Cold War adventure game Trüberbrook takes handcrafted visuals to a new level

The terms "handmade" and "handcrafted" are thrown around liberally when it comes to videogame art, but few games take the idea as far as Trüberbrook, an adventure game set in an alternate 1960s Cold War Germany. Trüberbrook is currently on Kickstarter, and with 16 days to go has already earned nearly double developer Btf's target of $95,391. 

I'd imagine many backers were entranced by the game's settings, and I'm not talking about the titular German town. I'm talking about the meticulously crafted sets that make up levels. And I mean do crafted, as in by real hands and from real materials. 

Each level started as a miniature set made by a team of artisans. These sets were then adapted into digital models via photogrammetry, the process of using comprehensive photo sets as modeling blueprints, and then enhanced via tools in the Unity3D engine. 

"Every scene gets an individual treatment and is staged with actual physical lighting," the Kickstarter reads. "This allows us to simulate different hours of the day or weather conditions. Even a change of seasons is possible just by redecorating the set with real tiny little snowflakes, no joke." 

The work has no doubt been painstaking but the payoff is clear: Trüberbrook is a stunner. And where its visuals wow, its story intrigues. Btf describes Trüberbrook as a mix of Twin Peaks, The X-Files and Monkey Island, and themes from each are seen in the narrative. Trüberbrook has also benefited from input from Ron Gilbert, best known for his work on the Monkey Island and Pajama Sam series, and more recently the fabulous Thimbleweed Park

You play as Hans Tannhauser, a 20-something American physicist student who wins a free vacation to Trüberbrook, Germany. Shortly after his arrival, one of his physics papers is stolen. From there, one thing leads to another and Tannhauser winds up embroiled in a plan to save the world with the help of paleoanthropologist Gretchen Lemke. The in-betweeny bits look to be filled with the charm, dialogue and puzzles you'd expect from an adventure game. 

Trüberbrook is scheduled to release in late 2018.