Character Creation: To Be A Self That Never Was

Hey, hey people. CHARACTER CREATION. What does it mean to create a character!? To become a character! To lose yourself in a world unlike your own… That is the topic of todays log. So, shall we begin?

First and foremost, I’d like to thank everyone who has chosen to back Arkavite on SubscribeStar. Your contributions mean the world to me, and have brought us ever closer to securing the future of this project. I’d like to offer more if possible, so if there’s anything you want to be seeing from me on top of these dev logs, do let me know! The idea of streams has been thrown around, so I may start doing that once my office space is set up (I have just moved and things are still a little hectic).

The Character Creator

As I’m sure you all know, a Character Creator, lets you create your character. I have introduced a sort of “CYOA” aspect to creation. In other words, you may select negative traits which bring misfortune (banes), in exchange for gifts and talents (boons).

The Character Creator Interface

From the top, we get a preview of the character we are creating. This is the character sprite you will eventually see in-game. It spins around to let you view your character from all four cardinal directions, and has little buttons that let you stop and rotate it manually.

To the right of the preview window, we have the character name input. The game will allow for a forename, surname and nickname. The goal is to have some variance in the way people in the world address you, and give you some control over the level of closeness/formality you have with individual characters. Should you really be on a first-name basis with that weirdo stranger you just met in a dungeon, or play it safe and go by your surname?

Going down, we have a text description of your character. Given the limited level of detail you can glean from the character sprite, it was necessary to include an in-depth text description of the character appearance/body state. For the purposes of the character creator, this description can be kept fairly succinct; however, once you are in the world, the description may need to go into further detail, so you know just how many nipples you have left after downing that strange potion.

This method of dynamic character description generation was inspired by games like CoC and Dwarf Fortress. The system is general purpose like Dwarf Fortress, with respect to the fact it could be used to generate detailed text descriptions of the in-world NPCs you encounter. I will need to keep building on this system If I want it to support beasts and the like, but that is a topic for another time.

Left of the dialogue window are the appearance modifying options. Some of these will alter your character description, whereas others will modify your sprite appearance. And some will do both! Right now we have height, sex (male, female, futanari), hair type, hair col, starter outfit, eye col, skin col, booba size, and general body shape (feminity vs masculinity).

I am currently contemplating whether it should be possible to set face masculinity/femininity separate to body type at character creation, or whether it would be best to just keep things simple for now with the overall body shape option.

The game does have systems in place for recognizing if your character is a trap, reverse trap or anything in between, and will let you know via the description window how most will perceive you. This totally necessary feature should come in handy for future RPG developments.

The middle section of the screen is dedicated to choice selection. There are NEXT and PREV buttons which allow you to cycle through the pages of Race, Banes, and Boons. As you can see, the choice descriptions themselves slide out from the right of the screen when hovered over.

Finally, on the right, we have the list of selected choices. Some choices you take will influence things like starting stats. I am thinking of displaying those changes in this list as well. Selecting a choice here will bring you back to the choice in the middle window…

VN Interface

The VN Dialogue interface has seen a lot of upgrades. We can now actually display characters, and to test things out I developed SYSTEM-TAN. Working on this was a nice excuse to make a qt “system dialogue” character. She only has three poses so far and a couple faces. She will need at least a few more before she’s ready for prime time.

As for her wider purpose, on entering the Character Creator for the first time, I figured it would be good to have someone give the player a quick run-through of what is going on. When the story aspect of the game is eventually introduced, we will have a story VN sequence followed by character creation, before the player is dropped into the game itself. For now, it’s just a quick SYSTEM-TAN run-through, and the character creator to play around with.


The core “civil” races of the game’s main factions will be available at character creation. There are currently five in total. Magukiri Magus, Bunnjin, Ikaware, Kitsukana, and Nya-Nyaatsu. Goofy names, I know, but I wanted something more unique to the setting, and most of these races will probably have some quirks which make them differ from their counterparts in more typical media.

Taking a stroll through the races, the Magus are pointy eared adventurers who put a focus on exploration, industrialization and war. Nya-Nyaatsu are a race of mostly fun-loving, sometimes violent cat-like folk. They would be content with just getting by. The Bunnjin are a scattered race of intellectuals who have taken to commanding the economic and financial sectors of society. Kitsukana are artsy, magical fox-like frens. Ikaware are an unpredictably curious race of squid-headed things who are responsible for most trade and piracy throughout the world.

