Welcome aboard - watch your head for the Beam. we still beam new people right?
Total Noob when it comes to modding etc. [...] we've discussed making a turn-based ship battle that's web-based [...] I'd love to use the 3d models but if worse comes to worse will settle for the 2d.
Then before I say something about the technical side, an important piece of information/advice:
-assets are still owned by Interplay. As such taking away the original models and textures is asking for legal trouble; as far as the "upgraded" versions used in the MediaVPs are concerned, legally they are derivative of the originals (owned by Interplay) but exist in a kind of laissez-faire space as long as that's acknowledged and not made/used for profit - taking them will prove to the legally problematic as well.
Most community created assets, like original ships, exist under whatever license the original creator/creators specified. You will have to look that up on an individual basis, if you want to use them in a commerical "anything".
In most chases that license is going to be the appropriate version of the Creative Commons License
, as it is a gentlemen's agreement here on HLP. The terms of that license or whatever other license a creator specified apply when it comes to use, credit and compensation.
That may sound worse than it actually is, just something to be mindful about.
is there a way to convert the Freespace POF files into WRL files?
When it comes to questions of .pof-conversion, it is technically possible although it might not be a single-step solution. The .pof-format was (not my knowledge) only ever used by Volition and Parallax and as a result the number of conversion plug-in is pretty limited.
Check our Wiki on the list of possible programms: Wiki article on Modelling