Are armatures necessary?

So I’ve heard that armatures sometimes take a big toll on performance. Do they have any other practical purpose than having a reusable template for making more realistic animations? I want to make a game or prototype in blender that focuses on mechanics and nice systems/gameplay. I’m less focused on graphics and animations (not sure yet if mechanics and animations goes hand in hand though).
So the only animations I’d make (at least to begin with) would simply demonstrate an action. Would I save performance in any way by excluding armatures in my characters?
I’m thinking of something like minecraft where it doesn’t seem necessary to use armatures to make the blocky arms move when I walk.
I also have an idea about abusing the LoD feature to optimize performance, but that might be for another thread.

Thanks in advance, I hope we can have a nice discussion :slight_smile:

There aren’t many enemies/players on screen at once in Minecraft, and the rig would be pretty simple…
Don’t think you’d save much on animation, either way.

Before I knew how to rig, I animated the arms without bones. Not much of a difference unless you want some joint-bending action.
You could probably do just fine without armatures, especially if it’s like minecraft.

If they are instanced with linked data they are ridiculously taxing, which I don’t understand. If duplicating anything be sure to make it all single user Ob & ObData & Ipos using U key. Same with linked materials, those gave me so much trouble.

another thing, armatures can eat scene graph, but for procedural animations they are a godsend, you can’t bake a ragdoll.