Anonymous edits have been disabled on the wiki. If you want to contribute please login or create an account.

Halo: Combat Evolved

From PCGamingWiki, the wiki about fixing PC games

This page is for the original 2003 PC release. For the remaster, see Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary.

Halo: Combat Evolved
Halo: Combat Evolved cover
Windows Gearbox Software
macOS (OS X) Westlake Interactive
Microsoft Game Studios
OS X MacSoft
Halo Engine
Release dates
Windows September 30, 2003
macOS (OS X) December 12, 2003
Metacritic 83
Monetization One-time game purchase
Modes Singleplayer, Multiplayer
Pacing Real-time
Perspectives First-person
Controls Direct control
Genres Action, FPS, Shooter
Vehicles Automobile, Flight, Tank
Art styles Realistic
Themes Sci-fi, Space
Series Halo
Halo: Combat Evolved on HowLongToBeat
Halo: Combat Evolved on IGDB
Halo: Combat Evolved guide on StrategyWiki
Halo: Combat Evolved on MobyGames
Halo: Combat Evolved on Wikipedia
Halo: Combat Evolved 2003
Halo 2 2007
Halo: Spartan (series)
Halo Online 2015*
Halo 5: Forge 2016
Halo Wars (series)
Halo Recruit 2017
Halo: The Master Chief Collection (series)
Halo Infinite 2021


The macOS (OS X) version of this game does not work on macOS Catalina (version 10.15) or later due to the removal of support for 32-bit-only apps.
GameSpy online services have been shut down (see Network for solutions).

Halo: Combat Evolved is a singleplayer and multiplayer first-person action, FPS and shooter game in the Halo series.

It is a port of the 2001 Xbox game of the same name. Its multiplayer mode includes weapons and controllable vehicles unavailable in the Xbox original.

General information - The developer's site - 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.


Source DRM Notes Keys OS
Disc check (requires the CD/DVD in the drive to play)
CD key
SafeDisc v2 DRM. Install Patch v1.10 to play without the CD.[1]
macOS (OS X)
SafeDisc v2 DRM was removed on May 16, 2014 with the 1.10 Patch.
The official demo for the game can be found here.

Version differences

Halo Custom Edition, commonly abbreviated Halo CE, is a standalone, multiplayer-only, expansion for Halo: Combat Evolved. The expansion was released on May 5, 2004 by Gearbox Software as an unsupported version of the original game. Similar to its PC version, the expansion requires a key-code during installation.
See Halo Combat Evolved: Refined to add the campaign option to Halo Custom Edition's main menu.[2]

Essential improvements


Patch v1.10 (Windows) fixes issues with modern hardware and replaces the GameSpy master server. Patch notes may be found here. Patches for Mac as well as older versions for Windows can 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). The latest official patch is required to function properly. For getting campaign saving working or using a lobby patch without Mavericks, see this post.



Chimera is a game client modification for Halo Custom Edition v1.10, PC "Retail" v1.10, and Trial v1.0 which extends limits, addresses some renderer issues, and applies dozens of fixes and quality of life improvements like map downloads.


CEnshine is a shaders enhancement for Halo Custom Edition aiming to restore Xbox-accurate rendering. This will fix things like bump map shadows, bumped cubemap reflection, self-illumination animations, plasma shields, water effects, glasses, etc.

Halo Combat Evolved: Refined

Halo Combat Evolved: Refined is an attempt to provide a port of Halo CE for the PC that is as 1:1 with the Xbox version as possible. All the bugs and inconsistencies introduced in the Gearbox port have been addressed.[3] There are some improvements such as higher fidelity textures and higher resolution HUD.

Skip intro videos

Install Chimera[4]
Use the -novideo command line argument[5]

Game data

Configuration file(s) location

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

Save game data location

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


Video settings.
Video settings.

Graphics feature State WSGF Notes
Widescreen resolution
Full support requires latest patch and external fix. See Widescreen resolution.
See Widescreen resolution.
See Widescreen resolution.
4K Ultra HD
See Widescreen resolution.
Field of view (FOV)
See Field of view (FOV).
See Windowed.
Borderless fullscreen windowed
See Windowed.
Anisotropic filtering (AF)
See Anisotropic filtering (AF).
Anti-aliasing (AA)
Use dgVoodoo 2 to force MSAA.[5] Mac version has FSAA up to 9 samples.
Vertical sync (Vsync)
60 FPS and 120+ FPS
Designed for 30 FPS;[6] see High frame rate. Final cutscene is pre-rendered at 30 FPS.
High dynamic range display (HDR)
See the glossary page for potential alternatives.

