Halo: Combat Evolved

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Halo: Combat Evolved
Halo: Combat Evolved cover
Developers
Bungie
Windows Gearbox Software
macOS (OS X) Westlake Interactive
Publishers
Microsoft Game Studios
macOS (OS X) MacSoft
Engines
Halo Engine
Release dates
Windows September 30, 2003
macOS (OS X) December 3, 2003
Halo: Combat Evolved guide at StrategyWiki
Halo: Combat Evolved at Wikipedia
Halo
Halo: Combat Evolved 2003
Halo 2 2007
Halo: Spartan Assault 2013
Halo: Spartan Strike 2015
Halo 5: Forge 2016
Halo Wars: Definitive Edition 2016
Halo Wars 2 2017
Halo Recruit 2017
Halo Infinite TBA

Key points

For shorthand clarity in a PC context, the standard unmoddable version of the game is Halo PC. The moddable version of the game is Halo CE (Halo Custom Edition)
Patch 1.10 fixes issues with modern hardware and replaces the GameSpy master server.
Animations, effects, and cutscenes are capped at 30 FPS.[1] See High frame rate.

General information

Bungie.net - The developer's site
Halo Nation - A very detailed wiki for everything Halo related
Halo.Bungie.org - One of the biggest Halo fan sites around
Halo Maps - A fan site for downloading mods and maps for Halo Custom Edition
Fan-made forum thread about enhancing many aspects of Halo CE and Halo PC. Newly Updated.

Availability[edit]

Source DRM Notes Keys OS
Retail
Disc check (requires the CD/DVD in the drive to play)
CD key
SafeDisc v2 DRM[Note 1].
Windows
macOS (OS X)
The official demo for the game can be found here.
Disc checking was removed in Patch 1.08.

Essential improvements[edit]

Patches[edit]

Patch 1.10 updates the Windows version. Includes all previous patches. Patch notes may be found here.
The Mavericks/Lobby patches for the OS X version switches to the new Patch 1.10 lobby servers and optionally fixes compatibility with OS X Mavericks (10.9). Still requires the latest official patch to function properly.

Halo Custom Edition[edit]

Halo Custom Edition allows players to play multiplayer Halo games on user-created maps.

Modifications[edit]

Chimera[edit]

Chimera is a mod for Halo Custom Edition which contributes a wide variety of essential features to enhance or fix Halo.
Official documentation for build -572 on Google Drive.
Discord server with alpha build downloads.

Open Sauce[edit]

Open Sauce is a mod for Halo Custom Edition that fixes multiple issues and adds several features for modders.

Halo Anticheat 2[edit]

Halo Anticheat 2 (or HAC2) is a mod that fixes multiple issues and adds several features. Supports all versions of Halo: Combat Evolved and Custom Edition.
Open Sauce and Halo Anticheat 2 are not compatible with each other. Only one of the mods can be installed at any given point. That being said, a potential workaround is available

Halo Mini Demo[edit]

HaloMD is a mod (perhaps even the only one) for the Mac release of Halo that addresses compatibility issues with later operating systems and adds support for hosting and playing on custom maps (Custom Edition was not released for the Mac).

CMT SPV3[edit]

SPV3 is a revamp of the original campaign, featuring new weapons, enemies, vehicles, abilities, features and levels.

Project Lumoria[edit]

Project Lumoria is a brand new campaign story for Halo CE; stays true to the classic Halo CE feel.

Skip intro videos[edit]

Add -novideo parameter[citation needed]
  1. See Command line arguments.
  2. Add the -novideo parameter.

Game data[edit]

Configuration file(s) location[edit]

System Location
Windows %USERPROFILE%\Documents\My Games\Halo\
macOS (OS X)

Save game data location[edit]

System Location
Windows %USERPROFILE%\Documents\My Games\Halo\
macOS (OS X) %USERPROFILE%\Documents\Halo\
Custom Edition saves in %USERPROFILE%\Documents\My Games\Halo CE\
Mini Demo saves in %USERPROFILE%\Documents\HLMD\

Video settings[edit]

In-game video settings.
In-game video settings.

