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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).

Key points

For shorthand clarity in a PC context, the standard vanilla version of the game is Halo PC. The modded version of the game is Halo CE (Halo Custom Edition)
Patch 1.10 fixes issues with modern hardware and replaces the GameSpy master server.
Animations, effects, and cutscenes are capped at 30 FPS.[1] See High frame rate.

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 the latest patch to play without the CD.[2] A similar situation happened with the OS X version.
macOS (OS X)
The official demo for the game can be found here.

Essential improvements


Patch 1.10 updates the Windows version. Includes all previous patches. 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). Still requires the latest official patch to function properly. For getting campaign saving working or if you just want the lobby patch, no Mavericks, see this post.
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).

Halo Custom Edition

Halo Custom Edition allows players to play multiplayer Halo games on user-created maps.



Chimera is a mod for the Custom Edition of Halo v1.10 which contributes a wide variety of essential features to enhance or fix Halo.
Installation instructions can be found here.
Newer versions implement Lua scripting.

Peixoto's patch

Fixes gamma calibration on chimera
Forced resolution and SSAA planned

Halo Combat Evolved: Refined

The Refined project is an attempt to smooth all those wrinkles and provide a port that even die-hard Halo purists will be happy with. Everything that was possible to fix has been addressed. Things that were once considered impossible to restore have been restored using clever workarounds. Many high-fidelity textures and a high resolution HUD have replaced the original compressed versions.
Requires the Custom Edition and Chimera to work

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.


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.

Skip intro videos

Use the -novideo command line argument[3]

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\
macOS (OS X) %USERPROFILE%\Documents\Halo\
Custom Edition saves in %USERPROFILE%\Documents\My Games\Halo CE\
Mini Demo saves in %USERPROFILE%\Documents\HLMD\


In-game video settings.
In-game video settings.

Graphics feature State WSGF Notes
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)
Force in the graphics card control panel.
Anti-aliasing (AA)
Use dgVoodoo to force MSAA (buggy[4]), or use injectSMAA.
Mac version has builtin FSAA up to 9x sampling.
Vertical sync (Vsync)
60 FPS and 120+ FPS
Some elements run at 30 FPS. The final cutscene is pre-rendered at 30fps. See High frame rate.
High dynamic range display (HDR)
See the glossary page for potential alternatives.

Widescreen resolution

Use Chimera[5]
  1. Install Chimera.
  2. Open <path-to-game>\chimera.ini.
  3. Under [video_mode], change ;enabled=1 to enabled=1.
  4. Change width=800 and height=600 as needed (e.g. width=1920, height=1080).
  5. Start the game and press ~ to open the in-game console.
  6. Type in chimera_widescreen_fix true to fix the scaling of HUD, menu, and text elements for wider aspect ratios.
  7. Type in chimera_fov auto to set an automatic FOV.
  8. Type in chimera_block_letterbox true to disable the letterbox effect in cutscenes.
  9. 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.
Set vertical FOV[5]
  1. Install Chimera.
  2. Start the game and press ~ to open the in-game console.
  3. Type in chimera_fov followed by a value (e.g. chimera_fov 90).
    • End with v to lock to a vertical FOV, or use auto to set to an automatic FOV.
Set custom FOV[citation needed]
  1. Install Open Sauce.
  2. Start the game and press F7 while playing.
  3. Adjust the FOV slider to your liking (5° increments only).
Set custom FOV[6]
  1. Install Halo Anticheat 2.
  2. Start the game and press F6 while playing.
  3. Move the mouse to adjust the FOV and press F6 to set it. Press Shift+F6 to reset.
  4. Alternatively, type in fov <value> in the console to use a specific value.
Use haloThirdFov.exe
  1. Download
  2. Extract haloThirdFov.exe from and copy it to <path-to-game>.
  3. Make sure the game executable file is named haloce.exe. If it isn't rename it accordingly.
  4. Run haloThirdFov.exe and then run haloce.exe while haloThirdFov.exe is kept open.
  5. Use * and / on numpad to switch fov between original and manual. use + and - on numpad to adjust fov.
  6. You can also change the default keys and set FOV manually on haloThirdFov.exe. Recommended FOV is 86 degrees for 16:9 aspect ratio, and 80 degrees for 16:10.


Run in windowed/borderless mode[citation needed]
  1. Download and run DxWnd.
  2. Click on Edit, then Add.
  3. Set the path to <path-to-game>\halo.exe or <path-to-game>\haloce.exe.
  4. Enable Do not notify on task switch.
  5. Type in the window size and position or enable Desktop for borderless fullscreen windowed.
  6. Click on the Input tab and enable Unacquire input devices on focus lost.
  7. Click OK, File, Save, and start the game with DxWnd running.

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 to the game for objects. Unlike MCC, it also adds it for particles, too.
Fix issues with 30 FPS animations and cutscenes[5]
  1. Install Chimera.
  2. Start the game and press ~ to open the in-game console.
  3. Type in chimera_uncap_cinematic true to uncap the cinematic frame rate from 30 FPS.
  4. Type in chimera_interpolate true to add interpolation to the game.
  5. Type in chimera_throttle_fps if you want to cap the frame rate (e.g. chimera_throttle_fps 240).
  6. Press ~ again to close the console.

