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Wednesday, November 04, 2015

Two courses, two prices

My partners are about ready to take over the responsibility for the Game Dev course; the animated ad is done, and they're getting their web site and order processing updated, so if you want to take advantage of the $150 price for the 20-hour course, this is your final opportunity. The price will go up to $199 next week.

However, even if you're interested, you may want to hear about an even better offer, especially if you're interested in entrepreneurship. My partners, as it happens, are going to be offering a Business Startup course of their own; one of them ran Red Herring in Europe and Asia for years before striking out on his own and he is one of the best-connected people in the fields of technology and technology-funding walking the planet. From Skype to Google, you name it, he knows the people who started them and first funded them.

I've learned a tremendous amount from him over the years, and managed to convince him that there are many people who would benefit from tapping into the knowledge and experience he has picked up over the years. His course will probably run 90 minutes per session rather than two hours, but it will be in the same basic format and will feature even bigger names than my course will. It will also be priced at $199 per seat and will begin sometime in Q1 2016.

Anyhow, I've already made reserved seats in the Game Dev course available for free to the Brainstorm Annual members. After our last closed event, a number of the Brainstormers indicated that they would like to attend the Business Startup course, so I spoke with my partner and he agreed that all Annual Brainstorm members will be permitted to attend his course for free as well. The one difference is that while Annual seats can be given to friends and family for the Game Dev course, only the actual Annual member will be permitted to attend the Business Startup course.

So, if you were giving any thought to signing up for Brainstorm and you're interested in entrepreneurship, this is one more reason to give it a shot. In addition to the two courses worth a combined $400, you'll also be able to attend the closed Brainstorm events, such as the upcoming one on November 14th with Mike Cernovich, where we'll be discussing the current state of the publishing industry and how one can best take advantage of its vicissitudes.

And, of course, I will be looking to continue to add value to a Brainstorm membership as time goes on. Stickwick has gone a little overboard in her proposed presentation on dark matter, as it has transmogrified into a book that Castalia will be publishing next year, so that planned event will be delayed until the spring. On the plus side, however, we will be providing the book to all the members in order to facilitate both a meaningful discussion and informed questions.

In largely unrelated news, Castalia has launched Wargame Wednesdays today, kicking off with a review of a set of military history books by Donald Featherstone  that I desperately need to get my hands on:
Even though the scope of the series precludes in-depth historical background as a young student I found the series useful as a beginning reference for various papers and as a gamer I appreciated the emphasis on playing an army using the tactics and dealing with the limitations faced by the historical commanders or in Donald Featherstone’s own words from the first volume’s introduction: “Each section details the technique and styles of fighting of the various nations and armies and offers suggestions how this can best be simulated on a table-top battlefield.” He goes on to explain that war gamers take great care in researching their armies, paint them as accurately as possible to create the most reasonable simulation then it “…all falls down at one critical point – unable to move under their own volition, the small model soldiers are strategically and tactically directed by the war gamer himself, who maneuvers his armies with a military hindsight denied to their real-life commanders of long ago.” The figures on the table top may be dressed as Romans and Greeks but they are played using tactics “that would have done credit to Wellington in the Peninsula, Jackson in the Shenandoah Valley or Montgomery in Libya”. Featherstone then gives the example of a gamer choosing to collect and fight a Roman army against Britons or Gauls and after reading the relevant sections would “…know that they will advance in a certain formation, that they will hurl their pila and then come to close quarters with the gladius. After a simulated 15 minutes of fighting, they will be withdrawn and a fresh century or cohort thrown in to take their place.” On the other hand their enemies “…will fight in a desperate and ferocious fashion rather resembling the headlong charges of the Dervishes in the Sudan towards the end of the 19th century”.

Each volume is slightly different in its methodology ways, whereas the first volume covers each army separately the second volume groups the subject matter into wars, while the third volume is organized by campaigns from the French Revolution to Waterloo, though the final chapters cover the War with America, 1812-1815, the U.S. – Mexican War of 1846-1848, the Crimean War and ends with the War of Austria with France and Piedmont in 1859.

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36 Comments:

Blogger Brad Andrews November 04, 2015 12:30 PM  

The need to be present at the events has kept this from my own serious consideration. The other session might tempt me to join anyway, along with the dark matter topic, but the interactive requirement is a drawback in a day when timeshifting is so common. Reading a transcript is not the same thing.

