Modding is a way of changing the form and playthrough of a game by manipulating its base coding. This can vary from changing colors of a character, to re-making a map or weapon, such as in Halo 2. Using the mods can significantly alter the processes of a game. As modding is often used for cheating, it is not allowed on Xbox Live and the use of a modded Xbox on Xbox Live will result in a terminated account. However, Halo: Custom Edition, an expansion of Halo PC, was created by Gearbox Software and is a legal form of modding.
An example of a Meta Tag modding program is Halo Map Tools, or the more supported, advanced Eschaton. Existing modding programs examples are: SparkEdit, or SwordEdit as the Mac equivalent is named, and DotHalo. DotHalo is viewed via winzip for certain computers.
Modding for a ChallengeEdit
Some interesting uses for modding are:
- Turn allies into enemies
- Change the type of enemy (Grunts to Hunters, Elites to Prophets, etc.)
- Make new standard weapons (Enforcer Needler, Scarab Gun, Prophet Beam, etc.)
- Make enemy vehicles appear in different levels
- Increasing enemy forces
Modding for CheatingEdit
Modding can add weapons, turn weapons that are single-wielded into dual-wielded weapons, such as the Covenant Energy Sword, can make a player jump incredible distances and in some cases, break the game or map barrier.
Modding only has effect on all players if one is the host; for example, if the Assault Rifle is modded by the host of the game to shoot tank rounds or sniper bullets, the players can shoot out only sniper bullets and tank rounds. However, if non-host player has a modded map that shoots out tank rounds, when he shoots, it will appear to him as he's shooting tank rounds, but it has no function - everyone else shoots normally, and everyone else takes normal damage.
Some modders are legitimate players and do not cheat. These individuals discourage the general public from referring to cheaters as modders, rather hackers.
Other mods include:
- Changing a character's meta-data
- Playing as any character (Grunts, Elites, Hunters)
- Making enemies your allies
- Making all hits count as headshots
- Infinite ammunition
- Super speed
- Making undrivable vehicles drivable (Pelicans, Longswords, Phantoms, etc.)
- Extra damage delivered
- Damage resistance
- Cloning yourself
- The creation of new weapons
- The modification of weapons and vehicles (e.g. combining two different vehicles to create a new one with both vehicles' characteristics)
- Automatic power weapons, like sniper rifles and Rocket Launchers
- Creation of energy barriers
- Creation of flying turrets
- Changing the physics on a map or player to make players lightweight or super-dense
- The introduction of AIs into maps
- Swapping weapon abilities and characteristics (e.g. Shotgun ammunition turns into a spray of Wraith plasma mortar)
- New maps and single player levels
Most of these maps are hard drive maps such as Containment or Terminal. It is possible to modify the maps on the game disk, but it is a very hard process and may break your DVD drive. The easier way is to copy the game to the Xbox hard drive, but you won't be able to play on Xbox LIVE with them.
All of these mods are used to give the "modder" a slight edge in gameplay. However, the modder can only use a lot of the mods if he/she has host of the game. Often, modders are in a party with a "bridger" or a "stand-byer." The bridger uses a program on the computer which interacts with other players' routers and Xboxs to make a modder or anyone else host of the game. This is effective in the process of "leveling-up." This is when gamers join a modder's game to get their level boosted up, as the modder is almost unstoppable. Stand-byers use many techniques to freeze other gamers games, like disconnecting from Xbox LIVE. When a stand-byer is successful, other gamers either get the dreaded "blue screen" or they get a similar black screen. Everyone but the stand-byer gets this. This allows the stand-byer to run around the map and kill all opponents. This is effective, but illegal, as are all mods.
Any use of these mods is in violation with the Code of Conduct and will get a modder's account banned from all matchmaking games.
PC modders should be aware of something called an Exception on both Halo PC and Halo 2 for Windows Vista. This occurs when something goes wrong with the mod, or when something done is uncalled for. For example, some mods require a Level restart, or the game will crash, leading to an Exception Error.
In Halo PC, game crashing usually leads to a Window showing, "Gathering Exception Data" which means the game had crashed through an uncalled-for mod, or a physics glitch, while in Halo 2 Vista, the game does not show the window. Instead, it will automatically close, which some claim is an exception.
