Halo 2

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Halo 2
Halo 2 cover
Developers
Bungie
Pi Studios
Windows Microsoft Game Studios
Publishers
Hired Gun[1]
Engines
Halo Engine
Release dates
Windows May 17, 2007
Halo 2 guide on StrategyWiki
Halo 2 on Wikipedia
Halo
Halo: Combat Evolved 2003
Halo 2 2007
Halo: Spartan Assault 2013
Halo Online 2015*
Halo: Spartan Strike 2015
Halo 5: Forge 2016
Halo Wars: Definitive Edition 2016
Halo Wars 2 2017
Halo Recruit 2017
Halo: The Master Chief Collection 2019
Halo Infinite 2020

This page is for the original 2007 PC release. For the remaster, see Halo: The Master Chief Collection.

Warnings

For Games for Windows - LIVE on Windows 8 or later, install the latest Games for Windows - LIVE software.

Key points

The PC port is also known as Halo 2 Vista or H2V.
It is essential to install the latest GFWL client before installing Halo 2. See Install the latest GFWL client.
Modding tools provided on disc.
All the maps from the Xbox version and its DLC are included except two from the Blastacular Pack (Tombstone and Desolation).
The Halo 2 Live master server went down in 2015 with no indication of its return.[2] See Project Cartographer.

General information

Bungie.net - The developer's site
Halopedia - 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 2 Vista
H2v Hub - Central Hub of the Halo 2 PC community
H2MT Repository - A massive collection of custom maps, mods, tools, & assets

Availability[edit]

Source DRM Notes Keys OS
Retail
Icon overlay.png
Requires online activation
Windows
All versions require Games for Windows - LIVE DRM.[Note 1]
This game is not available digitally.

Essential improvements[edit]

Patches[edit]

The latest patch is 1.01. It is strongly recommended to let the GFWL client auto-update Halo 2. If problems appear, it can be downloaded manually from here.

Skip intro videos[edit]

Use Project Cartographer to toggle the intro[citation needed]

Install the latest Games for Windows - LIVE client[edit]

It is essential to install the latest GFWL client before installing Halo 2, as the version on the disc is broken.
Update Games for Windows - LIVE Redistributable[citation needed]
  1. Uninstall Microsoft Games for Windows – LIVE Redistributable.
  2. Uninstall Microsoft Games for Windows Marketplace.
  3. Install the Games for Windows Marketplace Client.

Project Cartographer[edit]

Project Cartographer is an unofficial multiplayer mod which provides an alternative to the now defunct Games for Windows - LIVE platform for Halo 2 Vista. It allows players to use the Network tab as a server browser and connect via peer-to-peer (P2P) networking. This is a fast and streamlined solution as compared with available LAN gaming solutions, as it retains almost all original Live multiplayer functionality.
Adds a wide variety of extra features into the game itself.
Official website
Features
Source code

Game data[edit]

Configuration file(s) location[edit]

System Location
Windows HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Halo 2\

Save game data location[edit]

System Location
Windows %LOCALAPPDATA%\Microsoft\Halo 2\Saved Games\

Video settings[edit]

In-game graphics settings.
In-game graphics settings.
Halo 2 in windowed mode can support almost any resolution which matches that of the desktop.
Graphics feature State WSGF Notes
Widescreen resolution
Use Project Cartographer with -hiresfix parameter.
Multi-monitor
Use Project Cartographer with -hiresfix parameter.
Ultra-widescreen
Use Project Cartographer with -hiresfix parameter.
4K Ultra HD
Use Project Cartographer with -hiresfix parameter.
Field of view (FOV)
Default is 70°. Use Project Cartographer.
Windowed
Use Project Cartographer to resize the window independently of game settings.
Borderless fullscreen windowed
Use Borderless Gaming or Project Cartographer
Anisotropic filtering (AF)
See the glossary page for potential workarounds.
Anti-aliasing (AA)
Up to 4x MSAA. Can be improved to 8x through the graphics card control panel.
Vertical sync (Vsync)
The game's Vsync may cause performance issues. Force Vsync using D3DOverrider.
60 FPS
Cutscenes are capped at 30 FPS. Use Project Cartographer for 60 FPS cutscenes.
120+ FPS
The game is not designed to go above 60 FPS. Use Project Cartographer's FPS limiter.