To answer a common question, not all races you saw in Harahel will be available at character creation. This is because:

  1. As this is an actual game, I need to program all the behaviours and manage animations for every race I add. This does add a lot of time and complexity, so for now I would like to just establish a basic set of races people can start as, so I’m not spending forever on the character creator and can move swiftly onto developing gameplay.
  2. Some races behave differently to Harahel, or simply would not make sense in the context of the canon start I have in mind. As for the world itself, with the exception of a few, most of the races you may have seen in Harahel CYOA exist in the Arkavite setting, plus many additional ones.

There will be a TF aspect in the game and over the course of development, I plan on adding transformation routes to becoming new races which weren’t initially available at character creation. Once enough playable “transformable into” races have been established, I would like to offer alternate starts, which allow you to start from the beginning as these non-core races.

A demo of various races, hairstyles and colours.

A Little Refresher & Story Integration

A little refresher since it’s been a while. To reiterate what I said in my Project Arkavite – A New Beginning log, the Harahel CYOA was based on aspects of Arkavite’s world and lore. Many parallels can be drawn between the two, but they are not the same. Gods, Magic and some of the more unique races, all come from Arkavite, as do some of the key locations, boons and banes, depicted in the Harahel CYOA.

To be clear and hopefully avoid confusion, what I’m making isn’t really going to be “Harahel CYOA – The Game”. I also won’t be having all the choices you saw in Harahel CYOA, in Arkavite from the get go. Much like races, I need to program behaviours for anything I add, so I need to keep things managable and take it all one step at a time. A lot of Harahel’s choices may also be very difficult to implement from a gameplay/programmatic standpoint, as a lot were developed solely from a “pick choices and imagine CYOA” perspective. For instance, playable Titans would probably be impossible to work in to gameplay/narrative unless it was a one-off event.

Ideally, I would like that aspect of managing your build, acquiring boons & banes, to be drawn out past the initial character creation phase and into the world itself, so you can continue to adapt as time goes on and so you’re not spending 12 hours in character creation, picking from hundreds of different choices. That would also be a bit more ideal from a dev standpoint, as we wouldn’t have to stuff all these choices into the character creator and have them implemented day one, when they may not even have implications/use till later. There’s also potential to weave them into a narrative with you gaining things through events, potions and what have you.

But I digress. Getting back on track, the Arkavite game’s canon start will have you be a native of the world, as opposed to an Earthling who gets isekai’d because some God-like entity accidentally’d the Earth to smithereens. The boons and banes at character creation will be justified as:

  • Boons – Inherent gifts or things you gained up until now
  • Banes – Inherent flaws or curses you gained up until now

As well as serving as added flavour to your characters’ backstory, I can picture some choices influencing the discussion of past events and interactions between yourself and some other characters.

With Arkavite, I may have leaned a little too much into the dark backstory narrative. I’m not sure if it will be everyone’s cup of tea, but the backstory itself shouldn’t have too much control over the wider narrative post-prologue. I want to offer alternate starts in the long run which you can “role play” as. An isekai start reminiscent of what you may have seen in Harahel CYOA is at the top of the list. I also have ideas floating around for a Royalty start, Dungeon monster start, and a forest wizard apprentice start. Various aspirational things which will need foundations before pursuing. Doing alternate starts will require a significant portion of the world’s map to be ironed out beforehand, so I don’t expect we’ll be seeing them soon. Getting on top of gameplay comes first.

I have since consolidated the Arkavite and Harahel worlds in such a way which should become apparent as time goes on. I hesitate to say too much as I do not want to spoil potential narrative points I am weaving in. I’m sure the big brained will be able to figure things out pretty early on. After all, I may or may not have already snuck some things into Harahel which foreshadow its links to Arkavite.


Choice art. Not only does it make things look pretty – choice art makes it easier to identify an individual choice at a glance when sifting through a larger list of choices. My initial plans were to keep all the art in the game pixel perfect, and I’ve clearly broken that rule. Given the pixel scale I’m operating on, there simply aren’t enough pixels at hand to make choice art that looks good. So in this case, I broke the convention. But in a weird way, I think this works. As the saying goes, the rules of consistency can be broken so long as you’re consistent about how you break them.