Bungie Takes ActionEdit
- Main article: Halopedia:Bungie With Teeth
This has become such a widespread problem in the Matchmaking system that Bungie was forced to resolve the problem by releasing auto-updates which ban hackers from the system and terminate their accounts. Bungie has banned thousands of players and is working to clean up the rest, earning in the process the moniker 'Banhammer.' Several sites offer a list of cheaters and hackers.
Although there used to be several ways to mod, Xbox Live and Bungie have collaborated to rectify the programming mistakes and prevent the game from being modded as much. They are also reinforcing much stricter punishments for cheaters, such as instant bans and longer suspensions.
Modding maps in the Demo/Trial version of Halo: Combat Evolved is also possible, although there are a few differences:
- Limitations: by default, gametypes are Slayer/CTF only, and available levels are Silent Cartographer (Level) (SP)/Blood Gulch (MP) only. Through file conversions, one can get full version maps and levels to work with the demo.
The Demo does come with every gametype, however. You can access them through through replacing the Slayer/CTF file with the file of the gametype you want. The header is scrambled, and the magic used in its monolithic structure has a difference of exactly 0xBAD0000 from the retail version. There are applications which allow for the conversion of retail/CE maps to usable Demo maps, which expand the game to far more than the stock Silent Cartographer and Blood Gulch, but they are considered illegal and are therefore shunned by a portion of the modding community.
Modding for Everyone's EnjoymentEdit
Most of the time, however, players mod for fun by making the mods on the maps able to be used by everybody in the game. This is what modding was originally intended for: fun and messing around. Often modders make a map with a theme, such as a snowy version of a normal map, a night time version of a normal map, a SWAT type map, or anything you can imagine. Some mods add player models from a Campaign map to a Multiplayer Map, including Heretic Elites, ODSTs etc. Sometimes people make mods just to see what kind of new and innovative things they can do such as "Active Scenery" which allows objects, like Pelican Dropships, to move around the map without AI or anyone controlling it. An example of Bungie made active scenery is the Train on Terminal or the Monitor, 2401 Penitent Tangent, on Backwash.
Modding isn't limited to the Xbox. Halo PC's mod far surpass the one's from console, given the right tools, and Halo: Custom Edition even encourages user-created maps. Many popular maps available for Halo: Custom Edition are Yoyorast Island, which is basically a twisty racecourse, Extinction, a very large map set between a large UNSC ship resembling the Pillar of Autumn and a large crashed ship resembling a Covenant ship, and Coldsnap, another very large outdoors map that relies mainly on vehicular combat.
Some also mod to make nice screenshots like those seen at Halouvre, or even to create machinima.
It should be noted, however, that this type of modding can still result in a ban from matchmaking, and is still considered illegal, although Bungie doesn't appear to mind it as long as the modder does not go onto Xbox LIVE.
Halo PC MachinimaEdit
Through modding, it is possible to make it easier and more practical to film machinima. Since certain applications (e.g., Eschaton) allow weapons to be tweaked, it is possible to remove the heads-up-display and give the weapon certain traits that make it more useful as a "camera" to film with. When effects such as lighting are boosted, the dramatic effect is also raised, especially when used on dark maps.
Halo 3 ModsEdit
Like Halo 2, and Halo: Combat Evolved before it, Halo 3 has already gained some notablemods, provided by community members unaffiliated with Bungie or Microsoft. Though not always used for cheating or providing one player or team an advantage, the use of modded content on Xbox Live in any regard is still considered illegal, and can result in a ban. The biggest change with Halo 3 is the ability to share modded content via File Share making anybody without any modding experience able to play with or view the modded content.
Map mods Edit
Currently, the only way to mod maps is to either have a dev kit which requires some files, or to hardmod your 360 and patch some files.[verification needed] Map mods for Halo 3 are like Halo 2, allowing anything to be done to the map that is discovered at the moment, or that you can do in a hex editor or modding program.