Blogger VD November 04, 2015 12:43 PM  

Reading a transcript is not the same thing.

Agreed. Especially when I'm three months behind on getting the transcripts out. But the interactive component is one of the things that makes it unique.

Blogger Dave November 04, 2015 12:50 PM  

Stop! my arm is starting to look like a pretzel the more you keep twisting. What would be the deadline to become annual member to be in both courses? Also the closed events are transcripts only? Why not video recordings?

From Skype to Google, you name it, he knows the people who started them and first funded them.

Right, when we can expect the VP Ilk venture capital fund? At a minimum a newsletter with actionablev pre-IPO advice? Even some hints re the next google or facebook?

Blogger Josh November 04, 2015 12:57 PM  

Right, when we can expect the VP Ilk venture capital fund? At a minimum a newsletter with actionablev pre-IPO advice? Even some hints re the next google or facebook?

There are some things in the works

Blogger CM November 04, 2015 12:58 PM  

I really want to try this but my skills lean more towards math than programming. I'm playing in financial software dev atm and game dev requires a lot more programming finesse than what I'm doing.

Play to your strengths, right?

Blogger VD November 04, 2015 1:03 PM  

What would be the deadline to become annual member to be in both courses? Also the closed events are transcripts only? Why not video recordings?

You can become an Annual member at any time. Transcripts permit judicious editing and more control of information that is likely to eventually end up in the hands of enemies and critics.

Blogger VD November 04, 2015 1:04 PM  

I really want to try this but my skills lean more towards math than programming. I'm playing in financial software dev atm and game dev requires a lot more programming finesse than what I'm doing.

You should definitely do the course. There is a whole new field of data analysis of gamer behavior to maximize revenues. I learned a lot about some very interesting new developments in it at GDC. That's why Activision paid nearly $6 billion for King.

Anonymous Institutionalized November 04, 2015 1:12 PM  

I hate to ask this, but it factors into my financial calculations.

Are the courses transcripted through any institution of higher learning?

If they are, I might be able to count them toward advancement at my institution and afford to sign up. If not, I will have a much tougher decision to make. Sigh.

Anonymous Clint 47/73 November 04, 2015 1:16 PM  

@8 they are from the Dread Ilk University of Truth.

OpenID dc123884-8321-11e5-a9c5-a3b429e4d26a November 04, 2015 1:28 PM  

Looks great. Do you make an actual game--however small--from scratch to finish or is this just an overview?

I'm currently studying computer science. Would it be beneficial to take?

Blogger VD November 04, 2015 1:33 PM  

Are the courses transcripted through any institution of higher learning?

No, certainly not. But it is the same course that a technical institute paid to have its students attend. It's about education, not credentials.

Do you make an actual game--however small--from scratch to finish or is this just an overview?

No, this is about knowledge, not practice.

Blogger VD November 04, 2015 1:34 PM  

I'm currently studying computer science. Would it be beneficial to take?

Most likely, although we only spend part of one session directly on code.

Anonymous Geoff November 04, 2015 1:42 PM  

when we can expect the VP Ilk venture capital fund

The money's all tied up in gold and guns.

Blogger Dave November 04, 2015 2:58 PM  

The money's all tied up in gold and guns.

Beans, bullets and bandaids: Check, check & check

Blogger Mad Dok Rob November 04, 2015 3:00 PM  

Looking forward to Stickwicks book.

Blogger buwaya November 04, 2015 3:16 PM  

I have (and used to have more, left them in Manila) several of Featherstones books, as he was the No.1 guide to minatures wargaming in his day. I recall our gang used "Tank Battles in Miniature" in the 70's, with Airfix models and Roco HO (hey, whats scale problems between friends anyway). He and his fellows had fans on the other side of the world.

Blogger Thomas Davidsmeier November 04, 2015 3:27 PM  

Are the Brainstorms on a set day of the week or do they move around? What time/day will the Game Dev/Business classes meet?

Another question. I'm old and have lots of children. I would be looking at trying to develop educational games on the side, not as a career at the moment. Would these classes make sense for that, or are they aimed mostly at people looking for careers in the field now?

Anonymous VD November 04, 2015 3:44 PM  

Are the Brainstorms on a set day of the week or do they move around? What time/day will the Game Dev/Business classes meet?

