Starbright University of Magic | Map Progress

Galaxy of Magic | Starbright University of Magic | Custom Map Progress

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Hello everyone!

As promised, we are here with the first-ever official map progress update in regard to our currently in-development custom map "Starbright University of Magic". Combining elements of Mythology, Magic, and even a splash of Sci-Fi, we're hoping to bring an immersive and expansive new home for our server to reside. We hope to use these same elements to help mold the lore of the server in the future as well. After a ton of thorough and intricate planning, and a solid timeline of progress made, we're finally to a point where we feel that it's worthy to share what's been done so far. With a handful of memorable and highly requested elements of our old home map returning with this map and a ton of new dynamics, we think you're going to love what we have in store. In our opinion, this map will overshadow anything we've had done level design-wise in the past. The freedom to design this map the way we want, and not having to follow any already existing layouts or features for the sake of fitting into an already existing universe, it has allowed for a lot of extremely cool and unique elements to be brought to life with this map. Additionally, unlike in the past, where we would periodically post new additional announcements for map progress updates, we will continue to update you on progress as it's made going forward in this very same announcement via replies to the thread itself. We will allow for feedback and comments to be posted in response to this initial announcement until the next update is ready to be shared, to which all responses to this thread will be removed and disabled moving forward from that point, that way we can share and keep all updates in a cleanly and organized manner until the map is ready to be released. This initial announcement is still a very early look, and you can watch the walkthrough video below made by Shy Studios for a virtual tour with more information regarding the map development process in general. The video goes into more depth about the thought process behind some of the areas, why they look the way they do now in an early state and even the specific names of various sections of the university that you will see both in the screenshots below and the video itself. With that being said, you can either immediately dive right into the video and skim over the rest of the announcement afterward, or dive in a little more beforehand we'll share some images of various sections of the university's layout and conclude this announcement with some final details until we're ready to share the next update.

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Starting with the exterior:

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The main entrance hall moving into the foyer:

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The courtyard into the arcade, of which the library tower and library itself sit atop:

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The theatre, which is currently the only detailed classroom, as the rest of the classrooms (going by the names of study, forum, and workshop respectively) are all currently empty and unfinished boxes:

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The concourse, a main convergent point that sits at the northern side of the courtyard, and the middle passage (aka mid passage) another main, and the largest, convergent point which sits at the southern side of the courtyard:

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The plaza, which is the largest open and main focal point, leads into many sections of the university, but most notably, it connects to the Ansible Chamber where assemblies might take place:

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The planetarium, which can be easily reached from the connecting hallway within the ansible chamber, or from the undercroft via the water lift:

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The aforementioned undercroft areas, which include the detainment center, laboratory, greenhouse, grottos, and more:

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And to conclude the image showcase, some miscellaneous areas including the baths, the clocktower, a neat shot from below the map, and more:

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Final Notes
  • Traversal of this map, especially within the university itself, is extremely dynamic in comparison to our previous home map, and it's not even close. It's a huge element of this map that we believe is a big upgrade in itself.

  • Currently, we have chosen to not share any specific time frames for releases just yet, but you can be confident that the wheels are turning. When it feels right, information such as time frames regarding releases of different phases of the map will be shared in this same announcement in the future.

  • Now that the university is essentially finished layout-wise, the terrain creation process will begin, as well as the surrounding areas of the university, including the mountain passageway, the ruins, the colosseum, and the temple. We will of course share more of this with you as more is completed. To be clear, the university itself was and is the biggest first hurdle to get through before the rest of the map could be started and or completed, as the rest of the map must be built around it. Now that it's mostly out of the way, everything else can start being created.

The current plan is to release the first version of the map in an early pre-alpha state. This will allow us to playtest the layouts and scale of the map before any final and complex details are completed. The video Shy Studios made that we've linked at the beginning of this announcement goes into a bit more detail regarding what this means specifically, as well as a ton of other information that's not included here, so do yourself a favor and be sure to watch it if you've made it this far into the announcement without already doing so. As previously mentioned, we will be using this announcement to periodically and randomly share progress updates as we see fit, so you can continually refer back here if you'd like to keep up with the progress of the map until its various release points. We hope this first official and early look at the map has you just as excited as us for it to be released.

