GUI To Meet You Two: Free UI Resources for Game Developers

game dev, resources

guiheaderSome time back, I wrote a long list of free user interface resources for indie developers for IndieStatik.com – user interface design, of course, being a particular and ardent love of mine having worked for a UI artist for a while now. Since that version isn’t cached anymore, I’ve decided to rewrite the list with a bunch of new additions to spread that love of sleek, easy user interface design. Some of these newcomers are things that I’ve been using quite a lot myself and others that are just ‘hey, that’s neat’. So, without further ado, go forth and interface!

LAYOUTS
CONTROLS

ICONS
BUTTONS
FONTS

SFX
DESIGN THEORY & MISC TOOLS

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LAYOUTS

kenneynl
KENNEY.NL LAYOUT PACKS – RPG, PIXEL, GENERAL UI
LICENSE: cc0 | FORMATS: VECTOR, SPRITESHEET 
camtats
@CAMTATZ’ LAYOUT PACKS – FPS, PIXEL, PLATFORMER UI
LICENSE: cc0 | FORMATS: SPRITES (.PNG)
fantasy
RAVENMORE’S FANTASY UI PACK
LICENSE: CC-BY 3.0 | FORMATS: .PSD
FANTASY2
JORGE AVILA’S FANTASY GUI PACK (MODERNA)
LICENSE: CC-BY 3.0, LGPL 2.1, LGPL 3.0 | FORMATS: .PSD
aDVENTUREGAME
ADVENTURE GAME MINI UI PACK
LICENSE: FREE (NON-SPECIFIC LICENSE) | FORMATS: .PSD
mobileui
GRAPHICBURGER’S MOBILE GAME GUI PACK
LICENSE: FREE (NON-SPECIFIC LICENSE) | FORMATS: .PSD

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CONTROLS

KENNEY2
KENNEY.NL CONTROL PACK
LICENSE: cc0 | FORMATS: VECTOR, SPRITESHEET 
controllayout
XELU’S KEYBOARD AND CONTROLLER PROMPT PACK
LICENSE: cc0 | FORMATS: .PNG, .FLA

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ICONS

RAVENMORERAVENMORE’S FANTASY ICON PACK V2.0
LICENSE: CC-BY 3.0 | FORMATS: .PNG, .PSD (MULTIPLE SIZES)
gameicons
GAME-ICONS.NET
LICENSE: CC-BY 3.0 | FORMATS: .SVG, .PNG
iconmonstr
ICONMONSTR
LICENSE: CUSTOM LICENSE (FREE) | FORMATS: .SVG, .PNG
ZOMBIE
OSMIC’S ZOMBIE GAME ICON PACK
LICENSE: CC-BY 3.0 | FORMATS: .PNG, .PSD (MULTIPLE SIZES)
RPGICONS
420 RPG PIXEL ICONS BY 7SOUL1
LICENSE: CC-BY 3.0 | FORMATS: .PNG, .PSD (MULTIPLE SIZES)

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BUTTONSBUTTON

BUTTONS2
24 PACK OF GAME BUTTONS
LICENSE: FREE (NON-SPECIFIC LICENSE) | FORMATS: .PSD
hevngrafix
HEVNGRAFIX’S BUBBLE BUTTON & GUI PACK
LICENSE: cc0/ 100% FREE | FORMATS: .AI, .EPS, .PNG
FREEBUTTONS
POCONK’S FREE GAME BUTTON PACKS
LICENSE: FREE (NON-SPECIFIC LICENSE) | FORMATS: .AI, .EPS, .PNG
FREEBUTTONS2
pzUH’S FREE GAME BUTTON PACK
LICENSE: FREE (NON-SPECIFIC LICENSE) | FORMATS: .AI, .EPS, .PNG, .CDR

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FONTS

fontsquirrel
FONT SQUIRREL
LICENSE: 100% FREE / SPECIFIC LICENSES ON EACH PAGE
DAFONTDAFONT
LICENSE: 100% FREE / SPECIFIC LICENSES ON EACH PAGE
(TIP – open ‘search’, filter to 100% free & public domain)
1001
1001 FONTS
LICENSE: 100% FREE / SPECIFIC LICENSES ON EACH PAGE

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SFX

bfxr
BFXR
LICENSE: FREE | FORMATS: .WAV
8ve
8VE iOS UI SFX LIBRARY
LICENSE: FREE | FORMATS: .WAV

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THE 8 STEP GUIDE TO INTERFACE DESIGN FOR IPHONE GAMES
PALADIN STUDIOS

SUBTLEPATTERNS.COM
.PSD
COLOR-LOVERS PALETTE MAKER

USER INTERFACE DESIGN IN VIDEO GAMES (THEORIES & TERMINOLOGIES)
VIDEO GAME UI DESIGN: DIEGESIS THEORY

GAME UI DISCOVERIES: WHAT PLAYERS WANT
USABILITY
USER INTERFACE DESIGN BASICS (GENERAL)

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If you liked this, consider checking out some of the other resources on this blog or follow for more.

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Indie Gaming Press and You: A Primer

game dev, games writing

You can view the presentation slides here – included are tips on how to get press contacts, how to write a good press release, recommendations for press kits and some silly activity we had fun with. You can ignore that. 

