Tuesday 17 September 2013

Cooking with Steam

There are a couple of things that re important to me. Actually, 'a couple' implies that there are actually a couple of things. There are more. There are lots of things that are important to me that I am fairly certain that most people don't actually care about. The two (of the) really big ones are education, specifically educational gaming, and digital rights management.

I've got a hard on for Steam at the best of times, and that is something I say proudly. When Gabe Newell speaks, I take a knee and brace myself for the knowledge. Apart from his recent comment on the future of gaming on Linux, there have been two other recentish announcements from the saunaed halls.

Steam has announced 'Family Sharing', which is a thing that makes an awesome amount of sense, and is distinctly different from putting your game library on every machine you come across. What it lets you do is authorise other accounts to use your library when you aren't using it. I've had a little dream about something like this for the very simple purpose of having a second 'living room account'. The living room account would open straight into Big Picture Mode (Steam Interface designed for use with TVs) and it would only have full controller support games installed on it. Everyone who lives in a house can then list the 'living room' account as their family. It essentially allows you to have a communal console for when that's whats going to happen that night.

By far the most exciting something that Steam is doing though is Steam for Schools, and its 'Teaching with Portals'. There is also a product available through the service called Universe Sandbox, which I haven't had a good look at yet, but I am super excited about. I can't actually have a look at it on my own, because I am not a teacher at a school. I know a couple of teachers, and I plan on co-opting them into assisting me in my endeavours.

EDIT: Universe Sandbox is available on the regular flavour of Steam. Even though I was referring to not have access to Steam for Schools, I assumed that there was a package deal thing going on. One can obtain Universe Sandbox through the Steam store for $9.99USD. 

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