Simple npcs... well simple in appearance but expressive and complex in behaviour ...
I cannot afford the time to get bogged down in time-comsuming activities such as making beautifully realistic scenary or character meshes.
Also, I don't want to rely on a gazillion fixed animation sequences of rigged meshes but would rather have real-time animations that respond procedurally to reflect the real-time context. Since I am a novice I want to start with super simple rigs or none at all so that I don't have to deal with IK of limbs etc.
To that end my landscape is low-poly and generated procedurally and my characters are also low-poly and rig-less.
To make the game compelling I want to make the animation and gestures believably complex and highly context-dependent.
Early sketches of super simple geometry for NPCs that avoid rigs or IK issues.
Early results in the Unity scene with animated facial expressions.
Avoiding complex rigs and joints and IK will significantly simplify dynamic procedural animation of characters and offer me a greater chance of achieving this project by myself. If the project is successful I can circle back to this in the future to enhance it.