Recently, I had the honour of being invited to Cologne to give a lecture to the Masters of Game Development students at the Cologne Games Lab about indie gaming press. I mulled over what would be good information to tell them that could be an actual takeaway from the class, rather than a long-winded rant and ramble with no real substance – something I often dreaded about lectures back in my university days – and after a day or two of putting together aptly informative (and hopefully cute) slides, I’d finished. I took a late Deutsche Bahn train from Duesseldorf to Cologne with a good friend of mine, managed to make it to the Lab with minutes to spare and gave my lecture.

The students and professor gave me really nice feedback, which made me want to share my presentation here today, in case there’s some use to anyone else. Having written for Indie Statik for a while, there is a wee bit about the website and what I do in there as it was a preface for the lecture – but hopefully, if you’re thinking about promoting your game and interacting with indie games press, this may help you out a little.

This is by no means an exhaustive lesson and is told from my perspective as an indie games writer myself, so please don’t take it as gospel! I don’t consider myself an oracle on the subject, just someone who wants to help shed some light on the process.  However, there’s some good etiquette in there and may be a good starting point for you.

Pixel controller images used in the presentation are by kevinvanderven.

Advice before you recruit an artist for your game project– love, an artist. ♥

game dev

The great thing about the indie developer community these days is that it’s so easy to recruit people with similar interests for your projects. With the growing popularity of boards like /r/GameDevClassifieds and ‘wanted’ sections of forums like TIGSource, there are more professionals and amateurs at your fingertips now than ever. Great, huh?

However, with so many other people looking for others to help make their game dev dream come true (as well as the pool being widened by many unpaid and hobby/potential revenue-share projects), it’s best to be as prepared as possible when it comes to finally searching for that +1 for your team.

Scenario time. You’re looking to hire an artist to help you bring your game project to fruition. Awesome. But, here’s some things you should think about, or do, before you send out your tendrils to search for this person.

1.) Looking to recruit an artist to create in-game assets should not be the very first thing you do on your project.

It’s exciting to get the project into motion as quickly as possible by getting your team together in the same fashion, but sometimes this may be more detrimental than helpful. Recruiting an artist to make in-game assets before you have a solid idea of what you envision the game to be before your idea has gone through the inevitable revisions during the design teething, you will probably end up with assets being created you no longer envision fitting in with your game.

If you’re paying the artist, this will waste you money. Especially since indie groups are usually few in number and so the workload is higher on the individual, it’s best to be as crystal clear as possible from the outset so time can be managed most efficiently. Which brings us to…

2.) If you know it’s time to recruit an artist, give us lists. Lots of lists.

Great! It’s time for you to hire/recruit an artist for your project. The game design is done and you know exactly what you want your game to look like. Your next priority should then be creating a detailed list of the assets you want this artist to create, which should include:

  • rough dimensions, if not vector
  • a description of each asset (yes, even that one) and what it will be used for in game
  • if you already have an idea yourself of what it will look like, or have a reference of style etc., link the reference or sketch

and,

  • a deadline and priority for each asset, especially if it’s a paid gig and/or you’re on a tight timeframe

You may look at these points and think– hey, that’s a lot of work and time that it’d take to put into that, and yeah– it kinda is. However, the clearer you are about what you want and how you want it to look, honestly, the quicker your project will get done! If we know what you want, how you want it and when you want it, we’re extremely prepared as the artist on your project, and it’s only a good thing to be as informed and prepared as possible.

A great example is a spreadsheet like this (made on Google Docs, which is incidentally a great place for this sort of organizational mayhem):

example

(NB: The estimated time here was discussed between the artist and the project lead to make sure that the artist would be billed for the right amount of time spent when it came to payment. Numbers on the top right are dates of the month.)

All this said, sometimes the odd extra asset pops up with new feature implementation that you can’t foresee and such– this is okay! My point is just that you should have the large majority of assets, dimensions etc. figured out before you get your artist. The better you know your project, the better off your whole team will be.

3.) Set aside time to give OK’s and revisions on a regular basis.

This seems fairly standard, but I figured I’d say it anyway. If the artist has to correct something, it’s going to take time on their behalf and that time is only multiplied if you’re not around to give the feedback. A regular meeting face to face (or Skype call if the artist is remote) is wondrous.

Good communication OP.

4.) Keeping an artist interested in your hobby project.

I read recently some complaints from project leads about keeping artists interested in their hobby/rev-share project, and I totally agree, it’s tough keeping someone interested in giving you their skills for free (or ‘promised’ money) if it’s not their idea. As is often said, ideas in the game dev scene are a dime a dozen– everyone has them, it’s no secret. So, regarding keeping someone interested in your project there’s a few pieces of advice/hard truths I can give you:

  • the artist will almost always pass up your project for something paid, even if they’re partway through it
  • if you’re not very passionate about your project, investing the same time and effort in it as they are and are often very absent, they will probably lose their interest
  • if you can pay them, you should (though to be honest, this goes for anyone with a professional skill-set you’re recruiting into your project).
  • if your project is unpaid and they’re the only artist + it’s a huge game with a load of assets, chances are they’re going to lose interest (I recommend starting small)

Of course, this won’t always be the case 100% of the time– but this is just what I’ve seen from my own observations.

In summary:

  • WRITE LISTS, BRO
  • MAKE SURE YO GAME DESIGN (WHETHER IT’S GDD OR NOT) IS DONE AND THAT YOU ->
  • KNOW YO GAME
  • RESPECT YO ARTIST
  • IF YOU’RE DOING A HOBBY PROJECT, DON’T EXPECT THE WORLD FROM AN UNPAID ARTIST