Halo PC Update
12:39 PM | Mike Apps | Comment on this story
Bungie Fans who have been waiting for some info on the port of the hit Halo to Mac and PC may be interested in an article recently posted by Gamespot. The article includes some updated info on the port from Randy Pitchford, the president of Gearbox, the company porting Halo to the PC. Included in the article are some of the PC-specific features that will be included, and some of the reasons the port took so long to get started.
Here's a snippet:
The PC game isn't intended to change the single-player campaign in the slightest, so the challenges aren't creative, but technical. The first major hurdle has been to port the game engine to run on a PC. Although many think of the Xbox as a modified PC, Pitchford notes that the Nvidia graphics chip in the console is highly specialized, and since Halo was a first generation Xbox game, it doesn't deal with the hardware as elegantly as it could have. Westlake Interactive is currently working alongside Gearbox in keeping the Macintosh port up to speed with the PC port. Halo is expected to be released next summer, with the Mac version being published by Bold. For more information, or to read the full article, follow the links below.
Pitchford said that the project is about 40 percent done, much of which includes a successful port of the graphics engine. The port required Gearbox to move to supporting DirectX 9 and completely rewrite all the pixel shader effects. Part of what that rewrite means is that the PC game will have some enhanced effects for PCs with the latest graphics cards--Pitchford mentioned that Nvidia was helping with optimizations for the GeForce FX--that are more capable than the Xbox hardware. The game will also support cards down to the GeForce2 MX, and that has required designing some alternate effects. In particular, the flashlight effect had to be redone for low-end cards in order to keep the gameplay intact.
Gearbox is still planning its approach to the project's second major hurdle: support for Internet multiplayer. The Xbox game can handle up to 16 players in multiplayer, but only when four Xboxes are connected on a local network. The nature of the Internet means that action games with online multiplayer have to be designed to work with varying degrees of latency. However, the Xbox game's networking code sends data synchronously, which is only practical on a LAN. As a result, Gearbox has had to completely rip out the networking code and start from scratch.
Halo PC update
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