Widescreen resolution[edit]

Run the game in widescreen[4]
  1. Install 1.10 to add support for resolutions up to 4800x3600. For custom resolutions, see Command line parameters.
  2. Install Chimera (latest alpha build).
  3. Start the game and press ~ to open the in-game console.
  4. Type in chimera_widescreen_fix 1 - Fixes the HUD (mostly)
  5. Type in chimera_safe_zones true - Emulate Xbox safe zones.
  6. Type in chimera_sniper_hud_fix true - Fixes the sniper HUD. (May not work on protected maps)
  7. Type in chimera_vfov 1 - Locks to a specific vertical FOV. 1 defaults to 55.41 degrees or Halo’s standard FOV.
  8. Type in chimera_block_letterbox true - Disables the letterbox effect in cutscenes.
  9. Press ~ again to close the console.

Field of view (FOV)[edit]

By default, Halo compresses its vertical FOV rather than stretching its horizontal FOV in widescreen resolutions.
Set vertical FOV[4]
  1. Install Chimera (latest alpha build).
  2. Start the game and press ~ to open the in-game console.
  3. Type in chimera_vfov followed by a value (e.g. chimera_vfov 60). 1 defaults to 55.41 degrees or Halo’s standard FOV.
Set custom FOV[citation needed]
  1. Install Open Sauce.
  2. Start the game and press F7 while playing.
  3. Adjust the FOV slider to your liking (5° increments only).
Set custom FOV[5]
  1. Install Halo Anticheat 2.
  2. Start the game and press F6 while playing.
  3. Move the mouse to adjust the FOV and press F6 to set it. Press Shift+F6 to reset.
  4. Alternatively, type in fov <value> in the console to use a specific value.

Windowed[edit]

Run in windowed/borderless mode[citation needed]
  1. Download and run DxWnd.
  2. Click on Edit, then Add.
  3. Set the path to <path-to-game>\halo.exe or <path-to-game>\haloce.exe.
  4. Enable Do not notify on task switch.
  5. Type in the window size and position or enable Desktop for borderless fullscreen windowed.
  6. Click on the Input tab and enable Unacquire input devices on focus lost.
  7. Click OK, File, Save, and start the game with DxWnd running.

Anisotropic filtering (AF)[edit]

Enable anisotropic filtering[4]
  1. Install Chimera (latest alpha build).
  2. Start the game and press ~ to open the in-game console.
  3. Type in chimera_af true to enable anisotropic filtering.
  4. Press ~ again to close the console.

Notes

Forcing anisotropic filtering in the graphics card control panel gives the best results.

Anti-aliasing (AA)[edit]

Forcing MSAA in the graphics card control panel has no effect.
Force post-process SMAA[citation needed]
  1. Download injectSMAA.
  2. Extract the contents of d3d9 to <path-to-game>.
  3. Open <path-to-game>\injector.ini.
  4. Set preset to SMAA_PRESET_ULTRA.

High frame rate[edit]

Animations, effects, and cutscenes are not interpolated, and therefore appear choppy at frame rates above 30 FPS.[1]
Enabling interpolation makes objects' movements appear much smoother.
Fix issues with 30 FPS animations and cutscenes[4]
  1. Install Chimera (latest alpha build).
  2. Start the game and press ~ to open the in-game console.
  3. Type in chimera_uncap_cinematic true to disable the 30 FPS cap in cutscenes.
  4. Type in chimera_interpolate followed by your desired level: off/low/medium/high/ultra.
  5. Type in chimera_throttle_fps if you want to cap the frame rate (e.g. chimera_throttle_fps 240).
  6. Press ~ again to close the console.

Input settings[edit]

In-game controls settings.
In-game controls settings.
In-game mouse settings.
In-game mouse settings.
In-game gamepad settings.
In-game gamepad settings.
Keyboard and mouse Native Notes
Remapping
Mouse acceleration
See Mouse acceleration.
Mouse sensitivity
See Mouse sensitivity.
Mouse input in menus
Mouse Y-axis inversion
Controller
Controller support
Full controller support
Menus can not be navigated with a controller with out third-party tools.
Controller remapping
You cannot bind two actions to a single button with out third-party tools.
Controller sensitivity
Set in Controls Setup → Advanced while the gamepad is selected as a device.
Controller Y-axis inversion
Set in Mouse Setup.
Additional information
Button prompts Input settings icon - Generic Controller.svg
Controller hotplugging
Haptic feedback
Simultaneous controller+KB/M

Mouse acceleration[edit]

Disable mouse acceleration[4]
  1. Install Chimera (latest alpha build).
  2. Start the game and press ~ to open the in-game console.
  3. Type in chimera_block_mouse_acceleration true to disable mouse acceleration.
  4. Press ~ again to close the console.

