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  1. 1. Microsoft Halo for the PC Readme File - Halo Custom EditionApril 2004© Microsoft Corporation, 2001–2004. All rights reserved.For details specific to this Halo Custom Edition release, please see Section K below.Welcome to Halo for the PC!This file contains information to help you troubleshoot issues with Halo® for the PC. You can findinformation on Microsoft® Product Support Services in the printed or online manual.Note: If Halo came installed on your computer as an OEM version, contact the manufacturer ofthe computer or other hardware it was bundled with for product support. Refer to thedocumentation that came with your computer or hardware for the product support telephonenumber.For the latest support and troubleshooting information, please visit System RequirementsB. Installation Installing Halo Installing DirectX 9.0b SafeDisc IssuesC. Getting Help Viewing the Online Print PiecesD. Command PromptE. Configuration IssuesF. 3D Card IssuesG. 3D Card Drivers and ManufacturersH. Audio TroubleshootingI. Additional Multiplayer Information Default Ports Network Settings Direct IP Connection Checking for UpdatesJ. Multiplayer TroubleshootingK. Post-Release Update HistoryA. System RequirementsHalo requires a personal computer with the following minimum requirements. • Multimedia personal computer with a 733 MHz or higher processor. • Windows 98 Second Edition, Windows Me, Windows 2000 Service Pack 1, or Windows XP. • 128 Megabytes (MB) of RAM. • 1.3 GB of available hard disk space. • 8× CD-ROM drive. • 32 MB 3D hardware-transform-and-lighting-capable video display. • Keyboard and Microsoft Mouse or compatible pointing device. • Sound card and speakers or headphones.
  2. 2. • DirectX 9.0b (included on CD; see below for installation instructions). • 56 Kbps modem or LAN for online network play. Broadband required to run a server.B. InstallationIf your computer does not automatically install Halo after the CD is inserted into the CD-ROMdrive, perform the following procedure.To install Halo manually1. On the Windows taskbar, click Start, and then click Run.2. Type x:setup, where x is the letter of your CD-ROM drive, and then click OK. For example, if your CD-ROM drive letter is D, type d:setup.3. Click Install, and then follow the instructions that appear on the screen.Installing DirectX 9.0bIf for some reason DirectX 9.0b was not installed with the game, use the following procedure toinstall it manually.To install DirectX 9.0b manually1. Insert the Halo Disc in the CD-ROM drive.2. In Windows Explorer, double-click the CD-ROM drive and then the DirectX folder.3. Double-click Dxsetup.exe, and then follow the instructions that appear on the screen. You must restart your computer when installation is complete.If you experience video or sound problems using DirectX, always check with your video or soundcard manufacturer for the latest DirectX-compatible drivers, or go to for the latest troubleshooting information.SafeDisc IssuesThe Halo copy-protection software, SafeDisc, requires that the game be installed from the CD;you cannot copy files from the CD to the computer and then install from the computers harddrive.SafeDisc with SoftwareSafeDisc is incompatible with some software, which includes the following.McAfee (Network Associates) Nuts & Bolts: Nuts & Bolts causes the game to fail if the BombShelter utility is in a certain configuration. The following steps allow SafeDisc-protected productsto be used:1. Maximize Bomb Shelter.
  3. 3. 2. In the Bomb Shelter dialog box, click Properties.3. In the Error Protection group, click Advanced.4. In the Advanced Properties tab, deselect the Write Protect VMM check box.5. Click Apply or OK, and then click OK on all subsequent screens.C. Getting HelpYou can get help for Halo in the following ways: • For an overview of the game as well as for information about getting started and playing the game, see the Halo printed manual. The manual is also available in PDF format on the Halo CD. • Visit the Support Center Games Web site ( to view top support issues, product-specific content, and other related resources for playing games. Additionally, to help you troubleshoot issues associated with game setup, performance, multiplayer networking, sound, video, or your game controller, visit one of the Troubleshooting Resource Centers available on the site. Please note that Microsoft support is only provided for issues with the retail game. For any questions specific to Halo Custom Edition, please visit the forums at www.gearboxsoftware.comViewing the Online Print PiecesAdobe® Reader® ( allows you to view and print the online versions of theHalo manual, which are located in the Manuals folder as .pdf files.Copyright © 2003 Adobe Systems Incorporated. All rights reserved.Adobe, the Adobe logo, and Reader are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Adobe Systems Incorporated in theUnited States and/or other countries.D. Command PromptYou can run Halo from a Windows command prompt (e.g., C:Program FilesMicrosoftGamesHaloHalo.exe). The following is a list of arguments you may use running Halo from acommand prompt entering “halo.exe –argument.”-?Displays a list of all arguments.-nosoundDisables all sound.-novideoDisables video playback.-nojoystickDisables joystick/gamepads.-nogammaDisables adjustment of gamma.
