NHE 1.0 - Official Release - Now Available!
WHAT IS NHE?
Halo 1: NHE (Neutral Host Edition) is a modded version of Halo CE that allows for a dedicated Xbox to host games between two joining Xboxes on LAN. This allows for players on two separate Xboxes to play against each other without one Xbox having the advantage of being on host (i.e., both Xboxes are essentially playing on a dedicated server).
WHAT EQUIPMENT DO I NEED?
Neutral Host Edition requires three modded Xboxes (each with NHE loaded), one Ethernet switch (hub), and three patch cables (crossover cables will not work with a switch). A third TV for the host Xbox is recommended but not required as it can be connected to a second input on one of the TVs already in use. Note that regular on/off gameplay with two Xboxes and a crossover is also possible with NHE.
HOW DO I PLAY GAMES WITH IT?
Run Halo 1: NHE (Server) on the host Xbox and start a system link game. Then run Halo 1: NHE on the other two join Xboxes and join the system link game. Use the host Xbox to choose the map and game type. You can play 1v1, 2v2, 3v3, and 4v4.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
At the start of a Neutral Host Edition game the player on the host Xbox will instantly teleport to a spot above the map so he does not affect spawns.
- v1.0 Features/Updates -
Hang 'Em High
– The Race gametype has been replaced with the Practice Mode gametype. All power ups and weapons spawn every 30 seconds which is ideal for practicing nade tricks.
Host XBE Added:
– A separate xbe has been added for use with NHE mode enabled gametypes. Map geometry and player models have been removed to improve the performance of the host xbox. During gameplay the score is automatically shown so it can be capped and/or streamed. This xbe will be displayed as "Halo 1: NHE Server" in the Games section of your dashboard and should only be run on the host box.
– After much debate, the extremely small amount of spread for the pistol and no scoped sniper rifle have been removed. In other words, the randomness that was normally applied to pistol and no scoped sniper shots is gone. This rewards players who are able to aim accurately at distances beyond the pistol's default "effective" range.
Team Color Swap Removed:
– All players now join the lobby on red team and teams no longer change colors after each game. This allows the hostman to stay on the red team, for NHE enabled games, which helps offset the small benefit of being on blue team (on certain maps) by giving red team the small chance of a split spawn at the start of a game (on certain maps). This also improves the spectator experience for streamed games that show both screens.
Battle Creek Texture Flash:
– The delayed flash (or spark) on the walls and floors in Battle Creek, which creates the perception that shots are lagging, has been fixed. This also fixes the texture on Downrush and Outbound.
.Fortune Quotes Changed:
– The easter egg quotes left by Bungie have been swapped out for new ones.
Bored Camera Removed:
– After a player has quit out, or been dead for a certain length of time, the death camera will begin to follow other active players. This feature has been removed as it would be necessary for a potentially new method of adding a hostman to the game. Also, this improves hide-and-seek gameplay.
– The main menu has an option to show the NHE team credits.
Training Mode Random Areas:
– The colors of the random areas on training mode have been changed from bright pink to dark grey.
Removed Sound Hacks:
– The plasma pistol charging and needler shooting sounds have been removed.
– The attract vids have been replaced with custom ones. One vid shows the credits and the other shows NHE highlight footage and features.
– Various errors in the timer script have been corrected.
– A refined list of gametypes has been added (available as a separate download).
Halo 1: NHE v1.0 is finally released.
Testing is completed and the v1.0 release candidate is tested at Beach LAN 7. No bugs were reported.
Testing of the final release begins.
Stuntman discovers a hidden file in a debug version of Halo that helps significantly for reverse engineering. Subsequently, Mintograde discovers a new potential way of handling the hostman that would actually prevent him from spawning, which would theoretically improve NHE gameplay. Devilman mods the xbe so that teams do not swap colors after every game. He also removes the bored camera which is a necessary step for the new hostman method if it ever comes to light. Also, unnecessary player and map geometry are removed from the host xbe.
Stuntman holds a map making contest that is held at the VA Beach 2018 LAN. Tinker is the winning map out of 5 contestants.
DDS creates new attract vids to replace the stock ones shown in the title screen. The .fortune easter egg quotes are replaced with new ones. DDS also changes various other string text in the UI.map.
Insidious & DDS fix the menu to allow more than 20 maps to be displayed correctly. DDS creates a credits screen that can be accessed from the title menu. The team votes to include no spread on the final release along with no plasma pistol charge and needler shooting sounds.
Mintograde reverse engineers Halo to make the scoreboard automatically show up during gameplay. This enables the scoreboard screen to be captured and/or streamed. This requires a separate xbe which is only to be used on the host xbox. DDS creates a test build of NHE that removes spread from the pistol and no scoped sniper. It plays very well and a debate starts as to whether to include it in the final release.
DDS removes the flashing effect on ground and rock textures used on the walls and floor of Battle Creek, Outbound, etc. DDS also creates Practice Mode which replaces the Race gametype. All weapons and powerups respawn every 30 seconds so people can practice nade tricks. Mudbone reaches out to Jeff Steitzer (the Halo multiplayer announcer) and requests a recording of him saying “Practice Mode” so that it can be used when a practice mode gametype loads. Jeff Steitzer graciously obliges and provides the team three excellent sample tracks to choose from. DDS implements this into each map.
Beta V7 is released.
