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Shishka's HaloPC Pre-Release FAQ 1.0
Posted By: ShishkaDate: 8/8/03 3:52 p.m.

Shishka's HaloPC Pre-Release FAQ 1.0

Disclaimer: This is merely another long Shishka post in which he adds anchor tags to commonly asked questions in the hopes that he can merely link directly to them when the question is inevitably repeated. Shishka is not Bungie, nor Gearbox, nor an admin at H.B.O. He really just talks a lot. He does know people, though, so his word can generally be trusted. He has powers. He's kinda the John Constantine of the Internet. He likes Ninjas and Dragons.

Table of Contents

General Questions

Impatient Little Buggers...

About that port...

Co-op, or the lack thereof

A little about the mod scene

The Technical side of things

General Questions

I thought Halo was XBox only?
In reference to Halo, "Only for XBox" means "Not for Playstation 2 or Gamecube." It's quite common for remarks made in the console industry to not apply to the computer game industry.

But won't Halo PC take sales away from Halo XBox?
Not particularly. In the game market, computer gamers are the minority. More "gamers" play console games instead of computer games, so computer game sales have no sway on the success of a console title.

This is why rumors that "Halo PC was held back by Microsoft so they could sell the XBox" is false. Had Halo PC and Halo XBox been released at the same time, the XBox version would have quickly outsold the PC version, and still would have sold 3 million copies.

Impatient Little Buggers...

So when does Halo PC come out?
As of the date I'm writing this, no official date has been announced. However, it is believed the game will be out sometime in the area of August or September.

Videogame stores may have "release dates" posted on their website, or the guy at the counter might be able to spout out numbers for you. Rest assured, however, the retailers know as much as you do about when Halo is going to be released.


Will there be a playable demo for Halo PC?
A demo will be available shortly after the game is released.

Will there be a public beta test?
Bungie has made no official word on their plans for a beta test.

About that port...

Is Bungie doing the port to PC? What about Mac users?
Bungie has chosen Gearbox Software to write the PC port of Halo. As pieces of the XBox-to-PC rewrite are completed, they are passed on to Westlake Interactive, who are working feverishly on the Mac version of Halo.

As of current, it is understood that both studios are working towards a simultaneous release.

Why doesn't Bungie do the port?
Bungie's focus right now is the expansion and evolution of the Halo universe. This means Halo 2. Bungie decided it would be in their best interests, as well as the best interests of the fans, to find game studios they trust to do the port work.

And just because Bungie isn't directly doing the port does not mean they're not involved. Bungie is keeping a close eye on everything, making sure that the PC version meets their high standards.

What changes are being made to Halo in general for the PC version?
The graphics engine has been nearly entirely rewritten so it better suits windows machines and DirectX 9. Halo PC is being designed with scalability in mind, so your computer doesn't have to be equal to the XBox to play. A large number of bugs and glitches are being fixed as well. The low resolution television textures are being replaced with high resolution textures.

The weapons are also being rebalanced.

Halo for PC is as close as it gets to "per-pixel everything," meaning everything is bumpmapped and other special effects are being used.

What changes are being made to the single player campaign?
Other than the aformentioned bug fixes, there is no change being implemented to the single player campaign.

What changes are being made to multiplayer?
Lots! Splitscreen multiplay is no more. Multiplayer games of up to 16 computers can be played either by LAN or over the Internet. New multiplayer levels have been designed by Gearbox. The Banshee, the covenant one-man flying craft, will be available for multiplayer games that involve vehicular combat. A modified version of the warthog, with a rocket launcher in place of the LAAG, will also be available.

Co-op has been removed from the game, at least for the time being.

Co-op, or the lack thereof

No co-op? Will modders be able to add co-op in as a feature?

Currently, the modability of HaloPC has not been described yet. This means we do not know if we'll be getting a simple map editor, the ability to add new characters, weapons and vehicles in multiplay, or if they're just gonna stick the entire source in and let people go nuts (An obvious exaggeration).

