Game Development Tips: Free Game Assets for Prototyping
Before a video game is released, it often goes through multiple iterations to ensure that the central mechanics and features all work how they should. An important part of that process is the video game prototype which helps test out various aspects of the game.
One interesting finding from this year’s Unity Gaming Report was that studios were using premade, free game assets to help them iterate more quickly before committing to any particular feature or game mechanic. Here, we will discuss how you can use free game assets — such as Unity free assets — for your video game prototype, and how a digital asset management tool — like Helix DAM — can help.
- Benefits of Using Free Game Assets
- Drawbacks of Using Free Game Assets
- How to Use Free Game Assets for Video Game Prototypes
- How a Digital Asset Management Tool Can Help
➡️ Essential Game Development Software — Free
Game Asset Overview
When talking about game development, an asset refers to any component that can be added to a game. This includes such things as character models, objects, special effects, environments, and even AI. Often many separate files are used together — such as separate models and textures — to form a single asset file.
What Is an Asset Pack?
Asset packs are a collection of game assets that designers can use to populate their game world. Often, asset packs will be themed to help ensure consistency.
The Benefits of Using Free Game Assets
Depending on what aspect or mechanic is being tested, a video game prototype can be a time-consuming process. However, using premade, free game assets can help streamline that process.
Here are some of the most common benefits of using premade, free game assets for a video game prototype.
- Provides developers with an easy way to show an artist a concept of their vision.
- Can make prototyping various aspects of a game — such as levels and mechanics — quick and easy.
- Premade assets can save time by not having to create every environmental object, such as fog, rocks, trees, clouds, trash cans, etc.
- Premade assets can be edited more easily than creating new ones from scratch.
- Free game assets can save money by being able to quickly produce a prototype before committing to a vision.
- Helps new developers learn how to make a functional game.
The Drawbacks of Using Free Game Assets
While premade, free game assets can be beneficial for a video game prototype, there are some drawbacks that you should be aware of before you start.
- Asset packs are rarely substantial enough for anything beyond a simple game. So, you may not be able to build out a prototype of the entire game.
- Potential lack of cohesion in a prototype, if using premade assets from several different packs.
- Premade assets may not be able to completely model an intended effect or mechanic.
How Game Assets Can Be Used for Video Game Prototypes
Rather than spending time developing new assets, premade, free game assets can provide serviceable placeholders during pre-production and early parts of production. This enables you to focus on refining gameplay mechanics and physics to ensure that not only does the game work but that it is enjoyable to play as well. Once the mechanics and gameplay have been worked out, then the placeholder assets can be replaced.
When developing the look and feel of a game, premade, free game assets can provide developers with a way to more clearly articulate how they would like the environment and characters to look to the artists and designers on their team.
How a Digital Asset Management Tool Can Help
A digital asset management tool — like Helix DAM — can make video game prototyping simple and easy with asset recycling.
Asset recycling refers to the process of reusing the same game assets from one game to the next. That means, by using a digital asset management tool, you can quickly find and reuse previously built game assets to populate an environment, test out a game mechanic, or some other aspect of the game that you would like to prototype.
In addition, as your internal library of custom-made assets grows, they can all be housed, indexed, and easily searchable through Helix DAM. What’s more, auto-tagging, advanced filters, and collection grouping can make asset tracking even easier.
Having an existing library of assets to draw from helps you to save time and money in constructing your video game prototype.
Improve Your Video Game Prototypes with Helix DAM
Built on top of Helix Core, Helix DAM provides a visual web-based UI with a visual interface and smart tagging features that enables teams to easily find, use, store, review, repurpose, and share all creative assets. Try it out for free for 14 days — no commitment or setup necessary.