Hope this isnt too much of a headache. I'de be very grateful for any help.
1. Do all vehicle animations have to be based on armatures and action animation So that they are useable in say UDK, will non "Actioned" & non "NLA'd" animation fail to be of use ?
2. Where should I place bones? Do armatures replace pivot pionts altogether? Do they use parent and child on the same way standard animations do ( child using the parent as a piont of reference so it follows the parent object) also do armatures limit Movement for example having a cube ontop of another cube pivoting from one edge to another??
3. Donít understand how I can combine animations from other objects into another objects action or NLA Strip. (I'm building a turret with a deployment animation that I want to be able to use in udk) I thought actions solved this but when I delete unwanted actions the wanted NLA strip does not function properly which I understand because it would need their keyframes i imagine, but is there another way I donít know about on how to merge animation into NLA's and Actions.
a few Answers but not all ....
1. when you say UDK I assume your talking about a game engine of some kind... I'm not much of a game engine guy so I'm not sure i can answer you properly but...
"Do all vehicle animations have to be based on armatures and action animation"
No... you can Animate Objects by Parenting them to Objects... you also should explore the Use of "Empty" Objects in this non-Armature process... some times not using any Armatures can acually be a better way to do things... (at least in regular Film Animation... I can't say about game animation)
Most of my Riggs are combinations of Armatures and non-Armature techniques...
2. Yes Bones are pretty much the same thing as pivot points in other 3D softwares... but they are much more flexable in their use... that is you can do many more things with a bone than you can with just say an 'Empty' or by Parenting to another object... but their is a bit of trade off... setting up bones (Armatures) can be be time consuming... but that may not matter much if your going to do alot of animating with that model... say as in Character animation...
3. I'm not exactly following what your trying to do here... but you can use 'Constraints' to connect one Object's... (or one bone's) motions to effect another Object's (or bone's) motions... do a search for Blender's Constraints...
There also is the ablitity to connect one Objects motions to anothers via 'Drivers' ... (Drivers are more complex to understand and setup than constraints but also are more powerfull in the end)