Sounds like a good idea to me.
Yes, good idea. But also sound like a lot of work to me!
You have to be able to parse one format and write another. Then you have to get your models to the one format (tried to read 3ds-models into milkshape?).
I once wrote a MAX-ASE parser, which can be a very annoying task!
So a hint on the best method to load 3D data would be still great.
I found that starfires 3DS loader works good and 3DS is quite compact (not an ASCII format).
Never tried famous OpenFlight loader, for it's rather difficult to find models in that format.
What about the Java3D owns format? Is it quick? Are there conversion tools?
I'd really love to hear what experiences people out there made with Java3D loaders.