What we know is that there will be a level editor. If that's all, no there will be no way for modders to add in co-op.

Even if modders ARE given a means with which to modify the network code, and are given the chance to put co-op back into Halo, it probably will not happen. If Gearbox, who is being paid to make HaloPC, cannot make a working co-op mode, it's highly doubtful that guys that mod for fun will be able to do so either. Making a networkable co-op mode is very, very difficult.

But Halo XBox had co-op!

Yes, but co-op existed only in split screen mode. No actual "networking" was involved in the original co-op mode. The best way to describe it is that a second camera and Master Chief model was put into the single player game, and the view was split so each person could control a 'Chief.

Why don't they just put split screen co-op into HaloPC?

A split screen style first person shooter multiplayer game does not have the same kind of appeal that it does on the console. PC gamers are used to the freedom of having their comptuer themselves. Further, split screen on Halo PC would mean sharing the keyboard, or using two keyboards. Either way, two mice would be needed for looking controls.

What is so hard about putting network co-op into Halo? They should make 3 player co-op! Or even 16 player co-op so we can have full scale spartan wars!

The issue lies in the amount of information that has to be passed between each person on the network. With your average multiplayer game of Halo, the server needs to concern itself only with player locations, weapon locations, vehicle locations, flag locations, and the movement thereof. The server relays information between each machine, so that the players remain in synch with each other.

In a co-op setting, the server also has to keep track of other events, such as the locations and decision making (known as pathfinding) of AI controlled units. It has to make sure the AI controlled characters move the same way across every machine. Aside from that, it's also imperative that the server makes sure events are synchronized for players, and that players remain within the same loading zones. A number of smaller subtle things lie within co-op that cause it to be a lag-inducing monster when it comes to networked play. Obviously, keeping track of this kind of thing is a lot of work, even if a server is synchronizing two machines together. Essentially, the server would be keeping track of two single player games going on at the same time, and making sure they're synchronized. Sounds like a lot of work, don't it?

Imagine what that'd do to a 16 player game. One machine, playing single player, 16 times, at the same time, making sure all 16 look exactly the same? Not bloody likely. Even over a LAN, you're talking about a LOT of lag issues.

A little about the mod scene

Speaking of modding, I heard modding Halo is hard, does that mean there won't be very many mods?

As I said before, no one has discussed at any length how much gamers will be able to mod Halo. What we do know is that there will be a level editor, and that Gearbox "wants to give us controls to the deeper parts of HaloPC."

What you heard was probably in reference to Halo for XBox, which was not designed in a manner that allows it to be modded. HaloPC is being designed with modders in mind, so the situation will be different.

If you're thinking about Halo mods from the perspective of someone who has little to no experience with game modification, modding in general will seem like a very difficult task. To be true, making a good mod that people will enjoy is never easy. Mods are not weekend jobs, they often spend months if not years in the making before being released.

Even simple additions, like a new weapon, require lots of work, such as the modeling of the weapon several times (for each level of detail, and for the player view while the player is wielding the weapon), the ammo the weapon fires, and at what rate, how many bullets to a clip, rate of fire, what the shot actually "looks like," the bullet hole, the speed of the bullet, the pose you need Master Chief to be in as he holds the weapon, the reload animation, the firing animation, the model for ammo containters, textures for the bullets, casings (if applicable), the weapon and the clips... Here, I'll give you a moment to uncross your eyes. Now, think about levels... Wait, there go your eyes again!

Will there be a place for me to download new models, maps and other cool Halo PC Stuff?

Shishka plans to pester Louis until something is arranged. If HBO and its mirrors are unable to host mods and mod-related information, you can always turn to Polycount.

The Technical side of things

Will my computer be able to play Halo? It's got...

A finalized spec requirement sheet has not been released by Gearbox yet. The following are UNNOFFICIAL system requirements, as suggested by me (Shishka).

