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sparky has contributed to 1814 posts out of 462973 total posts (.39%) in 2,893 days (.63 posts per day).

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Halo CE General Discussion » Anyone have a working 3rd person mod? Yesterday @ 04:06 PM (Total replies: 2)

I think this requires a memory alteration. Halo Mini Demo's third person map comes with a memory alteration plugin. That means you can use Phasor or SAPP or possibly a scenario script to do this generically.
Edited by sparky on May 27, 2017 at 04:08 PM

Halo CE General Discussion » Newbie Here May 24, 2017 10:27 PM (Total replies: 7)

Hello, mightyaly, welcome to this forum.

I have a Discord chat server about Halo if you're interested: http://tinyurl.com/halochatserver

Do you play Halo Custom Edition or Halo PC? There is a Mac version of Halo called Halo Mini Demo (HaloMD) at https://halomd.net.

I do programming projects and I used to do map modding. What are your interests in Halo?

I'm developing a Halo editing application, and I'm looking for translators who speak and write sentences with proper grammar in these non-English languages natively:


The reason I want to localize my application into these languages is because the Halo Custom Edition game is available in these languages.

Take a look at this strings file; I would need you to simply translate line-by-line the localized strings in this file into your language.

That file is a work in progress. It will have lots of sentences and terms, several related to computer programming. Let me know if you are interested in contributing translations in your native language. I may or may not be able to pay you for your work at the time that the file is prepared for your assistance. Simply let me know if you are available to help. Thank you for your consideration.

If you are interested in helping, please reply to this thread mentioning which of those languages you fluently write and I will send you a private message when the strings file is ready for you.
Edited by sparky on May 24, 2017 at 09:32 PM

Halo CE General Discussion » I found the map editor May 24, 2017 07:20 AM (Total replies: 9)

Halo CE General Discussion » Money May 24, 2017 06:59 AM (Total replies: 121)

Quote: --- Original message by: Dennis
Quote: --- Original message by: DeadHamster
Quote: --- Original message by: Dennis
Quote: --- Original message by: Jesse
Dennis has been clear that he doesn't make any profit from this site. If anything, he pours cash into it out of love.
I wouldn't go so far as to call it "love", but the rest is accurate.

You should work with Sparky to turn the Halo Maps archive into a profit generator. He seems to have this pretty well figured out, there's apparently quite the payout in distribution of assets for a game engine older than some of the site's posters.

Sarcasm for the win!

Halo CE General Discussion » I found the map editor May 23, 2017 03:20 PM (Total replies: 9)

Here is the map editor: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Df6sfOBL8ZQ
Here is the user interface to the map editor: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hfk3XO4uQd4
Here's what I've done with the map editor: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ewFau-mIIPA

Edited by sparky on May 23, 2017 at 03:27 PM
Edited by sparky on May 23, 2017 at 03:29 PM

Halo CE General Discussion » Where to find an install key these days? May 21, 2017 11:38 AM (Total replies: 9)

The "best way" is to buy Halo PC for $20 and install both that and Halo Custom Edition on your Windows 7 computer.

You said that your friends "may want to play". If they do, tell them to buy a copy of Halo PC through Amazon.com. Microsoft does not sell CD Keys independently of the software. Given my archives of things, a CD Key is a boundary between you and piracy and should be respected. If they are your friends, which is what you said, then you could be a friend and buy them each a copy of the game -- if you are sure that they are planning to actually play it with you -- or do such out of generosity.

Halo CE General Discussion » Unicode strings May 15, 2017 06:22 PM (Total replies: 7)

I did know that there are .unicode_string_list tag types. They use two bytes for each character, but not necessarily UTF-16; but my discovery is that they could actually be UTF-16 little endian. I was considering them padded ASCII or UTF-8 characters, because it was thought by other people that Halo did not support actual UTF-16, and so I presumed as much until I discovered this today. So I am considering all strings of two-byte characters as UTF-16.

Does Halo PC have a non-English version like Halo Custom Edition has?
Edited by sparky on May 15, 2017 at 06:26 PM

Halo CE General Discussion » Unicode strings May 15, 2017 05:48 PM (Total replies: 7)

I just learned that Halo Custom Edition actually supports 16-bit Unicode strings (UTF-16).

