The creators of Sniper Elite V2, a third-person World War II shooter released this week, know that the success of a modern video game comes down to the details. They worked closely with historians to nail the feel of 1945 Berlin, all the way down to the pattern of the wallpaper inside a typical German home. The typeface on the Nazi propaganda littering the crumbling virtual urban streets is Antiqua, the preferred font of the Reich.
But the primary subject of research for the team was more, shall we say, internal: what happens when a sniper's bullet enters a human body? They consulted medical experts, ex-military snipers, photography of real-life gunshot victims and x-rays of bone fractures, gathering a mountain of data and funneling it through the incredibly powerful software and hardware used to create today's videogames. The final result: a realistic simulation, rendered on the fly, that they call the "KillCam," in which the camera follows a bullet as it leaves the sniper's gun, flies through the air, hits its mark, and invades the body--with all the bone-crushing, organ-bursting, blood-spewing destruction that entails.