Have you ever seen a game and wondered "I could of made a better game than that!", with todays technology, you can! Now is where you have to make a decision, Which do you want to focus on more (it has to be one or the other), programming or design? Pick one then read the corresponding paragraph.
Good pick, this could be useful in other areas of the hobby or job world. A good place to start would be to download C++ EXPRESS EDITION (if you get charged $1000, you probably got the wrong one or you got ripped off on free software) and download the Direct X SDK (software development kit). At this time, the best option would be to read a few good books on Direct X (a post on this may come later). Once you get the hang of it, try Direct X for Visual Basic (If you know that VB is easier than C++, heres why: if you can learn the hard stuff like memory managing and stuff, is will be WAY easier to learn a language that you DON"T have to do somthing like that).
Great choice artist, here's what there is to offer. Go to blender.org and download the application. Once you open it, head over to my site fun with blender and read up on how you can design a game without writing a single line of code! http://sites.google.com/site/funwithblender/home (sorry but this site is no longer being edited, but it is still up and running)