Sniper Elite V2's hyper-realistic, surgically accurate KillCam feature takes you inside your victim's body to see precisely how your bullet will end his life. Will gamers embrace the gore, or is the KillCam a step over the line?
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.
After celebrating the 67th anniversary of D-Day this week, it's only fitting that we publish a gallery documenting World War II-era PopSci. A warning, though: this was the 1940s, so practically nothing in here conforms to our modern-day notion of political correctness. Some of these headlines may sound a little extreme, but rest assured, we took care to elaborate on the idea from a scientific standpoint.
For as long as ships have been around, naval powers have competed for supremacy on the seas. After the steam engine's invention in the 19th century, warship design underwent a major upheaval, culminating in an arms race for the best battleships and cruisers. Some of these ships went on to become famed World War I and II icons. Others never made it past the blueprint stage. You'll find that when it comes to naval warfare, the Popular Sciencearchives favor both the formidable and the funny speculations, as long as they contribute to a bright (Allied) future.
Ever since the four-wheeled Sumerian donkey chariot was replaced by the two-wheeled horse-drawn variety, war and technological innovation have gone hand and hand. In no conflict was this more apparent than World War II--arguably the first modern war. As soldiers fought from one end of the globe to the other, scientists developed many of the technologies that underlie not only today's wars, but our daily lives: nuclear power, radar, jet propulsion and the personal computer.
Listen up, sleuths: The M4 Project is trying to break three undecrypted World War II Nazi Enigma cyphertexts (check out the photo of the creepy Enigma, at left) using a distributed-computing setup similar to SETI@home. As of today, one message has been decrypted. If youre running Unix/Linux or Windows and want to lend a helping hand (or if youre just curious about the project and its results), check it out here.
In other cryptography news, crime solvers are trying to decode a mysterious note left at the scene of a murder. You can help with that, too. —Martha Harbison
Combining new battery and engine technology, a deep-sea espionage submarine makes its Cold War debut
By Matthew OlsonPosted 07.06.2005 at 10:45 pm 0 Comments
“Now we are getting nearer to true submarines,” PopSci proclaimed in June 1949 of the Navy’s newly revamped U.S.S. TUSK, “not just buttoned-up surface ships that can dunk for a few hours.” The TUSK, first commissioned as a torpedo boat in 1946, reemerged as a deadly spy sub capable of remaining in the deep for weeks, thanks to a snorkel that allowed its diesel engines to run underwater while its upgraded batteries recharged. This technology and a sleek aircraft-inspired design improved the sub’s speed from 10 knots to 15 knots.