Anyway, first things first. At the beginning of the project Maya and myself shared something of a mutual hatred of one another. With everything I tried to do, Maya threw a spanner in the works to frustrate me and slow me down. Obviously I wasn't accustomed to the package itself but the problems I was having seemed to be more than that, I don't know if my copy of Maya was buggy (although it had all the latest hotfixes etc) or whether Maya was just built to thwart me. But anyway, before I start to sound like I'm making excuses and generally whining too much I will say I was looking forward to getting the hell out of Maya and into my other packages.
My time in ZBrush, although a constant learning curve, went pretty smoothly overall and I feel I got some nice results out of it (at least for an absolute beginner). I should probably mention that I was using xNormal to bake my normal maps and ambient occlusion from my high poly meshes. This was mostly due to the fact that I used it last year and it is really simple to use. In fact since it's completely free and a great piece of kit here's a download link : http://www.xnormal.net. On a similar note I did notice that Maya does actual create some pretty nice normal maps, so there you go, I'll let you have that one Maya.
UDK went pretty fine I must say. I was obviously following a whole heap of tutorials throughout the process the most in-depth and helpful of which I found here : http://www.3dbuzz.com . I made the decision halfway through the UDK process that I was going to incorporate some of the in-engine foliage in order to complete the idea I had for my environment. I would obviously have liked to have created all of my own but it seemed like this would have become a project all in itself and I simply didn't have the time.