For an example, install a Chinese version of Halo Custom Edition. Open loc.map in a hex editor and copy/paste the data starting at offset 0x1B8E64, separating strings by terminator into a new data file. The first one is:


So simply strip off the terminator and you get:

Which in UTF-16 Little Endian translates to:
Which Google translate says means:
Pick up the flame launcher
Which is comparable to the English loc.map entry:
Picked up a flamethrower

Comparison of Chinese loc.map and English loc.map:

Halo CE General Discussion » Halo Custom Edition on Mac May 14, 2017 10:48 AM (Total replies: 10)

Quote: --- Original message by: DeadHamster
Quote: --- Original message by: HandofGod
Seems like a pain to deal with Wine and all that... Just download HaloMD for free and play with all the other Mac Halo players like me.

And if they want to play with people who aren't on macs? Or if they want to play SPV3?

HaloMD works with Halo PC and Halo Custom Edition maps and servers. Specifically, you can use HaloMC. It does not currently work with protected map files, I think.
Edited by sparky on May 14, 2017 at 10:51 AM

Halo CE General Discussion » Money May 11, 2017 04:46 PM (Total replies: 121)

You could consider this forum and other resources online as free customer support by non-paid volunteers for Microsoft -- by a few for a niche interest. That includes everyone who contributes to the various Halo communities on the Internet.

Getting paid for this otherwise free support is no loss of benefit to Microsoft.

Quote: do you really think microsoft wouldn't allow that?

And by extension, Dennis works -- or used to work -- to develop this forum. Has Microsoft sued him for placing ads on his web site to earn money? He is by extension making money off of the copyrighted software, just as programmers or anyone else currently doing pro bono work would be making money by extension off of the copyrighted software by making money off of their own work.

This all is keeping the community alive, and I think everyone deserves to earn money from their unique work, whether it is saved into HEK tag file format or not, whether it is compatible with any of the copyrighted software or not.

Keeping the community alive and offering superior customer satisfaction with the overall effect of increasing sales for Microsoft without them lifting a finger...

Quote: do you really think microsoft wouldn't allow that?

But I have furthermore argued that Microsoft could not disallow it, no more than I could disallow them from developing their own software and assets at a whim when I am not losing any money from my own work.

My final comment is this:
No one is losing money and nothing is being stolen in the event that artists design assets or tags or maps or applications and sell them to each other.

Edited by sparky on May 11, 2017 at 04:59 PM

Halo CE General Discussion » Differences in Engine between obje class tags May 11, 2017 04:36 PM (Total replies: 12)

I asked Modzy several years ago to incorporate my information into Eschaton, and so it's only his work on bringing 0.8.1 to that introduced bugs. That's what I mean; if you are still in contact with him, it would be helpful to have either or both of you figure out how to get into a viable usage state.

Halo CE General Discussion » Fudd Shader Tool and JMS+ May 10, 2017 06:39 PM (Total replies: 10)

I like that you recognized a need and worked to aid it. Are you doing this in RealBasic?

Halo CE General Discussion » Differences in Engine between obje class tags May 10, 2017 05:18 PM (Total replies: 12)

There might be fewer published community efforts of the various Halo communities, but the sharing of information has increased.

br.Position =

RealBasic is case insensitive. If you feel like it, could you maybe get in touch with Modzy and fix Eschaton to rid it of crashing bugs?

The reason Eternal Lightning works based upon your posted code is because the data is predictable and its order of tag pathname strings unaltered. ...Anyway, tag pathname strings help establish attribution for purposes of keeping track of credit in what was done. It is not yet used in a sophisticated manner, but I intend to do so.

"Map Magic" is actually the address pointer to the data in memory. This is used because map data is distributed in memory -- the SBSP is placed further from the tags index section. All of those numbers circa 0x40000000 to 0x40440000+ you see -- unless they are unrelated float values -- are pointers in the memory of the loaded Halo game program. If you are interested in that, I've done some videos on my halomodtesters YouTube channel and Wizard has his Phasor Lua Memory Offsets which is enlightening. Phasor uses instruction signatures rather than hardcoded offsets, especially since there are changes between 1.0.9 and 1.0.10 of the game.

