Decided to resume working in 3D, so I've been working on this scene for a few days now, and am ready to release it as a work in progress (which I hope to finish). I'm using Blender 2.63 official, so anyone should be able to open the .blend. Render took about 5 mins on my box at 1000 samples.
You can get the .blend here. I should post an update to this soon.