I started with no real programming knowledge and absolutely no java knowledge . I decided that I wanted to do something in 3D and started trolling around on the net. discovered the nehe tutorials and then realised that openGL was the thing that would inspire me. Made a random language selection and chose Java, so hunted for java 3D tutorials. Found www.cokeandcode.com
and went through all the tutorials there. I realised that the best tutorials and help I could find were all using LWJGL . Since then I`ve been sat in the LWJGL IRC chatroom almost nonstop and have learnt tons of stuff (most of which is more about the weirdo`s in there than the language
From there I realised that it should be "possible" for me to make a 3D OpenGL game by myself so started looking for a game idea that wouldn`t be too difficult but would give me a little feeling of achievement (pong would not make me feel at all good with myself). The result of about a months work was my first game "Spacman". I am still a noob but am now having fun with finishing off my second game. Every step of the way I have learnt new stuff and am now at the point where I think I need to take a new direction to keep myself inspired. Am still looking for the new direction
you can look at my futile attempts at www.newdawnsoftware.com/~thesmit
(oh yes, it`s like God himself gave me a leg up, thanks Kev).