  4. 4. -useffForces the game to run as a fixed function card.-use11Forces the game to run as a shader 1.1 card.-use20Forces the game to run as a shader 2.0 card.-safemodeDisables as much as possible from the game.-windowRuns the game in a window.-width640Forces the game to run at 640x480.-vidmode w,h,rForces the game to run at width, height, refresh rate.-adapter xForces the game to run fullscreen on a multimon adaptor.-port xServer port address used when hosting games.-cport xClient port address used when joining games.-ip x.x.x.xServer IP address used when you have multiple IP addresses.-screenshotEnables the "Print Screen" key to generate screenshots-timedemoRuns four movies and writes out timedemo.txt.-consoleEnables the debugging console.Notes:  A number of these command prompt arguments are used by PSS to troubleshoot problems.  Many of the command prompt arguments mirror functionality available from within the standard Halo user interface.E. Configuration IssuesKnown hardware and operating system configuration issues are listed in this section. For issueswith specific 3D cards, see section F, "3D Card Issues."For assistance with top performance issues, visit
  5. 5. Performance may be poor after standby or suspend mode: If you manually or automaticallyput your computer on standby or suspend mode while playing the game, performance may bepoor when you come out of standby or suspend mode and resume the game: music and soundsmay not be heard, transitions may be choppy, or the game may hang. To resolve, restart thegame.Enable direct memory access (DMA) in your IDE controller on Windows 98 Second Editionand Windows Millennium Edition: When you enable DMA on your computer, you improve thegame performance and stability.To enable DMA: 1. Close all programs that are running on your computer. 2. Click Start, point to Settings, and then click Control Panel. 3. Double-click System. 4. Click the Device Manager tab. 5. Click the PLUS SIGN (+) next to Disk Drives. 6. Click IDE/Disk (hard drive), and then click Properties. 7. On the Settings tab, select DMA. 8. Click OK, and then click OK again. 9. Restart the computer.NOTE: When you enable DMA, you increase the access speed to the CD-ROM drive and thehard disk. Some drivers do not support DMA access. If the DMA check box remains selectedafter you restart your computer, DMA access is supported.Run in server mode, rather than workstation mode in Windows 98 Second Edition andWidows Millennium Edition: When you enable server mode, you improve game performance.To run in server mode: 1. Right-click on My Computer and select Properties. 2. Click the Performance tab. 3. Click File System. 4. Select Network Server as the typical role of the PC.Make sure that your speaker mode is set to match the type of speaker output on yourcomputer: This situation might occur if you switch back and forth from listening toheadphones and listening to 4.1/5.1 speakers. Having the incorrect speaker mode set willcause 3D sounds to be heard incorrectly or not at all.To set your speaker mode:1. Click Start, point to Settings, and then click Control Panel.2. Click on Sounds and Multimedia (Windows 98/Me) or Sounds and Audio Devices (Windows 2000/XP).3. Under Speaker settings, click on the Advanced.
