When animating something like a robot or a vehicle that has clear mechanical hinges or wheels, should one use typical rigging and bone animation methods, or just make the animated regions separate objects to manipulate over multiple keyframes?
For example, I'm making a fictionalized/lower-poly space shuttle in Blender. The wing flaps, rudder, and wheels will be animated. I have made all the parts that I want to animate (like the landing gear and the wing flaps) as separate objects from the main body.
Should I keep these as separate objects and simply rotate them over the desired keyframes? Or should I attach them to the main object, add rigging (with 100% weight to the animated parts and 0% to the main body) and animate the bones over the desired keyframes?
Same thing for robots. Should a (low poly) Iron Giant type robot be animated by manipulating separate objects, or by traditional rigging? What about a simpler wheeled robot?
My goal is to import it into Unity, if that changes anything.