Bird photography game takes flight

If your spouse is an ornithologist, a bird watcher or a photographer then you may be in for a lonely weekend.

That’s because iWin Inc, a US games publisher, has just released a free trial version of what it claims is the “world’s first bird photography game” for the PC.

Players of ‘Snapshot Adventures: Secret of Bird Island,’ adopt a character who is retracing their grandfather’s footsteps, and snap birds as they try to solve his mystery disappearance.

The full game experience allows players to collect special photography items on their adventure, like zoom lenses, a night vision scope and an x-ray attachment.

Each item helps the character in their quest to find and photograph 100 real bird species, located in 50 unique environments, like city parks, forests and swamps.

Players are free to design custom birds and release them online, while they can also download and photograph an unlimited number of birds designed by other gamers.

Wade Tinney, lead game designer, said it was important that the title gave a platform for user-designed content.

He added: “Players can send any photograph they take in the game to their friends, create their own custom birds using a built-in bird designer, and also download and photograph birds created by other players.

“Our beta-testers loved these features and have already created hundreds of custom birds.”

To add realism, Large Animal Games, makers of the title, partnered with the Macaulay Library at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, which has the world’s largest collection of animal sounds.

Macaulay provided field recordings for all of the birds in the game, as well as working with the maker’s artists to ensure that the field markings and sizes of the birds are accurate.

Greg Budney, of the Macaulay Library, said: “Large Animal did a great job of making sure the birds look right, sound right and appear in the correct regions and environments.”

Initial reviews of the game are positive: die-hard photography fans will enjoy neat little touches, like extra points for close-ups, or if the bird is captured in-flight or singing.

Meanwhile, bird watchers and ornithologists will be heartened by the in-game features that make each bird animation authentic-looking and authentic-sounding, with realistic birdsongs.

To download the free 60-minute version of the game, or for more information, please see the game’s dedicated web page.



 

20th April 2007

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