Widescreen resolution

As of v1.10, widescreen resolutions are supported,[7] although the HUD, menus, and text elements are stretched.
Available resolutions also vary between windowed and fullscreen mode in v1.10.[8]
Use Chimera for screen fixes[4]
  1. Install Chimera to run the game at the current desktop resolution.
    • Custom resolutions can be set in chimera.ini.
  2. Start the game and press ~ to open the in-game console.
  3. Type in chimera_widescreen_fix 1 to fix the scaling of HUD, menu, and text elements for aspect ratios wider than 4:3.
    • Setting 1 has the HUD fill the screen, while setting 2 restricts the HUD to the center 4:3 area of the screen.
  4. Type in chimera_block_letterbox true to disable the letterbox effect in cutscenes.
  5. Press ~ again to close the console.

Field of view (FOV)

By default, Halo compresses its vertical FOV rather than stretching its horizontal FOV in widescreen resolutions.
Use Chimera[4]
  1. Install Chimera.
  2. Start the game and press ~ to open the in-game console.
  3. Type in chimera_fov <value>, for example chimera_fov 90, to set the world FOV (default is auto).
  4. Type in chimera_fov_cinematic <value> to set the cutscene FOV (default is auto).
  5. Type in chimera_fov_vehicle <value> to set the vehicle FOV (default is off).


End with v to lock to a vertical FOV, which prevents the FOV from looking distorted when switching aspect ratios.


Start the game with the -window command line argument[9]
Use Chimera[4]
  1. Install Chimera.
  2. Open chimera.ini with a text editor.
  3. Search under the [video] section and change the value of windowed=0 to 1 to enable windowed mode.
  4. (Optional) Change the value of borderless=0 to 1 to enable borderless fullscreen windowed.


Running in the game in a lower resolution in borderless fullscreen windowed will result in the game being stretched.

Anisotropic filtering (AF)

Force anisotropic filtering through the GPU's control panel[9]
Use Chimera[4]
  1. Install Chimera.
  2. Start the game and press ~ to open the in-game console.
  3. Type chimera_af true and press Enter.


This method only applies to the level geometry, not individual objects.

High frame rate

The game has an issue where object movement is tied to tick rate, thus objects will never move faster than 30 FPS.
Chimera adds interpolation for objects, cutscenes, and plasma projectiles, and uncaps the cinematic frame rate from 30 FPS.
Install Chimera for frame rate fixes[4]
Custom frame rate cap can be set with chimera_throttle_fps <value> in the console (default is 300).

Weapon zoom blur

Disable blur with Chimera[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.


chimera_block_zoom_blur is known to break the scanline visual effects in the 343 Guilty Spark cutscene.


Keyboard and controller remapping.
Keyboard and controller remapping.
Mouse settings.
Mouse settings.
Controller settings.
Controller settings.

Keyboard and mouse State Notes
Mac version doesn't allow binding functions to modifier keys and only allows 4 mouse buttons + scroll wheel.
Mouse acceleration
Positive acceleration. Use Chimera (off by default) or Halo Mouse Tool to disable.
Mouse sensitivity
See Mouse sensitivity.
Mouse input in menus
Mouse Y-axis inversion
Set in Mouse Setup. Affects both mouse and controller Y-axis.
Controller support
Full controller support
Menus can not be navigated with a controller without third-party tools.
Controller remapping
Cannot bind two actions to a single button without third-party tools.
Controller sensitivity
Set in Controls SetupAdvanced while the gamepad is selected as a device.
Controller Y-axis inversion
Set in Mouse Setup.
Controller types
XInput-compatible controllers
Xbox button prompts
Impulse Trigger vibration
PlayStation controllers
Recognized as a generic DirectInput controller.[10]
PlayStation button prompts
Light bar support
Adaptive trigger support
DualSense haptic feedback support
Connection modes Wired, Wireless (Bluetooth)
Generic/other controllers
Button prompts Input settings icon - Generic Controller.svg Axes and buttons are referenced by number.
Additional information
Controller hotplugging
Haptic feedback
Digital movement supported
Simultaneous controller+KB/M

Mouse sensitivity

Set horizontal and vertical mouse sensitivities[4]
  1. Install Chimera.
  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.