Input settings[edit]

In-game general keyboard settings.
In-game general keyboard settings.
In-game keyboard remapping settings.
In-game keyboard remapping settings.
In-game controller settings.
In-game controller settings.
Aim assist is always enabled for controllers. It can be disabled using Project Cartographer.
Keyboard and mouse State Notes
Remapping
For issues with custom keyboard binding, rebind from southpaw/left-handed preset.[3] End cannot be bound, and Home is reserved by Games For Windows Live.
Mouse acceleration
On by default. Use Project Cartographer to enable raw mouse input.
Mouse sensitivity
Can be forced to exceed the max of 10 using Super Sensitivity.
Mouse input in menus
Mouse Y-axis inversion
Controller
Controller support
XInput controllers only.
Full controller support
Controller remapping
Can be implemented using Durazno or XInput Plus.
Controller sensitivity
Can be forced to exceed the max of 10 using Super Sensitivity.
Controller Y-axis inversion
Controller types
XInput-compatible controllers
Xbox button prompts
Xbox 360 controller prompts by default. Xbox one prompts can be obtained using Xbox One controller prompt icon patch
Impulse Trigger vibration
DualShock 4 controllers
Can be implemented using DS4 Windows or Steam Input
DualShock button prompts
Can be implemented using Dualshock controller prompt icon patch
Light bar support
Connection modes unknown
Tracked motion controllers
Generic/other controllers
Older DirectInput controllers can be used with x360ce.
Button prompts
Additional information
Controller hotplugging
Haptic feedback
Simultaneous controller+KB/M
Keyboard controls can be disabled using Project Cartographer options menu.

Audio settings[edit]

In-game audio settings.
In-game audio settings.
Audio feature State Notes
Separate volume controls
Surround sound
Up to 5.1 output
Subtitles
Closed captions
Mute on focus lost

Localizations

Language UI Audio Sub Notes
English
French
Italian
Spanish
Depends on installation disc.
Latin American Spanish
Depends on installation disc.

VR support[edit]

3D modes Native GG3D Notes
Nvidia 3D Vision
See also: Halo 2 3D-Vision and Black Screen Fix
TriDef 3D
iZ3D
vorpX
G3D
User created game profile, read important notes in the vorpx forum profile introduction.

Network[edit]

Online features require a Microsoft account (optional for offline play).

Multiplayer types

Type Native Players Notes
Local play
Xbox version only
LAN play
16 Versus
A Co-op mod is available though it is in beta.
Online play
16 Versus
A Co-op mod is available though it is in beta.

Connection types

Type Native Notes
Matchmaking
Peer-to-peer
Dedicated
An unofficial update by the same people who made Project Cartographer is available here.
Self-hosting
Direct IP

Ports

Protocol Port(s) and/or port range(s)
TCP 53, 80, 443, 3074
UDP 53, 88, 1000-1006, 3074
Universal Plug and Play (UPnP) support status is unknown.
Port range 1000-1006 is required by Project Cartographer to host. See Project Cartographer
Specific details can be found here

Issues unresolved[edit]

No VoIP support[edit]

VoIP support was broken in one of the many GFWL client updates. Repairing it is on Project Cartographer's to do list and not yet implemented.[citation needed]

Issues fixed[edit]

A list of common fixes is available here.

Installation issues[edit]

Run startup.exe on the DVD in Vista compatibility mode[citation needed]

"One of the installation steps failed" error[edit]

You may receive this error message during installation.
Instructions[citation needed]
  1. Exit the installer.
  2. Open the redists folder on the game DVD.
  3. Run vcredist.msi as an administrator.
  4. After it has finished restart the game installer and it should proceed normally.

