Was working on this last night before I passed out on the keyboard for the evening. I assume there must be a very simple way of breaking a part the 4.8 mannikin into body parts (Arms, Chest, Head, Legs, Feet) as skeletons with physical assets aligned with original mannikin (but cant figure it out). Can this be done inside of UE4? Has anybody already done this that would be willing to share the skeleton assets and phys assets or instructions.
One of the simplest ways in general would be to use your 3D DCC of choice, and use a duplicate strategy. As in, select all the polygons you want to be part of, say, the arm, duplicated it, then transfer weights to the new part. This differs from 3DS Max to Blender to Maya or whatever you are using, but you can do it in all of them.
In general, UE4 assumes the use of an external Digital Content Creation Tool such as Blender and company. This is partly because adding in those features and functions means they take time away from other features that make the engine the best for games and such. Also, adding in those type of features makes the Editor more complex, which increases the learning curve. External tools that are optimized for these tasks is a better solution in general.
Now, they could still implement it, or since the source code is available to you, you could implement it or someone else could. Also, keep in mind that adding this feature, which is very specific and probably won’t affect most users, since most create new characters from scratch, or use models from elsewhere for final games, probably isn’t high on the priority list. Of course, I don’t work for Epic, so they may have a different opinion.
Also, keep in mind the engine supports importing and using these types of setups, it just doesn’t create the separated mesh for you.
Finally, I don’t know of a version already split. Also, out of curiosity, why are you splitting it? I realize for a parts system, but is this a test, or is this intended to be your final asset? There are freely available character meshes online all over the place that are already in parts, such as the Unity’s UMA character mesh, which is available on github under a BSD type license you can re-purpose for Unreal.
I was thinking there was one “standard way” to do it right. However maybe thats not the case. I think there is a modular clothes packages coming on the market place this week or next. Might wait for that to see how that solved the problem before doing my own thing. Thanks for the input.