Where can you find graphics for games?

Game development has seen tremendous advances in supply and demand for the past three years. With new technologies emerging, especially those on HTML5 and Unity platforms, gamers are trying their hand at making their own games. However, the production of such games is more than just having a great idea. The pipeline can get quite extensive.

One of the greatest hurdles which a game designer must face is where to find the graphics for the game. True, one could create each element from scratch, but doing so would take (depending on the complexity of the game) months or years to do. There has to be a simpler way to obtain the graphics needed for a game, right?

Here are a few sources for finding graphics for games.

Ready To Go Graphics

If you are creating a game that has generic elements, there is no point in reinventing the wheel, so to speak. Finding the graphic is easier than you would imagine as there are a TON of places available on the internet which provide royalty free graphics. Personally, we use deviantart.com stock and resources for many of our graphics. The reason for this is that these graphics are usually created by artists that just want to have their work out there. Be sure to look at the terms of use before downloading content as the specifics change from person to person.

Textures, environment pictures, and such elements as that can be found on unsplash.com. Keep in mind that these are photographic images and may not be suitable for games that have real cartoony looks (such as if you were trying to mimic “flappy birds”). Another great resource for Common Use license graphics would be the lost garden. This site is particularly helpful for those who want to have a ton of graphics at hand. What makes this resource ideal for finding graphics for games is that these graphics were created by a game designer. This means that the fear of “will this work in my game” has been eliminated.

Getting Graphics Created

Of course, not every graphic for your game can be found on a stock image or common license site. Such elements as characters need to (usually) be created from scratch. However, many game designers do not have the time or the ability to create the graphics themselves. Therefore, you will need to hire an artist to do the work for you.

Here are a few sites which will help in that area.

  • Peopleperhour or Odesk freelance sites – You will have to post that you are looking for an artist to make game design graphics. Ensure that you state that the freelancer gives all rights and ownership to you, the developer.
  • A gamer site usually has a forum or a jobs section where you can hire a graphics artist to design your elements for you. Be aware that you will need to verify that the person creating your graphics is a professional and that you are not hiring someone that is trying to just make a quick buck. ASK FOR SAMPLES. Some great gaming sites to obtain graphics from include: graphic-buffet which offers graphics for sale oriented to the Indie game market and opengameart which offers both free and graphics for sale.
  • If you are going for the more retro look to your game, there is an abundance of sites, such s Sprite Database, which offer free sprites and graphics. Because the creation process is so easy many artists will offer sprite sheets for a low cost or for free.

Make Your Graphics Unique

When obtaining graphics for your game, you should keep in mind that you are trying to create something new. Where it may be true that you are mimicking the style of a game, do not copy the game entirely. Ensure that you use a mixture of readily available graphics and newly created graphics in order to give your game the flair you need. If you are familiar with manipulation of vector images, then it may be beneficial for you to use one of the sites that offer vector downloads and then manipulate those graphics to suit the purpose of your game.

Graphic elements should be inspected for pixel size, file size, and clarity. Backgrounds which are elaborate in design may be large in file size and not suitable for a mobile platform. Also, background images need to be tileable. Finally, make sure that the graphic fits with your game. Just because it is free does not necessarily mean that it will be a good fit for your game. Shop around and find what you need to make an engaging game.

By obtaining the correct graphics for your game you are increasing your chances for a great game. A game is mostly graphic based (really, think or the worst games on the market and then look at the graphics) and the majority of your client base will judge your game primarily on the graphics that are used. So if you cannot create graphics in the quality you want, use a site or hire an artist.

Your game deserves it.

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