Edited by sparky on May 10, 2017 at 05:41 PM

From my notes:

Quote: Converting between HEK format tags and Map files and memory:

HEK tag files are compiled into map files, and map files are parsed into memory.
Halo uses (one or more pages) of the memory address range 0x40000000 - 0x41B40000, inside which it stores memory tables and map data.
0x40440000 is where the tags index of the currently-loaded map file is stored. The sbsp is loaded in the remaining bytes between the end of the tag data and 0x41B40000, aligning the sbsp data to end at 0x41B40000, so that its last "CA" bytes are found at the end of the memory address range, and there is left zero-byte padding between the end of the tag data and the start of the sbsp data.
Note that after a time while a map is loaded into memory, (probably) the OS will divide the memory region in the padding bytes into two pages instead of one, so that the sbsp data fits in its own next memory page, separately from the more dynamic memory tables (and tags index and map tags) memory.
The header of a map (at least some of its information) is stored at 0x40000000. After that are memory tables until 0x40440000 which has the rest of the map data, starting with the "tags" index.
The map "tags" index is where tags are referenced by tag ID. Each entry in the "tags" index contains in this order: the full tag class triplet, the incremental tag ID, a pointer to the tag pathname string of that tag, and a pointer to the tag's metadata, followed by 8 bytes of zero for a total entry size of 32 bytes. All compiled tags have their dependencies (infTagReference's) within them updated to cite the referenced tags using tag ID. Right after the index of tags comes all the tag pathname strings, in little endian byte order (not reversed), ASCII, and null-terminated as usual.
The only strings that are reversed between HEK tag format and a map file on disk and in memory are the four-character tag class IDs. All other strings are left in original byte order.
Map files contain the header, the footer, the sbsp data, the tags index, the tag pathname strings, and then the tags data. The last tag indexed is the sbsp tag, and its metadata is also last in the tag data. Converting from tag to map involves collecting all referenced tags and all base tags (globals.globals and some tagc references and UI tags of predefined tpns for example), listing them them with the scnr tag first and the sbsp tags last, giving them tag IDs thereby and listing their unique tag pathname strings, then writing the header information to 0x40000000, the tags index followed by the tag metadata starting at 0x40440000, and skipping to sbsp-data-length-bytes before 0x41B40000 and writing the sbsp data up to that address. Converting from memory to map is the reverse of this, and extracting a tag from memory is as simple as parsing the tags index and referencing by tag ID or tpns. Converting from memory to map is constructing a header and footer using the information at 0x40000000, taking the sbsp data before 0x41B40000 (without ending "CACA" bytes), taking verbatim the tags index and tpns list and tag data, and putting all that in that order into a .map file.

Edited by sparky on May 10, 2017 at 06:16 PM

In that conversation text file with Altimit01, he points out that the tags index entries don't end in 8 bytes of zero but with a 32-bit bitmask value and unused four bytes. The actual purpose could be determined by looking at Tool or the game.
Edited by sparky on May 10, 2017 at 06:20 PM
Edited by sparky on May 11, 2017 at 04:32 PM

I use MagicISO Virtual CD/DVD Manager; it's freeware and works well. You use it from the taskbar tray.

Halo CE General Discussion » A crazy idea May 8, 2017 08:59 PM (Total replies: 4)

If you are interested in disassembling the copyrighted software, you should discuss it elsewhere, because this forum's rules say you can't talk about that here.

x86 assembly is what you would want to learn, and it's much more involved to disassemble and study than it is to analyze the nicely-organized memory of the running applications and the files that they use which by this time is pretty well discussed.

I welcome you discussing this on my discord chat, and you might be interested in reading what I've written so far on my web site: https://halo.galaxyverge.com/.

Halo CE General Discussion » Money May 8, 2017 08:46 PM (Total replies: 121)

Twinreaper, thanks for looking up those entries. The second and third links are to strategy guides. Here is the search link:

Edited by sparky on May 8, 2017 at 08:49 PM

Results for "halo combat evolved":

No results for "halo custom edition" or "halo editing kit".
Edited by sparky on May 8, 2017 at 08:51 PM

Works are still copyrighted even if they are not registered with the US Copyright Office. In court, however, it is a major help to the copyright owner if the copyrighted work is registered.

But I already explained why nobody is going to sue in court over this. And if they do, they're going to be emptying their own pockets in pointless legal expenses. That is not a concern. The only concern of mine is how to properly approach the Halo programming and modding community financially supporting itself for all this work people do. Credit is fine, but people work for a reason.
Edited by sparky on May 8, 2017 at 08:55 PM

My response here does not answer your question directly, but the differences are related to the memory tables in which they are stored. It's nice to know that you are still interested in the game engine's behavior after all these years. Didn't you contribute something to the MGM community years ago, back when Altimit01 was working on Eschaton?

