The first thing you have to think about when wanting to delve into game design, is what platform do you want to design for? This will determine what language or languages you will need. You don’t use the same code to program an iPhone game as you do to create an Xbox game or a web based game.
The second thing you need to consider is, what type of games are you hoping to produce? Are you looking for something you can do by yourself, or will you have an entire team working with you? How intense are you graphics going to be? For the sake of this article, I’m going to assume you won’t be strutting into Nintendo and handed a job and you’re trying to figure out how to get into game development for yourself. Here are a few simple ideas! I realize this isn’t every possible way to program a game, but it might get your mind moving in a direction :)
Let’s take a look at some different platforms you can get into by yourself or as a small group.
Forum Games - Maybe I’ll date myself with this one, but I use to play and program games as PHPBB addons in college. Such games still exist, and with a little bit of PHP knowledge you can get started in them too.
Java Games - Java games can be played directly on your computer, or... on an Android device (see below!) You can do a lot with Java, and as it is usually a fundamental part of most computer programming degrees a lot of people already have the knowledge to get started.
Android Games - You can create games for Android phones and tablets. You can distribute them straight from your website, or through the Android & Amazon stores for a small fee. These games are written in Java or sometimes in C.
iOS Games - Games for the iPhone, iPod, and iPad are very popular. You pay $99 upfront to be able to sell your games. These games are written using Objective C. You do need to develop from an Apple computer, so if you don’t have or want to buy one maybe this isn’t for you.
As you can see game platforms are as diverse as the games you hope to create for them. If you really want to design games, you can get started today. Even if your end goal is to work for a large game production company, having these experiences under your belt will only help you, and you may find that you really enjoy the entire process of seeing your idea go from something just in your head, to something people enjoy playing. Some people really enjoy working on smaller games because they have more control over the game as a whole and aren’t just a small piece of the puzzle. Others shy away from it because they don’t see themselves as creative enough to play such a large role in a game’s creation.
Good luck getting started in the game design field! And remember... don't limit yourself!