VC++ has a better IDE and debugger, but I think Borland’s VCL is superior to MFC. Drag, drop, write handler, done. No more message map wierdness.
I like Visual C++, but MFC is horrible. God help anyone who tries to learn proper object-oriented design from it. There are probably some BASIC programs that are more well-designed than MFC.
As for the language, I’d say go for any language that suits your fancy to start out with OpenGL. Learning the library is independent of language, so do what is most comfortable. However, if you are interested in developing applications professionally, C/C++ is your best choice. I don’t want to seem like I’m using herd mentality or anything, but there’s a reason 99.9+% of successful commercial applications are written in C/C++. Other languages just can’t compete in terms of speed, scalability, and power. If you asked id why they didn’t write the Quake 1/2/3 engine in Java, they’d probably laugh in your face.
How much faster is C/C++ against Java/Other language?
Here is one comparison: http://www.bagley.org/~doug/shootout/craps.shtml
That comparison is very misleading.
All languages is designed with some typical use in mind. For example has Java a runtime system with memory management. It is possible to write programs that does not use it, but that does that prove?
Java may be slow compared to C/C++ but is a real speed monster compared to the lisp like languages if the program is developed in a normal way. The main reason for this is that such languages creates a lot of intermediate objects that the system must take care of.