Everything up there furrykef said is true.
A lot of first time game developers start with modding or pre-built engines (and even experienced developers at big companies build prototypes in Unity before they pitch ideas to their bosses, there’s no stigma with that!). This is a very good idea; the less you have to get done yourself, and the higher the quality of what you based your work on, the more you can concentrate on what you set out to do and make it good. The game industry term for this is “polish”: it implies making the art look great, the gameplay enjoyable, the motions juicy, the writing impeccable. But I am going to call it “good”, that quality of whether it’s worth playing, which you know when you see it.
The truth is, if you don’t have what it takes, you will probably give up at some point. And in that case, you might even come to a conclusion that it’s all pretty fun and not hard (a lot of dabblers quit before getting to the hard part—I’d know, I dabble in a lot of things). If you do have what it takes, you will probably survive long enough to take a step back and maybe you could even objectively say out loud, “That is one big pile of shit.” But that’s the first step to making good things; you either throw out what’s bad and start over, or you take something that’s only kind of okay and improve the crap out of it.
Don’t stop at thinking it has to be a big blockbuster project to be good; this will kill your career as a creator faster than anything. Some people in this word are savants who can make big and good first projects, but that’s incredibly rare period, and even rarer in games. So if your favorite idea is big (and make no mistake, when people say “RPG” they usually mean a big one), start with your less favorite ideas and make things that are good but small. This is the proof you will need to show a potential funder, a potential partner, or a potential player that you can make good things. Then you have earned a right to a lottery ticket
of making your golden baby project.
There is nothing wrong with having a day job while making your passion projects off the job. Yes, it sucks time and energy, but it pays the bills. Games don’t owe you a living, and lots of aspiring indie developers find this out the hard way. Actually, the same skills it takes to make video games often pay much better outside the industry (indie or otherwise), and don’t require you to wear as many hats or work as many hours. Bear in mind that a lot of people who are successful in games would have probably been successful if they’d decided to do anything else; they just decided to be successful in games. Hell, BioWare was founded by doctors and Valve was founded by Microsoft millionaires—going into games was not
a sound financial decision in either of these cases.
In the meantime, cultivate your connections in the spheres where people you potentially want to work with are. You will probably not succeed at making projects that require more than one person if you don’t have partners willing to go in 100% same as you. Commissioning stuff is likely to be too expensive to be practical.
But first, make your own thing. A ROM hack based on something in this site’s utilities section or a game mod (Skyrim is popular!) is a great way to get started if you need more scaffolding and want to test out your quest writing or something. An RPG Maker project will do if what you need is more like a blank engine. There are more generic engines available if neither of those options are flexible enough.
Do read stuff about game development that’s out there if you’re unsure how to proceed, but don’t read so much of it you don’t learn things hands-on. If you depend completely on the aid of others to get started... well, you never will.
Why are you still reading this? Go go go!