Starhawk: Free Cypress Map Pack, Update 1.03 Today

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Starhawk: Free Cypress Map Pack, Update 1.03 Today

Some of you may have seen my last blog post about the release of War of the Monsters as a PS Classic for PlayStation 3 and at the end of that post I mentioned the release of our next update for Starhawk was right around the corner!

Well…we are now around that corner and I can tell you that we are “GO” for our global release of the Starhawk 1.03 Update today at 2pm Central Time! I am saying “GO” as if I were a super-cool NASA scientist in the Curiosity control room! While the release of our 1.03 Update pales in comparison to the massive achievement of landing an SUV-sized robot on Mars (thanks NASA!). The 1.03 release will nonetheless make many Earthlings very happy!

“OK Dylan, what’s the patch got?” – Says the snarky gamer from the back corner of the internet. Tons of new stuff! There are player-requested features, an increased level cap, bug-fixes, and of course two new FREE maps on the planet of Cypress! Here’s the breakdown of everything we developed for you guys in the 1.03 Update.

Starhawk: Cypress_Composite

Starhawk: Cypress_Collider_MapStarhawk: Cypress_Origin_Map_02

Two New Maps on Cypress: Let’s jump right into the big stuff in 1.03 and that’s the 2 new maps! We really wanted to craft a new world that was more lush, more green, with lots of plants and huge trees and shallow water that you could drive and run through. Yet at the same time, we listened to some of the player feedback regarding our levels when we first launched Starhawk. Players wanted to see more cover and places for troops to hide. They also wanted to see some pre-built structures that you could go inside. Cypress: Collider and Cypress: Origin have all those things!

Cypress is the first planet where Rift Energy was discovered in the New Frontier and its where mankind built the first Rift research facility — including the very first Extractor! Of course, it’s all abandoned and overgrown by lush vegetation now.

The trees really provide a great layout for troops to run around, take cover behind, stage attacks and there are even some really cool mushroom thingies far up on the trunks of the trees so that troops can get out of the fray.

We also added a few pre-built structures with interiors. There aren’t tons of them since Starhawk still requires players to use smart Build & Battle tactics, but the ones that are there make a huge difference. There’s an old, destroyed particle collider that wraps around the center of the map named — you guessed it — Collider. There’s a massive run-down old Rift Extractor in the center of the map we call Origin. There are even some key buildings on both maps that have elevated doorways and interiors where you can go in and attack from a protected position. Be careful though, there is an open access port on the roof of those buildings, so you’ll have to cover your back! OK… mostly protected.


Starhawk: Cypress_Origin_ Satellite_MapStarhawk: Cypress_Collider_ Satellite_Map

Here are the satellite views for both of the Cypress maps so you guys can see how they’re setup. They may look like islands from this satellite view but you can drive anywhere! The water is shallow enough to run through, drive through and even build in. I absolutely love mud-bogging with the Razorback when I’m doing flag runs.

Both of the Cypress maps are wicked fun and add a fresh new layout. We think you guys are going to like them a ton and can’t wait to hear your feedback.

But that’s *JUST* the maps! The 1.03 Update has a bunch of other features too:

Prestige Levels: In the initial version of Starhawk, we supported levels 1-50. To be quite honest, we thought that would have the player community covered for quite some time. However, we had underestimated the rate at which people were going to get through the levels so we had to accelerate the release of our prestige levels for those players who are above 50. The Prestige levels in Starhawk are not numbers; they’re a Greek symbol ranking of ALPHA through OMEGA. The Greek symbol will be displayed by your name in-game. These are very hard ranks to achieve and the jump from level 50 to ALPHA is steep because these are really intended for the hard-core community.

New Space Homeworld “Waypoint”: In Starhawk, Homeworld’s are like lobbies. They are 3D levels where you and your friends can go to party-up, talk tactics and then pick a game to join. This new Homeworld is a cool space station. We added this because we really wanted players to enter a deep-space “lobby” to mess around in.

Team-Balance Fixes: There were some bugs in the party/clan cohesion system where servers would keep parties and clans together in *ALL* cases and this resulted in some brutally mis-matched games. This has been fixed! There were some other issues that resulted in messed-up team balance and we have resolved those as well. Should be a ton better!

