The Great Personality exhibition takes an interactive approach to the way we think of character, ambiance and attitude. Inspired by the Myers Briggs personality types, we embarked on what has become one of our more unique, and ambitious projects at Light Grey Art Lab.
With the help of nearly fifty creatives, we sculpted a living, breathing world -- allowing visitors to experience artwork the way we intended -- to laugh with, to love, and to live alongside the work.
As the Great Personality series unfolds, viewers will see more intimate details into the lives of the characters and the world they know and love. We're happy to give you a peek behind the scenes for how we created the game and what was involved in the making of.
Artists, Designers, and Contributors:
Kyle Cahill, Geneviéve FT, Lynn Wang, Jimmy Malone, Sandra Brandstaetter, Angela An, Nichole ter Horst, Gloria Pizzilli, Meg Hunt, Amanda Lanzone, Alice Tse, Jen Mundy, Stacey Lee, Matt Edwards, Alison George, Evyn Fong, Shanti Rittgers, Richie Pope, Anissa Espinosa, Celine Loup, Natalie Andrewson, Katherine Diemert, Mildred Louis, Xanthe Bouma, Noreen Rana, Angi Pauly Llobet, Allison Strom, Alex Bahena, Wendi Chen, Claire Hummel, Charlotte Mao, Manuel Kilger, Evan Monteiro, Caitlin Clarkson, Evan Palmer, Jenn Liv, Sarah Marino, Elise Hatheway, Kendra Phillips, Bill Ferenc, Claire Mojher, Leonard Peng, Andrew Kolb, Francesca Buchko, Lindsay Nohl, Jenny Bookler, Chris Hajny, Rebecca Olene, Amanda Ritchie, and David Washington.
"I always fall for the brainy types." --- Lindsay Nohl, Light Grey Art Lab Founder
Having delved (happily) into the nerdy worlds of Science Fiction and RPGs earlier in 2013, it was no surprise that, as we were sitting around the table brainstorming new exhibition ideas, we started thinking about the possibility of building a dating sim. We had been yearning to create more interactive exhibitions and had considered a variety of concepts that might bring a more experiential approach to illustration and design.
Earlier in the year, Light Grey founder, Lindsay Nohl, had found an amazing open-source program called Ren'py but hadn't figured out how to integrate it into a project until one night when she was sitting down with Francesca... During the course of the year we had dabbled with infusing our exhibitions with a more 'personal' approach to art making, including adding a self portrait aspect to the ROLEMODELS exhibition and an interactive component to the card game. We were fascinated with the multi-faceted nature of the project and were dying to try something daring with a new show... We decided that we were going to build a world.
So we went to work on the call for art...
Strangely, as we sat there brainstorming... it became explicitly clear. We were looking to work with a team of people who could not only breathe life into characters and environments, but that could work together. This exhibition layered different artists work together, combining styles and approaches that would normally live separately on the gallery walls. In the game, we knew we would need artists that understood the potential of the entire world, and were willing to embrace the community of artists working with them, and the community they were building inside the game.
The biggest thing for us was making something that was relatable. We've all known people that, for whatever reason, charm you with their quirks -- the ways they try your patience... the ways you get to know them through their actions and their thoughts. We didn't follow the normal formula that dating sims usually take, where a panel of characters parades in front of you with one-liners... We wanted you to stumble upon them, the way you might in real life. As you meet the characters and get to know them, the stories take you down each of the individual paths...
Some stories are funny, some are silly, and others are a little racy. It all depends on the character you pursue and what kind of person they are. Since the stories are written to reflect compatible Myers Briggs matches, you get to live through the eyes of different personality types as you play. The idea is that, no matter who you play as, or who you date, you'll learn a little more about how these types interact, and why they're compatible. Some pairs fall for each other's humor, others for their strong wills... Each pair is different.
