Halo Tweak Guide
[Page 11] Conclusion
Just as games like Unreal Tournament 2003 have a built-in benchmarking utility, Halo has a Timedemo. The Timedemo feature can be activated by using the -Timedemo switch (See the Advanced Tweaking section). Once Halo begins in Timedemo mode, it will run through four fixed cinematic sequences from the game. Once it's finished, it will create a file called Timedemo.txt in your \Halo directory. You can examine the contents of the file to see what settings were used in the timedemo, and what your average framerate for the demo was.
You can use this average framerate result to compare your system's performance with others. Note however that since people like to get a higher "score" in Halo, and since the use of the -nosound –use11 switches will improve performance (at the cost of sound and visual quality obviously), that you should be careful in your comparisons and seek more full details of the options they used to make sure any comparisons are "Apples to Apples".
The best use for Timedemo in my opinion is to firstly run it to get a baseline result. Save that somewhere for reference. Then go through and tweak your Halo using this guide and my TweakGuides Tweaking Companion for example. Then run the timedemo again and see if your results have improved. If they have, then this demonstrates that the tweaks have helped. In fact any time you experiment with a setting and are unsure of its overall impact on Halo's performance, run the timedemo before and after just to be sure.
Well there you have it. Halo is a fun game which although admittedly somewhat late in reaching the PC, has not suffered greatly from the console port – at least not if you know how to tweak it. Some of the textures do look quite poor at a distance, but at maximum settings and on a high end system the game can look magnificent, especially outdoors. I hope this guide has been of some help to you in understanding your system, and Halo, much better, and fixing up any problems you may have had in running the game smoothly.
Don't kid yourself though, just because Halo ran at around 30fps on an X-Box, doesn't mean that on a PC using much more advanced (DX9) effects, often at a much higher resolution than a television, and with better quality audio and textures that it will perform at 30fps on a GeForce3. As a PC Gamer you have to be savvy in how you setup your system and adjust your settings if you want both better visual quality and good performance.
These sites are worth visiting not only for tweaking and troubleshooting information, but also to keep an eye on Halo mods and maps being developed by the community: