This website helped me open my creative mind, it also made me realize that everyone has a potential to be creative; it's a skill much like anything else. To keep it short I'd recommend you to - learn to use your mind, learn to think, imagine, associate, and question everything!
Turns out this is the ugly part of game dev, hopefully pumping up the system requirements and some proper error handling, will make people aware of what they need.
I'm targeting people with decent computers, something that can render 3D graphics with post processing at a playable fps, I really REALLY want to avoid the old pipeline, it's just seems dirty, do some newer AAA games even use old pipeline these day?
For example I am interested to know what versions of OGL do Valve use for their games on MAC?
And I'll probably just end up going with 3.2. seems to be a better choice.
You need some books on XNA programming and implementation. There are numerous ones out there. Even one or two which are 1 to 3 years old would help a lot. Some cover the drawing/ mesh area very well. AmazonDOTcom is a good place to get XNA books, but there are others.
Everything you need to learn and implement XNA is already out there, so no - it is NOT dead - but mature. Mono is one of several ways to implement XNA cross-platform, so the ability to do so will be available for years - one reason why Microsoft does not directly support it anymore.
Mono is a good alternative.
But let me make it clear that matrices are irrelevant to the knowledge of XNA/Mono it self, it's Math - Linear Algebra. I strongly recommend learning it before you dive into any 3D game dev, but even for 2D it comes super helpful.
Like Washu said, most of the time you wont be writing any dx code at all.
But it depends on what job you are after exactly, Graphics programmers must know either DirectX or OpenGL (I always recommend OpenGL because its cross platform),
If you are going to use a premade Graphics Engine then you don't really need to know much about or how it works and you can be on your way programming gameplay and mechanics, though adding new things to the graphics engine or messing with shaders is always nice and therefor you should look into learning Graphics programming. :3
Definitelly go with FlashDevelop if you are on Windows.
Actionscript 3.0 is not that hard to get good at, and I would recommend you to start with Stage3D and the Starling framework, it's pretty simple GPU accelerated and has a lot of good resources to learn from -
Nsmadsen clearly knows what he's talking about.
But this is exactly the problem, when I or any other developer needs music for a project, I will go to someone like your self who's done a lot of previous work and has an impressive portfolio.
So how do the small composers stand out? offer better deals? work harder?
To simply put it, starting new with really anything is always hard, no one knows you.
Once you have a portfolio with previous games you've composed for, you're more likely to be desired by developers and see that you have what it takes to do what you say you can do.
I guess my advice is more on self marketing and long term, but you should keep it in mind.
Totally agree with what bschmidt said.
I also wanted to quickly note, that making money with music is not easy, so you should be willing to create music for super cheap or even completely free, that is ofcourse if the developers are trustworthy to actually finish what they started.
At first the more you put your self out there with a good price, the more awesome your portfolio becomes, and that's when people will notice you and you can start charging more.