  6. 6. 4. Select the speaker setup that matches your current speaker setup.5. Click OK, and then click OK again.If your sound card also came with its own software for setting speaker settings, ensure thatthese settings are also correct.F. 3D Card IssuesHalo only supports DirectX 9.0b-compliant video cards. It is good practice to always install thelatest certified drivers for all of your hardware.For assistance with top video issues, visit Radeon 9800 PRO 128: You may experience inconsistent graphic performance with texturesif you set the Mipmap Detail Level in the ATI Direct3D Control Panel to any setting except HighQuality.NVIDIA Video Cards and FSAA Modes: You may experience difficulties running Halo usingNVIDIA video cards in any of the FSAA modes. If you are having a problem, you should disablethe FSAA mode for the NVIDIA video card.Via Motherboard Chipsets: If you have a Via brand motherboard, you may need to update tothe latest “4-in-1” motherboard chipset drivers to avoid crashes.G. 3D Card Drivers and ManufacturersMake sure that you have the latest drivers from the manufacturer of your video card. Many videoissues will be resolved if you install your video cards latest drivers. Halo may not properly detectsome older video cards because their video drivers are not DirectX 9.0b-compliant. Contact yourvideo card manufacturer for updated drivers, or install the latest reference drivers for your videoboard. Note that many reference drivers are not supported by the chipset manufacturer. Listedbelow are some common video card manufacturers Web sites.NOTE: Use Windows Update ( to ensure that you are usingthe latest drivers and have the latest updates to your operating system.For specific video card drivers, visit the manufacturer’s web site.H. Audio TroubleshootingCheck with your sound card manufacturer for the latest DirectX-compatible drivers.Following are the known audio issues and workarounds:Users running Windows 98Second Edition and Windows Me: You should run WindowsUpdate to ensure that you have downloaded all critical updates as well as all the recommendedupdates. Otherwise, you may have sound problems such as the weapon volume shifting in andout.Aureal Vortex: The audio may not function with Aureal sound cards. To resolve this issue, turnoff the hardware acceleration. From the Start menu, point to Settings, and then choose ControlPanel. Double-click Sounds and Audio Devices and select the Audio tab. Click the Advancedbutton in the Sound Playback section and then click the Performance tab. Move the Hardware
  7. 7. Acceleration slider to None and click Apply.Hercules Game Theater XP sound card in Windows 98Second Edition: Stuttering and sounddistortion may occur using the Hercules Game Theater XP sound card and Windows 98 SecondEdition. See “Enable direct memory access (DMA) in your IDE controller on Windows 98 SecondEdition” in section E, “Configuration Issues.”Hercules Game Theater XP sound card in Windows XP Professional: The audio may notfunction correctly at all times with the Hercules Game Theater XP sounds card. For example,grenade sound effects may play too low. You should make sure you have installed the latestDirectX-compatible drivers for your sound card.Realtek ALC650 sound card in Windows XP Home: Halo may not function correctly using theRealtek ALC650 sound card in Windows XP if you enable EAX sound in the game.Montego II Quadzilla sound card in Windows 2000: The audio may not function correctly at alltimes with the Montego II Quadzilla sound card. You should make sure you have installed theMontego II Quadzilla Windows NT 4.0 drivers. Information on installing the drivers is availablefrom Additional Multiplayer InformationNetwork SettingsTo insure the highest level of multiplayer game quality, you should specify your connection type inNetwork Settings. Not only does this setting determine the maximum number of players you canhost on a game, but it also determines the amount of data that you will receive from other serverswhen you are connecting to a multiplayer game as a player.To specify your network settings: 1. On the Halo main screen, click Settings. 2. Click Network Setup. 3. Select the appropriate connection type. 4. Click OK.Direct IP ConnectionYou can join an Internet multiplayer game using a specific IP address for the host server. Thehost address can be a computer name or numerical IP address.To join a game using Direct IP: 1. On the Halo main screen, click Multiplayer. 2. Click Direct IP under Join. 3. Enter the IP address for the host server. 4. Enter a password (if required). 5. Click Join to join the game.Notes: • Halo remembers the last host address you typed in.
