Public beta for the Halo 2 launcher has been released here. Install instructions for the launcher are on the linked Github page. It’s recommended to have a clean install of Halo 2 with the latest update, found in the downloads page of this site (top right corner).
If you already have Halo 2 installed and have connected to GFWL in the last 3 months, then your Halo 2 is most likely fully updated.
When you start Halo 2 using the launcher, you should see white text in the top right corner of the game window, like so:
The build time may change if xlive.dll is updated, so don’t worry about that.
Verify that Halo 2 has the latest update by going to the main menu, then Settings, About. Version should be 126.96.36.199
Use the Network option to find and create games. If you want to host your own games, you have to port forward UDP ports 1000 to 1006 to your computer and edit a line in xlive.ini (change server=1 to server=0)
If you want to host a dedicated server, that’s a bit more complicated and I’ll make a separate post for that.
Make sure you run Halo 2 using the launcher. It ensures that your network code is updated and able to connect with other people.
Also, hacking will not be tolerated in most servers unless allowed in the server rules. By hacking, I mean any changes to the game code that makes the game unfair to others. FOV hacks and name hacks are tolerated, but no speedhacks or aimbots please. If you are banned, you won’t be able to see any games or host your own, so be careful…
Be sure to thank PermaNull for his work on reverse engineering xlive and making all this possible, and FishPhd for creating the launcher.
More features will be added soon™