Revamped Voice Chat System: During the initial launch of Starhawk we received reports from the player community about voice-chat dropping after a few games or in some cases, the voice-chat would simply not work. As you can imagine in a deep, team-based game like Starhawk, voice-chat is critical. So we did a ton of digging to find-out what the issue was and it ended up requiring a change to our Client/Server voice system. This change makes the VOIP far more stable and resolves the voice connection issues that some players had been experiencing in the past.

Push-to-Talk Option: This was requested by so many players, and in concert with the revamped Voice Chat System, the PTT option really is a great addition. Now players have the option to have their microphone turn on when they press L3 rather than automatically when they talk. I guess, too many players were being yelled at by their Moms, had crying babies in the background, or hell, maybe both! You can find the PTT option in the Audio Settings menu in the Uplink.

Vulture Jet-Pack Eject: Players are now allowed to dismount while flying around in a Starhawk if they have a handy dandy Vulture Jet-Pack equipped.

Rift Barrels on Mini-Map: To help aid players and their use of the Build & Battle system, we decided to add small icons on the mini-map where we’ve placed the Rift Energy Caches — those are the barrels that you shoot that burst open with Rift Energy that you can spend to build your arsenal of destruction. The blips on the map are displayed when the barrels are active and are *NOT* displayed when the barrels are waiting to respawn.

Bug Fixes: These are not as super-sexy as free maps, but the fact that they are fixed will really help the community. We also addressed some host migration issues, a number of crashes and network instability issues, and even the laggy pick-up bug was fixed as well.

Ranked Option: Another feature that was requested by players was really two requests related to how games post stats. The first point brought up by players was regarding stat-padding going on in password protected games, and since those games were password protected, they should not count as real ranked games. Now, you can still have a very private game with a password but your stats will not post. Also, if you are having a Clan vs. Clan game you have the option to turn stats on or off — because it might be a practice or scrimmage. Furthermore, if you are doing a Clan Scrimmage (your clan in both Rifter & Outcast slots) the stats will *NOT* post to the server. This is to keep clans from stat-padding in locked-out games.

Skills Shortcut at the Respawn Screen: Players really wanted a quick way to change skills without having to leave the respawn screen. So…we added a little tab in the upper right corner of the respawn screen that allows you to press TRIANGLE and jump right to the skills menu! Oh, and we also now allow you to change your skill at other places in the Uplink instead of only in-game.

Build & Battle Icons While Respawning: Another thing we did to help players when using the Build & Battle system was to display a simple graphic icon of each of the structures on the battlefield as the player is drop-poding into combat. This simple change really helps players know what structures are already built and helps them make better use of the stuff their team has built. Not to mention it helps let you know immediately where you should run when you crack-open your drop-pod!

Display Nearby Build & Battle Structures: There are now some new visuals to help players recognize Build & Battle structures that are built nearby. For starters, any time you place a structure; Starhawk very clearly displays how many are nearby. It also now highlights those nearby structures on your map *AND* displays some markers on the edge of the screen to help inform you that not only is there a structure nearby, but which direction it is.

Cooldowns for Host Kick and Team Switch: There were a number of exploits that could occur in the original version of Starhawk where players would change teams rapidly or a host would quickly kick a ton of players. That can no longer occur because we track when you perform one of these actions and block you from doing it again for a set amount of time — and we can tune the time if we need to.

Interactive Music Update: After playing Starhawk for so many hours, we really felt that the music was not kicking-in as frequently as we wanted it to. There were many times when you’d be in the heat of combat and there’d be no music at all. We felt this hurt the pacing and in fact some players in our community noticed the same thing. So the 1.03 Update includes some new tweaks to the interactive music system and the more frequent music makes a big difference.

Capture the Flag Scoring Change: We’ve been playing CTF in Starhawk a ton here in the studio and we’ve always felt that there were too many games ending in draws or times when the match would get into awkward stalemates. So with the 1.03 Update, we have changed one of the key rules for CTF and one of the key contributors to the stalemates. Now, to score a point in CTF, you need to take the enemy flag back to your base — period. Your team’s flag does *NOT* need to be there for you to score. Now certainly, your team still needs to play defense because you don’t want the enemy team taking your flag and scoring, but this change makes the pacing so much better. Much faster and far fewer draws and stalemates.