Mintograde reverse engineers Halo to break the 13 map limit and increases it to 20 maps. Insidious implements a pre-game countdown at the beginning of each game which nullifies the unfair advantage created by the varying render speeds of different Xboxes. He also further optimizes the hud timer script and redoes the lighting on Imminent. DDS creates a newer version of Decidia and Dsalimander redoes the lighting on Downrush and Exhibit. Stuntman releases Atlas.
Beta V6 is released. Shortly after Insidious discovers a way to toggle different NHE modes piggy backing off of the vehicle selection menu options. He also figures out how to create a training mode that includes spawn markers, random zones, powerup announcements, and powerup waypoints. Mintograde reverse engineers the Halo executable to confirm the spawn influence distance in game (which is used to display the random zones in training mode).
Many players notice holes in Derelict on BetaV5 and the NHE team confirms that the holes are inadvertently and unavoidably created whenever a map is rebuilt in 3DS Max (which is required for the hostman box). This issue is resolved when Dsalimander joins the NHE team and discovers a new way to teleport hostman outside the map using a ghost. This method requires “all vehicles” or “ghosts” to be turned on for each gametype until such time Cluis can find a way to inject a hostman box into a completed map. DDS discovers a way to add an onscreen timer using campaign cut scenes and Insidious develops it.
NHE BetaV5 is used on all stations at Beach LAN 5.
Cujjer and NTG Fr33 test nearby subroutines and find the one that affects each issue. Insidious re-codes a new talking timer script that is flawless and on a 30-minute loop cycle. Stuntman joins the NHE team for map creation/editing support. DDS figures out a much more precise & quicker method for re-compiling the new NHE and talking timer scripts into maps, and rebuilding them back 100% accurate. DDS attempts to replace all the physical “.sound” tag files in the maps for rebuilding, but runs into a major error that was affecting the talking timer script to not function properly. Insidious devises a way to properly remove the necessary sounds (teleporter, power ups, etc.) by removing all references in the necessary tags. Halo 1: Final previously loaded blank sound files, which actually corrupted the map for importing/exporting back to tags (but still works in game on the xbox). Insidious’ and DDS’ theory on back engineering a map and adding new geometry (hostman box), starts to come alive in full effect. The hostman can now be put very high above the map which makes the green arrow much less conspicuous. DDS Succesfully remakes Chillout and Derelict 100% accurate from 3ds Max – Full complete rebuild. With Insidious’ help, the NHE team hires cluis, the creator of ‘Arsenic’, to provide Xbox tags which auto load in Arsenic and makes map upgrades error free and considerably less time consuming. Cluis also starts working on a new way to add a hostman geometry box way above the map without needing to fully rebuild the map in 3DS Max.
Devilman reattempts to translate the Halo PC nade fix to the Xbox version and finds success! The fix only corrects the nade count on spawn. Further testing is needed to correct the other issues affected by the event handler.
Devilman determines the Yelo Debug Communication Library created by xbox7887 and kornman00 can be used to set a breakpoint. Using the library, which is written in C#, one should be able to create an app that will connect with a debug Xbox using xbox7887’s modified xbdm.dll and then find values and set breakpoints. Progress stalls until such time the NHE team finds someone who can create this app.
Devilman successfully establishes a debug connection using the b2276 release of Halo running on the ram upgraded original Xbox (flashed with a debug bios and using xbox7887’s modified xbdm.dll). Memory dumps are successful using the Yelo Debugger App created by grimdoomer. The values for nades are found however attempts to set breakpoints in visual studio fail as this requires debug symbols which are unattainable for Halo.
Devilman successfully reverse engineers Halo PC to start with 4 nades on spawn instead of 2 nades. Attempts to use IDA Pro to translate the changes to the Xbox version fail. Devilman purchases an RGH modded Xbox 360 and converts it into a Dev Kit. A debug session is established with Halo running and the value for nades is found. The values can be poked in real time however a breakpoint could not be set in Visual Studio as the values fell into the dynamic memory range. Values in that range will not breakpoint.
Insidious finds the solution for Damnation and Downrush. The scripts had increased the map file size larger than the game would accept. Insidious finds a fix previously done by ViperNeo that allows for a larger map to be loaded and solves the problem. Work on fixing the 2 nades resumes. NTG Fr33 and Mudbone ask for assistance from old Bungie employees that worked on the multiplayer for Halo. They respond but are of no assistance.
DDS runs into a problem with Damnation and Downrush. The maps will not load after adding NHE scripts. The work on fixing the 2 nades comes to a halt until this problem can be corrected.
Devilman purchases a ram upgraded Xbox and flashes it with a debug bios to assist in establishing a debug session with Halo. Progress is very slow.
DDS and Devilman start work on fixing the 2 nades problem. DDS determines that the problem cannot be fixed using scripts. Research into trainer creation begins and attempts to use the evox remote debugger and a debug bios loader fail.
DDS is successful in creating an NHE beta on the map Prisoner and starts work on other maps. It becomes apparent there are only 2 nades on spawn for 2v2 games instead of the normal default of 4.
DDS releases Halo 1: Final v1.0 which is created using scripts. He then starts using scripts to create what would become NHE. The biggest challenge is finding the hostman and teleporting him to a location inside the map that does not affect spawns.
McDick proposes the concept of NHE to DDS over a conversation on Facebook.
Any and all donations are much, much appreciated. Thousands of hours have gone into the making of Halo 1: NHE (Neutral Host Edition), Halo 1: Final and Halo 1.5 – In hopes for creating the best possible Halo 1 version available for competitive LANs. Thank you again to everybody who contributed and supported this project. – Jeff Waddell (DDS)
Questions or Comments? Feel free to contact me via Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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