||02-01-2013 05:55 PM
It's called a cubemap
. Anywhere you see reflections in game, is actually using a cubemap. We (Environment Artists) have to generate them. So essentially, we pick a point that is roughly covers the average space, run a script that spits out 6 images, one for each orthogonal direction. Then we assemble those into a cubemap, and project that onto objects as reflections. It's static, and clearly not as accurate as realtime raytraced reflections, but it's also vastly less performance intensive.
The problem is that, since the map was created by positioning the camera at a single point, the reflections are only really accurate at that point. However, 90% of the time it isn't terribly noticeable, as long as you're using a cubemap that looks roughly like your interior. For instance, if we used a dark, red cubemap in a Fed ship interior, it would look out of place. But if we use a standard Fed interior cubemap on ESD, mostly it looks ok.