Cheetah3D to ShiVa
From ShiVa Wiki
Cheetah3D is an openGL modeller, so the y axis points up. Export is only possible through fbx, so use either the Autodesk Converter (free, recommended) or Ultimate Unwrap3D (advanced features, windows only, comes with a price tag) to make your fbx files into collada DAE.
Exporting animated characters with multiple subsets
ShiVa expects your model to be set up in a specific way to function properly within shiVa. as long as you use a simple model with only one mesh and one texture/material, everything works out of the box (#YouTube_Video below). But as soon as you work on different models that shall become one object in the end, it gets difficult. So should you stop making separate boots and hands and heads for your characters? No. You can add a simple in-between step with wings3D that gets rid most of your problems.
ShiVa expects the model to be one single mesh with subsets, rather than a group of meshes with only one material per sub-object. This cube is set up properly, note the two material tags:
The segmented model
Assuming you have worked on your character as i did, you made separate hands, legs, heads, hair section, accessoirs like the gas mask and so on. The setup would look like this:
How it looks in ShiVa
Now you could rig your model and export it. it would look fine in ShiVa at first glance...
...but your model would have been imported as group, each segment would be selectable individually and have displaced bones...
which leads to very poor animation.
This is not fixable in ShiVa, we have to go back to c3d.
The Wings3d Combiner
Wings3D has the neat capability to combine objects without touching their UV configuration, unlike boolean operations in other modellers. So it is really easy to make the model segments into one, like so:
Rigging after Wings3D
You could do the rigging back in C3D. Now, we have merely one object with several material tags, this is exactly the setup we want. The current C3D editions have a very neat heat-based weight map algorithm, which allows you to drag and drop your bone structure onto the model without much thought.
Export to ShiVa
Back in ShiVa, our model is all one group with subsets, like it should be, and animates just fine.
You very likely have to import your textures manually. But UV and material information are retained, so you will be able to open the material you assigned in c3d and drop in the missing texture files, and you are good to go.
This video shows the export process for a simple rigged model with textures.