Sorting Unlocked Customization: Now this is more of a simple convenience thing but we changed the way the various characters and vehicle customization options are presented so that the unlocked ones are always displayed at the top of the list. Not a super-big change at all but I thought I’d include it here.

Drop-Pod Upgrade: One of the things that we were experimenting with during our Starhawk playtests to help combat “base-ravaging” was to make the Drop-Pod more deadly. Our whole design goal with the drop-pod system was to make the act of respawning in your home base an incredibly powerful weapon. This was to help combat against “base-ravaging”. After a lot of review, and play testing and tweaking, we decided to upgrade the drop-pods to be more maneuverable *AND* have an increased impact radius. This along with some changes we made to the respawn timer really makes a huge positive impact on the reduction of “base-ravaging”.

Custom Music via XMB: In Warhawk we added support for your own music and we’re doing the same in Starhawk. The 1.03 Update now allows you to play your own music through the XMB. So if you want to experience Starhawk’s unique Build & Battle gameplay while blaring Pat Benatar you totally can!

Now that was an epic post! Sorry for the wall of text but there is a ton of cool stuff packed in this update. I wanted to make sure you had all the info, and then some.

So now that this blog post is done I’ve got to get back to work. We still have even more great stuff on the way for all of you in our next 1.04 Update! I’ve already exhausted my daily allotment of blog words but the 1.04 Update is another meaty one. Stuff like two entirely new gameplay modes, 5 new smaller layouts, even some new Build & Battle load-outs, and a bunch of other stuff too.

Starhawk: DLC_Sneak_Peek

And of course we have been working on DLC as well, but we’ve been prioritizing all the free content for you guys first. Let me end this post with a little DLC tease that’s in development. Yes, I cleared this with the SONY corporate hive-mind and they are totally ok with me showing this behind-the-scenes pic.

That’s it for now, enjoy the 1.03 Update, we look forward to your continued feedback.

Comments are closed.


12 Author Replies

  • Awesome cant wait to try this and future updates out!

  • “Let me end this post with a little DLC tease that’s in development. Yes, I cleared this with the SONY corporate hive-mind and they are totally ok with me showing this behind-the-scenes pic.”

    I didnt see this development DLC tease Pic?

    Great Update still, look forward to taking the skies back

  • When is the game releasing on PSN? I would love to own a digital copy.

  • I’m w/DeadPoolZero… WHERE’S THE TEASE PIC?!

  • All I can say is wow you and your team added a lot thank you very much

    • you are welcome

    • On behalf of our entire team here at LightBox Interactive I can tell you that it was truly our pleasure to develop this significant update for our player community — and theres plenty more in the works too!

  • This is a great update, for the free maps, and all the positive changes. Thank you! I admit even after enjoying the campaign and online I haven’t been playing much (listening to the soundtrack a lot though lol).

    The change to CTF is a great one I think – the defensive draws were a bit hard to enjoy at times. I’m very excited to check out the new maps (thanks so much for making them free) and getting back into the game more.

    • This should be a great excuse to jump back into Starhawk!!!

      Be sure to let us know what you think of the update. I’m sure there will be a couple of little balance changes that we we’ll need to do in the coming week so please give us your thoughts!

  • Great job lightbox.starhawk is an awesome game.Please continue support.Lets get more copies sold and continue to build the community. Let the haters hate.U can catch me in the skies

  • Id say the CTF change is a disappointment.. that was the one thing I loved about quake 2 CTF.. you needed your flag at the base when you brought the enemy flag back for it to count as a score so it really took skill and strategy as opposed to just runnin in, grabbing their flag and running back not caring if your flag is gone or not.

    at least give the option to play both ways (plenty of games have the option to play “2 flag ctf” (needing your flag still at your base when you bring the other flag back) and “one flag ctf” (just need to get the enemies flag to your base and whether yours is there or not doesnt matter)

    • we’ll see how it goes and if we find we need to change we will do so

    • Hi DuoMaxwell007!

