What kind of game is Halo 2 for Windows Vista?
Halo 2 for Windows Vista (H2V) is a story-driven action game featuring multiple weapons, vehicles and scenarios - as well as a robust multiplayer component. It’s based on Bungie’s existing Halo 2 game for the Microsoft Xbox console.
When will Halo 2 for Windows Vista ship?
The team plans to ship H2V early in 2007, some time after Windows Vista is available.
How much will Halo 2 for Windows Vista cost?
We have not yet announced pricing specifics.
Why release Halo 2 for the Vista platform?
While the Xbox consoles are very popular, many gamers prefer the controls and customizability of their Windows machines. Halo 2 for Windows Vista will give these players a chance to enjoy the story and multiplayer action from Bungie’s most recent game. Taking Halo 2 to the Windows Vista platform also opens the door to user-created content, such as that seen in Halo 1 PC.
Will the game work on Microsoft Windows XP?
No, as the name suggests, Halo 2 for Windows Vista will only run on the upcoming Microsoft Windows Vista operating system. The game is tied to Windows Vista in order to take advantage of new Live functionality and multiplayer features that aren't avaialble on XP or other operating systems.
What are the minimum system requirements for Halo 2 on Windows Vista? What kind of machine does it take?
It’s too early to state exact system specs, but the team wants to make the game available as broadly as possible. Microsoft has published minimum system requirements for the Windows Vista operating system at http://www.microsoft.com/vista
Who’s working on Halo 2 for Windows Vista? How does this game relate to Halo 3?
The hard work of bringing Halo 2 to Windows Vista is being done by a team within Microsoft Game Studios, codenamed Hired Gun. Bungie is helping Hired Gun with design decisions and quality assurance. The teams for H2V and Halo 3 are completely separate.
Tell me more about this Hired Gun team within Microsoft Game Studios.
“Hired Gun” is the codename for a recently-created team within MGS. Their first task is to bring Halo 2 to the Windows Vista platform, with support from Bungie Studios. The team is led and staffed by seasoned veterans with multiple PC and console titles under their belts. Read more about Hired Gun in this previous Bungie.net feature.
Will H2V add new weapons or vehicle types?
Adding a new weapon or vehicle to the existing Halo 2 campaign or multiplayer maps could cause them to play in ways Bungie didn’t intend, and the team plans to stay true to the original Halo 2 experience. However, user-created custom content doesn’t have this problem, and the team may offer new gameplay elements through the H2V map editor. We’ll announce more when we’re ready.
How do visuals and audio compare between Halo 2 for Windows Vista and the Xbox versions?
The quality of H2V scales with the hardware it has available. This will be the first time Halo 2 fans can play the game natively at resolutions like 1080p or even higher. The base art and audio from the Xbox has been re-used, with some retouching to help the game shine on high-end PC equipment. Audio will also scale with the equipment of your PC, and the game supports 5.1 surround sound. Suffice it to say that Halo 2 has never looked better and playing the game at 1920x1200 is a thing of beauty.
Do you plan to enable anti-aliasing? Other visual features?
Halo 2 for Windows Vista makes use of several DirectX 9 features such as edge anti-aliasing, anisotropic texture filtering, enhanced resolution shadow buffering, additional dynamic shadows, improved normal map filtering, parallax mapping, and per pixel specular mapping.
Why will Halo 2 for Windows Vista not support DX10?
Halo 2 will certainly support DX10 graphics cards but the game itself is not being re-written to specifcally take advantage of upcoming DX10 features. The more robust your graphics card, the more visual features and fidelity you will be able to enjoy.
Will there be a Beta for the game?
We aren’t ready yet to discuss a Beta.
Will Halo 1 PC still run on a machine set up with Windows Vista?
Yes, the final version of Windows Vista will play Halo 1 PC with no changes required. Pre-release versions of Windows Vista such as RC-1 or RC-2 require a temporary patch to play Halo 1 PC. These early versions of Windows automatically direct Halo 1 PC users to the necessary interim patch.
Does H2V support the Xbox 360 Controller?
Yes, the Xbox 360 controller is fully supported by Halo 2 for Windows Vista, including the vibration feature. The controller plugs directly into your PC’s USB port, and Vista detects it automatically. The team will adjust the game so that playing with a 360 controller resembles the Xbox experience as closely as possible. The game supports nearly any other direct input device as well.
What is the setup for a mouse/keyboard player?
Halo 2 for Windows Vista will ship with several pre-defined keyboard layouts for left-handed and right-handed gamers. Players may also create custom layouts. The team is adjusting default mouse sensitivity so that it mirrors the feel of Halo 1 PC as closely as possible, although this is configurable.
I hate/love auto-aim. Will it be enabled in Halo 2 for Windows Vista?
The team will balance each input device uniquely. We don’t plan to create a one-size-fits-all solution.
When dual-wielding with the mouse, which button will fire which gun?
This is configurable. By default, the left mouse button fires the left-hand weapon and the right mouse button fires the right-hand weapon. When single-wielding, the left mouse button fires your weapon.
How will multiplayer work in Halo 2 for Windows Vista?
Halo 2 for Windows Vista will support several options for multiplayer play, including system link for local networks, Live for global online play, and the ability to run dedicated H2V servers for gamers who need the highest in performance.
What’s the deal with Live?
Live is a feature of Windows Vista that brings many Xbox Live features to Windows. For example, a Halo 2 for Windows Vista player who signs into Live will be able to find and join H2V matches worldwide, earn Achievements, create lists of Friends, invite others to games, and send personal messages.
How does a Live Windows account compare to an Xbox Live subscription? Will there be fees? How do the features of Live Anywhere stack up against those of other online services?
The Live team isn’t ready to disclose these details.
