game construction

I am learning to make games with openGL and and wanted to know how Id software made quake worlds and characters. I know that they use MD2 or MD3 characters. And I know how to put them in a game. My question is… how did they make those(did they take lightwave or 3ds max and make them or some other methods) and do most game makers make the world’s landscape and/or characters with 3ds max or lightwave or do they use their own graphics program that they made for that game?

Levels are built in the Q3radiant modelling took (available online), but AFAIK they also use MAYA and have an exporter from there esp. for the character work & animations. There are a number of 3rd party modelers you can get your hands on now. There’s also GMAX and MAYA learning edition for free so it’s easier than ever to get your hands on some decent modelling tools to play with.