      I understand the shock factor associated with the CTF change. In fact, initially I was against it in our internal playtests when we were throwing the idea around. But here’s the two main things that I saw when playing that changed my mind:

      Faster Pace:
      Since Build & Battle allows teams to construct home bases however they want, it is possible to have layouts that are very, very hard to get into — indeed a very tough nut to crack. And in most cases, this is a very good thing. However, in CTF for Starhawk, this resulted in many slower paced games and stalemates. This change made the game much faster and in fact more in harmony with the core gameplay.

      Defense Still Matters:
      The gut reaction that most people had to this change — even me included — was that it would greatly undermine the value of defense. But that is simply not the case! In our playtests of this rule change, we still saw tons of great chases and defense because the fact is that your team actively wants to keep your flag in your base and out of enemy hands.

      When you get a chance, jump online, get the patch and take if for a spin!

  • Amazing update, great job, thank you!
    Starhawk is already amazing, and keeps geeting better!
    Im with #3, I think that a digital version could make Starhawk community bigger.

    And Dylan, you know, we are never happy, so here is my request:
    Where is the Vita app?
    We need to play Starhawk with Vita as controller with maps and build&battle menu in touch screen.

    It could be the first game to REALLY USE this feature, before anyone else.
    Everyone will talk about it, everyone would love that!
    The game is there, the hardware is there.

    • Thanks for the kind words, insano_jaco!

      Starhawk on Vita would be awesome but there are currently no plans for that :-(

  • AWESOME ! Starhawk really needed some green ;). Great work light box interactive!

  • Oh man, this update sounds super awesome! Gotta wait 2+ hours before I can download it (heading down to another city) but man when I hook up my PS3 this update is the first thing I’m doing!

  • Pretty good update!

    More developers should learn from you and publish free stuf for their games :)

    I also have to say that I agree with DuoMaxwell007, the “score without base flag” should be an option. Part of the fun in a classic CTF game is defending your flag or doing your best to recover it so you can score while capturing the enemy flag.

    Anyway, keep up the good work!

    • we will see how the community responds and make adjustments depending on the reaction

    • Hi hypersk_us!

      I *TOTALLY* understand the shock of the CTF change. In fact, it will probably take the community some time to really appreciate why we made such a big change. I can tell you that we had been considering this for a very, VERY long time and our playtests really showed that — once the shock wore off — it really is the right scoring rules for capture the flag in Starhawk.

      In the initial few days I’m sure we’ll see a ton of very quick run-away CTF games. That’s normal. We saw the same thing here in the studio when we were play testing. But that settles out once players adapt to the faster gameplay.

      If you get a chance this weekend or maybe sometime next week, boot up Starhawk and check it out!

  • I know what I’m downloading when I get home from work. :) Thanks, LBI! I love Starhawk!

  • Update sounds bloody amazing LBI, great job!

    • Thanks!

      There are a ton of people involved to put these kinds of updates together. It’s not just us here at LightBox Interactive but a team at Sony Santa Monica, in San Diego and all of SONY’s regional studios. It really is a team effort.

      And don’t forget, you gotta thank the SONY execs for even letting us release free map packs for our players. Sure it’s one thing for us to develop them, but its another thing for them to agree that we should give them to you guys for free!

  • Starhawk is awesome, this update looks really great. Good work guys we all appreciate it.

  • You guys rock lightbox, love the game that never quits, Starhawk is AWESOME! :)

  • I was pretty bummed with Starhawk in comparison to Warhawk.

    From the too quick to achieve levels and unlocks, the unbalanced teams, and the spin to win air game…It just didn’t satisfy me like Warhawk did.

    After under 100 hours in Starhawk, I am top level, have unlocked everything, and have been in more uneven rage filled games then I care to recall.

    Still to this day, after over 700 hours, I can go back into Warhawk and unlock REAL levels and customizations that I haven’t attained yet.

    I will definitely download the patch and check it out. This patch fixes a lot, although most of this stuff should have been discovered prior to or while in beta. The stacked/uneven teams was the biggest joke and I haven’t played this game for a few months because that sucked the fun right out. How anyone has fun being ON the stacked team is beyond me…rift miners in a barrel.

    I do support your game, bought day 1, I just feel disappointed in how the game released in pretty much a beta state. Kinda wish my first experience with Starhawk was after THIS patch.