It is recommended to have mouse acceleration disabled if using low values.
Tweak sensitivity through Halo Mouse Tool[11]

Alternative controller prompts

Use Chimera and enable generic prompts replacements[4]
  1. Install Chimera.
  2. Open chimera.ini with a text editor.
  3. Search under the [controller] section and change the value of ;enabled=0 to enabled=1.
  4. Create two link breaks underneath the line enabled= with Enter, then copy and paste one of the following text based on the controller being used: Xbox 360, Xbox One, DualShock 4 (DS4Windows), Switch Pro.
  5. Save the file. The game should now display text-based controller prompts instead of the generic ones.


Audio settings.
Audio settings.

Audio feature State Notes
Separate volume controls
Sliders for Master, effects and music, between values of 0 to 10.
Surround sound
Up to 7.0 output.[12] May require DirectSound 3D restoration software.
Closed captions
Mute on focus lost
Game pauses when out of focus.[9]
EAX support
Needs a fix for modern systems; see DirectSound 3D restoration software. May also require eax.dll file to be placed in the game directory.


Language UI Audio Sub Notes
Traditional Chinese
Only in Chinese version of the game
Only in French version of the game


Network settings.
Network settings.

Multiplayer types

Type Native Players Notes
Local play
8 Use Nucleus Co-op. Requires Halo Custom Edition.
LAN play
Online play
The official GameSpy server has been shut down; apply Patch 1.10 to use a replacement.

Connection types


Protocol Port(s) and/or port range(s)
TCP 80
UDP 2302, 2303
Universal Plug and Play (UPnP) support status is unknown.

VR support

3D modes State Notes
Officially supported game, see official vorpx game list.
Tobii Eye Tracking
Works with Tobii EyeX tracker or Tobii EyeX 4C and 5 headtracker plugins for FaceTrackNoIR.
Works with FreeTrack 2.0 protocol using software like FaceTrackNoIR.
Novint Falcon

Issues fixed

Broken gamma calibration with Chimera

With Chimera, Halo's gamma setting is disabled due to it affecting the entire operating system's gamma.[4]
Use dgVoodoo 2 (recommended)[4]
Use Peixoto's patch[citation needed]
The gamma calibration does not work with this method, but the gamma level will be the game's default instead of the very dark level used by default with Chimera. The gamma correction also will not affect the entire system anymore, just the game window.

Running the game at screen's refresh rate

While the Halo menu does not list refresh rates above 120 Hz, Chimera can be used to bypass this limitation.
Install Chimera to use the system's current refresh rate[5]
Custom refresh rates can be set in chimera.ini.

High frame rate issues

  • Checkpoints occur sooner than they typically should once reaching a safe state at >30 FPS.
  • Camera shaking does not work at high frame rates.
  • Auto look centering makes vehicles difficult to handle at high frame rates.
  • Motion sensor fade is incorrect at >30 FPS.
  • Contrails are bugged at high frame rates.
  • Scoreboard and player names don't fade in/out correctly at high frame rates.
  • Cinematic frame rate is capped at 30 FPS.
  • Object movement is tied to tick rate, thus objects never move faster than 30 FPS.
Install Chimera to fix all frame rate issues[4]

Graphic card not recognized by game

The highest version of Pixel Shader Halo supports is 2.1. Use this to force the game to use it if the graphics card is not recognized by the game.
Use the -use21 command line argument[13]

Mouse cursor leaves the window

Use dgVoodoo 2 to lock mouse cursor[14]

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

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.[15]
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"
//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"

Broken main menu background flyby

i.e. The flyby for the Halo ring in the main menu background is not following the correct path.
Enable Vsync and set the monitor to 60 Hz[16]

Open Sauce and Chimera not compatible

Current versions of Chimera are incompatible with OpenSauce and HAC2. Attempting to use them at the same time will result in crashes or a white screen when launching the game. Use the older build 581 to combine Chimera with OpenSauce in order to play .yelo maps.

Open Sauce and HAC2 not compatible

Fix compatibility on Windows 8 and later[17]
  1. Download hac.dll and copy it to <path-to-game>.
  2. Start the game with the -no_os_gamestate command line argument.
  3. Disable map downloading in Open Sauce to avoid irregularities.
Fix compatibility on Windows 7[18]
  1. Download hac.dll and copy it to <path-to-game>.
  2. Start the game as administrator for map downloading to work.

