i've been developing a couple of mel scripts that will be developed further for practical use.
the first was a ballOverlap script which was developed to be applied to a tail or pendulum etc, but after somethought, it could be developed as a cheaper alternative to Ncloth for specific tasks, such as a hanging sleeve or the tails on a characters tux.
this second script was the start of my auto rig script. It rigs a flexable and stretchy spine that will bend in FK and translate in IK, with an advanced twist too.
After the development of this flexable, almost toony, rig, i've sketched and researched into creating a hyper-realistic bipedal character rig and a completely cartoony character rig (which will use a more developed version of the ribbon spine technique).
I am hoping to move onto quadropedal rigs after this and then developing auto rigging scripts that are strong and flexable enough for the user to decide how many arms, legs, heads and torsos they would want to be setup.