This past weekend, I went down the rabbit hole on a project I recently discovered called Halo Online. From a past project between 343 and Saber Interactive, Halo Online was meant to be a free-to-play multiplayer experience based on Halo 3 available on PC. Sadly, outside of a closed beta in Russia, the game was cancelled. Luckily, those game files became available and modders created ElDewrito, enabling Forge mode and online servers for players everywhere plus other gameplay enhancements.

Additionally, another effort named Project Cartographer has emerged as a modification for the original Halo 2 PC release enabling online play/community and extending the game with additional features like the ability to play on Windows 10. Even still, there is Halo: Custom Edition which extends on the original Halo game for PC.

Finding and installing the necessary game files is pretty easy not taking more than 15 minutes. I also didn’t need to do any sketch modifications for launching either of these games. Each has a nice server browser for finding games and tons of advanced settings like Field of View and even enabling skulls (like Grunt Birthday Party)!

With Project Cartographer, you actually create an online account to get onto the multiplayer network. While this takes a bit more effort, it helps reign in hackers/cheaters and was smooth sailing for me. Plus, each community actually had a decent amount of players at any given time, although we definitely need you to join us!

Overall, I’ve added shortcuts to my Steam library and expect to play the hell out of these games. Are there a few rough edges? Sure. But this is about as close to the OG Halo as you can get while both looking and playing excellent on Windows 10. Being able to LAN and WAN is super exciting plus loading custom maps, running your own dedicated server, and Rcon tools take me back to the Counter Strike days!

This might be the best Christmas gift I’ve ever gotten!

(random Eldewrito screenshots follow)

Mario Loria is a builder of diverse infrastructure with modern workloads on both bare-metal and cloud platforms. He's traversed roles in system administration, network engineering, and DevOps. You can learn more about him here.