  8. 8. • If there is no game at the specified IP address, then a “Connection Failed” dialog box is displayed. When you click OK, you are returned to the Multiplayer screen. Try entering the IP address again, using the steps above. If that doesn’t work, you should contact the person hosting the game to verify the IP address for the host server.Checking for UpdatesEach time you join or create an Internet multiplayer game, Halo automatically checks for thelatest update on the Internet. A dialog box is displayed indicating that Halo is “checking forupdates.” If there is an update available, your current game is shut down, the update isdownloaded and installed, and the game is restarted.If you choose to cancel out of your update, then you are returned to the Multiplayer screen. Thenext time you attempt to join or create an Internet multiplayer game, the process starts all overagain. If there is a Halo update available, you must allow the update to download and install if youwish to continue. If you wish to manually update your game, please visit Multiplayer TroubleshootingThis section describes the known multiplayer issues and workarounds.Ports Used by the GameHalo connects to the Internet on the following ports by default:  2302 (UDP)—Game host listens on this port  2303 (UDP)—Game client connects to host through this portHalo will run from behind most routers and Network Address Translation (NAT) devices. If youhave difficulty connecting from behind a router, you should consult your router documentation toensure that the ports listed above are not blocked for your PC.Halo checks for updates via HTTP in the same way a Web browser would. If you use WindowsXP SP-1, Halo can use an auto-detectable proxy server on your network, but does not currentlysupport manually-set proxies. If your network requires you to manually set your proxy server,please visit to check for updates, which you can downloadmanually.To check your proxy settings: 1. Launch Internet Explorer 2. From the Tools menu, click Internet Options. 3. Click Connections. 4. If you connect to the Internet manually, double-click on the appropriate connection in the list at the top. If you connect via a Local Area Network (LAN), click LAN Settings. 5. Under Proxy server, verify that the settings are correct for proxy server that you or your network administrator has set up.If you are connected to the Internet and can reach, for example, yourproxy settings are correct.In non-team games (such as Slayer), all vehicles are spawning in front of the Red Base:You must select two of each type of vehicle to ensure that one vehicle gets placed in both the
  9. 9. Red Base and Blue Base. In non-team games, the default base is Red when vehicles areassigned. If there is only one type of vehicle spawned, then only the Red Base will be populatedwith vehicles.Damage-confirmation beep: You may want turn off the damage-confirmation beep inmultiplayer games. To do this, you must use the Debug Console. To activate the Debug Console,run Halo with the -console command prompt (see the Command Prompts section above), press~ in the game to enable the Debug Console, and then typeshould_play_multiplayer_hit_sound 0.Unable to join a Direct IP multiplayer game hosted behind a NAT device or router, or on anInternet Connection Sharing (ICS) Server in Windows 98 Second Edition, Windows Me, andWindows 2000: You need to join multiplayer games that are hosted behind a router or on an ICSserver via the Gamespy Lobby.Unable to join a multiplayer game with an Internet Connection Sharing (ICS) Client onWindows 2000 or Windows XP: You may have difficulty joining a multiplayer game if a personusing a Windows 2000 or Windows XP ICS client has joined and exited that game before youattempt to join it.Unable to browse for games on a local area network (LAN) on a machine with two networkadaptors in Windows XP: You may not be able to browse for multiplayer games on a LAN if thetwo network connections are not configured correctly. The Internet must be configured on the firstnetwork connection, and the LAN needs to be configured on the second internet connection. Formore information on configuring a network connection, click Start, and then click Help andSupport.Microsoft Base Station MN500: Halo does not offer automatic NAT negotiation of UPnP devicessuch as the MN500. If you have difficulties connecting to games or hosting a server behind thisdevice, you should manually set it to forward the required ports—2302 and 2303 (UDP) by default—to the IP address of the game computer behind the router.K. Post-Release Update HistoryHalo Custom Edition 1.0 (Halo CE)Halo CE 1.0 contains all features and fixes through the 1.04 release of the retail version of HaloPC. In addition to these, Gearbox has worked to add a collection of additional features which areoffered in this special, optional, and unsupported "Halo CE" release. Halo CE installs in parallelwith the Retail edition of Halo PC so that they can be updated independently of each other. Youmay have both versions installed on your computer at one time. Per the license agreement, youmay not have them installed on two separate computers at the same time.Differences