Please please release some developer oriented tools that allow people to quicly and easily work with the J3D API (IE get something useful done quickly with little fuss)
I completely agree and as I work on my Java3D-app project I am in constant envy of my mostly non-programmer friends who work with Shockwave 3D and its really powerful integration with Maya through its special Maya plugin and proprietary w3d format that seems to support just about every bit of functionality in Maya. Then there is the integration with the Havok physics engine... drool.
Anyway, just having officially supported mature loaders for the two big graphics applications for games (3DS Max and Maya) would be a big win. I have yet to find any loader for Java3D that feels really ready for release and works right out of the box with most somewhat complex sample models found on the net (I have not tried the Milkshape3D and Nwn loaders though).
Currently I am exporting my graphics from Maya as VRML into Xj3D, but I have to do a VRML to VRML conversion in Deep Explorer first since Xj3D doesn't render the textures on the models from Maya correctly (though the models look fine in all native VRML viewers that I have tried). Luckily I don't have to read any animation done in Maya or I would have probably have to build a whole new loader since VRML just seems to support vertex animation.
while at the same time letting developers get under the covers so they can have a more intimiate idea of what is going on (which so far you are doing fine, it's amazing what people have managed to put togehter without tools).
Again, very true and this is the reason why I don't switch to Shockwave3D right away. I am building a special physical interface device that I suspect would be hard to integrate effectively into Director's 3D engine even though Director does support serial port access.