Yes, I know you must get these topics fired at you like artillery flack each day, but since this is a forum for newbies like me I thought this topic would be reasonably justified. So bear with me! :-)
I've just started on a masters degree in Maths and have decided to aim for a full-time career in games programming. This was sparked off like most people by my enthusiasm for games, but also because the (very) little amounts of coding I've done so far have been very enjoyable (especially the kind of playful concentration it requires). The 'little amounts of coding' I've done accumulated at the creation of a text-based Mastermind game written a few days ago in Python (complete with a randomly-generated and variable-sized colours list! :P). But I've decided to start on some 'real' games programming now, so I've started learning C++.
Basically I just had a few questions that I wanted to clarify, and I also wanted someone with more experience to look through my goals and ambitions to guide me in the right direction...
First of all, I'm very interested in AI programming. The thing is that graduating with a Maths degree cries out for graphics and/or physics programming (or something similar), and if I went into AI I feel I'd be competing with Computer Science graduates on their grounds. Is this feasible regardless?
Also, many articles for games programming newbies suggest avoiding complex 3D graphics engines and writing 2D games instead. However, if I *do* decide to go into graphics programming (which is still a possibility) I'd have to get experience working with 3D graphics. But to actually make a fully functioning game using your own 3D engine seems pretty unrealistic (though I might be wrong...). What kind of things should I aim to write if I wanted to get into graphics programming? And at the risk of starting a holy war, would you recommend OpenGL or DirectX? :-)
And finally, it seems to be the norm to write a few small games on your own and then work on The Big One so that you can get experience working with a large code base, and so you have something to show your employers. I'd love to eventually write a full RTS game, complete with enemy AI. Is that feasible?
Any other advice you can give me would be great.