For a lot of people, it may seem like a “dirty trick” to buy pre-made assets and use them in a game. I also was one of them when I started making games. But I quickly realized, that making games on my own is very demanding. You have to manage every aspect, but you cannot be an expert in every aspect, no matter how much work you put into it. Depending on which skills you have, you might want to focus on them and buy some of the other stuff from people, who probably do a better job at it. So, here is a list of my favorite websites where to get game assets (free and paid ones). I will mark websites with free or partly free assets with “(!)”.
Arguments for Getting Game Assets
For example, every sound effect I use in my games is made by someone else. There are a couple of reasons for that. First of all, I don’t know how to make sound effects. So, I would have to learn how to make them. Next, I would need decent hardware (which probably is very expensive). And third, it would take me ages to get the right sound for the specific use case. Instead, it is much easier to buy sound effect bundles of excellent quality and chose the effect that I need.
Sounds like a cheap shortcut? Well, maybe. But the matter of fact is, that the first and foremost goal of every small studio or lone wolf out there is to finish a product and make it as good as possible. So you might consider outsourcing some of the work.
Still Want to Know where to Get Game Assets from?
So if you are still here, I will list some of the websites and services I use to get free and paid royalty-free game assets. From Sound Effects and Music over 3D and 2D models to textures. But always remember: Do not make an “Asset Flip”. Modify, personalize and change bought assets, so that they are consistent and fit your game and your art style.
Disclaimer: I do not get paid to promote specific websites. Also, this is not a complete list in any way, shape or form. There are tons of websites out there with similar assets and services. Those listed are just my preferred ones.
Unity Asset Store
On the Unity Store, you can find tons of assets. Obviously, they can be a good choice, if you use Unity as your game engine. This one is widely known and used. I list it, same as the Unreal Marketplace, separated from the others, because they are more or less tied to a specific engine. For many assets, this might not be a problem, but for others, you might just be able to use this specific engine.
The Unreal Marketplace is the counterpart to the Unity Asset Store. Also a huge collection, but some stuff might be tied to the Unreal engine.
The Humble Bundle
Always have an eye out for the Humble Bundle. From time to time you get lots and lots of assets for little money. Also a good place for software bundles, which you might need as a developer.
2D Game Assets
To be honest, I do not have very good sources for 2D Game Assets yet. This is because most of the time I draw them on my own anyway. But here are a couple, where you might find something useful.
On itch.io you can find a lot of free 2D art. But most require you to give credit, so just keep that in mind. Also, many of them are a small part of a bigger bundle with a price tag.
Everyone knows about the Kenney collections. A great way to get some nice art for your projects.
Open Game Art (!)
On open Game Art, you will find free-to-use game assets. Most of the assets on there are just somehow cobbled together, but if you are lucky, you might find one or another useful thing.
3D Game Art
For 3D game assets, you will find websites ranging from free to pretty expensive. Often you will find the same assets on different portals because the same artist uploaded them onto different platforms. So, you might want to check out more websites before you buy something. Also, always make sure, that the correct format is available.
Personally, I used CGTrader quite a bit in the past. You can find free models, as well as premium ones. And most of them are available in many different formats.
Free 3D (!)
On Free 3D I did find one or another useful asset too. They also have a premium section.
On Turbosquid you find more expensive stuff. I did end up buying something from them once, but usually, they are a little above my budget.
Sketchfab has a nice website, where you can move and rotate the 3D asset. Keep in mind, that the models on there are in .fbx format.
There are so many sound effect websites out there, that I can’t list them all here. Also, there are tons of free royalty-free sounds available on most of these websites. So if you just subscribe to some newsletters and search the website, you might be able to build a nice sound effect library without spending any money. But I suggest you have a look at the premium bundles too, because you may be able to get excellent sound effects for little money (especially when they are on sale).
A Sound Effect (!)
A Sound Effect is, in my opinion, one of the best sound effect stores. They have excellent sound effects and write interesting articles too. If you subscribe to their newsletter, you will get free sound effects from time to time. Sounds like an advertisement? Well, I will let you know, if they decide to pay me in the future. For now, I just happen to like this store.
Action VFX is more for movie effects. But you will find sound effects there too.
There are great tools for making music on your own. But if you want pre-made music, I only have a couple of websites, which I used so far (besides stuff from the Humble Bundle).
On Melody Loops, you find royalty-free music loops. There are many different filters, by which you can narrow down the style you are searching for.
Besides royalty-free music, you can find other useful stuff for free on Incompetech.
Open Music Archive (!)
You can find one or another useful music on Openmusicarchive. A lot of them are Public Domain, so that is great.
If you need textures for your materials, there is also a site, where you can download a couple of textures for free every day. If you need more and fast, you can buy them too.
Icons are pretty much always needed, not only for games but also for apps, websites, etc.
Not free, but a really great site if you need icons. They have a monthly subscription, but you can cancel it at any time.
So now You Know From Where to Get Game Assets
Well, this is not a complete list, nor is it the best list of websites where you can get assets. It is just a list of websites, which I happen to use. So, if you find this useful, or if you have good alternatives and suggestions, please let me know in the comments. I would be thankful and may end up updating this list.
I only listed websites I personally have used and can recommend at the time of writing. For another good (and more extensive) list check out this blog post.
For other articles about game development, feel free to browse this website.