You can use 3DS Max 6,8 and 9.
I would reccomand 3ds Max 9, but I think they dont sell it anymore.
You have to organise it by your self from somewhere.
You can download the Alo importer/exporter and many other Modding Tools from the Petroglyph Site.
When you are done with the Modelling in 3DS, the Textures dont work without the Shaders, which are contained in .fx Files, which you have first to drop into the C:\Programs\Autodesk\3ds Max 9\maps\fx Folder of 3DS Max.
Then go in 3DS to the Texture Browser-->Standard-->DirectX Shader ( prompt discard old Material ) - and then click on the Material Tab down to pick a texture ( which has to be in the right modfolder, and NOT on the Desktop ). So as you see, such a simple thing as assigning a Texture can get complicated.
It will take looong time, until get the Modding processes.
Here you will find some of the best tutorials out there :