You should checkout my book Unity in Action ! I'm a professional game programmer who uses Unity at work, and I wrote the book I wish had existed when I was first learning Unity.
Yes, you can use the free version and not pay royalties.
Unity's license comparison is here: https://unity3d.com/get-unity
Unreal's royalty information is here: https://www.unrealengine.com/faq#legal
Unity's system requirements: https://unity3d.com/unity/system-requirements
Unreal's system requirements: https://docs.unrealengine.com/latest/INT/GettingStarted/RecommendedSpecifications/index.html
I can run Unity on my MacBook Pro without any problems at all. When I run Unreal, I get severe lag and a very low framerate. Perhaps you might not have that issue but it was enough to keep me from using Unreal.
Unity can't handle cycles materials (but you can bake your cycles materials/textures and use those). Also, if you set up materials in Blender and even textures with a UV map, then Unity will recognize the material slots. If you have your textures in the same directory as your blend file, then Unity will recognize and place your textures as well. Otherwise, you just have to assign Unity materials to your blend model material slots and drag your textures onto the texture slots where needed. You will see it's not too difficult and you will learn it fairly quickly if you take the time to watch some tutorials.
With tutorials, start here: http://unity3d.com/learn
Visit (and bookmark if you wish) /r/unity3d and /r/gamedev. There are a lot of great posts and both subs are quite active with new content daily. There are some cool people in both communities that contribute a lot and are very helpful. /u/jhocking (contributes a lot to /r/gamedev) even wrote a book: https://toptalkedbooks.com/amzn/161729232X
Yes, your animations can be imported right into Unity. You can rig a character with the rigify add-on and use Unity's Mecanim to get it set and working for your game.
Blender and Unity make a great combination for indie developers and they work so well together. All this for free!
3 months is pretty ambitious but how achievable depends on where you're starting. Like, what does "almost no programming experience" mean? Do you know the basics of how to program but have never programmed a game before, or do you mean you don't yet know how to do any programming at all? eg. you don't know what words like 'function' and 'variable' mean
If the latter, then I don't know how much you can accomplish in just 3 months. If the former though (ie. you already know some basic programming, but have never programmed a game) then you might want to checkout my book Unity in Action