Kevin: Thanks for the welcome! it's just "ch00ns" for short, I know it's a mouthful but then so's my real name so I'm used to it. Damn, should have picked something slightly easier, like "Bob".
blip: Hehe, I can do an OpenGL app with MFC no problem! Well, haven't tried an MDI yet: MFC gives me nightmares, tho once you've got your application and drawing code all hooked up and working properly, building an app round it is really rather easy.
My problem is getting what is essentially a stand-alone app to interface with Maya. on www.secretlevel.com
they have an example of how to do this, in fact they draw a custom panel with Internet Explorer in it. The code doesn't look that hard, just a pain in the arse to get your head round.
After giving this much consideration, I think I'm going to do my app using RenderMan. It's a shame not to have it as a Maya plug, but interfacing with PRMan is going to be so much easier, especially since I need to drag a whole load of low-level information out of the renderer.
Thanks for the replies guys, I'll keep you updated on how I do!
Oh, btw the app is going to be a non-photorealistic renderer, like for doing paint, pencil, or whatever other funky media your mind can imagine!