By Brandon Shenkman, Education Program Manager03.26.20
Join us for our first ever education gaming livestream! On Tuesday, March 31, at 4:00 pm, Education Program Manager, Brandon Shenkman, will broadcast gameplay and level design in the Steam Early Access title Levelhead. Come watch and chat live on our Twitch.tv channel as he experiments with game mechanics, creates levels from scratch, and answers chat questions. You do not need to own any games or have a Twitch account to view and participate in the stream!
Curious about the platforms and software we'll be using? Read on to learn more about Twitch, Steam, and Levelhead.
- Twitch, originally an offshoot of the website Justin.tv, began in 2011 with a focus on live video game streaming. In 2014 Twitch was bought by tech giant Amazon and is currently one of the leading worldwide platforms for live streaming, reaching upwards of 20 million users daily.
- Twitch is a platform, much like Netflix, that it is a collection of content aimed at a variety of different audiences. This means that some streams are targeted at older viewers. Our stream will be friendly for users of all ages, and we will have a moderator in our chat room to make sure our channel rules are upheld. That being said, while you do not need an account to watch a stream, Twitch.tv requires all account holders be over the age of 13, and we would suggest parental guidance when using Twitch for anyone under that age.
- Steam is a storefront for purchasing and storing video games. It is currently the largest and oldest storefront of its kind. It is targeted solely at computer gamers, or those gaming on a PC or Mac. We have been using Steam successfully and safely for over 5 years, and have staff members who have used it since the early 2000’s.
- Steam is a storefront that contains content targeted at a variety of audiences. There are parental controls built into Steam to block mature content, and if parents are on the fence, we highly suggest they are used.
- Steam often has amazing sales, and you can buy video games at fraction of what they cost elsewhere. Now that social distancing is in effect for a large portion of the world, the sales are better than ever! If a game you are interested in is not on sale, save it to your wishlist. You will be e-mailed when it goes on sale, and titles go on sale often.
- Levelhead is a video game with an emphasis on platforming, or jumping from obstacle to obstacle and fighting enemies. Think Mario. The reason we use Levelhead to teach game design is that it was built from the ground up to support an in-game level editor. This means the developers have given players the ability to use all the tools in the game to build their own levels from scratch. These levels can be shared online through the game itself, and other user made levels can be downloaded and played.
- Levelhead is currently only available for PC. It does not run on Macs at present. That being said, it is currently in Early Access, which means it is still being developed. You can buy and play it now on PC, but its full release will be on 4/30/2020. At that point it will be playable via PC, Switch, Google Play, Xbox One, and the App Store.
- We have used Levelhead with grades 5 and up, but it does not yet have an official ESRB rating. If you are curious as to whether it is appropriate, check out this trailer. It gives a good sense of Levelhead’s gameplay and humor.”