Character Creation is the Whole Game


Anyone want to help me polish a 48-hour game development/prototype game that got a bit out of hand?


It’s called “Character Creation is the Whole Game” and the idea was: what if the whole game took place in a classic 8/16-bit style character creation screen?

When you spend one of your allocated points, your character ages and automatically experiences the adventures that in life might have resulted in greater strength, wisdom or skill. Random events take place – dungeon plunges and hauls. Stat choices would lead down different paths of life: with clever balancing to epic jobs and rewards, and mediocrity to those who dumbly max or spreading . And eventually you die or retire or become King.

I’ve got it to a playable point, but need help – or perhaps just to pass it onto someone with the time and ability to polish it off.

It’s coded as plain HTML and javascript, using the DOM as the engine.

I’ve put it on github here:

and you can just download it as a zip here:

You can totally play it in whatever folder it’s in, but it needs to be on a legit http:// webserver for the color picker to work on the character-design part.

The big problems with it are as follows:

  1. The pixel art images for the little character sprite sometimes don’t work well. It’s all javascript asynch-related stuff (images not loading until after the code tries to show them) that’s just kind of beyond my ken. Right now it just waits fixed periods in hope that the assets will load in time. Works about 90% of the time… (UPDATE: Thank you to Charles Julian Knight for tackling this!)

  2. The paths from rags to riches are just a tangled, unbalanced mess! It’s sort of fun, but there’s not much feeling of a unique inexporable fated journey through life.

  3. There are just little bugs here and there that I’m not a good enough coder to kill. Why does it sometimes let you go into negative points to spend? That sort of thing.

  4. I can’t decide if the pop-up “want this job?” things should even exist. I kind of suspect that they should be determined by your choices and just play out in the normal text box. So the only thing you ever do is click to raise and lower stats.

  5. It Needs lots of little pixel art pics for the various stories and options that pop up.

That said, I think I’ve made a fairly neat and tidy game/story system under the hood to explore and hope that it’ll be explicable and interesting enough to game dev reader(s) of Boing Boing to want to pick up.

A game where Character Creation is the Whole Game

Well that was fun actually.
If I didn’t run screaming from coding as a day job some 30 (oh god I feel old now) years ago I might find it fun to do more than play…


Is this all there is? I can’t click on anything, or read the rest of my lewt.


I’m afraid loot readout is sadly rudimentary. There is always the same poignant hamster and the same packratting of pointless early-career trash.



The Golden Afternoon
You’ve retired at 60 years old, with 277 gold, 1897 experience points and the position of Engineer. You found the remains of your childhood hamster, decayed bricks, dusty spoons, uninteresting stools, collectible crumbs, nasty dust, tarnished eggcups, smelly mugs, uninteresting mugs, plain-looking stools, greatclub of the fox, variscite of the ghoul, onyx of the crab, handaxe of the horse, siangham of dreams, axe of the rancher, mace of the recursive goblin, garb of the manticore, sai of the dinosaur, codex of the heirloom hampster, sling of glyphs, studded leather armor of the bright manticore, studded leather armor of the parrot, ferocious greataxe of the horse, quiver of dart of the mage, horned helm of the mage, talking gauntlets of the elephant, knife of the parasite, book of the alien, venomous rapier of the oarfish, scythe of glyphs, chrysoprase of the chameleon, grenade of the invoker, pendant of the mermaid, longbow of the wyrm, morningstar of the falcon, spear of the capybara, of the wasp, staff of the zebra, ring of the dull urchin, bundle of vestments of the ghoul, corrupted rapier of the wyrm, boots of velocity, encyclopedia of the crocodile, amulet of the jester, gauntlets of calm, charm of the fish

Got stuck in an endless “Engineer” dialog. Yes I still want the job. How do I start the war?


and, I do believe I’ve come across a bug:

The game does want me to be an engineer. A SEXY SEXY engineer.


The Golden Afternoon
You’ve retired at 101 years old, with 938 gold, 6243 experience points and the position of Engineer.

I old.


Thank you to Charles Julian Knight for tackling #1


Hey! I think I figured out why the Lord Engineer loop happens. In the Careers file, the test to make sure you haven’t already been a Lord Engineer is “&& storyEngineer[“played”]”, but the actual story that runs is “openStory (storyLordEngineer)”. As a result, the game doesn’t realize the player has become a Lord Engineer, and thus asks them the prompt again. There’s a similar discrepancy with all of the Lord level storylets, which makes most of them unplayable, unless you change “&& story[insert job here][“played”]” to “&& storyLord[insert job here][“played”]”.

I really enjoy the game, thanks so much for creating it!


Thanks, Nigel! I’ve been busy with and haven’t had a chance to get to this but will now!


Got this done. There are a thousand improvements that need making but I put it on github and am gonna ship it in the AM


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