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 1.0.10.0621
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?).