Is It Bungie You’re Looking For? Halo Patch Drops GameSpy

They can't tear you apart, space marines.

Halo may be cock of the walk on Xbox but though the first two games were ported to PC, the series never really took off round our way. The ports were wonky and, well, the idea of an enjoyable first-person shooter was less of a novelty on PC. Still, the first Halo has spawned a small but devoted fanbase on PC who were less than thrilled that its online multiplayer was facing the chop in the GameSpy server shutdown. Third-party tool GameRanger stepped in with a stopgap, but now creators Bungie have released an official patch ditching GameSpy.

It seems someone at Bungie was itching for an excuse to patch Halo, as that’s not all it changes.

Made together with help and even a server browser from Halo community members, the patch (via Eurogamer) also fixes a fair few long-standing bugs and complaints. It’s the first new Halo patch since 2009. Check the changelog:

Bumped version to
Moved GameSpy services to use new non-GameSpy server
Fixed a family of index-out-of-bounds bugs which had been exploited to crash clients
Made banlist parsing not case-sensitive
Removed halt on cache file verify error
Removed some verbose debug logging of GameSpy connections
Fixed handling of video cards with >= 2GB of memory
Enabled refractive Active Camo on Nvidia cards, which had previously used an alpha fade. (AMD cards already have this)
Updated 2003-era upper bound on the video resolution picker. Use at your own risk; the game is untested at 4800×3600.
Updated chatbox settings to work with newer resolutions
Models node limit updated to 63
Fixed reading sv_ban_penalty from init.txt
Disabled executable_is_valid checksum from strings.dll
Allowed network access in devmode
Fixed parsing of custom map names containing a “.”

Edit: The CD Key database is now online too, to assist people in creating meaningful banlists for their dedicated servers.

Halo is the last in the series standing on PC with online multiplayer, still going after 11 years. Microsoft shut down Halo 2‘s online in 2013, saying it only had 20 players at the time. Considering Halo 2 PC launched three years after the Xbox release, by then looking dated for an Xbox game let alone a PC one, and required the then-reviled Windows Vista (a hack got around this but didn’t work online), 20 players after seven years was sort of impressive. And then Halo games stopped coming to PC (top-down arena shooter Halo: Spartan Assault doesn’t really count, does it?).


  1. amateurviking says:

    Multiplayer Halo was really my last proper foray into online FPS faceshooting. I’m glad it’s still going. I might even dig out the CD and have a go.

  2. womp says:

    Cool. So, where can I get Halo

  3. derbefrier says:

    Hmmm I loved the first halo and never got to try it on PC. Can you still buy this somewhere? I would probably drop 10 bucks on it just to play through the campaign and pistol snipe people on hang’em high again.

    • rockman29 says:

      Yes, you can easily buy the game now, at least I was able to on Amazon US. New copy.

      I posted some spoils of the multiplayer action in the RPS screenshot thread: link to

      Many servers have modifications to the gameplay, many others don’t. Lots of options to choose from, quite an active community on the whole!

  4. Hayvan says:

    So… what about putting the game on Steam or GOG, so it would be easily available for purchase?

    • rockman29 says:

      I think it is quite readily available on Amazon, try checking there.

      I bought it for 15 USD less than a month ago, new copy.

    • PoulWrist says:

      But i want it on GOG for cheapsies :( it could be a blast at our next LAN party…

    • XhomeB says:

      That would make too much sense, it’s Microsoft we’re talking about.
      Getting rid of GFWL in Gears of War PC and putting it on Steam would reinvigorate the really awesome MP mode, but hey… that’s another MICROSOFT PUBLISHED game that’s bound to go kaputt. Sigh.

  5. rockman29 says:


  6. Rao Dao Zao says:

    I would like to buy Halo just to see what all the fuss is about, but since Halo 3 never came to PC, I’m not going to fork over cash for bits of a trilogy I’ll never get to see the end of. >:(

    Chop chop and release a port anthology!

    • Gunrun says:

      Halo 1 actually stands alone well by itsself, and is pretty fun, if you can get over the tiny FOV.

    • Devan says:

      Yeah, you’re not missing out on anything if you only play the original Halo. Halo 2 was clearly trumping up Halo3 with its cliffhanger etc. but with the first game they didn’t know it would be such a big success so it’s a complete package.

      I personally found Halo2 much less memorable and bounced off of Halo3, but YMMV.

