Halo 3 official concept artwork

[Update #2]: The legendary Halo 3 has made its way to PC alongside numerous technical improvements

[Update]: Halo 3 will be launching onto PC this July 14th!

After around 350,000 players gave the PC version of Halo 3 a try, the extended beta test came to a close this Monday. However, while the general reaction to the beta was overwhelmingly positive, there were also a fair few complaints about the hit detection and the audio being muffled.

In order to explain what exactly causes this perception, as well as to showcase what the team is doing in order to address any potential issues, the Master Chief Collection devs have now released a remarkably lengthy and detailed developer update. You can find it over at the official website, but for now, here's a brief snippet to pique your interest:

People like to call out Halo 3 in MCC as having hit detection/registration problems and have done so for quite some time. Saying the phrase, “It’s not like legacy!”, they generally exclaim. In some ways, yes, this is true, MCC is not 100% like legacy. But, what if I told you legacy wasn’t perfect? What if these imperfections were exacerbated by changes done to keep these games running in the modern era?

MCC does several things differently from legacy.

1. All the legacy games starting with Halo 3 targeted the Xbox 360 with a PowerPC processor where MCC targets Intel-based 64-bit processors. There are subtleties that will occur between the two, especially around floating-point precision.
2. All the legacy games ran their game updates at 30hz (30 updates per second), while MCC is 60hz (60 updates per second). This is also referred to as the “game tick rate”.
3. All the legacy games ran networking updates at sub-30hz (a value less than 30hz), while MCC is in line with its game tick rate: 60hz.
4. There are other things, but those are probably the most applicable to the topic at hand.

A lot of cracks started to show when the games were changed to update at a higher frequency. Quite a few were physics related and were addressed back in MCC circa 2014. Some, more recently in our update for Halo 3 PC. These were due to using formulas which were not independent of the game tick rate and so they had to be scaled relative to their “authored” tick rate of 30hz. That is, designers supplied values that worked as desired for a system running at 30hz, but those must be rescaled based on the tick rate difference from 30hz to have the expected behaviors.

Other cracks were due to the fact that game updates are at fixed timesteps. While the game’s render view can be interpolated, the actual game systems cannot. Regardless of whether the game is rendering sub-60FPS, or say 200FPS, the game logic is always updating at 60 times per second.

I'm always a big fan of these sorts of developer updates that let us take a peek behind the curtains, so if you're even remotely curious about Halo 3's development, I'd highly recommend checking the whole thing out. It's not all technical details either, as the latter part is mostly about the sort of new features you can expect to see for the Master Chief Collection in the somewhat near future.

Enjoy the read, and if you're curious about the Master Chief Collection itself, you can learn more about it over at Steam.