And even if you don't want to use those, there are infinite 3D engines out there...don't dare try to entirely program a 3D game.
Also, I recommend something like Calagari Truespace for designing the character models and adobe photoshop or imageready for creating skins and surfaces. And you know C++? Do you know it fluently? My brother is still trying to learn visual basic, we have a huge a game project between him, me, and some of our friends, but we have a long way to go...