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Why realistic mirrors are not sold in the Marketplace?


Lucis Raynier
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I don't know that the lack of reflective materials is because of the potential for griefing, but whatever the reason, we don't have reflections in SL...except for water.

When I need a mirror, what I do is position my camera where the mirror will be, and take a picture.  I use that picture as the basis for a texture for the mirror.

The mirror will then appear to "reflect" its surroundings, although it cannot show YOUR reflection.

There is a trick you can use with Windlight water to use it as a mirror, at least for pictures you take.  See this link for the technique:

http://zonjacapalini.wordpress.com/guides/mirror-water/

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Mirrors or reflections are based on so called raytracing. Which is a fairly intense graphical process.

- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reflection_(computer_graphics)
http://www.cim.mcgill.ca/~langer/557/lecture17.pdf

Given the circumstances that SL is not a closed environment like other games where you have a fix environment / scene / leveldesign this would easily lead to problems rendering this. (taken into account all the objects that could be rezzed, moved and avatars in range of this reflective surface which would need to be traced and, computed and updated at rendertime) 

Even fake-methods without raytracing still consume a fairly high amount of computation and graphical power when there are so many objects to keep track of and compute / render.

Now we imagine someone going wild and dropping a hundred objects with reflective surface - something that would never happen in a controlled game environment but would be possible in SL.. I think now you know why the introduction of reflective materials most likely will have to wait until no computer would choke anymore on rendering such a scenario =) (and don't forget not every user has top notch hardware)

And it also explains why water is kind of the only reflective surface we have available. Due it it being 'one - controlled' surface bound into the region / scene. This ensures also that rendering and computing of these reflections are limited to a certain optimized amount.

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