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Halo 2 is still online! (NON-MCC!)

OP MetalHeadJon95

Yep! You read that right. Since the shutdown of the Xbox Live servers in 2010 for OG Xbox games, Halo 2 has stayed alive on both PC and Xbox. And in this tutorial I will be telling you how to get right back into the fight! I'm not sure if i'm allowed to post direct links to download, so instead i'll just be typing the website names. Sorry! This is also my first post on here so hi lol.

Playing Halo 2 online on XBox and Xbox 360 via Xlink Kai
Xlink Kai is a wonderful program that is actually as old as Xbox Live itself! This program works by establishing a connection to your Xbox (via crossover cable directly or ethernet on the same router) and it essentially works kind of like Tunngle and Hamachi if you're familiar with those. It connects your console to the internet and allows you to play System Link games online! Your console will think you're connected to other consoles (as the purpose of System Link) but you'll actually see active games show up in the System Link lobby from players around the world! Back in the day hundreds of people would play Halo 2 on Xlink. Unfortunately there's not near as many now but it still shouldn't take away from the online experience! You'll almost always find active games, unless you're playing at like 3am lol. To download just go to xlink.co.uk.

Playing Halo 2 Vista online via Project Cartographer
This is actually how I play Halo 2 now. Project Cartographer is a newish mod for Halo 2 Vista that disables Games For Windows Live (as it isn't active anyway) so you won't need an Xbox Live account. This mod installs awesome features and settings that tweak the performance of Halo 2 Vista and provides better customization options. It's an easy installation, just load up Halo 2 after installing the mod, login to your Project Cartographer account, choose your profile in the game and then select Network and you'll see active games! Not a whole lot of people right now, you'll always see quite a few full games and it has a nice variety of gametypes and maps and i'm always able to find active games even on the latest nights when i'm off work and want to game until 4 in the morning lol. It's becoming more well known and gaining more and more players and this post is suppose to help improve the player base for Project Cartographer and hopefully make it more known To download just go to cartographer.online

I hope this helps and I hope to see more players!
It's still best to play on MCC if you really want to play without having to worry about finding games. You could always system link with friends on the original Xbox as well.

I miss the old XBC days, playing CE and Halo 2. That was a really fun time to play
Xlink hasn't been anything worth considering for years now. Project Cartographer is great, but Halo 2 Vista is the worst version of Halo 2. The MCC is still the most convenient, easy, and most populated place with Halo 2 players. No offense, but I'm not going back to Xlink, XBC, or H2V.
Jestzer wrote:
Xlink hasn't been anything worth considering for years now. Project Cartographer is great, but Halo 2 Vista is the worst version of Halo 2. The MCC is still the most convenient, easy, and most populated place with Halo 2 players. No offense, but I'm not going back to Xlink, XBC, or H2V.
Not looking to argue, but genuinely curious as to why you think H2V is the worst version?
Jestzer wrote:
Xlink hasn't been anything worth considering for years now. Project Cartographer is great, but Halo 2 Vista is the worst version of Halo 2. The MCC is still the most convenient, easy, and most populated place with Halo 2 players. No offense, but I'm not going back to Xlink, XBC, or H2V.
Not looking to argue, but genuinely curious as to why you think H2V is the worst version?
Sure thing, I'll let you know why I think so.
  • Vertical tearing is really bad
  • Lack of graphical configurations
  • The new maps aren't great
  • The game stutters if you go over 60 FPS, but you can't change the FPS in the game options.
  • The matchmaking (that used to exist) was pointless because it would often just throw you into one of the first five games on the game list.
  • No playlists or ranks
  • Worse hit detection than in the original
  • Worse super bounces (although I'm personally happy about that...)
  • Hasn't been updated to work with "new" graphics cards, creating graphical problems such as missing particle effects.
All of these issues create an eye-soar and a sub-par experience. It isn't as visually nice as the MCC (even in classic mode) and it plays worse than the original. Additionally, the original is best for glitching and speedrunning, but the H2V is the odd egg that has no advantages over the other two versions of the game other than the sheer fact that it is on the PC.
Yep! You read that right. Since the shutdown of the Xbox Live servers in 2010 for OG Xbox games, Halo 2 has stayed alive on both PC and Xbox. And in this tutorial I will be telling you how to get right back into the fight! I'm not sure if i'm allowed to post direct links to download, so instead i'll just be typing the website names. Sorry! This is also my first post on here so hi lol.