Mouse sensitivity[edit]

Set horizontal and vertical mouse sensitivities[4]
  1. Install Chimera (latest alpha build).
  2. Start the game and press ~ to open the in-game console.
  3. Type in chimera_mouse_sensitivity <horizontal> <vertical> to set the horizontal and vertical mouse sensitivities.
  4. Press ~ again to close the console.

Notes

Values less than 1 do not work properly if mouse acceleration is enabled.

Audio settings[edit]

In-game audio settings.
In-game audio settings.
Audio options Native Notes
Separate volume controls
Master, effects and music.
Surround sound
Up to 7.0 output.[6] May require DirectSound 3D restoration software.
Subtitles
Closed captions
Mute on focus lost
EAX support
Needs a fix for modern systems; see DirectSound 3D restoration software.

Localizations

Language UI Audio Sub Notes
English
French
Only in French version of the game
Italian
Spanish

Network[edit]

In-game network settings.
In-game network settings.

Multiplayer types

Type Native Notes
Local play
Xbox version only.
LAN play
Versus
Online play
Versus
See Patches.

Connection types

Ports

Protocol Port(s) and/or port range(s)
TCP (outbound) 80
UDP (outbound) 2302, 2303

Issues fixed[edit]

Make Open Sauce and Halo Anticheat 2 compatible[edit]

Fix compatibility on Windows 8 and later[7]
  1. Download hac.dll and copy it to Halo CE's installation folder.
  2. Start the game with the -no_os_gamestate command line argument.
  3. To avoid irregularities, untick map downloading in Open Sauce.
Fix compatibility on Windows 7[8]
  1. Download hac.dll and copy it to Halo CE's installation folder.
  2. Start the game as administrator for map downloading to work
  3. To avoid irregularities, untick map downloading in Open Sauce.

Open Sauce can't be installed[edit]

Install missing dependency[9]
  1. Open the Windows Features menu.
  2. Install .NET Framework 3.5.
  • Just extracts the game files and requires no dependencies.

Run the game at screen refresh rate[edit]

Refresh rates up to 120 Hz are available; 144 Hz and above require a fix.
Set refresh rate through command line argument[citation needed]

Start the game with the -vidmode w,h,r command line argument. This forces the game to run at the width(w), height(h), and refresh(r) specified. Example: -vidmode 1920,1080,144.

Set screen refresh rate[citation needed]
  1. Install Special K by following the Special K Unofficial Guide.
  2. Start the game once and close it to allow the configuration file of Special K to be created.
  3. Open <path-to-game>\d3d9.ini or %USERPROFILE%\Documents\My Mods\SpecialK\Profiles\haloce.exe\SpecialK.ini depending on the installation method you used.
  4. Change RefreshRate=-1 to RefreshRate=0 under [Render.FrameRate].

Buggy auto-centering of vehicles[edit]

Fix auto-centering[4][11]
  1. Install Chimera (latest alpha build).
  2. Start the game and press ~ to open the in-game console.
  3. Type in chimera_auto_center followed by a value:
    • 0 - Broken stock behavior
    • 1 - Fixed behavior
    • 2 - Disable automatic centering
  4. Press ~ again to close the console.

Mouse wheel activates other background windows[edit]

Confine cursor to window[citation needed]
  1. Install Special K by following the Special K Unofficial Guide.
  2. Start the game once and close it to allow the configuration file of Special K to be created.
  3. Open <path-to-game>\d3d9.ini or %USERPROFILE%\Documents\My Mods\SpecialK\Profiles\haloce.exe\SpecialK.ini depending on the installation method you used.
  4. Change ConfineCursor=False to ConfineCursor=True under [Window.System].

