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How do you animate a breaking object?

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Level 9
Apr 19, 2011

Well, I think the title says everything. I want my model to break into pieces on his death animation, but I just don't know how to animate this effect...

For example, most of the night elves ancients break into pieces when they are killed. How are those animated? I searched a bit on the forums and on some other websites, but I didn't found clear answers.

Usually that is done by having the pieces modeled as a separate geoset from the main body and having them attached to their own bones.
During normal animations, the pieces are hidden with geoset animations.
During death animation, the actual body of the model is hidden and the pieces are revealed.

Since the pieces are separate and not attached to the intact body's bones, they can be animated to fall in a somewhat natural looking way.

That's the basic gist of it.
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