To play Halo:
800mhz processor
256 megs of RAM
GeForce2MX or ATI equivalent graphics card (at least 32 megs of RAM in your video card)
At least Windows 2000, or Mac OS X.2
At least one gigabyte of open hard disk space

To play Halo well
1 ghz processor or higher
512 megs of RAM
GeForce3 or ATI equivalent (at least 64 megs of RAM, and support for pixel shaders)
Win2k or OS X.2
Multiple gigabytes of open hard disk space

To play Halo so nicely your mother will want to cry:
1.8ghz processor or higher,
1 gig of RAM,
GeForceFX or ATI equivalent (128+ megs of RAM)
Win2k or OS X.2
At least 7 gigs of hard disk space

To play Halo so incredibly well the Pope will want to have a turn:
20 phz wetware processor
RAM's unimportant, use a human brain for memory
Your AI should handle turning Halo into an immersive virtual world
Ask your AI about the OS
Who uses hard disks in the year 7000?

A note about GeForce cards: The GeForce 4 MX is a misnomer; it is actually more like a GeForce 2 MX than it is like a GeForce 4. The actual order of quality in GeForce cards goes as follows (from worst to best):

GeForce2 MX
GeForce4 MX
GeForce3 TI
GeForce4 TI
GeForce FX

What kind of graphics card/RAM/hard drive/*insert computer thing here* should I buy?
We're a Halo forum, so this isn't our field, per se. Recommendations have been made here before, search instead of asking us to repeat ourselves. If you want some really good information, check out Tom's Hardware Guide, you'll find in depth reviews of all the latest technology there. Also, go to the store and compare prices. Remember- you get what you pay for.

Thus, another FAQ comes to close. If you have anything to add or update please do so by replying to this thread, and naming your specific change/addition in the subject of your reply. Thanks!


