My original total-conversion project, as well as Wings of Dawn, demands such. So, the question is: where do I need to go from here?
Bryan, do not EVER presume to speak for other developers. If spoon needs OpenCollada support in FSO, he knows how to tell us (But since he's spoon and thus awesome and aware of the issues involved, knows that this isn't likely to happen soon).
Secondly, if you are serious about trying to implement this yourself, you need to do the following.
Step 1: Learn how pof reading works.
Step 2: Implement a collada loader.
Step 3: Find a way to transform the collada geometry into the internal formats the engine is using.
Step 4: Find a way to embed the metadata the pof format provides, either by embedding it in the .dae or by providing supplementary files.
This, by the way, will only get you to feature parity
with the pof reading code, and that alone is, in my estimation, a multi-week project (as in, several weeks of concentrated coding effort). For a hobby project such as this, it's easily a multi-month endeavour, and that's assuming that the coder in question is familiar with the FSO code and actually knows how to write C++. This is NOT a beginner project, and despite your proclamation of being a "visionary modder and coder", your past attempts at making contributions to FSO do not fill me with confidence that you actually know what you're doing. I'd be happy to be proven wrong about this, of course.
Also, Bryan, you've been posting about your projects on this site for almost ten years now. In that time, you have completed almost none of them. Why should we have any confidence in your ability to finish this
in a reasonable timeframe?