Hi Elliott, This is a great breakdown and very generous in sharing your process and insights, you came a long way from the vending machine days!
Are you planning on releasing the UE4 project to the public? Or only builds? I'd love to play around with it in the editor if possible!
A game developer and software engineer Keijiro Takahashi, who worked at Sony Computer Entertainment for ten years, and who is now developing stuff for Unity Technologies, has an amazing project called Skinner you might have heard of.
You can find all of the assets along with useful comments from the creator himself here.
Author: Artyom Sergeev