Star by Star;
- The Guy

I think that regardless of opinions on the serve in its current state, I find it BAFFLING just how talented Shy is to create something like this, he's doing a huge service and I think the sort of talent being put forth here is quite something to be admired.

I cannot wait to see what will be bought to the server in the future regardless of how many players come to bear witness to what's being made here
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(12-19-2022, 09:59 PM)Bҽʅʅα*:・゚✧ Wrote: I think that regardless of opinions on the serve in its current state, I find it BAFFLING just how talented Shy is to create something like this, he's doing a huge service and I think the sort of talent being put forth here is quite something to be admired.

I cannot wait to see what will be bought to the server in the future regardless of how many players come to bear witness to what's being made here

I agree completely and especially seeing his own personal growth, Shy is levels above even the first hogwarts map, hogsmeade is such a pretty map, and I can’t wait to see that art influence on a main castle map.

It is clear a lot of time and effort was put into this map.  Hopefully once it is done we can see at least a partial return to SBS's glory days!

I'm fine with no release date being posted, take as long as you need to make a finished product that we can all enjoy!

Ngl, this kinda makes me feel really hyped for the future. 

This looks amazing! <3

Hey everyone,

I know it's been a while, but as we are all aware, things have obviously been very slow. Besides the biggest elephant in the room, being what happened last year, there are other factors at play as well. With me being back to work full-time, I simply don't have the time to focus on SBS as much as I'd love to or used to be able to. I would love for this to change in the future, and know that it's possible, but this is where I stand currently. This could also change with the state of the server taking a positive direction, assuming we're able to get things rolling again sometime in the future. More on that and the future of both the map and the server itself will be included at the end of this reply. Also, the lack of a good map for the server being another big factor, if not the biggest one. There's a lot more to say and cover, but I really want to share these updates on the progress of the map with you first. There is a ton of information and new images to share.

This next section is quoted directly from Shy himself:

"The vast majority of work since the previous update has been with technical stuff and planning. Most of the school had to be slightly rebuilt or split up so it could actually work as a functional gmod map. A lot of other areas that were not done are now done such as the forum classroom. The school itself is “DONE” layout wise but there is still quite a lot that needs to be done.
A HUGE amount of stuff still has to be converted into models. Sadly a lot of this model making is not very exciting it is usually stuff like little architectural trims or stairs. Everything also needs to be textured, I have made quite a few custom textures but I am still FAR from finished with those as well. Almost every texture you see in these screenshots is a PLACEHOLDER! Some textures are closer to being “final” but the other textures are just there to help visualize the map. Same goes for the lighting.
Most of the remaining work to get the map into a playable alpha state is modeling and texture work. The exterior terrain and a few other areas also still need to be constructed. Another huge bottleneck for the project (besides lack of funding) is the skybox. This is further hindered by the fact players can fly around. Because of this we had to do quite a lot of design work to ensure certain things will work and look right. I hope to eventually implement a “never been done before” feature that will really make the map super unique but I will save that for a future update.
Now onto the screenshots. I had to section off the map to get these screenshots so you will see big purple missing textures. These are just an artifact from cutting up the map, they are not actually there for real. I will eventually make a proper video showcasing these areas once they are in a more finished state.
First off the courtyard. This is one of the more finished areas with some of the nicer textures already in place.

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These are the benches that will be used in each corner of the courtyard and a few other places around the school.

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Close-up of the marble floor texture that surrounds the courtyard.

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Now onto the arcade, this is the area in front of and below the library.
This area will have a big tower behind it, refer to the previous updates for context.

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Beneath the roof with the entrance to the library on the right.

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Here’s the view exiting the library.

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This is the lower part of the arcade, the area underneath the library. This will be where you teleport to each dorm tower, the water, fire, and earth towers respectively. Each tower will contain two dorms. The dorms themselves will be built last just in case the server decides to change up the system again.

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Next up is the plaza, the building in the center is the entrance to the ansible chamber. There use to be rocks to the left here, but I have removed them in favor of more garden areas.

