New Features. This version of the Bird P. I. Game has several new features based on feedback from you. First, and foremost, a Focus control on the binoculars replaces the old Visual Hint button. In the previous game pressing the Visual Hint button made the invisible bird less transparent and removed points each time you used it. Now the bird appears in the binoculars with different degrees of focus (blur) depending on the level of difficulty you selected. You use the focus control on the binoculars to make the bird easier to view. We choose this approach because many teachers felt this game was a great way to teach kids how to use binoculars, and because its sort of how bird watching works in real life. You'll notice an area in the control panel that is blank. That is the future home of the binocular selector, where you can choose different binoculars. They will work just like the real ones so you can get an idea of the differences in power, lens size, and field of view (and perhaps even buy a pair at our store to help support this site).

The Option button lets you control the volume of the ambient sound, set the difficultly level and change the skin. Right now we just have wood but we plan lots of other variations. Some features are not working yet, such as the Help screens and the scoring.

Requirements. As always the game requires Flash 8 and IE 6, Safari 2, or Firefox 1.5. To check your version of Flash right click on the background and look at the bottom of the menu (Mac users Ctrl-click). It should say About Macromedia Flash 8. If not download Flash 8 here.

Starting Game. First in the game control panel on the lower right, use the right and left arrows to pick a habitat. Then press the blue button to the left of the habitat name.

Select a Level. There are three levels: Easy, Moderate, and Hard. They differ in the way they present the birds as follows. Easy: Birds are visible at all times. Binoculars come up in focus. Moderate: Birds do not appear on the background, rather a green pulsating ring (glint) appears. When the binoculars are used the birds are slightly out of focus. Hard: Birds do not appear and glint does not appear. When the binoculars are used the birds are way out of focus

Game Loading. Wait for the game to load. A small circle indicator at the center of the screen shows progress loading. On dial up connections it might take a few minutes.

How to play. To see the birds you must click on the frame and drag to the right. This will cause the background to scroll. You can scroll up, down, right or left. When a bird comes into view you will hear its call and see a pulsating green circle which indicates its location -- but it will be invisible at first. Try to guess what the bird is by listening to its sound, and select its name from the box that appears in the upper left corner of the window when the green circle is pulsing. If you want a visual hint click on the Visual button. Each time you guess or use a hint it will make the bird less transparent -- but it will also take points off your score.

Scoring. The score starts out at maximum value, 500 points for each bird. If you guess every bird right without using hints or binoculars you keep that perfect score. If you use hints, the binoculars or guess wrong your score is reduced by 50 points.

Details. For text hints click the "Hint" button. To magnify with Binoculars press the "Binoculars" button. Points are removed for all hints (but not yet in the beta). For fine movement control: W=Up, S=Down, A=Left, D=Right.