How Handcraft Brings Trüberbrook to Life

A look at the game’s meticulously crafted sets.


A Sci-Fi-Mystery Adventure


There’s a lot to love about Trüberbrook, the quirky, whimsical story-driven adventure about a physicist’s quest to solve a quantum mystery in 1960s Germany. But there’s one element that’s especially hard not to fall for: the game’s postcard-perfect backdrops.

In one scene, sunlight kisses a tree’s golden leaves as shadows dance on the gravel below. If it all looks stunningly realistic, that’s because it is: Every set in the game was painstakingly handmade in miniature, photographed, then digitized in 3D for a truly unique visual experience.

Putting the finishing touches on one of the game’s 18 handmade sets.

This labor of love took developer five years to complete. Although the studio had previous experience filming miniatures for movies and television, it had never undertaken a production of this scale before, says technical artist Hans Böhme.

Each set (18 in all) took as long as three weeks to build. Although the process was slow and laborious, it ended up saving time in the end. “You would spend ages if you wanted to build the same level of detail in 3D,” says Böhme.

Counterclockwise from top left: early sketches; a compass, razor, and scissors, which were essential tools in the game’s creation; the digitized version of the real-world sets.

The handmade environments were captured using a process called photogrammetry. The team took dozens of photographs of each model from various angles, then created photo-realistic 3D models from those reference images.

A control-room miniature, with paintbrushes for scale.

Models had to be evenly lit to get clean scans, but because the flat lighting resulted in a dull look, the team went a step further.

“We wanted rich textures and moody lighting,” Böhme says, “so we took a second set of images with the environments lit like film sets. We then used a technique called photomapping to project these photos onto the 3D model. It’s like a photograph displayed in 3D space.”

Each set was photographed from multiple angles and projected onto 3D models.

The result speaks for itself. “I hope that people get drawn into this strange and nostalgic world and have a fantastic experience,” Böhme says.


    A Sci-Fi-Mystery Adventure