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What to learn to make my level editor? What features to have?

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Ok, so now since my graphics engine is complete (well not really complete but anyway), what things would I have to learn to use to make a world editor. This is strictly windows Im targeting. I was thinking C# (window forms, msdev studio), but my engine code is in C++, and I dont know how that can be done. Then I thought MFC, I looked for tutorials, but there''s so much things that I dont know what to learn exactly. Treeviews, controls, dialogues, buttons, files, and blah and blah To give a small rundown, all i want my editor to do is the following Have a side bar with the controls (add tile, add tree, add water, etc...), and on the left, I''d like to have a view of the the level in its current state. If I used C# would I have to reimplement the graphics engine with the mamanged d3d extentions? Or could I use my current engine? If I can use my current engine, would you suggest I make the editor in C# (window forms and all) or MFC (considering I dont know squat about either) Also, any suggestions on what kind of features would come in handy for a level editor?

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Why not package the engine so it can be used by both the game and editor?

As for features, they depend on your game. Take a look at editors for existing games.

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To be quite honest, I''d go for either using an existing editor (for example: text editor, SVG editor, even Flash), or building the editor into your game, or a mixture of both.

Tilemaps: Text editor, third party tilemap editor, or bitmap graphics program
Vector data: An existing vector editor, for instance a SVG editor or something like Flash
Heightmaps: Work quite well with a bitmap graphics editor using shades of grey as height
Object placement data: can be edited in-game, use text files, or a mixture

A lot of stuff could be in text files if you''re happy to have it that way. Tilemaps can be edited usefully with text files as long as they''re not too complicated.

Using the game as an editor is also a useful function - you can see what you''re getting immediately. The most extreme example of this I''ve seen, is a FPS called "Cube", which has a co-op multiplayer editing mode (yes, that''s right, network multiplay editor!)


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What about 3dsmax?
there was a gamasutra article about using it as a level editor.
Unfortunately I couldn''t find much in the way of max script tutorials etc.. that would help me write an exporter.

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