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Anyone know of a Mesh-unwraping algorithm?

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I might be answering my own question, but please tell me if my idea is wrong, 'cause I don't know for sure.

Maybe it just uses cylindrical texture wrapping, and then draws the vertices and lines into 2D using the texture coords as the 2D position.

This could be used as a refrence to draw the textures onto. I think a plug-in for lightwave or something does this?

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Does anyone know how to unwrap a mesh of triangles into 2D to use for "skinning", and also for grouping lightmap info into one texture? I have seen it done in a few game editors, any clue how?
Thanks,
The SnowMonster

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