Open Sauce cannot be installed

Install .NET Framework 3.5 from Windows Features[19]
Use AmaiSosu[20]

Other information


Technical specs Supported Notes
Direct3D 9.0b
OpenGL 1 OS X only.
Shader Model support 1.1, 1.4, 2.0
ExecutablePPC 32-bit 64-bit Notes
macOS (OS X)
In June 2006, a new release of the game was released that updated the game to a universal binary, adding support for Intel processors.

Unfortunately, this was not followed up with a 64-bit Intel update, which makes the game stuck at 32-bit; and therefore, unable to work on 10.15 "Catalina" and later.


Middleware Notes
Audio DirectSound3D
Cutscenes Bink Video Only for credits, post-credit sequence, and intro videos.
Multiplayer GameSpy Was shutdown in late 2014. New host uses

Other modifications


Assault Rifle HUD meter fix, Captain Keyes Xbox Skin and Explosive's Shader Restoration Patch (European version here) or Quagmirian's Xbox Multi Pack + Assault Rifle Xbox Skin adds missing/changed Xbox textures & shaders. Requires Halo Map Tools and/or a PPF patcher (Explosive's pack only; must be applied before the others).


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

Project Lumoria

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

The Silent Cartographer: Evolved

The Silent Cartographer: Evolved is a ground-up re-imagining of the Halo: Combat Evolved map of the same name.

Open Sauce

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

Halo Anticheat 2

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

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). Note that non-Mac users as well as Mac users with systems too old to run MD can join MD servers by ensuring they have the correct maps installed (base game, not Custom Edition) and by manually joining a server on their lobby. There is even a script for non-MD Mac users assist in hosting MD maps here. Note that this too does not run on 10.15 "Catalina", at least for now.


Enables third-person mode.

Command line parameters

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
-use21 Forces the game to run as a shader 2.1 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 using 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

Minimum Recommended
Operating system (OS) 98SE
Processor (CPU) 733 MHz
System memory (RAM) 128 MB
Hard disk drive (HDD) 1.3 GB
Video card (GPU) 32 MB of VRAM
DirectX 9.0b compatible
macOS (OS X)
Operating system (OS) 10.2.8 (10.3.9 for UB version)
Processor (CPU) PowerPC G4 800 MHz
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


  1. CD No Longer Required for Halo PC - IGN (Archived) - last accessed on 2023-06-23
  2. Verified by User:Amethystviper on 2023-06-19
    Tested with Halo CE Refined V2 and V3 RC2.
  3. Halo Combat Evolved Refined vs Halo Master Chief Collection - Detailed Graphics Comparison - last accessed on 2023-06-19
  4. 4.00 4.01 4.02 4.03 4.04 4.05 4.06 4.07 4.08 4.09 4.10 4.11 SnowyMouse / chimera
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Verified by User:Keith on 2023-06-20
  6. [missing title] - last accessed on 2023-06-23
    "Halo aims for 30 frames per second with vertical sync engaged"
  7. Verified by User:Amethystviper on 2023-06-23
    Available resolutions prior to 1.10 only supports 4:3 resolutions up to 1600x1200 on a 4K display. Tested on Halo: Custom Edition with the 1.09 patch.
  8. Verified by User:Amethystviper on 2023-06-19
    Without mods or fixes, windowed mode restricts available resolution options compared to fullscreen (e.g. 2560x1600 on a 4K display).
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 Verified by User:Amethystviper on 2023-06-19
  10. 10.0 10.1 Verified by User:Amethystviper on 2023-06-19
    Tested with a V2 controller.
  11. Halo CE Mouse Tool : r/halospv3 - last accessed on June 2023
  12. PC Gaming Surround Sound Round-up - last accessed on May 2023
  13. how to improve ce graphics (retrieved)
  14. Talk:Halo: Combat Evolved
  15. ASUS Soundcard: EAX/GX Issues - last accessed on May 2023
  16. Verified by User:Diegoelcapo123 on March 15, 2020
  17. HAC2 + OS compat fix - Halo Maps Forum - last accessed on May 2023
  18. HAC2 + OS compat fix - open carnage Forum - last accessed on May 2023
  19. user@ HaloMods forum - last accessed on 9 June 2023
  20. Alternative OpenSauce Installer - Reddit/halospv3 - last accessed on May 2023