knew that bringing in my animated characters was going to be a bit of a steep learning curve, never having put characters into engine previously. First thing, the scale of Sprocket was way off.... probably should have set time aside for setting up the correct scale in Max first but never-mind, I made do by scaling him down once he was imported. Second thing I needed to sort out was applying his animations to him so at the very least he has a starting pose, instead of this stupid default t-pose. Took a few tutorials to see that I needed to export him with specific settings in FBX to get this to work... annoyingly, as I had been using CATRigs to animate my characters, the method of exporting was previously to utilize a plugin called UnrealX Actor, with which to bring across all of your animations, but is since outdated and replaced with FBX, which I struggled to find that many tutorials for. I persevered though, and managed to find a single tick box that made sure that all the bones attached to the skeletal mesh would carry over in their hierarchy system, although finding this out would take a few days of stressful research.
The main problem with exporting characters was STEINTON! No matter how I setup all of my exports and made them match the other characters UDK just refused to bring him into engine..... The problem I assumed was that this was down to his unique bone setup with his wheels attached as separate children to the rest of his mesh. After much aggravation during which I actually went back into MAX and tried to restructure all of Steinton's bone setup so that it was all attached, but to no avail.... yet again It was ONE TICK BOX in the UDK import options of skeletal meshes that would sort it out eventually (I swear if these sort of things were more clearly labelled and obvious then idiots like me wouldn't struggle so much with this crap).
MORE research, and found out in order to get collisions and light information to interact with my characters (after numerous 'invalid shadows with skeletal mesh' warning messages after rendering lights), I needed to create a PhysicsAsset for each one and then apply it to my guys in scene. The process was pretty straight forward, with each bone with real world systems affecting it being represented by a box, I chose to use all of the bones within each mesh to be as accurate as possible (activating the simulation preview was a way to show how gravity affected how your character would fall over, which I didn't need to tweak at this time.... but was still hilarious to see how much Sprocket here flailed about like a failed body-popper :') )
Final Screen of characters in-scene: With physics assets applied to all characters and lightning built into my scene..... I was massively disappointed to find that ONLY ONE of my characters was affected by the spotlight I had placed in my scene to act as the glow from the fire.... despite me setting up each character exactly the same within engine, and also saving out each characters second UV channel correctly set up for light information.... No matter how much tweaking I did I just couldn't get the light to interact with Leo and Steinton as dynamically as it did with Sprocket, which was frustrating as these characters were affected by the world lighting fine. Hmmmm, I'll have to work more towards fixing this later, as I'm running out of time unfortunately.