Playing Halo 2 online on XBox and Xbox 360via Xlink KaiXlink Kai is a wonderful program that is actually as old as Xbox Live itself! This program works by establishing a connection to your Xbox (via crossover cable directly or ethernet on the same router) and it essentially works kind of like Tunngle and Hamachi if you're familiar with those. It connects your console to the internet and allows you to play System Link games online! Your console will think you're connected to other consoles (as the purpose of System Link) but you'll actually see active games show up in the System Link lobby from players around the world! Back in the day hundreds of people would play Halo 2 on Xlink. Unfortunately there's not near as many now but it still shouldn't take away from the online experience! You'll almost always find active games, unless you're playing at like 3am lol. To download just go to xlink.co.uk.

Playing Halo 2 Vista online via Project CartographerThis is actually how I play Halo 2 now. Project Cartographer is a newish mod for Halo 2 Vista that disables Games For Windows Live (as it isn't active anyway) so you won't need an Xbox Live account. This mod installs awesome features and settings that tweak the performance of Halo 2 Vista and provides better customization options. It's an easy installation, just load up Halo 2 after installing the mod, login to your Project Cartographer account, choose your profile in the game and then select Network and you'll see active games! Not a whole lot of people right now, you'll always see quite a few full games and it has a nice variety of gametypes and maps and i'm always able to find active games even on the latest nights when i'm off work and want to game until 4 in the morning lol. It's becoming more well known and gaining more and more players and this post is suppose to help improve the player base for Project Cartographer and hopefully make it more known To download just go to cartographer.online

I hope this helps and I hope to see more players!
Yeah playing the original Halo 2 through tunneling programs such as Xlink Kai and XLAN is a decent alternative to playing Halo 2 on MCC. Also playing Halo 2V Project Cartographer is another decent alternative to playing Halo 2 on MCC.

Here’s an invite link to a Halo 2V Project Cartographer discord server.
Here’s a couple of informative links for Halo 2V Project Cartographer.
I would also like to point out that playing the NTSC disc version of the original Xbox version of Halo 1 or Halo 1 NHEv7 through tunneling programs such as XLAN and Xlink Kai is a decent alternative to playing Halo 1 on MCC. Also playing Halo Custom Edition on stunt_man’s GMYF servers is another decent alternative to playing Halo 1 on MCC.

Here’s an invite link to a Halo 1 Hub discord server. The Halo 1 Hub discord is the discord that we use to organize games for XLAN, Halo Custom Edition, and sometimes MCC.
Here's a link to the GMYF server list. The GMYF server info is also pinned in the main_chat in the Halo 1 Hub discord.
Jestzer wrote:
Xlink hasn't been anything worth considering for years now. Project Cartographer is great, but Halo 2 Vista is the worst version of Halo 2. The MCC is still the most convenient, easy, and most populated place with Halo 2 players. No offense, but I'm not going back to Xlink, XBC, or H2V.
Halo 2 on the MCC is the Vista version of Halo 2 not the original Xbox version of Halo 2. Halo 2 Vista and the MCC version of Halo 2 share a lot of similar issues.

The Halo community is doing a decent job of fixing various issues with Halo 2 Vista with Halo 2V Project Cartographer. The Halo community is also doing a decent job of making Halo 2 Vista play as close as possible to the original Xbox version of Halo 2.
xxcloud7xx wrote:
Jestzer wrote:
Xlink hasn't been anything worth considering for years now. Project Cartographer is great, but Halo 2 Vista is the worst version of Halo 2. The MCC is still the most convenient, easy, and most populated place with Halo 2 players. No offense, but I'm not going back to Xlink, XBC, or H2V.
Halo 2 on the MCC is the Vista version of Halo 2 not the original Xbox version of Halo 2. Halo 2 Vista and the MCC version of Halo 2 share a lot of similar issues.

The Halo community is doing a decent job of fixing various issues with Halo 2 Vista with Halo 2V Project Cartographer. The Halo community is also doing a decent job of making Halo 2 Vista play as close as possible to the original Xbox version of Halo 2.
I know MCC is the Vista version, but it doesn't have the graphical issues in the Vista port. Again, like I said, Project Cartographer is great, but they have a lot of issues to fix beyond weapon fire rate and super bounces.
Jestzer wrote:
xxcloud7xx wrote:
Jestzer wrote:
Xlink hasn't been anything worth considering for years now. Project Cartographer is great, but Halo 2 Vista is the worst version of Halo 2. The MCC is still the most convenient, easy, and most populated place with Halo 2 players. No offense, but I'm not going back to Xlink, XBC, or H2V.
Halo 2 on the MCC is the Vista version of Halo 2 not the original Xbox version of Halo 2. Halo 2 Vista and the MCC version of Halo 2 share a lot of similar issues.