So, you may be wondering, “where the hell did all this choice art come from?” Did I yoink it from a booru? Nah. I do draw myself and have for around a decade now. I would consider myself to be a fairly decent artist, but obviously making art for 100 choices to the degree of quality I want would typically take anyone close to a year – maybe more. I don’t really have the budget to hire a fleet of artists, or the time to wait, so I’ve resigned to doing things myself, and thanks to the glorious march of technology, I’ve been able to make use of tools which speed up my own workflow a lot. Essentially, sketching and drawing in Clip Studio, and using Stable Diffusion as a shortcut to handle most of the colouring. Then finalizing and handling the rest of colouring, adjustments, details etc back in clip studio. I’ve also found SD to be quite good as a reference generator. It is certainly a better reference finder than Google Images.

I think the results are quite promising. You tell me. On a more existential note, I do find myself worrying where all this AI technology will lead in the long run. We may soon be living in a post-furry commission economy. I feel for all the artists who will starve. Hell, going on a tangent, how long will it be until we’re generating entire movies and games without any human input? Really makes you think…


But enough doom and gloom! Let’s talk about choices!

I am aiming for a total of 100 choices by the time the prologue is released. About 71 of these choices have been written so far, and of those, I’ve completed art for 53. There have been some changes since I released that teaser choice list on the Discord. Some choices have been removed from the initial roster due to redundancy, swapped out, and combined. For instance, “Armless” and “Legless” (i.e. the two choices needed to nugget yourself), have since been combined into the choice “Limbless”. Basically Katawa.

Some choices you pick may influence your character appearance and description.

In the run-up to the Character Creator release, I’m going to focus on finishing the art and backend work for the existing choices. If I have time, I will write up the remaining ones. Any choices which don’t make the deadline can always be added in subsequent patches. The bug-testing campaign will begin at the end of the month. Hopefully I can catch most of the nasties before release of the first build.

The release date for the Alpha Character Creator is April 28th 2023. I’m actually giving myself more than enough time to avoid the potential for that date getting pushed back. If anything, I will release the character creator a week or so early if nothing crazy comes up in testing.

Parallel Paradise – A completely normal Isekai which is totally not lewd and gruesome to an almost absurd degree. Nope. Didn’t hear it here. Did I mention it’s made by the creator of Elfen Lied?

More To Come – The Sandbox

As the character creator is fast approaching, I decided to begin preparations for the next phase of development. The Sandbox. I’ve started collecting and tweaking royalty free tilesets, so I can rapid prototype and figure out the vibe I’m going for with respect to world design. Needless to say, I don’t want to rely entirely on royalty free stuff in the long run, as I’d like to avoid being just another generic pixel style game. Further stylization should come with time. For now, here’s a little mock up of what’s to come.

Thank you for joining me on this adventure. Be sure to let me know your thoughts, comments and questions down below. Till we meet again~

19 thoughts on “Character Creation: To Be A Self That Never Was

  1. The character creator is looking super good! I like the text character description you’ve implemented. I played a lot of CoC when I was younger, so this method of character tracking is bringing me some nice, nostalgic vibes. The race selections look like a solid bunch with a good variety. I’ll be interested to see other races in the future, but the starting ones look very concise. And the choices are looking very interesting! I can’t wait to see them all when the alpha comes out. As for the art, it all looks super good! I didn’t realize you were so talented! Can’t wait to see it all when it’s done. Lastly, I love SYSTEM-TAN <3. Overall, everything's looking super cool and I'm super excited to try the alpha when it releases! Thanks for the update and keep up the great work! ~

  2. The Character creator does look really good! And the game-play your going for sounds like it will be fun. But the real question now is how will the game sound? Now onto unimportant comments you can skip these if you want: If you are looking to make the hunger and thirst have greater game-play impact than just meters to keep an eye on, I would recommend checking out Fear & Hunger’s hunger system and how it can effect battle, specifically 2’s because of the content of 1. The series as a whole is having a bit of a renascence thanks to the release of 2 which is how I learned about the game. The story is amazingly dark and well crafted, if you want a good overview of the events of the two games I would recommend checking out Worm Girl’s videos on the games!

    1. Sounds~ for the character creator at least, I’m going for some calming piano music. Maybe a little sombre or solemn. Should make for a relaxing read. The rest of the interface will need some soft clicking sounds for interactions etc. Sound design for the rest of the game will probably be an act of figuring it all out as the environments and encounters come together. Of course, it should all have a consistent vibe when all is said and done. As of now, I imagine there will be a lot of classical fantasy inspired music. Some piano lilts between ambiance filling the overworld. Tavern jamborees, etc. If things get gritty like down in dungeons, maybe the music would take on more of an electronic shift. It will be fun to explore.
      Fear & Hunger looks interesting. I’ll check it out!