Message Index


Shishka's HaloPC Pre-Release FAQ 1.0Shishka 8/8/03 3:52 p.m.
     ... All in one nice little packageThe MorningStar 8/8/03 4:05 p.m.
     Re: Shishka's HaloPC Pre-Release FAQ 1.0Louis Wu 8/8/03 4:06 p.m.
           Re: Shishka's HaloPC Pre-Release FAQ 1.0Shishka 8/8/03 4:07 p.m.
           Re: Shishka's HaloPC Pre-Release FAQ 1.0Pulser 8/8/03 4:10 p.m.
     Re: Shishka's HaloPC Pre-Release FAQ 1.0Red Loser 8/8/03 4:15 p.m.
           Re: Shishka's HaloPC Pre-Release FAQ 1.0Shishka 8/8/03 4:20 p.m.
                 Re: Shishka's HaloPC Pre-Release FAQ 1.0Vid Boi 8/8/03 5:08 p.m.
     Re: Shishka's HaloPC Pre-Release FAQ 1.0Roger Wilco 8/8/03 5:04 p.m.
           Re: Shishka's HaloPC Pre-Release FAQ 1.0Roger Wilco 8/8/03 5:06 p.m.
     Re: Shishka's HaloPC Pre-Release FAQ 1.0Vid Boi 8/8/03 5:09 p.m.
           Same here... Only i'm to young to get a job :-( *NM*BLown-Upp 8/8/03 5:11 p.m.
                 Re: Same here... Only i'm to young to get a job :-edwin14 8/8/03 5:15 p.m.
                       Possibly a couple hundred $... :( *NM*Shinai Purugganan 8/8/03 5:23 p.m.
                             You are all lucky, I don't even have a comp!Shinai Purugganan 8/8/03 5:27 p.m.
                 Re: Same here... Only i'm to young to get a job :-Vid Boi 8/8/03 5:15 p.m.
                       Well, at least you don't have forum phobia. >:) *NM*Shinai Purugganan 8/8/03 5:25 p.m.
                             Honestly, I'd rather have that =( *NM*Vid Boi 8/8/03 5:30 p.m.
                                   You're not alone; we're all with ya! *NM*Shinai Purugganan 8/8/03 5:35 p.m.
                                         Re: You're not alone; we're all with ya!Vid Boi 8/8/03 5:42 p.m.
           Re: Shishka's HaloPC Pre-Release FAQ 1.0SniperMan27 8/8/03 8:30 p.m.
                 Re: Shishka's HaloPC Pre-Release FAQ 1.0GrandMasterLuis 8/19/03 10:52 p.m.
     Nice FAQ! *NM*SketchFactor 8/8/03 5:13 p.m.
           Thanks!Shishka 8/8/03 5:22 p.m.
                 Re: Thanks!Hawk7886 8/8/03 10:51 p.m.
                       Re: Thanks!Louis Wu 8/8/03 11:17 p.m.
     Re: Shishka's HaloPC Pre-Release FAQ 1.0botman 8/8/03 7:15 p.m.
           Re: Shishka's HaloPC Pre-Release FAQ 1.0Louis Wu 8/8/03 10:40 p.m.
                 He's from GearBox? *NM*BLown-Upp 8/8/03 11:12 p.m.
     Maybe I'm crazy but...Simpsons Rule 8/8/03 7:38 p.m.
           Re: Maybe I'm crazy but...edwin14 8/8/03 9:32 p.m.
     Linux? *NM*Dead Bob 8/13/03 11:23 p.m.
           Re: Linux?Zac 8/14/03 12:11 a.m.
                 Re: Linux?goatrope 8/14/03 12:40 a.m.
                       Re: Linux?SniperMan27 8/14/03 12:56 a.m.
                             Re: Linux?jayWHY 8/14/03 1:12 a.m.
     Shishka's HaloPC Pre-Release FAQ 2.0Shishka 8/17/03 6:57 p.m.
           Re: Shishka's HaloPC Pre-Release FAQ 2.0Simpsons Rule 8/17/03 7:11 p.m.
                 Re: Shishka's HaloPC Pre-Release FAQ 2.0Shishka 8/17/03 7:23 p.m.
                       Re: Shishka's HaloPC Pre-Release FAQ 2.0Camperdave 8/17/03 7:33 p.m.
                             Re: Shishka's HaloPC Pre-Release FAQ 2.0Shishka 8/17/03 7:38 p.m.
                                   Re: Shishka's HaloPC Pre-Release FAQ 2.0Simpsons Rule 8/17/03 8:36 p.m.
           Re: Shishka's HaloPC Pre-Release FAQ 2.0oddworld18 8/17/03 8:10 p.m.
                 Re: Shishka's HaloPC Pre-Release FAQ 2.0electronerd 8/18/03 12:49 p.m.
                       Re: Shishka's HaloPC Pre-Release FAQ 2.0Shishka 8/18/03 1:14 p.m.
                             Re: Shishka's HaloPC Pre-Release FAQ 2.0Alf-Life 9/10/03 8:02 p.m.
                                   Re: Shishka's HaloPC Pre-Release FAQ 2.0Shishka 9/10/03 8:15 p.m.
           controller???m6dRoundInYourHead 9/17/03 5:47 p.m.
                 yesThe MorningStar 9/17/03 5:52 p.m.
           Shishka's HaloPC Pre-Release FAQ 3.0Shishka 9/19/03 3:25 p.m.
                 Shweet. *NM*Some Random Guy 9/19/03 3:41 p.m.
                 Clap Clap. *NM*MereCatfish 9/19/03 3:42 p.m.
                 Halo and LinuxShishka 9/19/03 3:57 p.m.
                       Added. *NM*Louis Wu 9/19/03 4:34 p.m.
                 Re: Shishka's HaloPC Pre-Release FAQ 3.0Alexis 9/19/03 5:51 p.m.
                       Re: Shishka's HaloPC Pre-Release FAQ 3.0Shishka 9/19/03 6:08 p.m.
                 Re: Shishka's HaloPC Pre-Release FAQ 3.0The MorningStar 9/19/03 8:29 p.m.

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