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This is the exit to the stairway which leads back into the rest of the school.

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A closer look at the area above the baths, the water tower is in the background in the center of the image, again refer to the previous update for how this will actually look since it is very cut off in this screenshot.

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Here’s the view from inside the baths.

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Looking from the opposite corner.

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Above the baths looking back out at the plaza.

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Onto a NEW AREA, this is the hallway leading to the forum class, before this was just an empty hallway. This is connected to the upper arcade to get an idea of where it is.

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The purple square here is where the exit out to the upper arcade would be, water will be flowing through the middle here.

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Here is the inside of the forum itself.

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This will all become a high-quality model eventually.

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Next is another new area, this is also connected to the upper level of the arcade on the same side as the forum.

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Here is the entrance to the alchemy lab, I’m not going to show you the inside yet since it is very WIP but the lighting here is more or less the kind of tone I am going for in this area.
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Finally I’ll show some of the less complete areas.
Here’s the arena, it is mostly finished except for the roof and the pillars. The entire thing will likely be a model.

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Inside the lower entrance will be a room to the right and the left.

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This is the fire tower, you will see it from this perspective from a window inside the library, but the tower itself will be mostly inside the skybox.

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I’ve hidden the library in this screenshot to help you get an idea of where things are. This is the 3d skybox which is why I can’t show it in game just yet.

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To the north of the fire tower lines the earth tower, very wip but the location is mostly final.

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This final area is going to become the celestial forces hideout, it is situated just a bit east of the earth tower.
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Here is some concept art by Gunther so you can get an idea of how this area will eventually look.

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Earth tower concept.

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Water tower concept.

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Fire tower concept.

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That’s it for now. I hope to be able to start working on the map again sometime soon because it is already starting to look pretty cool! The map is still in the early stages of development but everything is starting to come together!"

- End Shys Update -

Final Notes:

I think we can all agree at this point that we've learned that the server simply cannot function the way we all know and want it to without a good map to call home. Especially after all the workshop maps that we tested and tried over the 6-8 months after the initial shutdown. The map has to both fit the theme of the server and encompass a layout that compliments the functionality of the server, otherwise, it just simply doesn't feel or look right at all. With that said, after the last few updates to the server, it quickly became clear that having a good custom map was the only thing that truly gave us a shot at thriving once again. Thus, all focus and resources went entirely to just that. Unfortunately, after several months of little to no player base, zero donations, and all of our monthly server costs and development costs, all of what was left of SBS's funds were quickly depleted. As a result, we were no longer able to pay Shy Studios to continue developing our map. For a while, Shy was doing a lot of the work free of charge, or at an extremely low cost, but at the end of the day, this map, and any good map, is a long and large project. It's not realistic to expect him to work on it for many months on end for little to no compensation. As we came to this completely reasonable conclusion, Shy agreed to continue to work on the map anyway, as a kind gesture to both our personal friendship, and his relationship with SBS, but it would fall to a much lower priority. Understandably, the map became buried by bigger priorities of Shy Studios, which has resulted in a lack of updates and progress announcements. Given where the map has been on his priority list, a lot has still been done, but truthfully, had we still had more funding, a lot more would have already been done by now as well. It reached a point where I had been paying for all SBS-related costs completely out of pocket for over half a year. Between server rental, web hosting, domain renewals, and all of our other services, it's not cheap by any means. I will admit there was a level of hopium involved, that some kind of miracle would happen, but that's just not how things work. In hindsight, a part of me wishes I had just taken down the server a long time ago, and directed all those monthly costs and funds directly to Shy instead. We might have a much more completed map by now if I had done so. There was a long period where the server barely had any players if any at all, while I continued to simply toss funds out of the window praying for a miracle. The fact of the matter is, I'm being more vulnerable and transparent now than I ever have with you guys. The truth is I simply miss SBS and what we used to have. I know a lot of you, even those unwilling to admit it, do too. With that said, I still haven't given up hope, and with the right circumstances, I still believe we can make something happen again. A lot of the plans I had and talked about for the server, could still be put to use. But I know first and foremost without a good map, that's simply not happening at all, and a lot of those plans aren't worth setting in motion until we do either. It would honestly just be a waste.

