I had to vote for #3 because we always go back to it. When I was a kid I loved AD&D's Unearthed Arcana with all of the little extra stuff, plus using the DMG's NPC tables for character traits. In those days we had time to spend all weekend creating kewl characters. Now I like to spend my time playing. Starting at low level there's no benefit to having an intricate, fully formed character, and to be honest, that runs counter to the fundamental nature of D&D as a hero's journey. It's better to start with a rough outline, a character sketch more than a character. Then you fill in the rest during live play.