Getting Royalty-Free Game Media
You can find CDs full of royalty-free art and sounds either at a store or over the Internet. "Royalty-free" basically means you don't have to pay royalties to use the art (but be sure to read over any license the art comes with, to make sure). Many types of art collections are more suited for desktop publishing, with simple line-art drawings of computers, businessmen shaking hands, and whatnot. However, you can also find many collections geared more toward graphics designers, such as texture collections or photographs. Many are available; your best bet is to search the Internet for royalty-free graphic packages that suit your needs. Photographs can be a great start for creating background images and textures. Consider Screenshot, for example. In this example photograph, the top part can be used for a scrolling background (the large rectangle), and other parts of the photo can be used for interesting textures (the small square).
Screenshot A photograph is used for a background (the large rectangle) and a texture (the small square).
Other royalty-free media to consider looking into are icons and fonts. Icons can be very useful for user interface elements, like those you had in , "Sound Effects and Music." These icons came from a paint program (Paint Shop Pro) and were modified slightly by giving them a drop shadow.