Map Variant modsEdit
Mods allow custom map variants to include removed material from the Halo 3 Epsilon build such as Deployable lookout towers, Shade turrets and Vehicles like Hornets and Banshees on Narrows and Warthogs on The Pit. Mods also allow objects that can't be forged such as the Elephants on Sandtrap to be duplicated. Additionally, they allow objective melee weapons such as bombs, skulls and flagsto be used without playing that gametype. It is also possible to place object out of the map boundaries, but this less impressive because it can also be done using glitches. Modders can also add effects, such as a Holographic Ark on Guardian or other items. Some mods can also add Warthog Gauss Turrets to the map
Note: Modded content on a map will disappear when a new round in started or when the map variant is saved as a new variant, with a few exceptions.
Gametype modifications allow changes to certain settings in gametypes. Bungie used enumerated values for Halo 3's Gametypes, so most of the settings are only the ones available from the beginning. There are some settings stored as integer values, for example:
- Respawn Time
- Return Time
- Sudden Death Time
- Captures per Round
- Reset Time
Most other values are accessed in a 'list' fashion, which removes much purpose from creating specialized modding tools to edit settings in the main menu. One exception to this is the Primary and Secondary weapons, which have entries enumerated that are not usually accessible to the player. Setting these values produces a blank text in the mainmenu, but a functional weapon ingame. If the current map does not have a selected weapon, the default ( Assault Rifle) is loaded. The list of weapons that can be specified are as follows:
- Battle Rifle
- Assault Rifle
- Plasma Pistol
- Energy Sword
- Plasma Rifle
- Rocket Launcher
- Sniper Rifle
- Brute Shot
- Depleted Sword
- Beam Rifle
- Spartan Laser
- No Weapon
- Gravity Hammer
- Flame Thrower
- Missile Pod
Gametypes also have the .blf (Blam File Header/Blam Library Format) header, which stores information such as Variant Name, Variant Author, and Variant Description. These fields may be edited to anything, including censored terms, and displayed in the menu. It can become difficult for the original author or any information about the file to be verified locally.
Video and Screenshot modsEdit
With the help of modding, player armor in Film Clip and Recorded Games can be changed to what ever the player wants, even Recon and Bungie Armor. It is possible to share modded map variants and game type variant without being banned through a modding trick: Recorded Games store the game type variant and the map variant information and you can extract these and videos of mods (not modded videos) on File Share will not get you banned.
With modding, it is also possible to replace Screenshots with other pictures such as pictures you take with your camera.
With modding, players can change what their weapons do and whether they're duel-wieldable or not. Modders can make (For example) Needlers shoot Fusion coils and Confetti. Other mods are Plasma Cannons that shoot Plasma Grenades or Frags. Though some weapon mods don't make the weapon shoot something that isn't supposed to be shot. Some mods include making Turrets shoot the beam from a Sentinel Beam. But as said above, other Weapon Mods can make weapons duel-wieldable. Such as duel-wielding 2 Turrets, 2 Rocket Launchers, or even 2 Snipers. Also, some modders can mod so that their weapon shoots faster. Such as a Rocket Launcher firing at the speed of an Assault Rifle.
Softmods and Hardmods Edit
Contrary to common belief, getting a chip installed in your Xbox is not the only way to have mods. Many popular mods are retrieved through what is called "soft" modding.
- Soft modding does not require a chip; it is done through a special file and an Action Replay.
- "Hard" mods are done by acquiring a special chip and installing it on to your Xbox.
Note: There is no "True Source" for modding as it is done at a players demand. However, it may be witnessed in the following games.
- Halo: Combat Evolved
- Halo: PC
- Halo: Custom Edition
- Halo 2
- Halo 2 Vista
- Halo 3 Beta- please note that this was the beta version and not the final product
- Halo 3
- Halo Wars
- Halo 3: ODST
- Halo: Reach
- Halo 4
- Why We Mod - A collection of creative mods displayed in a music video.
- http://www.macgamingmods.com - A Modding Website Dedicated to Mac users.
RemnantMods - The Last stand of Halo 2 Modding
- http://halodemomods.com/wiki/Main_Page - A wiki mostly containing mods for the Halo Demo/Trial for Windows and Macintosh
- Halomaps.org - Debatably the most popular site dedicated to Halo Custom Edition maps and mods.