  3. I hope that you stay healthy and have some rest if stresses and life stuffs are after u.
    I dont want another one of my liked and interested devs burned out because of the above reason.

    1. Thank you/
      I will try my best to get sleep, eat veggies, and not die lol
      I probably could do with focusing some more on my health.

  4. Preface: This whole paragraph is just my opinion as a random no-face with nothing relevant to add.
    No criticism or suggestions here.

    I was interested in CoC and TiTS because I could basically make a character with all my fetishes in one place and f*ck around with them in a sandbox of other characters. But it was really repetitive with it’s unavoidable random encounters and same old sex scenes. Lilith’s Throne seems to be the best I can find when it comes to text based sex sim and great character creation options and interactions. Even that gets old after a bit though.

    THIS, as I understand it, wont exactly *need* to match up to those standards and will probably play a bit similarly to Cult of the Lamb or other some such bird’s-eye view with wasd movement hack’n’slash rather than a tile hopping, turn based combat. It’s definitely gonna have a *lot* more than sex sim with TF, so I’m excited to see further development and will try to keep my subscription on subscriberstar up as often as possible. Anything to make sure this dream stays alive , really. Hope you have a handle on things, take it easy when you need to!

  5. The character creator alone gives me plenty of hype! I can’t wait to play with that character too! Who would have guessed that digging the internet for an old meme would have gotten me to such a gem?

    P.S. Are there any communities other than the Discord ones? Discord requires either an IP address or a phone number tied to a real identity, given the NSFW nature of both Arkavite and Harahel I’d rather not have public discussions of them linked to my person.

    1. Thanks for the love!
      Unfortunately, Discord is the only place I have set up right now. If the community does get bigger in the future, I may set up a forum on this site, but for the time being I’d like to avoid fragmenting the community.
      Last I checked, discord doesn’t require an IP address or a phone number tied to a real identity. I think phone verification is only required to enter specific servers, as opposed to using the app as a whole. Just need an email really. But yeah, there’s always the option of using a burner sim / email / VPN if you do have privacy concerns.

      1. Quick late explanation!

        Discord can indeed, at random, decide to lock you out of your account and demand a phone number. There’s no real way around this and your account is lost unless you comply.
        This is especially likely with a VPN. I’ve personally found myself unable to even register with one, though occasionally (rarely, and with many failed attempts before) getting through. People have reported it happening without one too, though, and public Wi-Fi or mobile data IPs may also theoretically trigger it. As far as I’ve been able to gather from user reports of this happening, this CAN happen to existing accounts randomly too.

        Also, not too sure, but burner sims *may* also be blocked… overall, Discord as a company has been going quite downhill in my opinion, especially recently.
        Overall, I would certainly like to see some alternative means of contact, for the user’s above stated reasons, even if it has to be restricted to prevent spam.

        Anyways, thanks for making all that cool stuff! Have a nice day. 😀

  6. I love this project! You seem to have a very clear vision of what you aim to achieve and I’m excited to see how this may develop further in the future. All of your ideas are very ambitious and although they may take time to all be fully achieved still appear to be possible!

    I hope you are able to work on this! I’m happy to see you working on a project which seemed to be abandoned for quite some time.

    Good luck with the project <3

    1. The version is currently 0.7.13 for the downloadable release. As you might be able to tell from my most recent posts, I’m currently engrossed in the development of an actual game. i.e. Project Arkavite. Project Arkavite is the game much of Harahel’s lore and elements were based on. You can read more about that here and here and my plans to consolidate the two projects.
      Long story short, my plans for Harahel and its sequels were becoming too grandiose, to the point where had I pursued them, I’d essentially be creating 2 Project Arkavite’s. I am but one man with only so many hours in the day, so rather than splitting focus to work on two highly similar things, I am currently trying to focus on a single highly developed entity. Arkavite will get a CYOA system of its own in the future, at which point I will version up Harahel and import it along with the other CYOA stuff I’ve been working on and want to produce in addition to Arkavite. That will largely be more of an add-on thing. The primary focus is of course Arkavite, as with Arkavite, there is much more potential for content, word building, and an actual option of gameplay past character creation, which is something you tend to not get with most CYOA.

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