This is the forty-fifth entry in the Scratching That Itch series, wherein I randomly select and write about one of the 1741 games and game-related things included in the itch.io Bundle for Racial Justice and Equality. The Bundle raised $8,149,829.66 split evenly between the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund and Community Bail Fund, but don’t worry if you missed it. There are plenty of ways you can help support the vital cause of racial justice; try here for a start. Lastly, as always, you may click on images to view larger versions.
As usual, I spun up two random number generators to select our next entry from the itch.io Bundle for Racial Justice and Equality. First, which of the 58 pages of entries (technically 59, but there’s only one entry on page 59 so I lump that into page 58 for purposes of random selection) should we pick from? The very first page, the random number generator boldly replied. And which of the 30 entries on that page should we pick? The third. Listed third out of all 1741 entries in the bundle is Kenney Game Assets 1, by Kenney. Its tagline in the bundle reads:
20,000+ game assets for use in your games!
Yeah, OK, that’s a lot of assets.
I’m not sure how itch.io decided on the order in which the entries in the bundle are listed, but it seems to have something to do with popularity or personal recommendations on the part of the organizers. The first page of the bundle includes many well known titles (the wonderful Celeste is listed fifth), so Kenney Game Assets 1 enjoys a high profile position. As you’ve likely guessed, it’s not a game itself, but rather a huge collection of original 2D and 3D art assets, sound effects, music loops, voiceover bits, fonts and even source code that are free to use when creating your own games. And I really mean free: everything in the pack is licensed under the Creative Commons Zero 1.0 license, which means it’s freely available to use in both personal and commercial products, and doesn’t even require attribution unless you feel like it. In fact, Kenney Game Assets 1 collects together a slew of smaller asset packs, all released for free, and anyone so inclined could hunt them all down without paying a penny, but this larger collection is convenient and the modest price tag (a minimum of $9.95) helps fund the creation of more free assets.
With so much included, I appreciated how well organized it is. There are separate folders for 2D and 3D assets, audio, fonts, and source files, and even an archive containing sets of assets from earlier versions of the pack which have since been replaced. Each of these folders contain a ton more, helpfully labeled with their theme, which I assume correspond to the original free packs from Kenney, pre-compilation. These are further divided by file types (e.g. individual .png files versus sprite sheets for 2D assets), and there are even helpful preview and sample images for each set, saving me the trouble of coming up with screenshots of my own for this post. There may be more than 20,000 assets in here, but it’s easy to find what you’re looking for.
Let’s start with artwork. There are 62 sets of 2D assets, ranging from isometric vector buildings to puzzle assets to top-down tanks to the explosion pack. Making a 2D platformer? There are twelve packs of assets for that, along with seven packs of isometric assets, and five roguelike packs with different settings (although these look more like top-down Japanese-style role-playing games than traditional roguelikes to me). There’s even a donut pack, becuase sometimes you need to put some donuts in your game. The less exciting aspects of game art are not forgotten either, with several packs of icons, user interface elements, and onscreen controls (e.g. for a touchscreen device) included. Most of the art is also available in vector graphic format, so it will scale easily to any resolution without any loss in quality. There are fewer 3D assets on offer, with only six packs, but each includes the 3D models in five different formats, as well as compressed archives containing sprites based on the 3D assets from either side-on or isometric viewpoints. That means the 3D assets can double up as even more 2D assets, depending on one’s needs.
On the audio front, there are seven collections of sound effects, voiceover sets using both real and synthesized speech, and a set of 30 music loops. The sound effects cover a wide range, from foley effects to synthesized bloops and retro warbles. There’s a whole pack of casino sounds, including lots of card shuffling and dealing which would be perfect for those deck-building games that are so popular at the moment. The voiceover pack includes the same clips read by female and male voice actors, consisting of announcements (e.g. “game over”, “you win!”) and barks (“cover me!”, “medic!”). I’m not sure what was used to create the synthesized voice pack, but I found the clips very difficult to understand, sounding like an outdated vocoder. Which might be great for the right kind of game, but less useful elsewhere. The music loops are nice, if brief, clocking in around 15-30 seconds each. Most are jaunty and lighthearted ditties. A few are labeled as idents, shorter musical cues that can be used almost like sound effects, and there’s a separate, smaller set of “retro” chiptune music loops too.
In case all that wasn’t enough, Kenney Game Assets 1 is rounded off with some fonts, and a collection of source files for Construct 2 that can be used as the base framework for new games. These come in common archetypes like platformers or role-playing games. Given that Construct 2 is free, these are a great way for those new to game development to try things out. Some of the asset packs are specifically designed for these sources, so they also serve as a way to see the art in action.
One of the greatest strengths of Kenney Game Assets 1 may also be its greatest weakness: everything uses a consistent and distinctive art style. The crisp, cartoony images and specific color palette allow assets from any of the individual packs to be mixed and matched without any jarring inconsistencies, but also limit creators to this particular visual style. Those looking for a different art style — pixel art, perhaps — will have to search elsewhere. If you are envisioning something that could use a few cute critters or bright landscapes, however, there’s a whole lot of good stuff here to start with. If you’re a game developer who bought the bundle, it’s worth taking a look through this giant collection of assets to see if there’s anything that catches your eye (or ear). If you missed it in the bundle, Kenney Game Assets 1 is available for a minimum price of $9.95, or you could track down the individual packs for free. And in case you’re curious, there are several other asset collections available from Kenney, but none of them are in the bundle. They might be worth a look too.
That’s 45 down, and only 1696 to go!