What Live Achievements are available on Halo 2 for Windows Vista?
The team isn’t ready to announce the final set of Achievements, but is looking for ways to recognize dedicated players and discourage “gaming” of the Achievement system.
Can a user playing Halo 2 for Windows Vista match-make or otherwise play against Halo 2 Xbox users?
No, there’s no option for H2V players to do this. Vista gamers will only be able to play against other gamers on Vista.
Will Halo 2 for Windows Vista support messaging like the Xbox version?
Yes, and in fact gamers will be able to send and receive messages between the Xbox and Windows Vista platforms. Friends and presence will also be shared between the two platforms.
Will Halo 2 for Windows Vista boast the same detailed ranking and stat tracking systems as Halo 2 online via Xbox Live?
No, H2V won’t feature the same global ranking system currently supported by the Xbox version. We are opening up the online experience to better fit the PC platform and provide more flexibility for players. While there is no global stat mechanism, we are investigating the ability for dedicated server hosts to gather and display their own stats for their own servers.
Will Halo 2 for Windows Vista offer the same clan support as Halo 2 online via Xbox Live?
No, Halo 2 for Windows Vista will not offer clan support. However, organized groups of players are free to create their own dedicated servers and playlists for competitive gaming.
How does Halo 2 for Windows Vista cope with cheating, aimbots, and so on?
Cheating is a big concern for us, especially in online play, just as it is for any online game regardless of platform. Windows Vista and Live include several features intended to prevent cheating in online games, and players who need an extra degree of certainty can control their own community using Dedicated Servers or Live Friends lists. Even so, there will always be those who work around these measures and make it impossible to eliminate cheating completely. We’re doing all we can to make sure that online play is fun for the majority of honest H2V players.
Are there any new multiplayer maps shipping with Halo 2 for Windows Vista?
We aren’t ready yet to announce anything about new official content. However, Halo 2 for Windows Vista will include all twenty-one maps from Halo 2 and the Halo 2 Multiplayer Map Pack. With the inclusion of the H2V Map Editor, the Halo community will be able to create a wide variety of custom multiplayer maps.
What’s the interface to the H2V Dedicated Server?
The Dedicated Server runs as a service on Windows Vista, providing extremely basic “start and stop” functionality through the Windows UI. Most interesting aspects of a dedicated game are managed from the command line, either locally or remotely. These features will be documented at release.
Will Bungie host its own H2V Dedicated Servers?
Yes, most likely Bungie will operate a few Dedicated Servers for use by the community, just as we did for Halo 1 PC. The exact number remains TBD. More importantly, we look forward to seeing a vibrant network of community-run servers, each running custom playlists and content.
Will Halo 2 for Windows Vista add online co-op?
No, it won’t. In addition, all split-screen modes have been disabled for Halo 2 on Vista.
Why did you disable split-screen and co-op modes in Halo 2 for Windows Vista?
Playing cooperatively through any console game in a living room environment surrounded by friends and family is a markedly different experience than gathering around the average home PC. In addition, eliminating split-screen gaming removed the most challenging performance problem from Halo 2, and gave the H2V developers room to improve graphics and audio in the game.
Does Halo 2 for Windows Vista support user-created content?
Yes, the team is working with Pi Studios to release a toolkit for the creation of custom maps on H2V. Gamers will be able to share these custom maps with each other online.
Can I share my H2V maps with Xbox 360 gamers?
No, we don’t have any plans to allow this for Halo 2. But, Bungie is always interested in the creative work of the Halo community and we’ll find ways to recognize the very best work on H2V.
What does this toolkit include?
Just as with the HEK from Halo 1 PC, Halo 2 for Windows Vista will ship with updated versions of the three programs Bungie itself uses for map creation: Guerilla, Sapien, and Tool. Users may create 3D objects and textures in their preferred editing programs, then specify rules for those objects in Guerilla, and finally integrate them into gameplay with Sapien. Tool provides a processing pipeline between these programs.
Why doesn’t the toolkit include a 3D modeler or texture editor?
There are several extremely good 3D modeling and artistic programs on the market, including some available at no cost. Bungie itself uses third-party tools for modeling and texture creation.
Are these tools user-friendly?
We expect most users of H2V will simply enjoy the custom content created by others, rather than make their own. Guerilla, Sapien, and Tool were originally created by and for Bungie’s own developers and require some dedication to learn. That said, the toolkit for H2V is friendlier and more polished than the Halo 1 PC HEK, which the Halo community used to create over a thousand unique multiplayer maps.
How will Bungie support players who need technical advice when creating maps?
The map editor from Pi Studios will ship with a considerable amount of documentation, and we hope to release reference projects that will give players an idea of how maps are made. The tools themselves are an evolution of the Halo 1 PC map editing kit, and as such experienced HEK map-makers should feel at home. It’s also likely that Bungie will create a forum on its website for users who want to trade technical information about the new tools. And of course, the map editing community itself is always great about sharing tips and techniques across the internet.
How will an experienced HEK user benefit from upgrading to the new toolset?
The map creation toolkit in H2V has a higher degree of polish and is better supported and documented than the HEK. For example, Guerilla now automatically indexes game objects for easy access, and Sapien now supports auto-backup and undo. Pi Studios has added several other convenient features, such as the ability to view full pre-renders of maps within Sapien, and tolerance for geometry issues including object collision and open edges.
How will users get access to custom maps created by other players?
We’re investigating our options here, but aren’t ready to discuss the details. It’s important for the H2V team to strike a balance between convenience and community-building. Security and performance concerns must also be addressed.
Will it be possible for players to create their own campaign or co-op levels for Halo 2?
No, the user-created content tools are exclusively for multiplayer maps and game types.
Will there be a Beta of the map editor?
We aren’t yet ready to discuss a Beta.