Question, what is the best way to animate a weapon?

In our game, some weapon (like whip) has set of animations that should play the same time with character’s. And we may have a lot of whips with different number of bones. For now, we attach weapon to character’s socket, and play its animation mannually when we play character’s. Is this the best way? Another question is how to preview character + weapon’s animation in animation sequence/montage window, not just character’s?

I use a montage to play attack animations for the main character then I use notifies fired from the character’s attack animation to decide what to do with the weapon animation.

A notify or a notify state?

Depends on the situation you can have both.