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Loading Models & Cube Mapping

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What is the best format to use for loading a simple animated model into OpenGL. So that the x,y,z values can be used in GLVertex3f() function. I am thinking about using the 3DS format but there is not many good tutorials on this it seems complex. Is it better to create my own format using the Max SDK. Can anyone provide any help on how basically to obtain the coordinates from the 3DS file to be used in openGL. Also does anybody know how to use the extension(GL_CUBE_MAP_EX) in OpenGL to Cube Map an object. How does the the extra component wotk(the R component). I think that the cubemapping uses a direction vector to reflect the image from 6 bitmaps onto the surface of an object. Is this correct I also think U need a good card to use cube mapping IE Geforce 2

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