Another way to tackle the problem is to write a 3DS MAX import/export script into your own format. This way you could export only the information you really need in your 3D engine. If you plan to optimize for size (e.g. webstart or a demo) I would consider this.
Pros for using the script is
easy to maintain/make changes
you have to be familiar with MAX Script language
you need 3DS Max software
if u are interested in this I would have a look at the MD5 (Doom3) import export scripts from "der ton" ...