Halo CE General Discussion » Money May 6, 2017 07:01 PM (Total replies: 121)

The HEK's EULA says this incorrect statement, and the HEK does install without agreeing to -- or even seeing -- the EULA, which is contained by the EulaHEK.dll and EulaHEK.rtf files placed in the same location as the HEKSetup 1.00.exe installer, not the installation directory:

Quote: This product will not set up on your computer unless or until you accept the terms of the EULA.

Regarding the HEK's EULA and reverse engineering, section 2 of EulaHEK.rtf says:

Quote: Limitations on Reverse Engineering, Decompilation, and Disassembly. You may not reverse engineer, decompile, or disassemble the SOFTWARE PRODUCT, except and only to the extent that such activity is expressly permitted by applicable law notwithstanding this limitation.

Page 3 says that
Section 103 of the DMCA adds a new chapter 12 to Title 17 of the U.S. Code.
New section 1201 implements the obligation to provide adequate and effective
protection against circumvention of technological measures used by copyright owners
to protect their works

...which is not present in the HEK IDE software.

The top of page 4 clarifies that "fair use" is applicable when there is no adequate and effective protection that is being circumvented. Page 4 also says that the section is related to:
Section 1201 proscribes devices or services that fall within any one of the
following three categories:
* they are primarily designed or produced to circumvent;
* they have only limited commercially significant purpose or use other
than to circumvent; or
* they are marketed for use in circumventing.

None of which is applicable to the actions of the Halo communities or myself, since we are not devising hacks or "cracks" (as the Halo Maps Forum rules put it) or other "circumventions" to the HEK or other copyrighted software. Rather, it is analysis of unprotected files, a study of the behavior of the software itself, that is of interest on this forum and to this community.

Page 5 says that, given those (nonexistent) protections,
Reverse engineering (section 1201(f)). This exception permits
circumvention, and the development of technological means for such
circumvention, by a person who has lawfully obtained a right to use a
copy of a computer program for the sole purpose of identifying and
analyzing elements of the program necessary to achieve interoperability
with other programs, to the extent that such acts are permitted under
copyright law

And this statement at the bottom of page 6 summarizes the actions that the DMCA is designed to prohibit:
(ii) to distribute, import for distribution, broadcast
or communicate to the public, without authority,
works or copies of works knowing that electronic rights
management information has been removed or altered
without authority

So in sum, there can be no "DMCA takedown notice" because the DMCA does not actually apply to anything related to the Halo Editing Kit. The only application is to the commercial Halo PC game disc and its contents licensed with a CD Key; and even then, there would be no removal of electronic rights information from the software itself. There is no electronic rights management information being removed or altered by anyone in the community.

The only relevant laws are those of copyright. And since everyone is designing their own work and that can be applied to a usage terms -- just like the HEK notably does not include any Halo game map files or map file .scenario tags -- it's their own copyrighted work, even after they use it with the HEK or any other copyrighted application.

So about copyright:

The EULA says the license agreement is with Gearbox Software, and yet says that the copyright belongs to Microsoft:

Quote: Note: These downloadable features provided by Gearbox Software LLC (“Gearbox”) on this website are UNSUPPORTED and are provided solely for use with the Microsoft® Halo® software game for the personal computer.


Should you have any questions concerning this EULA or desire to receive a copy of this EULA, you may write Gearbox at: Gearbox Software, 101 East Park Blvd #1069, Plano, TX 75074.


IMPORTANT—READ CAREFULLY: This End-User License Agreement (“EULA”) is a legal agreement between you (either an individual or a single entity) and Gearbox Software LLC (“Gearbox”) for the unsupported software accompanying this EULA, which includes computer software and may include associated media, and “online” or electronic documentation (“SOFTWARE PRODUCT” or “SOFTWARE”). By downloading, installing, copying, accessing or otherwise using the SOFTWARE PRODUCT, you agree to be bound by the terms of this EULA. If you do not agree to the terms of this EULA, you may not use the SOFTWARE PRODUCT.


