I've been fixing a few bugs ( the "dark halo" around the planet, especially visible in the ring background ), and i'm reworking the scene setup so that the gas planet is further, and i'll also add a couple of moons.
Most of the work in the past days has been focused on playing with shadow maps, adding some new pipes to the rendering pipeline, and implementing dynamic cube map reflections.
Cube map reflections can be used to do some "mirror" effects, that reflect the environment surrounding an object ( in my case, the space station ). At the moment, the cube map has a resolution of 6x256x256, which is definately a bit low / blurry, but once mixed with all the other shaders, i think it will be pretty unnoticeable.
It's pretty cool to see the stars and all the planets reflected on the station. Makes up for some interesting / confusing point of views. Here's a screenshot, with the other shaders disabled ( only reflections ):
It's interesting to note that the tesselation of the mesh is affecting the reflections quality ( ie. you can see "lines" in the reflections ). The reflection vector is indeed calculated per vertex. If that is noticeable with all effects / shaders, i will probably try to offset it to the pixel shader.
Also, remember that the cube map is regularly updated ( i tried different values, from 10 times per second, up to 1 time per second ) to reflect the environment. If a ship was to pass near the station, you'd see it reflected on the walls.