I ran into similar issues when I was modding for Farming Simulator 2013-15. I do 100% of my modeling with Lightwave3D. I really don't do much on the rendering side anymore, but when I do, I use blender to do all my texturing, UV mapping, and baking. I have used Lighwave3D for that in the past, but I don't have much use for it since I'm not rendering out 30-60 second animated clips anymore.
Anyway, FarmSim has it's own proprietary object system for it's game engine, and while they ENCOURAGE modding, to the point of releasing tools to help, I still don't understand all the nuts and bolts of the mesh/vertex/bones/etc... stuff... I just learned how to import and export their objects using blender. from there I can get to a format that lightwave3d recognizes. from there I can create anything I want, and push it back into the game.
None of my 3d Modeling including doing morph targets, bones, or any other types of object maluablility... just a strait up model, probably really close to adding and subtracting msh files from SWG. and I believe I can do that easy enough even though I've not tried it yet.
(edit: forgot to make my point)
even though I knew how to use the tools to do awesome stuff, I didn't know how they worked. I can code pretty well, but that doesn't help if I don't know exactly what each piece of the object file do, and why.