Hey everyone, this is my first time posting here. I can see there are a lot of pros here so I'm excited about the responses I will receive.
I am currently a student going for a BA in Game Art & Animation, focusing primarily on hard surface/environment modeling.
I have a question that has plagued me for a while now. Through my modeling experience I have found that extracting some faces of a mesh as individual objects and/or combining separate meshes tends to save tons of triangles. The best example of this would be a cylinder floating above a square face, combined, but not physically connected.
My question is: is there anything negative that could come out of this technique, specifically for hard surface models? Does it cause any rendering issues or any visual glitches at far distances, or create collision anomalies (despite edges/vertices being perfectly lined up with each other)? Are lighting, normals, or other texture maps affected by a technique like this?
I figure I should ask now while I am still early in development so I don't "grow up" doing things completely wrong.
If this is indeed an acceptable way of modeling, I have one more question: would it be better to have edges of floating geometry flush with the other mesh it rests against or have the edges intersecting slightly?