"LIVE gaming on Windows failed to initialise" error[edit]

This occurs on Windows 8 and later.
Instructions[citation needed]

Download and install these files: xliveredist.msi, gfwlclient.msi and wllogin_**.msi

Sign-in error[edit]

Close Xfire before signing in[citation needed]

Artifacting or flashing on Nvidia cards[edit]

Update Nvidia drivers to 337.88 or newer[citation needed]

Extreme mouse lag/jittering[edit]

Use Project Cartographer to limit the frame rate to 60 FPS[citation needed]

Heavy stuttering[edit]

Native Vsync implementation (enabled by default) is very bad and can cause stuttering even with required 60 FPS.
Force proper Vsync using D3DOverrider or your graphics card control panel[citation needed]

Game text is garbled or disappears[edit]

When running the game in windowed mode at 2K and 4K resolutions, there are issues with text breaking or disappearing completely.
Fix high resolution issues[4]
  1. Install Project Cartographer.
  2. Launch halo2.exe with the -hiresfix parameter.

Game does not save refresh rate of monitor[edit]

The game will not save your preferred refresh rate (120 Hz, 144 Hz, etc.) when you select it from the video settings. It defaults to 60 Hz each time the game reopens and has to be set again.[5]
Force refresh rate on startup[6]
  1. Install Project Cartographer.
  2. Run the game, and click on Cartographer from the main menu, or press Home.
  3. Open the Advanced Settings menu.
  4. Open Other Settings, and select Refresh Rate.
  5. Use the buttons to set the default refresh rate.

Some leaves on trees do not render[edit]

This issue is specific to Nvidia graphics cards.
Fixed in a future update.[7]

MSAA causes white lines on geometry[edit]

This issue is specific to Nvidia graphics cards.

Other information[edit]

API[edit]

Technical specs Supported Notes
Direct3D 9
Shader Model support 3
Executable 32-bit 64-bit Notes
Windows

Middleware[edit]

Middleware Notes
Physics Havok
Audio Miles Sound System
Cutscenes Bink Video
Multiplayer Games for Windows - LIVE

Play without Games for Windows - LIVE[edit]

Games for Windows Live can be disabled as an alternative to using a local profile.
Halo 2 Vista XLiveless[9]

Use Halo 2 Vista XLiveless.

Command-line arguments[edit]

See command line arguments on how to use the following options.[10]
Parameter Description
-windowed Runs the game in windowed mode.
-novsync Disables Vsync. May improve the game performance.
-monitor:X Allows users to move the game between monitors when running in full screen. Replace X with monitor number (found in Windows Display Settings).
-nosound Runs the game without audio.

Example map[edit]

Example is a map not included in Halo 2 by default, but is present on the Halo 2 install disc and can be obtained by installing and using the Halo 2 map editor. Example is the only multiplayer map to include Fuel Rod Cannons, and includes custom "silenced" SMGs that are quieter than the ones in other maps and have laser pointers. Example is the smallest map in any Halo game and is unusually dense with explosives. Can also be directly downloaded here (for those that don't want to install the editor).

Maps ported from other Halo Games[edit]

Maps that are buggy and/or of low quality are excluded from this list.

Halo 2 XBox exclusive[edit]

Halo 1[edit]

Halo 3[edit]

System requirements[edit]

Windows
Minimum Recommended
Operating system (OS) Vista
Processor (CPU) 2 GHz
System memory (RAM) 1 GB
Hard disk drive (HDD) 7 GB
Video card (GPU) Nvidia GeForce 6100
ATI Radeon X700
DirectX 9 compatible
Halo 2 can be played on Windows XP by following this tutorial (Games for Windows - LIVE features will be disabled).

Notes

  1. Games for Windows - LIVE DRM features: Legacy activation, local profile support unknown.

References