Activating hardware acceleration or environmental sound causes sounds to cut out randomly[edit]

ASUS sound cards cut out short-duration audio streams for power management, as a result the assault rifle will become silent when holding the fire button.[12]
Add the sound card to the config.txt file[citation needed]
  1. Go to the Device Manager and expand the Sound, video and game controllers section.
  2. Right-click on the primary playback device (Example: ASUS Essence STX II) and click Proporties.
  3. Go to the Details tab and change the Property listbox to show the Hardware IDs.
  4. Write down the Vendor ID (Example: VEN_13F6) and the Device ID (Example: DEV_8788).
  5. Open <path-to-game>\config.txt.
  6. Press Ctrl+F and type 0x plus the Vendor ID (Example: 0x13F6) and click Find Next to see if the Vendor ID is already listed in the config.
//If the AudioVendor already exists:
0xDEVID = "Sound Card Name" // EXAMPLE: 0x8788 = "ASUS Essence STX II"
	HeadRelativeSpeech
	EnableStopStart
	break
//If the AudioVendor doesn't exist:
AudioVendor = 0xVENDOR_ID "Vendor Name" // EXAMPLE: AudioVendor = 0x13F6 "C-Media"
0xDEVICE_ID = "Sound Card Name" // EXAMPLE: 0x8788 = "ASUS Essence STX II"
	HeadRelativeSpeech
	EnableStopStart
	break

Broken main menu background flyby[edit]

i.e. The flyby for the Halo ring in the main menu background is not following the correct path.
Enable Vsync[13]

Other information[edit]

API[edit]

Technical specs Supported Notes
Direct3D 9
OpenGL 1 OS X only.
Shader Model support 1.1, 1.4, 2.0
64-bit executable

Middleware[edit]

Middleware Notes
Cutscenes Bink Video only for credits, post-credit sequence, and intro videos.
Multiplayer GameSpy Was shutdown in late 2014. New host uses HostPC.com

Halo Custom Edition campaign port[edit]

Restore classic campaign[citation needed]
  1. Download Universal UI and Moses's Refined Campaign.
  2. Extract all .map files to <path-to-game>\maps\.
  3. Make sure that the original ui.map is kept outside of the maps folder.

Notes

You can also run any level manually by starting the game with the -console command line argument and using the console command map_name <name> (for example map_name a30 to run the Halo level).[14]
The Silent Cartographer: Evolved is a ground-up re-imagining of the Halo: Combat Evolved map of the same name.

Disable zoom blur[edit]

Block zoom blur[4]
  1. Install Chimera.
  2. Start the game and press ~ to open the in-game console.
  3. Type in chimera_block_zoom_blur true.
  4. Press ~ again to close the console.

Command line parameters[edit]

See command line arguments on how to use the following options.
Parameter Description
-nosound Disable all sound
-novideo Disable video playback
-nojoystick Disable joysticks and gamepads
-nogamma Disables adjustment of gamma
-useff Forces the game to run as a fixed function card
-use11 Forces the game to run as a shader 1.1 card
-use14 Forces the game to run as a shader 1.4 card
-use20 Forces the game to run as a shader 2.0 card
-safemode Disables as much as possible when running the game
-window Run the game in windowed mode
-width x Forces the game to run at a specified resolution
-vidmode w,h,r Forces the game to run at the width(w), height(h), and refresh(r) specified
-adapter x Forces the game to run fullscreen on a multimon (multiple monitors) adapter
-port x Server port address used when hosting multiplayer games
-cport x Client port address used when joining multiplayer games
-ip x.x.x.x Server IP address used when you have multiple IP addresses
-screenshot Enables the Print screen key to generate screenshots. Having this always enabled can cause a slight decrease in performance
-console Enables the debugging console
-devmode Enables the Halo Developer Mode

System requirements[edit]

Windows
Minimum Recommended
Operating system (OS) 98SE ME, 2000, XP
Processor (CPU) 733 MHz
System memory (RAM) 128 MB 256 MB
Hard disk drive (HDD) 1.3 GB
Video card (GPU) 32 MB of VRAM
DirectX 9.0b compatible
macOS (OS X)
Minimum
Operating system (OS) 10.2.8 (10.3.9 for UB version)
Processor (CPU) PowerPC G4
System memory (RAM) 256 MB
Hard disk drive (HDD) 1.4 GB (1.5 GB for UB version)
Video card (GPU) Nvidia GeForce 2MX/ATI 7500 or better (ATI Radeon 8500/9000, GeForce 3Ti/4Ti for UB version)
32 MB of VRAM

Notes

  1. SafeDisc retail DRM does not work on Windows 10[2] and is disabled by default on Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 8.1 when the KB3086255 update is installed.[3]

References