The IK joint group on the template skeleton.

So I’ve rigged my character, but then I remembered about these IK_hand and IK_foot joints in the template and I don’t know if I need them, and if I do, where do I position them? What’s their local orientation? If I understand this correctly, the IK group is for IK control when a collision is registered. So steps and walls would prevent clipping of the character geometry. For this to work, where must these IK joints be placed exactly? Do I just eyeball them?

PS: A bit off-topic but it’s a small question: Is it better to define a socket joint in the engine or in Maya?

I think the IK joints and roots are primarily used during the animation process. In Paragon (Epic games new game) the IK joints are constrained to the foot joints every frame of animation in maya, and baked and exported with the animations. That way the IK joints follow the motion of the feet in the baked down animation, and then the IKroot can be modified in engine at runtime to change the foot positions for the whole animation when a LegIK node is used. So you can have a run forward animation, and rotate the IK root 45 degrees so the feet move in that 45 degree direction.

So what you’re saying is that the IK Joints are basically controls that can be modified at runtime. Assuming that I’m correct, that still leaves the question of where they must be snapped to, and which constraint is used, as well as if the orientation matters.

They should be constrained to the respective hand and feet joints during the animation process and baked along with everything else.