Inara Pey has an article up covering the news that we may someday soon see real mirrors in Second Life. So, I’m not going to go into detail here. See: Reflections on a prim: a potential way to create mirrors in SL.
Zi Ree of the Firestorm team is playing with implementing such a feature. See JIRA item: STORM-2055 – Real mirror reflections on prims.
There you find out that Zi’s implementation will allow those with older computers to turn off the mirrors to avoid performance problems. Those with more horsepower can limit the number of mirrors. Zi’s system (not spec’d) carries 4 mirrors with no significant slowdown. Whirly Fizzle echoes that finding.
Whirly compiled a viewer and ran it with 15 mirrors set to 32 meters, mirror resolution at 2048px, and 3 avatars logged in on the same system. Whirly was still able to make the video above. I am impressed.
NiranV of viewer fame doesn’t see why mirrors should not be implemented as the hit from water reflections is small. I tend to agree. But, SL users can find a way to overload any feature. So, it may not be all that grand. But, I tend to think a limit or two would make it doable. We’ll see.
For now this works only when ALM (Advanced Lighting Model) is turned off, meaning no shadows or Ambient Occlusion. Turning that aspect of the render pipeline on with reflections may be a problem. Someone will have to go there before we’ll know.