The idea is to create a documentation file whenever you save the project. It would help communication between the map maker and programmer, and even just help the map maker.
It would probably have to include quite a bit of information to be useful. Things like the file location and name of each level and all the tile textures, allowing you to check to make sure everything is there. It could include a description of each level and tile. But where it would become the most useful is object properties. You could say what each property indicates and how it is stored. Here's an example list:
solid: Indicates if the object is solid. Value Type: Boolean value. Default: True. ladder: Indicates if the object is a ladder. Value Type: Boolean value. Default: False damage: Indicates how much damage the object does. Value Type: Integer Default: 0 conveyerSpeed: Indicates if the object is a conveyer and how fast it is. Value Type: Integer Default: 0 Special Notes: If the value is 0, it is not a conveyer. If value is negative, it pushes to the left. If positive, it pushes to the right.
These examples aren't that great, but it could definitely be used well.
Another use would be to make checking the tile properties easier. If it outputs the properties for each tile, you could check this file to easily make sure all the properties are set correctly. Something like this:
Properties Descriptions: solid: Indicates if the tile is solid. Value Type: Boolean Default: True Tiles: Grass(ID=1, Smart Tile=true) Solid: True Dirt(ID=2, Smart Tile=true) Solid: True Rock(ID=3, Smart Tile=true) Solid: False
In this case, it would be much easier to check the file instead of each tile through the editor.
On the GUI side, it could be used for tool-tip display. Whatever you put in the description for that property would be displayed when you hover your mouse over it. To change the description, you could just right click any object or property listing, and the context menu could have a "Change Description" option.
it would be nice to have a few options to control what the file has. If it should include file locations and names, the name or ID of each tile, and if a property should be displayed for a tile if it's the default property. That would allow you to shorten it to only say this:
Properties Descriptions: solid: Indicates if the tile is solid. Value Type: Boolean Default: True Tiles: Grass(ID=1, Smart Tile=true) Dirt(ID=2, Smart Tile=true) Rock(ID=3, Smart Tile=true) Solid: False
And thus easier to read in some cases.
I know this would probably take quite a bit of work, but that's why I suggested it early in the development process. I probably didn't make very much sense through most of this, so go ahead ask questions if you need to.