The Halo community is doing a decent job of fixing various issues with Halo 2 Vista with Halo 2V Project Cartographer. The Halo community is also doing a decent job of making Halo 2 Vista play as close as possible to the original Xbox version of Halo 2.
I know MCC is the Vista version, but it doesn't have the graphical issues in the Vista port. Again, like I said Project Cartographer is great, but they have a lot of issues to fix beyond weapon fire rate and super bounces.
That, and I'm still skeptical as to what they will actually be able to fix. There was a huge number of well known modders working on H2V years ago such as Shock120 (Online co-op), SuperSniper and another user who's name I forgot (sorry!) working on projects such as re-implementing the ranks from H2X and implementing them onto specific servers much in the way servers running SAPP in H:CE could remove the need to lead your shots.

If I recall correctly, Halo 2 Vista's co-op mod was dropped because of the way the netcode works. You had to start the map on the MP engine and then switch the game to the Campaign engine and then invite a friend. You could only spawn in with a friend on specific Arbiter levels such as Quarantine Zone whilst all Chief levels resulted in the second players camera being out of the map. AI did not sync correctly (some animations were missing) and scripted sequences did not work at all such as doors will not open for the 2nd player and will not appear to open at all. The ending of QZ for example, on the Gondola's would cause a crash to desktop because the 2nd player would die instantly once the cutscene started. The netcode and game engine would have to be tweaked and due to the low interest in Halo 2, I believe the project was dropped. I did have access to the co-op mod and it was promising back in the day but I can understand why it was dropped. I do not recall H2V's ranking system ever being finished either though the concepts were shown.

To me, and with no disrespect to the Project Cartographer team, I am not convinced some of the features I have seen planned are possible.

EDIT - The superbounce and ROF tweaks are impressive though and a good start. I am curious to see if H2V's weapons perform differently at 30fps (H2X runs at 30fps). As for the superbounce, I think its impressive they've managed to pull that off. I assumed Hired Gun tweaked the physics engine from H2X when making H2V so I'd love to know how they managed that. I'll keep an eye on Project Cartographer for now, cautiously optimistic about their success.
Jestzer wrote:
xxcloud7xx wrote:
Jestzer wrote:
Xlink hasn't been anything worth considering for years now. Project Cartographer is great, but Halo 2 Vista is the worst version of Halo 2. The MCC is still the most convenient, easy, and most populated place with Halo 2 players. No offense, but I'm not going back to Xlink, XBC, or H2V.
Halo 2 on the MCC is the Vista version of Halo 2 not the original Xbox version of Halo 2. Halo 2 Vista and the MCC version of Halo 2 share a lot of similar issues.

The Halo community is doing a decent job of fixing various issues with Halo 2 Vista with Halo 2V Project Cartographer. The Halo community is also doing a decent job of making Halo 2 Vista play as close as possible to the original Xbox version of Halo 2.
I know MCC is the Vista version, but it doesn't have the graphical issues in the Vista port. Again, like I said Project Cartographer is great, but they have a lot of issues to fix beyond weapon fire rate and super bounces.
I’m not going to make the claim that Halo 2V Project Cartographer is the ideal way to play Halo 2. I’m just saying that Halo 2V Project Cartographer is a decent alternative to MCC.

I’m aware that Halo 2V still has issues that need to be fixed. If the remaining issues plaguing Halo 2V turns you off from playing Halo 2V Project Cartographer then I recommend sticking with playing Halo 2 on MCC.

Unfortunately there’s no ideal way to play Halo 2 online. Playing Halo 2 on MCC, playing the original Xbox version of Halo 2 on Xlink Kai/XLAN, and playing Halo 2V Project Cartographer all have their own pros and cons. The version of Halo 2 that you decide to play all comes done to personal preference and what type of issues with the game that you are able to tolerate. The same exact thing can be said about playing Halo 1 online.
I remember those days... playing Halo CE and 2 on the old Xbox.
Nice man, will be checking this out later! Cheers