The iOS educational game, trainchinese Chinese Writer, was updated last November (compare my original review and follow-up review). The update brought a major new feature: the ability to import characters from wordlists that users already have in other trainchinese products, the trainchinese Dictionary & Flash cards iOS app and/or www.trainchinese.com. I can’t say how well this particular feature works since it requires a paid subscription. If any readers plan to purchase a trainchinese subscription, you could use one of the links to www.trainchinese.com on this page, which will earn me a free month’s subscription.
The other way to get get custom character lists is to create them within the trainchinese Chinese Writer game. You can create and save multiple custom character lists. As mentioned in the follow-up review, you add characters to a list by searching the inventory of characters included in the game. You can, however, enter a number of characters in the search box and get all the results at once, rather than searching for characters one-by-one. This time, I tried adding some elementary vocabulary (你, 好, 吗, 很, 我, 呢), but in each case got an alert saying that the character was contained in a pack that I did not currently own. Then I tried to make a list of colors (白, 黑, 蓝, 红, 黄, 绿). And my name, 林爱. All of these were also in packs that I did not currently own. The only packs that I own are the free ones included with the game, so it probably should not have been surprising that over a dozen of the characters that I searched for first were not in the free packs. Nevertheless, I came away thinking that it was virtually impossible to make any sensible custom list without purchasing at least some of the add-on packs. You can get a complete set of all the add-ons for $9.99 (as of this writing).
The game does come with approx. 450 free characters, but these are spread across four HSK levels (it is not clear to me whether these are the four levels of the old HSK, the first four of the new HSK, or some sort of re-grouping). But, in short, to use trainchinese Chinese Writer as a study tool with any course curriculum or self-study plan, you will need to invest in a subscription to www.trainchinese.com.