As of a few days ago, the server was taken offline. The reasons for doing so I would believe are pretty obvious at this point, and I also pretty much already covered it all in the information above as well, in more depth. I, personally, and SBS as a company, simply cannot afford it anymore. Again, it probably should have been done a long time ago, as all of those funds could have been put to better use. Hindsight is hindsight though. So what do we do now? What do we do going forward? Is there anything you can do to help get the wheels turning again? Well, after some lengthy discussions and thought, some of the staff team, myself, and Shy have come up with what I think is a pretty good plan in the meantime. We've started a GoFundMe for Shy Studios to prioritize the completion of our custom map. I've been approached a handful of times recently by several community members asking how they could help, and honestly, this would be the absolute best way currently. This also helped inspire this idea. I want to be clear, that the map will still be worked on regardless of the success or status of the GoFundMe, it will just simply take much longer without it. When I say much, I cannot emphasize that enough. It will be a long time without it. That's completely fine if that's the case, but we figured we'd offer the opportunity for you to help accelerate the process if you so wish, and care enough to see SBS come back sooner than later. The GoFundMe seemed a better alternative than asking for map contributions as we have in the past, for a few reasons. The main one is transparency. We will set a goal, and you can see the progress toward the goal as well. You can even see who has contributed and how much, assuming they wish to be known. You can also contribute anonymously. Secondly, every penny, outside of the fees we are charged, will be going to Shy Studios. SBS has no use for the funds, simply because without a server we are nothing in the first place, and with no custom map, there is no point in having an open server. We will start with a more reasonable goal, but it's not necessarily the final goal. Obviously, the more funding we can send to Shy Studios, the quicker the map will get done, as Shy will be able to dedicate more time to the map. Lastly, your contributions through GoFundMe are highly protected through their platform. They guarantee protection and refunds of your contributions for up to a year, which is much better than most platforms, including PayPal. This is a big peace of mind if you are skeptical, which would be completely reasonable given current circumstances. If the GoFundMe does well, we will either extend the GoFundMe goal or perhaps start a new campaign. We might even use other methods or platforms to get those who want to be more involved, more involved. More on that later, should we deem it plausible in the future. Additionally, if you find it more ideal or appealing to contribute directly to Shy in some way instead of contributing to the GoFundMe, that's fine as well. You will need to reach out to him directly for the methods that he prefers.

Here is the GoFundMe:
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I think that about summarizes everything up until this point. As stated, without a server, we are nothing, and without a custom map, there is no point in having an open server. So for now, the server will stay offline while we direct any and all resources possible to Shy until the map is complete, unless something changes before then. Just to reclarify, the map will still be made regardless of how the GoFundMe does, but just be prepared that it could be quite a while before we're there without it. Finally, as something I'm assuming a lot of you will be curious about, yes, all of your progress and player data on the server will remain. Additionally, if you own a custom job, or have access to any sort of donation perk(s) from before the server was taken down, you will still have access to those things in the future when the server is brought back up. The server is backed up, and so is all the data and content. It will be like we never left, so do not worry. I will continue to keep you guys updated as much as possible, but the frequency may vary on different factors moving forward. I apologize that it took so long to post another update, but that's just how things have gone since then. Here's to hoping they get better sooner rather than later. I know that they can. Thank you to those who are still sticking around, or are even interested at all. It has always meant a lot and still means a lot.

However long it takes.
I still believe.

Yes thank you so much, thank you! This might just be what I need to buss. That might just be what I need to buss. Cuz I'm bussing! Ambassing! Ambassing!!!

Which god calls to you on starbystargaming's GALAXY OF MAGIC™ attend classes and learn magic! Meet new friends! Play as mythical creatures! Battle for glory! Join one of six unique dorms: Kratos, Hachiman, Thoth, Concordia, Loki or Arawn! And coming SOON... Our fully custom map STARBRIGHT UNIVERSITY! Click this video to join Galaxy Of Magic™ now

Yes thank you so much, thank you! This might just be what I need to buss. That might just be what I need to buss. Cuz I'm bussing! Ambassing! Ambassing!!!

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