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Shishka's HaloPC Pre-Release FAQ 3.0
Posted By: Shishka <>Date: 9/19/03 3:25 p.m.

In Response To: Shishka's HaloPC Pre-Release FAQ 2.0 (Shishka)

Shishka's HaloPC Pre-Release FAQ 3.1

This post was created to answer questions about HaloPC (the Gearbox port of the first Halo) - it has nothing whatsoever to do with any port of Halo 2. It remains linked from our forum because it contains a substantial amount of useful info, and for legacy reasons.

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. All the important people nod when he says things though, so you might want to consider his information. As this is being written, he is having a bad hair day, and would love a piece of toast with butter. Mmmm, buttered toast...

*** denotes information updated from previous version

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

***More about Multiplayer

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?
***Halo for the Windows operating systems is planned for a September 30th release. The Mac version is still in testing and scheduled for the coming fall season.***

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?
***Beta testing for Halo PC has ended. Halo Mac will not have public testing. This is because of Microsoft's philosophy of cleaning bugs out of a game as much as possible before giving it to the public.***

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.

Due to the nature of the project, Halo for Mac will be released after Halo PC.

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 also the addition of being able to save multiple checkpoints that can be loaded at any time.

Halo PC's single player campaign is also seeing a significant speed increase. The loading screen between levels is gone, as it's no longer needed.

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?

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?

After the release of the game, the modding tools will be soon to follow. With them, gamers will have the opportunity to add levels, vehicles, weapons, creatures, even entire campaigns into Halo. However, it will not be an easy task. Halo is a very complex game, and making content for it requires a lot of time and patience.

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!

***Release details on the editing tools are still unclear. At minimum, Gearbox plans to give what is needed to create custom multiplayer levels. It is possible that tools will be released sequentially, eventually giving the user the ability to completely customise Halo. However, Gearbox is still looking into the best way to go about the tools release.***

***Mac users will unfortunately not be able to use the editing tools.***

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

Gearbox plans on hosting a Halo mod community, complete with tutorials and free content downloads.

***People are gathering together to form modding groups. Watch for advertisements on the various Halo forums if you wish to join any of these groups.***

The Technical side of things

***How many disks is Halo? DVD-ROM or CD-ROM?***

***Halo PC takes up one CD-ROM. Gearbox was greatly successful in lowering Halo's footprint, so a DVD-ROM is not required, nor is multiple disks.***
Will my computer be able to play Halo? It's got...

***Here's a general list of technical requirements in order to run Halo. The minimum requirements are those suggested by Gearbox, the rest are guidelines that I've written for you.***

***To play Halo:***
733mhz processor
128 megs of RAM
Transform and Lighting capable video card with at least 32 megs of RAM.
At least Windows 98SE, or Mac OS X.2
At least one gigabyte of open hard disk space
56k Modem

***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
Cable or DSL internet connection

***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, DirectX 9 Support)
Win2k or OS X.2
At least 7 gigs of hard disk space for all those maps you'll be downloading.
Fast Cable or DSL connection (or T1 or greater)

To play Halo so incredibly well the Pope will want to have a turn:
20 petrahertz 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?
The internet was outlawed after the battle of Los Angeles III.

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

***Many computers come with integrated video cards. These simply will not do for playing Halo, as they were not designed to support immersive 3d software and the DirectX code that drives it. While there are ancient 3d cards that meet the minimum RAM requirement, you won't get much of an experience playing with anything below a GeForce2MX. For the sake of enjoyment, do not play Halo on anything below a GeForce2 MX (or ATI Equivalent).***

***Having said that, the rest of the requirements are flexible. Beta testers with processors slower than 733 have played and enjoyed Halo, for example. However, keep in mind, a lower end machine means lower end graphics, and Halo on your computer won't look like Halo on your XBox because of it.***

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.

***What about lag? Is there any lag in Halo PC?***
***As with every other 3d game in existance, slow or otherwise poor connections will result in laggy gameplay. Your ability to play a smooth game of Halo PC is directly related to a number of variables, such as your internet connection, your proximity to the server, the speed and reliability of the host's connection, etc. If other games you play lag in multi for you, don't expect Halo PC to be much faster.***

***Will gamers be able to run their own servers? How about dedicated servers?
***Yes, gamers will be able to run their own servers, both in LAN and internet settings.***

***The more hardcore server admin will have the option of downloading dedicated server software from Gearbox's website after the release of the game. The dedicated server requires Halo PC be installed on the host machine in order to run.***

***How is Gamespy involved in HaloPC multiplayer? Am I going to have to pay to play online?
***Gamespy is providing the metaserver for HaloPC, free of charge. The metaserver is what you connect to when you grab the list of internet servers. To repeat myself: This is not a pay service, it is provided free to the users and this is not subject to change.***

***Will Halo be available for Linux? How about the dedicated server software?
***No, there are no plans to develop for Linux. This includes the dedicates server software.***

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!

This is the FINAL RELEASE of this FAQ. I promise.

Yes, I went crazy with the asterii, some of you need as many sparklies as possible to get you to pay attention.


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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