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Suggested level formats?

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I am currently coding a top down shooter - the game objects are 2d at the moment I will maybe put 3d characters etc in later but I like the old skool look. The levels should be in full 3d - what are your suggestions for the level format? Considering its a fixed camera angle the clipping of polys should be easy and theres no need to use something like BSP etc -I was thinking a tile based format would be useful for level building, should I create my own format maybe? Combining poly and texture data with game object data? I''ve not done much 3d programming before - one of my main concerns is collision, I have a collision routine working between game objects that is fine, but if the scene is 3 dimensional with 2d objects on top whats the best way of setting up collision testing on this 3d background?

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