Free assets are something that really make our – game devs – lives easier. You may want to use free assets in your final product, but surely you will find them useful while prototyping.
If you want to use free assets in your final product you must be aware of several things.
Free assets are not always free for commercial use.
There should always be some information on the download page regarding what you can use the asset for. Usually it says “free for personal use” or “free for personal and commercial use” or it’s marked by some common license (most likely some Creative Commons).
Some assets require you to credit author wherever you use them.
This is very important. As public domain assets do not require you to credit the author, almost all other do. If you use asset which is published under CC-BY-3.0 licese, you are obligated to credit the author. If you won’t do it you simply use the asset illegally! Take a while and read the licenses conditions. It will save you some nerves in the future.
Always take a screenshot of the asset download page!
Using free assets is always a bit risky because you don’t know if it will be free tomorrow as well.
Let’s say you have downloaded a nice character animation from page X. It says that the asset is free – cool you take it and make your game based on this character. One year later page X does not exist any more and you have no proof that this character was free. In theory, character’s author is allowed to sue you and bring you big problems. So to be safe you should always take a screenshot of the asset’s download page which should contain the license (or usagee conditions), the author’s name, the asset’d name and the asset’s image (it’s it’s an image) and save it just in case.
If you know the source page is safe, have good reputation for years already then you probably don’t have to do this, but with any other places I strongly recommend to do so. There is no kidding when it comes to copyrights law.
No license? No use!
If there is no license or usage condition on the download page then the asset is simply not free. By default all rights are resered by the author and if he did not publish it under the particular license and didn’t give you permission to use the asset then you are simply not allowed to use it. Many artists are not even aware that they should provide a license, so you might want to ask author directly for permission to use his assets. Even an email reply which contains something like “yes you are allowed to use my assets for both personal and commersial use” is usually enough. But still the license would be much better since it covers much more details.
Alright! Now let me share some free assets sources with you.
GFX (images, animations)
- Kenney.nl [LINK]
- OpenGameArt.com [LINK]
- Unity asset store [LINK]
- Ask4Asset.com [LINK]
- UnluckyStudio.com [LINK]
- PowStudios.com [LINK]
- Mobile Game Graphics [LINK]
- WrathGames.com [LINK]
- ZipUp.me [LINK]
- 3dFoin.com [LINK]
- Clker.com [LINK]
SFX (sounds, music)
- OpenGameArt.org [LINK]
- FreeSound.org [LINK]
- FlashKit.com [LINK]
- SoundBible.com [LINK]
- SoundImage.org [LINK]
ICO (icons, pictograms)
Let me know if you have any other source of free assets!