between Halo PC (retail) and Halo PC CE EditionThe primary feature addition of Halo CE is the ability to play user-created multiplayer maps, whichwill be created by the Halo Editing Kit, available for download separately. Due to the necessarychanges in map-file format to support this feature, this update is too large to be a "required"download for users of the retail game, and so Halo CE is offered as a separate, optional edition.For the same reason, the single-player content (and thus Campaign mode) is not available fordownload as part of Halo CE. Please continue to play the retail version of the game for access toCampaign mode.Also due to these changes in map file formats, all players in a game must be using the sameversion (retail or CE) - users in one version of the game will not be able to see or join games
  10. 10. hosted by users of the other.Additional Features & Fixes in Halo CE 1.0“Fast Shaders” – Bypasses the D3DXEffects portion of the DirectX api resulting in increasedrendering performance. The enhancement is native to Halo CE and does not require any settingsadjustments. The fixed function pipeline does not use the D3DXEffects system so it won’t receivea performance increase.F2 Rules – A new in-game rules screen that displays all server-set rules for the current game.This function is mapped to the “F2” screen by default, but can be changed in the controls settings.“Show Player Names” – A switch that toggles the displaying of names over teammates heads.Toggling this feature on will permanently display all friendly player’s names regardless of wherethey are in the map. Toggling this feature off will restore back to normal Halo name displayingbehavior. This key defaults to “F3” but can be reassigned in the controls settings.MP hit sound adjust – Added a console variable to adjust the volume of the multiplayer hit sound.You must be running the game with the –console switch. Bring down the console and enterMultiplayer_hit_sound_volume X where X is a number between 0 and 1.User created content – Halo CE has the ability to play user created content. In order to get a mapto display in the game’s UI, simply drop the map in the “Maps” directory. If you try joining a gameplaying a map you do not have, you will be prompted about the missing map and sent back to themenu. To create custom Halo content, please download the Halo Editing Kit - which is separatefrom the Halo CE download.Devmode support – Using the -devmode switch on the command line in conjunction with -consolewill give you access to many of the cheatsdebug tools used in the creation of Halo. Thesecommands are largely untested a have the potential to cause an unstable game environment.This mode has been enabled so that content creators can test their maps. This mode is notintended for use online and thus the ability to join games has been removed.Client networking fix – A fix in networking providing a slight reduction in player “warping” on clientmachines.MP exploit fix – The “print screen” MP exploit has been addressed.Map cycle hang bug fixed – Fixed bug that would people to randomly hang during a map cycle.Flag icon fix – flag icons now display properly when a person is carrying a flag in a vehicle.Fixed Rocket Warthog bug – Rockets fired from the Rocket Warthog are now more accurate.Removed “stickiness” from Ghost – The sticky effect caused by Ghost projectiles has beenremoved.Dedicated Server Features (complete list can be found at the Dedicated Server Forum Chatting – Servers can now chat to clientsDedicated server loggingDedicated server message of the day – they dedicated server can now display a message of theday in the new F2 Rules screen.
  11. 11. Halo PC 1.03Halo PC 1.03 is our first update to address some of the most important issues that have arisensince the game was released. Our goal with this patch was to 1) improve the quality of the onlineexperience for gamers and 2) address the most frequent issues gamers run into. This update isalso our first opportunity to improve our networking architecture with some of our learnings fromour hours of online play. Here is a summary of whats new in Halo PC 1.03.Note:All updates to the Halo Dedicated Server are documented in the Halo Dedicated ServerReadme file, which is available here:Halo Dedicated Server 1.03 ReadmeImproving the Quality of the Online Experience for GamersAddressing Team KillingServers now have a complete team killing / banning system that should significantly reduce teamkilling online. The concept is simple: team-kill a number of time and you will automatically bebanned from the server for a period of time set by the server administrator. Because team killscan be accidental, the concept of grief also exists: following a team-kill, if you dont team-kill againfor a period of time, you are forgiven for your team-kill. These settings are customizable by theserver administrator(s) using server console commands.In addition to the system above, players are no longer penalized for being killed by someone ontheir team and respawn time penalty for a team-killer is multiplied by the number of teammates hekilled, rapidly leading to very long respawn times for team killers.Improving