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read recently there maya is too complicated for beginners , they mentioned in the article that some real veterans with 3d max struggle to get results in maya. Think it was a game developer magazine review or something. But i dont know anything about 3d modelling..

Rich is right about visual c++ express, great free tool. Also gamedev.net is a great site, also some great opengl\directx tutorials on nehe’s website. Just put “nehe opengl” into google and you’ll find the site.

As for good books, beginning direct3d by wendy something is pretty decent. Nice overview and its cheap off amazon. I would recommend for c++, Dietels C++ book. Search google and you’ll find also, if not give me a shout and ill send ya a link.

Although i suspect maybe you should focus on an easier programming language to begin with, c++ can be a bitch as an intro language. I would recommend basic or pascal. Bonus is books on these 2 languages are alot cheaper and chances are with the book u’ll also get a cd with a compiler free ;)