3. COPYRIGHT. All title and copyrights in and to the SOFTWARE PRODUCT (including but not limited to any images, photographs, animations, video, audio, music, text, and “applets” incorporated into the SOFTWARE PRODUCT), the accompanying printed materials, and any copies of the SOFTWARE PRODUCT are owned by Microsoft or its suppliers. The SOFTWARE PRODUCT is protected by copyright laws and international treaty provisions. Therefore, you must treat the SOFTWARE PRODUCT like any other copyrighted material.

Now I have no idea what "Microsoft's suppliers" means in this case. The legalese is inclusive of everything that "HEKSetup 1.00.exe" installs on your computer, which notably lacks any "Halo Game Content" except a few random example tags like I mentioned earlier.

The HEK Tutorial puts it this way:

Quote: No part of this document or the materials contained therein may be reproduced for commercial use without the express written consent of Bungie Studios, Gearbox Software, and Microsoft Corporation.

None of the materials contained within the Halo PC End User Editing Kit may be distributed for commercial use without the express written consent of Bungie Studios, Gearbox Software, and Microsoft Corporation.

© Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

Microsoft, Bungie and Halo are either trademarks or registered trademarks of Microsoft Corporation in the United States and/or other countries.

Developed by Gearbox Software, L.L.C. Gearbox Software and the Gearbox logo are trademarks or registered trademarks of Gearbox Software, L.L.C.

Discreet, 3ds max™ are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Autodesk Canada Inc./Autodesk, Inc. in the USA and/or other countries.

All other brand names, product names, or trademarks belong to their respective holders.

All rights reserved.

I didn't know that Bungie was a registered trademark of Microsoft Corporation. That's fascinating news to me.

Quote: Halo PC End User Editing Kit Development Team:

Tutorials and Documentation:
Matthew Armstrong
David Mertz
Marc Tardif
Shawn Green
Steve Jones
Charles Kostick
Sean Reardon
Jimmy Sieben
Scott Velasquez
Original Halo Tools Programming:

Mat Noguchi and the Bungie Halo Programming team
Additional Contributions:

The halo.bungie.net web development team (background images and web graphics)

Special Thanks:

Roger Wolfson - Test Lead
Microsoft Corporation and Microsoft Game Studios
Bungie Studios
Gearbox Software Team
All of the Halo fans

Microsoft is only listed as "special thanks" rather than given any credit.

Different to the license terms is the information in the software itself:


The copyright for Sapien says 2001 in the application's Help menu, but in the application's properties, it dates 2004:


You can see in that screenshot that Matthew Noguchi did not mention the copyright owner with Sapien. Guerilla is copyrighted by Bungie Software Products, Inc. . The software itself has nothing to do with Microsoft, despite the EULA stating that copyright for the HEK is Microsoft's and that the HEK is distributed and -- logistically partially, but not officially -- supported by Gearbox.

My final comment is this:
No one is losing money and nothing is being stolen in the event that artists design assets or tags or maps or applications and sell them to each other.
Edited by sparky on May 6, 2017 at 07:20 PM

Halo CE General Discussion » New Halo CE idea Apr 30, 2017 09:32 AM (Total replies: 8)

I have described in different places the resources used by dedicated server software for Halo and how to set up multiple instances of a dedicated server which is what I do on my own dedicated server (rented for a lot of money).

If you want to discuss this, I will be able to do so in about a week at my Halo Discord chat server here: http://tinyurl.com/halochatserver.

Each player uses about 1000 bytes per second of bandwidth. Halo spams UDP packets and does not use TCP. Not every map will function properly with the dedicated server software. If there is anything substantially odd about the organization of data in the map file, the haloded.exe will eventually crash in the console window.

If you want to use SAPP, specify "auto_update 0" in SAPP's init.txt file to avoid occasional problems caused by its automatic updating feature and to set it so updates would require manually updating it yourself on occasion.

My YouTube channel has details; https://www.youtube.com/user/halomodtesters see the Halo Modding Tutorial Series. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Brb2DicGsGY&index=76&list=PLOLhzsHlG3Qr8R5AgI67kKB9HisblIkZS is the dedicated server setup video tutorial.

I still plan to provide a single download, but you can use my archives via https://halo.galaxyverge.com/
Edited by sparky on Apr 30, 2017 at 09:52 AM

Time: Sun May 28, 2017 10:06 PM 266 ms.
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