Pixel Shader

The highest version of Pixel Shader Halo supports is 2.1. Use this to force the game to use it if your graphic card isn't recognized by the game.
Start the game with the -use21 command line argument[7]


In-game controls settings.
In-game controls settings.
In-game mouse settings.
In-game mouse settings.
In-game gamepad settings.
In-game gamepad 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
See Mouse acceleration.
Mouse sensitivity
See Mouse sensitivity.
Mouse input in menus
Mouse Y-axis inversion
Controller support
Full controller support
Menus can not be navigated with a controller with out third-party tools.
Controller remapping
You cannot bind two actions to a single button with out third-party tools.
Controller sensitivity
Set in Controls Setup → Advanced while the gamepad is selected as a device.
Controller Y-axis inversion
Set in Mouse Setup.
Additional information
Button prompts Input settings icon - Generic Controller.svg
Controller hotplugging
Haptic feedback
Simultaneous controller+KB/M

Mouse acceleration

Disable mouse acceleration through Chimera[5]
  1. Install Chimera.
  2. Start the game and press ~ to open the in-game console.
  3. Type in chimera_block_mouse_acceleration true to disable mouse acceleration.
  4. Press ~ again to close the console.
Disable mouse acceleration through Halo Mouse Fix[8]
  1. Download Halo Mouse Fix.
  2. Extract the archive to the controls sub-folder of your main game folder.
  3. Use the GUI to set the sensitivity and axes inversion settings.
  4. Start the game like you would normally.

Mouse sensitivity

Set horizontal and vertical mouse sensitivities[5]
  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.


Values less than 1 do not work properly if mouse acceleration is enabled.


In-game audio settings.
In-game audio settings.

Audio feature State Notes
Separate volume controls
Master, effects and music.
Surround sound
Up to 7.0 output.[9] May require DirectSound 3D restoration software.
Closed captions
Mute on focus lost
EAX support
Needs a fix for modern systems; see DirectSound 3D restoration software.


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


In-game network settings.
In-game 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 the official 1.10 patch 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 Native Notes
Officially supported game, see official vorpx game list.
Devices Native Notes
Novint Falcon
Works with FreeTrack 2.0 protocol using software like FaceTrackNoIR.
Tobii Eye Tracking
Works with Tobii EyeX tracker or Tobii EyeX 4C and 5 headtracker plugins for FaceTrackNoIR.

Issues fixed

Make Open Sauce and Halo Anticheat 2 compatible

Fix compatibility on Windows 8 and later[10]
  1. Download hac.dll and copy it to Halo CE's installation folder.
  2. Start the game with the -no_os_gamestate command line argument.
  3. To avoid irregularities, untick map downloading in Open Sauce.
Fix compatibility on Windows 7[11]
  1. Download hac.dll and copy it to Halo CE's installation folder.
  2. Start the game as administrator for map downloading to work
  3. To avoid irregularities, untick map downloading in Open Sauce.

Open Sauce can't be installed

Install missing dependency[12]
  1. Open the Windows Features menu.
  2. Install .NET Framework 3.5.
Alternative OpenSauce Installer[13]
  • Just extracts the game files and requires no dependencies.

Run the game at screen refresh rate

Refresh rates up to 120 Hz are available; 144 Hz and above require a fix.
Set refresh rate through Chimera[3]
  1. Install Chimera.
  2. Open <path-to-game>\chimera.ini.
  3. Under [video_mode], change ;enabled=1 to enabled=1.
  4. Change refresh_rate=60 as needed (e.g. refresh_rate=120).
    • refresh_rate=0 will use system's current refresh rate

Buggy auto-centering of vehicles

In stock Halo, vehicle auto centering is based on frame rate. Chimera allows you to either fix it or turn it off completely, as this can be annoying.
Fix auto-centering[5][14]
  1. Install Chimera.
  2. Start the game and press ~ to open the in-game console.
  3. Type in chimera_auto_center followed by a value:
    • 0 - Broken stock behavior
    • 1 - Fixed behavior
    • 2 - Disable automatic centering
  4. Press ~ again to close the console.
Enable Vsync and set your monitor to 60 Hz[15]

Mouse wheel activates other background windows

Use dgVoodoo 2 to lock mouse cursor[16]
Confine cursor to window[citation needed]
  1. Install Special K by following the Special K Unofficial Guide.
  2. Start the game once and close it to allow the configuration file of Special K to be created.
  3. Open <path-to-game>\d3d9.ini or %USERPROFILE%\Documents\My Mods\SpecialK\Profiles\haloce.exe\SpecialK.ini depending on the installation method you used.
  4. Change ConfineCursor=False to ConfineCursor=True under [Window.System].

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.[17]
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 your monitor to 60 Hz[18]

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

Halo Custom Edition campaign port

Restore classic campaign[citation needed]
  1. Download Halo CE Refined (scroll down for Main Menu UI).
  2. Extract all .map files to <path-to-game>\maps\.
  3. Make sure that the original is kept outside of the maps folder.


You can also run any level manually by starting the game with the -console command line argument and using the console command map_name <name> (for example map_name a30 to run the Halo level).[19]
The Silent Cartographer: Evolved is a ground-up re-imagining of the Halo: Combat Evolved map of the same name.

Disable zoom blur

Block zoom blur[5]
  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.

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
-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 you have 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