download the Halo Trial from the following URL.
Of course, being a trial, it has limitations on what you can play.
In Single Player, you are limited to the fourth level, The Silent Cartographer.
In Multiplayer, you are limited to Blood Gulch, and can only play Slayer or Capture the Flag. Also, you cannot edit the multiplayer game types. There is no console, so you cannot kick or ban people.
Also, there is no limitation on how long you can play the trial. Take as long as you want. Heck, you can even keep using it after you purchase and install the full version, if you want.
6. HALO CUSTOM EDITION
Initially, Halo CE was a multiplayer-only version of Halo PC, with the ability to play user made maps. Now, however, the campaign maps have been converted to work with Halo CE, and are available as a separate download. You still need a valid Halo PC CD KEY and the Halo PC CD to play.
First, to download Halo Custom Edition, go to the following link and choose one of the mirrors on the left.
To download the Campaign maps, go here and look for the maps made by Renamon:
Naturally, once it's installed, you'll want to play some new maps. Visit the following sites to get maps.
http://www.halomaps.org/ - Very slow download, but lots of maps
http://www.halo2ce.epgservers.com/ - Halo 2 maps
http://www.halomods.com/ - Has good Halo CE maps
The download will most likely be a ZIP or RAR file. You can use WinRAR (http://www.rarlabs.com) to extract the map from either type of file.
After you extracted the map, simply place the MAP files in Halo CE's map folder, then launch the game. The map should now be at the bottom of the map list, if it's an MP map. For SP maps, you need to use the console or a custom UI.map to load them (see below). The default path for Halo CE's map folder is C:\Program Files\Microsoft Games\Halo Custom Edition\maps\
While not required, you can also download custom menus (ui.map) that bring back the Campaign option in the Main Menu. The first link above has a few downloads that can bring Campaign on the Main Menu back. However, even with a custom ui.map, you still can't resume saved progress. If you want to resume saved progress, you MUST use the console.
To set the difficulty for the SP maps, use the console command "game_difficulty_set <difficulty>". The change will take effect for the NEXT map that you load. Note that if you want to play on Legendary, you need to type "impossible" as the difficulty.
To view the difficulty, use the console command "game_difficulty_get_real".
To load the SP maps, use the console command "map_name <filename>", or if you downloaded a ui.map, you can use the menu.
7. HALO EDITING KIT
The HEK allows people to create their own custom maps for Halo Custom Edition. The HEK requires a Halo CE installation.
To get the HEK, go to this page, and choose one of the mirrors on the right side.
To make 3D models, you'll need a 3rd party 3D modeling program such as 3dsmax.