Characters from other games will visit you, call on you, and get to know you as the other games progress, so you may see one of your first loves show up later in the series... The four games are interconnected. The world is the same and the longer you live in the city, the more you know the space, and the more you feel at home in the game, and in real life.
We selected 32 artists to create characters based on the Myers-Briggs Personality Types. In the game and exhibition, there are two people for each of the 16 types. You will see their quirks, similarities, values, and differences, as well as see their posture, nonverbal ques, and attitude! Each artist was asked to create a character based on a few key attributes. They were also responsible for creating multiple faces, poses, actions, and outfits, and a full body character pinup!
These facial expressions, outfit choices, and positions help inform these characters as types, as well as individual unique people. You will get to know all of their flaws, their overbearing or timid ways, their humor and charm, with the possibility of discovering your ideal match or best friend.
We worked closely with the artists over the past several months to make sure that the characters were not only fitting together, but that the animations worked for the game and interactive components. These are two examples of face variations: "Lily" by Geneviéve FT and "Lukas" by Natalie Andrewson. Each artist made between 5-7 faces for their character and multiple outfits, attire, and accessories. Even the subtle differences in their smile and eyes drastically impacts the believability and life of the character.
From the very beginning of this project, we realized the importance and necessity in including environments that we could connect with. The people involved in creating the spaces for Great Personality took great care in making places we could relate to -- where our characters could feel at home and get to know. Environments intimately inform the way we behave, interact, understand, and connect with one another. Spaces represent the other side of chemistry- the places that set the mood, the tone, and create the right space for love! Each artist dove in and created two of the amazing scenes you see throughout the game!
From a shared booth in a coffee café to a moonlit park, a cozy studio apartment to a vintage arcade, these collection of interiors and landscapes, help inform who we are, how space impacts us as people, and how this can translate into interpersonal relations.
The city you live in inside Great Personality is loosely (and sometimes not-so-loosely) based off of some of our favorite cities! If Minneapolis and Portland had a baby, that's where Great Personality would be -- with it's waterfronts, wild-areas, and a big-enough-but-small-enough city feeling. We loved the idea that you could frequent your favorite hang-outs... and that when you visit, you see familiar faces. It's not unlike our own real-life neck of the woods -- Light Grey Art Lab is smack in the middle of the Whittier neighborhood near Uptown Minneapolis and we have the pleasure of living in an incredibly diverse neighborhood with a huge variety of people, personalities, walks of life and livelihoods. It was important to us to build a world that embraced a huge variety of people and fostered the ability to fall head-over-heels in love with everyone.
We wanted to say thank you to everyone that's been so kind to us while we make this. As you all know, making things is a labor of love for all of us. It was an insane deadline to get this first game out! Long, long hours of art making, coding, animating, sound editing and researching went into the project and we are very proud of what Great Personality has become!
Light Grey Art Lab is run with volunteer hours and we make things (like these games!) because we want them to exist and for people to be able to participate in super fun projects that really should happen more often! All of the support you guys have given us, through your appreciation of all of the efforts of the artists, writing and coding, research, editing and love, really keeps us going and makes us want to do more things like this. Like our other projects and exhibitions, we really try to bring together people that are passionate about doing something crazy, fun and out-of-the ordinary, and this was no exception. So thanks for the support!!
We hope you enjoy the world we've created and as we go, we hope to share some more incredible, crazy, funny things with you. We can't wait for you to fall in love with the world like we did!
A Special Thank You . . .
Thank you to all of the contributors, artists, and illustrators who helped to make this project happen! We appreciate your commitment and love for this project and for all that we do. Thank you to our Light Grey Art Lab interns, Amanda Ritchie and Rebecca Olene for your extra help and assistance throughout this project. Thanks to David Washington for working with us to make the opening reception game-room! Thank you to all of our friends, family, and community that has continued to support us throughout the process and help spread the word about this exhibition and about what we do! Your enthusiasm helps make projects, collaboration, and this community happen.
Resources and Bibliography