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Halo Custom Edition Article

How to Modify Halo CE Maps

Just like making a map from scratch you will need to utilize the HEK (Halo Editing Kit) programs to make modifications to existing maps.  You should not attempt to use the retail Halo PC hacking tools. (See below for reason) and do not need a 3D editing program.

The process of “modding” an existing map by adding or editing the tags consists of a four step process: 

  1. Extract/decompile the map assets (Tags & Scenario) using HEK plus Note: Not all maps can be decompiled
  2. Copy and/or rename the extracted Scenario tag to insure revision control
  3. Add/delete tags using Sapien or modify tags using Guerilla
  4. Compile the modified *.scenario file into a *.map file using Tool and then test in Halo CE
In order to make changes to an existing map you will need at minimum the following programs:

Halo Editing Kit (HEK) for Halo (CE) Custom Edition

Halo Editing Kit Plus

(HEK Plus)
This program is a third party utility that was developed to allow you to decompile the maps into their constituent parts – (tags/scenario) 

The Halo Editing Kit consists of several programs: (from the HEK tutorial)

Blitzkrieg (blitzkrieg.dle) 
Blitzkrieg is the exporter plug-in for 3D Studio Max.  This plug-in exports the model data (vertices, materials, smoothing group information, animations, etc...) from 3DS Max to the file formats (.jms, .jmp, .jma, .jmm, .jmt) used by tool.exe to compile a data tag that can be used by Halo.

Tool (tool.exe)
Tool is a multipurpose command line program that compiles and converts data that has been exported from other sources such as 3D Studio Max.  The data files that are created are referred to as "tags".  Running "tool.exe" by itself with no command line parameters will display a complete list of the available command line parameters and appropriate variables and variable formats.

Guerilla (guerilla.exe) 
Guerilla has a graphical interface that is used to edit the properties and resource references in the Halo data “tags”. 

Sapien is used to edit or modify various aspects of a level that has already been compiled using Tool.   Sapien has a graphical interface that contains a 3D window that renders the game including the level bsp, models, and vehicles as well as playing sounds and running physics.   Sapien is used for many purposes, including the population of characters, weapons, items, scenery objects, and game play and mission objectives

It is highly recommended that you read the HEK tutorial that comes with the HEK installation BEFORE you try to modify a map. You can also find it on-line at:

Tags are the game Assets such as scenery objects, weapons, vehicles and the like are contain in "tags" these tags CAN NOT be added to existing map (*.map) files and must be compiled into the maps during creation.  The "tag" defines what each object is or does and how it is treated in the game.  You can find various tags in the Halo CE Tags sections of the website.


Halo CE Misc. Tags

Halo CE Biped Tags

Halo CE Scenery Tags

Halo CE Tag Packs 

Halo CE Vehicle Tags

Halo CE Weapon Tags

Getting More Help
modifying Halo CE maps is not a simple process. It requires that you learn how to populate the game level with game assets and manipulate the various tags.  There are numerous user created tutorials, video and text, to assist in teaching you the various disciplines required for creating or modifying maps.  You can find them in the Tutorials section of the website.

Section: Tutorials

Ghost's Tutorials

The Halo CE maps website has a search function that will allow you to find maps, tutorials and whatever else is available from the website.  Please use it before asking in the forum.  For example if you want to find out how to make maps search for a tutorial "Map Making Tutorial"


Can I use HHT or HMT utilities to mod Halo CE maps?
A: No. Each Halo CE map MUST be compiled using Tool.exe.  Unlike the Halo PC retail game each Halo CE map has a checksum embedded into the map. That checksum consists of the map data and the map file name.  Changing the data or meta information inside the *.map file without changing the checksum will cause the map to crash Halo CE.

Q: I modified the and re-compiled it as will you host it.
A: NO. Every map MUST have a unique name so people can tell what map or version of it is running on a remote server.

Q: Can I rename my *.map file?
A: No. You need to rename the *.scenario file BEFORE you compile the map. Changing the name after the map is compiled will make the checksum different and crash Halo CE.

[Posted: Feb-11-2008 18:11 EST -  (Link)]