the Quality of the Online ExperienceWeve made a number of updates and bug fixes to our networking architecture, the mostimportant one being specifically in how we transfer / predict players movement / position as wellas the action of reloading your weapon. While going into the details of these changes is beyondthe scope of this document, the result should be a smoother online game experience across thevariety of connections to the Internet.We made the following changes to our user interface: • Servers name now supports 65 characters for dedicated servers and 32 characters for client-hosted servers and now accepts an extended character set. • Chat text length has been extended to 64 characters • In-game scoreboard now displays every clients ping • In-game scoreboard now displays your # of assists • Server port numbers are displayed accurately throughout their rangeAdditional Online Multiplayer New Features: • Teams are now persisted for the next game when map cycling occurs • Map Reset: Its now possible to restart the current game without requiring the server to map cycle. • Assault: We now have a timer to keep track of how much time is left to your offense / defense round
  12. 12. • Assault: Alongside this timer, we also have an "Offense" and "Deffense" indicator to quickly inform you of your roleAddressing the Most Frequent Issues Experienced by GamersMany users have reported problems with Halo PC when using 3rd party software to force therefresh rate of their monitor. We have changed how we handle this situation in our code toseamlessly fall back to the forced refresh rate.A significant number of reported game crashes are related to an external library calledkeystone.dll. We have updated this library to address the most common failures. These crasheswould usually occur when changing screen resolution, when starting or quitting Halo PC, whenchatting in a multiplayer game or when using ALT-TAB to minimize Halo PC and return toWindows.Additional Bug Fixes • Halo can now be bound to a specific IP address using the -ip command line agrument. (facilitating multiple NIC support for Halo Dedicated Servers) • Halo can now read/write data files to a user specified folder using the -path command line argument. This is particularly useful for Halo Dedicated Servers but also be be used for users whose "My Documents" folder is remapped to a UNC path. It is an advanced option and using it will force you to manually move saved games and multiplayer gametypes. • Online Multiplayer: Telefrag message is now appropriately replicated. • Online Multiplayer: Minor fixes to switching teams in kill-in-order games (scorew will now remain accurate) • Online Multiplayer: Minor fixes to the end of the game state (new players now have to wait for the game to be restarted before being admitted to the server) • Online Multiplayer: Fix for clients flashlight states when joining games • Online Multiplayer: Vechicles wont respawn if they have a projectile (such as a plasma grenade) attached to them. They will wait for the projectile to be removed. • Online Multiplayer: Minor fixes to using teleports for high-latency connections • Sound: Fix for cinematic dialog being cut out on certain cards when enabling Audio Hardware Acceleration in the Audio Settings.Halo PC 1.02With Halo PC 1.02, we are adding support for multiple instances to our dedicated server, enablingus and the community to roll out many more servers for gamers. We are also introducing clientsupport for RCon (Remote Console), allowing dedicated server operators to have control overtheir servers running in data centers. For more information on the Halo PC Dedicated Server andthe Remote Console, please consult the Halo PC Dedicated Server Readme file located here:Halo PC Dedciated Server ReadmeWe have also released the Halo PC Technical and Performance FAQ, which answers mostfrequenty asked technical questions about Halo PC. This FAQ is located here:Halo PC Technical & Performance FAQ
  13. 13. Here is a summary of the changes with Halo PC 1.02: • Halo PC Dedicated Server Support for multiple instances • Halo PC client support for RCon (remote console) to dedicated serversBug Fixes: • Timedemo doesnt check memory usage consumption with every frame rendered (see Halo PC Techincal and Performance FAQ for more info) • After running timedemo, the last saved checkpoint is not altered anymore • Multiple minor bugs fixed in the Halo Auto-Updater application • Fixed an issue in keystone.dll that was causing certain configurations to potentially crash when chatting in multiplayer games • Fixed minor card specific rendering glitchesHalo PC 1.01After Halo was released to manufacturing but before it arrived on store shelves, the Halo teamdiscovered a potential crashing issue when playing Halo multiplayer online. In order to guaranteethe best possible experience for our customers we have issued an update that addresses thisissue. Before you can play Halo multiplayer online you will need to allow this update to installthrough the auto-install feature of Halo or by running haloupdate.exe from your Halo installationfolder.This is the only issue that was addressed with Halo PC 1.01Halo PC 1.00