The cost for development tools is pretty cheap these days. For Windows
there are the open source tools like MinGW and Microsoft has a free
express version of there Visual Studio .NET development tools. So it
won't really cost you anything to obtain the development tools themselves.
When it comes to what language to use I'm personally in favor of C++. It
is pretty much the industry standard for games, is well documented, runs
on any platform, supports all native libraries, and gives the developer
more personal control over his/her program. However, as has been
mentioned it is considered more of an advanced language so really isn't
geared towards newbies.
Since you probably want to keep your options open here if you want
something easier to start with there is Microsoft's C# .NET. Two of my
games STFC and Mysteries of the Ancients were written in C# .NET, and
obviously it can be used to create games. It is just I've gotten tired
of always going through the .NET Framework instead of accessing the
various Windows APIs directly, and having to find third-party libraries
like SlimDX to access something like DirectX. To me it is easier and
better just to access the stuff directly rather than going through some
extra abstraction layer. However, if you are new to programming that
extra layer of simplicity might be easier to work with than trying to
learn all the lower level APIs that the .NET Framework is built upon.
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