  • No, but the whole fun of ctf were those intense moments when each team had the other flag!! Like in Warhawk

  • First of all great update. Now that thats out of the way…Alright so i don’t want to sound like a hater but this game falls a little bit short in comparison to Warhawk IMO. The campaign is an unnecessary, long, and extremely boring tutorial which should either have been fully fleshed out as a story or not included. I’m glad your updating the game as there were quite a few annoyances that will be resolved. That being said i likely wont be back to play (i haven’t been playing for a couple of months now) the game is just alright. Also not to sound mean but IMO the maps lack originality. With the setting in outer-space and on alien planets i would think that there would be some uniqueness to the maps (posibly some dynamic vegetation that can interact with players and vehicles)…instead the game looks like it takes place on the most boring places on earth. I still have hope that the game will eventually reach the epicness of Warhawk but for now ill just stick it out and see. Keep up the good work though!

  • Will this release be available in the UK and if so will it fix the bug whereby I cant access the skills to use the points I have accrued.

  • Cool. Can you guys make a Resistance chimera skin for the next DLC?

  • Put this game on PSN for $20. Drop the single player that no-one cares about and just put the multiplayer on, like they did for Killzone 3. Add a ton of customised vehicles and skins as paid DLC. Watch your sales and player count explode. Everyone knows it’s coming to PSN at some point.

  • I was fine with everything until I came across the CTF rules change… Who asked for CTF rules to change!? Nobody…There are supposed to be draws sometimes! Not a lot, but yeah there weren’t even that many. These new CTF rules make no sense. Now yall have made it into a strictly DEFENSIVE game mode. There would probably be more draws in clan battles now. What if both flags were taken at the same time? It’s basically a race now! Yall have made CTF into Collection from WH! DELETE that bit of code quick before 2 PM! PLEASE DO NOT CHANGE CTF RULES…it will no longer be CTF….It’s even the most used game mode on Starhawk and yall just went and changed the rules….smh.

  • Nice update. Always like it when a developer keeps polishing their game and nobody dislikes free maps. Keep up the hard work and keep this game going strong.


  • Thanks, Dylan & co., , I just wish you gave the community a little more heads-up for the patch, but I’m pleased nonetheless.

    The CTF change is interesting, to say the least. It’ll definitely make CTF games more fast-paced. Believe me, I couldn’t tell you how many games I’ve had where I’ve taken the enemy flag, and yet teammates in the base of all things let an enemy take our flag for him to quickly run back, and it takes ten minutes for the enemy to die and have the flag returned.

  • We don’t give too much, if any, of a heads up because there are a lot of moving parts in synching the patch globally. So we prep as best we can and release when everything is squared away just to be sure all is well.

  • Love the Kashyyyk looking map. :-)

  • I can’t wait for the new CTF! Waiting around for your teammates to try and get the flag back wasn’t any fun.

  • Great job on the update and great job supporting this game LBI. You’re one of few companies that DO listen to their fans and take their feedback into consideration. Companies new and old need to learn from you. But now like other people I got some questions.

    Are you currently working on any new maps right now? If so will we see them soon?

    I heard you were working on a mode that involved flying to get some object to put through a goal like Quidditch. Will we see that soon in an update? Also, will there be more modes to come?

    Will new skins and paintjobs be coming as the paid DLC? I will still pay if so. That’s how much I love this game :)

    I hope to hear your reply soon. Thanks!

  • I’m really diggin’ the ctf change. I was running into more games where the other team would just hold onto both flags, not capture, and just run the clock out. This is gonna make it much more frantic. I’m not sure how some are saying its just going to be a mad dash for the flag. You’re going to have to have some very powerful defenses now more than ever.

  • and…the tease pic is there. sorry for the delay

  • Yeah! Going to rip some Pat Benatar songs to my harddrive just for this update! XD

    You guys are really awesome developers. I was sad to see some of the hate and stuff this game got. I wish it was more popular. It had it’s share of issues but it really is a ton of fun to play. I’m not really much of a multiplayer gamer (more into single player games & RPGs and stuff like that) but I really do enjoy this game for some reason. Can’t wait to see the update!

  • Has to be a chimera Costume because is a Sony Related and it said hive mind in the sentence i might be just guess to hard for costume but it just my opinion.

