Then I got thinking about using a scripting language for various aspects, and after lots and lots of surfing the internet, came to the conclusion that Lua was probably the best choice. Scripting is an excellent option to describe the game worlds. In the previous post I mentioned using XML to describe the worlds, but felt Lua would do a better job. The "world editor" tool that I'm yet to write can then simply generate Lua code.
Lua was originally created to be used in configuration files, so I think this is the right choice.
Anyway, one day I'm going to post some screenshots, but I think creating some well conceived "groundwork code" will result in a better engine in the long run.