They move around. Game Dev will be on Saturdays. Don't know about Business yet.

The classes will help you make better games period. Especially the history, design, and game mechanics sections.

Blogger FilmKnurd November 04, 2015 4:00 PM  

After singing up for the membership, are there further steps to take to register for the courses?

Blogger SS November 04, 2015 4:21 PM  

Are the classes (I'm more interested in the business startup class myself) able to be taken at any time, or is it a live presentation only?

Blogger VD November 04, 2015 4:23 PM  

After singing up for the membership, are there further steps to take to register for the courses?

Yes, you'll be sent a registration link in mid-December.

is it a live presentation only?

Live only.

Anonymous Clint #47/#73 November 04, 2015 4:34 PM  

OK, just to be clear, since I just purchased the annual Brainstorm membership...

In December, you will send out a registration link to all Annual Brainstormers? So nothing more for us to do at this point, right?

Blogger VD November 04, 2015 4:51 PM  

In December, you will send out a registration link to all Annual Brainstormers? So nothing more for us to do at this point, right?

Correct. You're on the list. Obviously, there will be other events between now and then to which you will be invited, but they are not relevant to either course.

Blogger Matamoros November 04, 2015 6:10 PM  

My son has just graduated high school and is now in college beginning his computer courses. He is a gamer.

Is this something that would benefit him now, or does he need more education/training first?

Blogger VD November 04, 2015 6:25 PM  

Is this something that would benefit him now, or does he need more education/training first?

He should absolutely do it now. It will affect his decision-making.

Anonymous Viidad November 04, 2015 6:27 PM  

"Stickwick has gone a little overboard"

No way. Darned superintelligences.

Blogger MidKnight (#138) November 04, 2015 6:40 PM  

What time frame on Saturdays for the game dev course?

Blogger VD November 04, 2015 7:14 PM  

What time frame on Saturdays for the game dev course?

It will start somewhere between 10 to 2 US time. It needs to be early enough for the Europeans who aren't night owls to make it. That's something I plan to ask those who are signed up, if they have a collective preference.

Blogger SirHamster November 04, 2015 8:50 PM  

After our last closed event, a number of the Brainstormers indicated that they would like to attend the Business Startup course, so I spoke with my partner and he agreed that all Annual Brainstorm members will be permitted to attend his course for free as well.

Dang, you are making this subscription much better value than I ever expected. I'll have no choice but to put the value add into CH books.


Agreed. Especially when I'm three months behind on getting the transcripts out. But the interactive component is one of the things that makes it unique.

Ah, I was wondering about that. So should I expect this course to be 3 months late, too? :P

Blogger dfordoom November 05, 2015 1:39 AM  

Castalia has launched Wargame Wednesdays today, kicking off with a review of a set of military history books by Donald Featherstone that I desperately need to get my hands on:

It was Donald Featherstone's books that introduced me to wargaming many many years ago. I still have most of his wargaming books including a signed copy of his excellent book on 19th century colonial wars Colonial Small Wars 1837-1901 (a book I highly recommend as an introduction to obscure colonial campaigns).

Anonymous Siobhan November 05, 2015 2:40 AM  

How visible is one's name in conjunction with a brainstorm membership?

It's horrible and tawdry to mention, but there are circles where it being apparent that one has subscribed could make one professionally vulnerable.

Blogger Thomas Davidsmeier November 05, 2015 6:58 AM  

@31 You ain't kiddin'.

Blogger Laguna Beach Fogey November 05, 2015 7:32 AM  

Donald Featherstone...blast from the past! I adored his miniature wargaming books as a child.

Anonymous I. Mitchell November 05, 2015 11:51 AM  

I emailed John Curry (who has kindly republished some of Mr. Featherstone's other works, under his History of Wargaming umbrella), and he was good enough to reply to me this morning with the information that he intended to republish the War Games Through the Ages series as well, but it would be more than 12 months before he could do so. Still, there's hope that eventually we'll have a more reasonably priced Volume II.

Blogger VD November 05, 2015 8:21 PM  

How visible is one's name in conjunction with a brainstorm membership?

Not at all. You can enter the events under any name you want.

Blogger Matamoros November 06, 2015 3:08 PM  

A second question: Will the classes be taped so they can be watched later if one can't make the scheduled time?

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