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Model / Map files and textures

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Hi, I'm currently coding a 3d model class and was wondering if it is more efficient to store the texture data alongside the model data(in the same file) or to store the texture data in another file and just have a pointer to that file. I can't really see any benefits of using the second method as you would need to make sure the texture file was in the correct location according to the model file whereas if it were in the same file then the file would be completely independant, but I'm not sure if later on this would be a burden if I have lots of models that used the same texture?

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