  • OMG, what does that picture mean!?!?!?!?

  • i kind of understand where the classic warhawk players are talking about now..with all these build and battle technics it just turned into a terret frenzy. now every time i play im surrounded by enemy turrets..and its not fun at all..:/ Build and Battle was a great idea but if it can be placed more than 4 times in a location..there will be issues anc alot of complaints.dont get me wrong the game it loads of fun but these cheesy tactics will ruin the game..ive seen a full room go to just 4 players because of this issue. I was one of those four players lol

  • I understand totally why you made the release maps the way were (open) but I welcome the new maps with buildings that you can enter and more cover for troops. Kudos.

    Not sure how I feel about the CTF changes but we’ll see how that goes.

    I’m hoping that in a future update we’ll see the return of the APC and the collection gamemode (why that wasn’t include from the start bemuses me because with the concept of “rift” and “mines” this game seem build purposely for that gamemode but alas.

    I’ll pop back on this to give this a go but alot of my friends no longer play. :( which is tragic because Warhawk was the game that introduced me to over 80% of them.

    PS – Snow map next please :P

  • Hey fellas is there a chance we could see new customization’s with the new ranks? Nice Work though ill be downloading @ 2:00 cst on the dot! also i think that pic, might be a new vehicle…. *cough* APC *cough* .. or perhaps a Razor back with a MAW rocket launcher. LOL maybe?

  • You guys did amazing on this update! Can’t wait to try it out :D.

    I have one question though. It is regarding the split screen, when my brother would sign in into his own account and we would start playing together his customized character wont show up. (showing up as default customization as when you first start the game) Is it fixed in this patch or you guys cant fix that problem this patch or any others that may come.

    All in all this patch is amazing! Custom Music? New Maps? Upgraded Features? You guys are really good at listening to the community.

    Once again great work guys, keep up the amazing work! :D

  • A new mech suit?!!

  • I love all the support some of my fav PS3 games are getting lately. All this free stuff in U3, MGS4, and now Starhawk. and I didn’t have to pay a cent. Many thanks guys.

  • After countless hours in Warhawk, even getting the platinum in the process, I was so excited for this game to come out. When I finally got my hands on it, I couldn’t have been more disappointed. I’ve already listed my complaints in other Starhawk posts, but I played the game for about a week and traded it in. Starhawk, I’m sorry to say, is definitely one of my biggest gaming disappointments in recent years. I’m still holding out hope for a TRUE sequel to Warhawk, but I’m sure the odds of that happening are slim to none. Also, the scoring changes to the CTF mode sound terrible.

  • Great update guys. I haven’t been playing for a while but I’m ready to jump back into it. CTF was actually my least favourite mode so I’m hoping the changes you’ve made make it more enjoyable.

  • That tease picture looks like a Chimera cooling back pack thing, but I could be way off. Nice update, but when are we going to get a Warhawk mode / Classic mode! No skills, zones to capture, and build and battle only works on those zones, the sticky aim, grenades explode on impact, no regenaration health, bring flamethrower back in place of shotgun, make knife equipable (and the extra slot can be made by making the Grinder and Repair Tool one item, call it the Construction Tool or something). That would be awesome to have, would really get Warhawk people to move! But again, great patch, maps looking good.

  • Guys I am from chile and reciently i playing the game with not many problem … but now i don’t conect to the servers of starhawk (and i am conecting to the psn) … the message of the game is you don’t conect for the servers and other message for the updates …well i don’t now how updating my starhawk and play again??

    PS: this update fixed the problem with the audio chating … because the group party in the prospector I hear the voice of my friends but the multiplayer game team deathmach flag or zones … i don’t listening my friends when in this game is blocked or not the voice chating

  • interesting pic. I cannot tell what that is, but it does seem as though something freaking awesome is on our way :)

  • How long does it usually take to take effect? its not letten me connect to the servers at the moment..

  • It is not letting me connect to the servers either! :(

  • This is fantastic. I bought Starhawk just a couple days ago, and look forward to play with a revitalized community.

  • Been wanting this game for awhile money just been tight, think ill go out and buy it today new not used ill like to support the dev

  • The Update is now avaiable for download…

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