  7. ckpk says:

    Sooooooo many good memories of Halo PC

  8. NathanMates says:

    Would it be too much to note the corporate relationship between GLU Mobile and Gamespy? Many articles have omitted that, but I don’t think it’s fair to act like there’s a distance. When Bullfrog|Origin|Pandemic Studios(*) closed down, or Psygnosis closed down, did news reports just say “Bullfrog|Origin|Pandemic|Psygnosis” closed down? Or did they say “EA|Sony|Other Publisher closed studio X today.” That’s the cause of events and should be reported so that the parent’s responsibility is called out.

    * And yes, I was an employee of Pandemic Studios from August 1998 thru November 13, 2009. EA bought Pandemic in 2008, and shut down Pandemic in November 2009.

  9. brulleks says:

    Argh. Now I’m going have that awful song going round my head for the rest of the day.

  10. Sacarathe says:

    I loved Halo, got it for pc as soon as it was available after playing it on console at a friend’s house. Its a real shame I have not been able to play the other games, wish they had a steam release. I’d give £50 for 2,3 and 4.

  11. Big Murray says:

    You ever wonder why we’re here?

  12. Beelzebud says:

    If they put this game on Steam I’d buy it. No hints. Not even trying to be subtle. Want a few extra bucks, MS/Bungie? Put it on Steam.

  13. The_invalid says:

    The Halo CE community is pretty freaking astounding in their dedication to the game. There are a bunch of mods to the game that add in weapons, vehicles and enemies from later games in the series. There’s a bit of code called OpenSauce which adds tons of new modding features, as well as proper bump-mapping, specular, FXAA and other graphical goodies.
    There’s even a group called CMT, who are overhauling the entire singleplayer campaign to bring it up to par with the rest of the series. And what they’ve done looks absolutely incredible. Take a look.

    • buzzmong says:

      “There’s even a group called CMT, who are overhauling the entire singleplayer campaign to bring it up to par with the rest of the series”

      Err, graphically only right? Everything-else-wise CE was the best of the series thus far (Halo 4 coming in a close second, ignoring the terrible last level and the end ‘boss’).

      • The_invalid says:

        There’s additions to the campaign as well – expanded areas, new enemies, new weapons and so forth, but it actually all feels pretty in-keeping with the original game. They released an overhauled version of Truth And Reconciliation a while back and it plays really well, and IMO totally retains the spirit of the original. I’d definitely give it a try before writing it off for deviating too far from the original formula if I were you.

  14. jezcentral says:

    Seeing as we are PC gamers, I think someone will take that 4800×3600 untested resolution as a challenge.

  15. Phasma Felis says:

    required the then-reviled Windows Vista


  16. HisDivineOrder says:

    The effort involved in this makes me wonder if Microsoft isn’t about to drop that Halo 1-4 set on PC when they release it on Xbox One. The timing would make sense (ie., Spencer’s latest statements regarding a renewed focus on PC does require some kind of olive branch to show us what he meant after all as Spartan Assault is nothing new) and the idea of taking the Halo 1-3 ports that have been in the steamdb for a long, long time and porting them to Xbox One seems like a trivial task given the relative performance of that console compared to the PC’s that would routinely run Halo 1 or 2 on Windows. Only Halo 3 would have been vaguely a challenge and I expect properly optimized, it wouldn’t be.

    As for Halo 4, well I’ve always felt that game might be too new to actually be part of this Halo compilation being promised to Xbox One, but if it were it might not be part of the PC port-a-thon, but… if they bothered to port it to Xbox One it’d be trivial then to port to PC, too.

    Assuming that Microsoft’s new love of Steamworks holds, one imagines the four games coming onto Steam as their big olive branch. That’d be hot. It’d also explain why someone with knowledge of the code felt it was worthy enough investment in time and resources to patch up Halo 1 for the first time since 2009 with more than just a patch to keep the multiplayer lights on.

    Wouldn’t do to have people screaming at the top of their lungs about fixing Halo 1 only to then release ANOTHER version of that game and say, “If you want the fix, buy the new version!” That’d just taste foul and after all the foul tasting crap MS has been feeding gamers of late, I suspect even they know that wouldn’t work out so well.

    Bungie and MS are reasonably close, given the 343i ties to Bungie, so it doesn’t defy reason to think they’d work on that. After all, the company that made the PC version of Halo 1 was not Bungie at all.

    It was Gearbox.