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Types of media Assets

Learning Intentions

  • Identify different types of media assets within a game

Success Criteria

  • I can identify media assets used in games

Types of assets

  • Media assets for video games come in different formats. These different types of assets serve different purposes.
    Some of the more commonly known types include:
    • Graphics
    • Audio
    • Video
    • Text

Input devices

  • Let’s discuss the different types of media assets that exist
  • Think of as many different types of media assets that might be in a video game


  • A graphic can be a vector or bitmap images, such as photographs, sprites, tiling textures, background images, etc

  • Vector graphics are built up by using shapes. Each shape (object) which makes up a graphic has its own set of properties also known as attributes. A full definition of the attributes of the shape is stored. This is more memory efficient than bit-mapped graphics which store the state of every pixel. Vector graphics have small file sizes in comparison to bit-mapped graphics. 


  • Bitmapped graphics are made up of a rectangular grid (or array) of dots or pixels — each of which is stored individually. The colour value of every pixel is stored. File sizes can be large since each pixel would typically take up to three or four bytes. Bitmapped graphics (images) are captured by scanners and digital cameras are bitmapped.


  • File types used in video games include jpeg, bmp, gif 
  • Capture methods: digital camera, scanner 
  • Vector graphics can be drawn with a mouse, keyboard or graphics tablet

What graphics are used for in games

  • A sprite is a figure or character within a game. Sprites usually have a transparent outline and can be animated to simulate movement. Characters in some games are also known as avatars.
  • A background image is a type of texture that shows a landscape image 
  • 3D objects (including characters): Items or characters that can be placed within the game 
  • 3D levels: laying out the areas of game play, such as hills, cities, rooms, tunnels, etc, for players and characters to move around in.

What graphics are used for in games

  • Skyboxes: a skybox is a cube with background images that surrounds the game player in a 3D game.

Texture files

  • Textures are attributes of graphics. This attribute defines the surface appearance of what objects with look like. It can be thought of as the skin of that wraps around the 3D framework of the object to give it a more realistic appearance images that are mapped onto surfaces of objects or characters.

Bump maps

  • Bump maps are another type of asset commonly found in video games today. A bump map turns a regular flat surface into a bumpy one as shown below.
  • This allows for a more realistic object. 

Bump maps

3D models

  • Modern 3D video games also store models as assets for the game. A model is a representation of an object or a character, for example, in Halo the Masterchief himself is a 3D model that has been stored as an asset and can be used over and over again throughout the game.
  • Some of the levels in Halo will also be made up from 3D models that stored as media assets and accessed whilst the game is running.


  • 2D (dimension) is used to create cartoon style games
  • Software such as Adobe Flash was used to create online games.
  • File format – png, gif and swf

3D animation

  • 3D animation is used to create realistic, life like games
  • 3D Studio Max, Blender and Maya are just some of the software used to create 3D animation

Sound files

  • Video game sound design is the art of creating and adding audio elements to a video game.

  • Sound effects are used to make a game seem more realistic

  • The sound effects are then imported into the game and used in conjunction with an event or sprite

  • In some 3D modelling software, you can bind sounds to animations

Sound files

  • When gathering audio files, a good sound designer utilises these 3 methods:

    • Recording your own sounds.

    • Collecting licensed stock sounds from the internet.

    • Creating sound from virtual instruments and synthesisers (GarageBand for example)

Mixing audio

  • Whilst mixing music for your own use is fine, we cannot simply mix two songs together

Audio waves

Audio waves


For editing audio files, we can use software such as Audacity


  • Text media assets are required for the game to provide dialogue, create and atmosphere give player feedback or instructions 
  • Normally games store assets which contain all of the speech for characters in separate text assets that are then used when the game is loaded. Can you think why it might be a better idea to have this as a separate asset rather than embedding it straight into the game?

Go to the following website (or search it on Google)


Have a look at each of the games in the worksheet by viewing the YouTube video (links in the worksheet). Identify their media assets.


Presentation Overview
Types Of Media Assets
© 2020 - 2024 J Balfour
20:06 | 23-05-2024
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