I've recently started playing around with Allegro in C++. It's really not as hard as it seems. Well, this far I've only created a spaceship that I can move around in a windowed playfield, but it's a start. And I've only been learning C++ for like half a year, whenever I've had time.
I tried to get into Java, but I just didn't like it for some reason.
And I really don't think GameMaker is an upgrade from MMF, IMO.
Not necessarily an upgrade (although I'd say so), but a step towards actual programming.
But Allegro is probably the best choice for Rio, now that you mention it. I haven't messed with it a lot, but it provides you with libraries for everything you need (sound, input, bitmaps), and it seems to do it nicely. I don't know why I forgot about that.
ALSO, XNA is coming out soon (like Spt. 1st I think). It's a user-friendly tool that is going to be similar to MMF, except for making XBOX 360 games. Not many details have been released yet, but all the interfaces are included, as well as the ability to 'script, code, and extend'. I think the package is going to be free, but to distribute the games on XBOX live, for anyone to get, it's going to be $100 a year. And ten to sell on XBOX live, it'll be a little more, but still reletively inexpensive, because Microsoft is trying to really expand to 'homebrew' audience.
Its because Microsoft is awsome. Unlike Sony with it's "I hate homebrew" attitude and bricks our PSP with a POS firmware. Luckly if someone has a 1.5 firmware, you can dump it and reupload it to your 2.6 firmware^^
(If ANYONE ahs a 1.5 PLEASE dump the firmware and send it to me :|)
Well, Thanks again for all the input DC people. I have yet to decide what I'm going to be using yet. I'm leaning twards c++ for elaborate well done games, and a little GameFactory on the side for simpler easyer games. Circy sorry for the mixup, your stuff is awsomness. Lucid you said some hulpfull stuff. And shortly I'll be making some BUTALLY EXELLENT GAMES bitches!... By the way I got the chance to E-mail a game programmer from LucasArts, I forget exactly what I asked him and am blurry on what he replyed, but valuable stuff none the less.