Hey /3/, I'm somewhat new to all of this, and need a little guidance. I aspire to make low-poly models, like the one seen in the image, for mobile games and the like.
My main question is why are the tracks divided into tris like that, rather than using 3 polys? I just found it odd, because it seems like it's just a flat surface, so why not make it simpler and use rectangles instead? Is there any sort of benefit to either?
Othwr than that, let's have a low-poly thread.
triangles on TF2 characters are for polygon bending. Polygon bend by that edge.
However in game engine, all models are made of triangles. If you have exported model lets say from 3ds max in quads. Game engine will connect all vertexes anyways, because it needs to work with triangles. You can pre-triangualte in your software to get that polygon bending right, because the engine does that automatically.
It sorta is rectangles, there's two quads there that the extrusions on either side were probably pulled out of.
As for the extra lines on those quads, those are always there. I'm not sure why they're displayed because, like you said, it looks flat and none of the divisions on any of the other quads are displayed, but they would be there whether they were displayed or not.
It doesn't have a purpuse as the surface is flat, therefore it doesn't matter in what way the tris are cut, it's the same number of tris, also if you're gonna use it in 3d games anyway, they are gonna turn into tris. Gpus draw in tris, not quads.
As a rule of thumb, since quads are converted to tris almost all of the time anyway, when there's tris somewhere, its probably because the modeler intended to have more control over that section how the poly gets divided.
Either for bending/rotating sections or better control over uv coords