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Dear god.. Ive got a certificate and diploma both in games design, and am doing 2 years starting september for my degree in the UK. You guys have even put the shits in me :D

Bit of advice my dear man, breaking into the industry is a very hard thing to do, companys can get hundreds of applications a month. Setting up a company is a different thing altogether. In my first year in college, myself and pretty much the rest of the class where like, hey! lets start our own company next year and take on the world! And we were all dead serious. I can look back now and laugh at least. Ive had 3 months industry experience, i helped get a company (Starcave) get off the ground. It was a gruelling business and it certainly takes alot of commitment and initial investment if you even want your company to get not even to a prototype stage, but just to get the software lisences/hardware. I had the option of staying with them, but i decided that my lack of experience/incompetence would only take me so far.

I think that you should set out some realistic goals. Since your interested in programming, i suggest, excuse the french, breaking your balls to get into Trinity to do computer science. Some of Irelands best come from there, re Havok. Get your degree, and get a job somewhere and work through at least 2 complete development cycles and THEN see if you feel like you are up to the task of setting up your own studio. But i also suggest that a management role or lead role will help you a long way too.

Im not going out on a limb in saying this, but publishers wont even sniff at you if your company is made up of unexperienced individuals, unless you have a very solid prototype that has a market, which will cost in itself, in the region of 150K, alot of months, and a hard working, dedicated team who are willing to work for peanuts. Its becoming increasing hard for studios, even established ones, to sustain a market place, as costs rise and publishers become more tight arsed with their contracts. Risks are huge and many studios are being swallowed up by large, soon to be monopolies aka EA (Off you go Damien!)

Im not saying its impossible, but saying it would be a challenge would be a huge understatment. Especially with next-gen around the corner and the fact that you have a few years left in school yet.

But i admire your ambition and i can see that you might just have a bright future ahead if you get the head down :)