I've been checking out some of the various Direct3D abstractions out there. There are quite a few, ranging from well-made and mature game engines to mediocre garage projects. Prices range from free to tens of thousands of dollars, with the price not directly related to the quality. I'll keep you posted as to any genuinely-interesting stuff I find.
Looks like I'm also gonna have to find a solid-modeler too. Most stuff seems to like 3D Studio MAX, which is nice if you've got $5k burning a hole in your pocket. I've got Ray Dream Studio and Painter 3D, which is quite a cool combo for making textured models, but it doesn't seem to want to talk to many Direct3D frameworks. We'll see.
Free tool alert: If you're a fan of Paint Shop Pro (as I am), I found a cool free plug-in that lets you add to your pictures the most overused special-effect in modern gaming, the lens-flare! Just point your browser to the Axion web site and get their free lens-flare Photoshop plug-in. If you're using TrueSpace, they've also got a plug-in for it. There's also a plug-in called "glow", but I can't seem to get it to work under PSP, as seems to be the case with some Photoshop filters.
On the games front, I fixed a couple more bugs from my testers. I also added change-able outfits and T-shirt logos to Juggling Man in the main menu. The logos don't look all that good, however, and I'll probably dump 'em. I thought they'd give the games a bit of personality, but it doesn't seem to be working out that way.