the cure for 'Programmer Art'

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No code! Yep, no code in today's post. Instead I'm going to highlight a very handy resource, one that anyone building a game will find handy...



This is the Open Game Art FAQ. If you've got a question that you think should be here, head over to our Contact form and drop us a line.

Please read our content submission guidelines before posting art.


Aren't there other sites out there like this?

Yes and no.

There are plenty of other sites out there, but they aren't necessarily conducive to finding good game art that can be used legally in open source games. To be a good source for this kind of content, a site should be:

  • Human-edited for quality
  • Clear about licensing, so that you're sure any art on the site can legally be used in a Free/Open Source game or other program
  • Have firm ground rules about what can be submitted

Some art sites serve as places where artists can post their work and get critiques. While some of these artists are willing to license their work out in a way that's compatible with free/open source software, it can be very difficult to find art that's appropriately licensed.

Other sites provide sprites for use, but they allow people to contribute sprites that have been "ripped" from games, and are therefore in violation of copyright.

Finally, it should be noted that Free Art Search provides a massive index of a lot of art that already exists in Free/Open Source projects and is a great place to go if you're searching for open art.

What's the purpose of this site?

If you've ever browsed Free/Open Source game sites (such as The Linux Game Tome, you'll notice that a fairly significant number of the games available suffer from what's lovingly referred to as 'programmer art'. There are, of course, some notable exceptions to this, but it's clear that, for an open source game to produce good art, it has to become large and popular enough to attract artists.

Unfortunately, many fun and well-designed games never reach this point and are thus stuck with placeholder art, which ultimately detracts from their appeal and popularity. Furthermore, it's not unheard of for open source projects to rip their placeholder art from commercial games, which is illegal and could conceivably result in a lawsuit.

The purpose of this site is to provide a solid (and hopefully ever-expanding) variety of high quality, freely licensed art, so that free/open source game developers can use it in their games.

What do the licenses mean? I'm a commercial (closed-source) game developer. Can I use this art?

It depends on the license(s) the art is released under. Technically all of the art on this site is legal for use in commercial projects -- however, some of the licenses require you to distribute the source code of your entire project for free, and allow others to distribute the source for free as well. Here is a quick overview of the licenses and what they mean for commercial, closed-source developers. Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer, and this is not legal advice. Read the licenses carefully and consult your legal department before including any of this art in non-open-source or commercial software.



Art, music, sound, 2d, 3d, it's all here and it's all available for you, right now!

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