A downloadable birds for Windows, macOS, and Linux

[Take Me to the Downloads!]

In time you will understand the birds as much as they understand you.

Download Bird by Example before it's too late. 

Drop thumb drives with Bird by Example into the mailboxes of Baby Boomers. This is important for the game.

🎮 Itch.io | 🎹 Bandcamp | 💞 Discord

🐦Thanks from Noah🐦

Thank you so much for taking interest in this project! All the support and humour I've seen from Itch users like you is inspiring me to really dive into this project. Don't hesitate to reach out and ask questions and give feedback!

Also JOIN MY DISCORD!! I post about development sometimes. It's a great place to get in touch, ask questions, share your own development accomplishments with me, and chat about whatever!

- Noah

⁉ FAQ ⁉

Q: No! Wtf? Why do they have arms?

And thank YOU for joining me today! Please do not swear in front of my birds as they may learn your filth.

Q: This game looks horrifying, why should I not leave immediately?

Bird by Example is — and I say this with great passion:

"A mock RPG where all the other occupants are horrifying birds who mimic your behaviour with deep learning."

It's just like Skyrim but without all those frightening ghouls! In fact, I'll let you in on a little secret... This game IS Skyrim! That's right! I worked on the first version of Skyrim, and it was this! Long before Bethesda was usurped by those fear mongering high-fantasy suits.

Q: Shit... I do like Skyrim...

Yes you do! And it will be just like that! But there will be nothing to be afraid of! In bird world there is nothing to be afraid of! Nothing to be afraid of!

Right now at this very second, the metaphysical bounds of this game hold a throng of hungry birds who wish nothing more than to be like you! Like mama!

These birds have artificial brains that optimize learning challenges using trendy Deep Learning algorithms found in the titular deep and ancient waters directly adjacent to the Silicon Valley. 

You will be helping mama™ teach the rest of the birds basic skills which they can apply using their rudimentary environmental awareness and a knack for peer-to-peer teaching to develop a new world order. A world free from Big Ghoul!

Q: Nothing you just said sounds like Skyrim! None of this even sounds like a game!?

Well you're still here. Thaaaaat's capitalism!

Q: No it's not! This game is free!

And it's called the free market! Please settle down.

Q: Ok, so the birds learn? What do they learn?

The birds always learn from their mama™ (you), so you can always try to teach them new things! This will be important for getting them started, as initially their brains are random and ill-equipped for living in this bird-world.

However, birds also learn from each other! This means you can teach one bird, and that bird will teach their friends! (This is important for the game). But this is a double edged sword as it suffers from the issue that — shitty birds will teach better birds to be shittier.

Q: Shitty birds?

I  can only assume you are as distressed as I am about shitty birds.

So my solution is that I will be implementing a system for on-the-fly success metrics that you (their mother) can set from your town hall! You can design your own success metric and see how it affects your median population. This is important for the game.

Maybe you try out communism (labour = good), or capitalism (personal wealth = good), or a warrior society (mortal combat = good), or a dictatorship (pampering you = good)! The options will be limitless.

Based on the regime you choose, it will rank birds' effectiveness within this regime, and the most successful ~20% of birds within the current regime will be considered 'teachers', and will pass on their knowledge to the youngsters.

Q: But what is a bird?

A bird is a fictional creature which came to me in a dream last February during an especially cold night. I fear they might be inspired (subconsciously) by both a small subset of lizards, and the darker, distrustful side of us humans.

Q: Can the birds die?

No. Next question.

Q: Will the birds be able to die one day?

Okay you caught me — yes — birds will be able to die, but only from violent deaths. They do not age in the conventional sense. This is important for the game.

Amendment: Starvation is also on the table.

Q: Concerning. What's your goal for this project?

I want more than anything for Bird by Example to be a storytelling engine. I want to develop flexible dynamic systems and hope that emergent play... emerges from the interplay between the AIs and (importantly) you, the player.

Q: You were talking a lot about capitalism up there. Are you a conservative?

No! And how dare you!

Q: Umm, I know a little bit about machine learning and I have some questions...

Each bird uses a deep (6 hidden layers) Recurrent Neural Network (RNN) with ~30 inputs and ~10 outputs. I chose a recurrent neural network because they are most handy for working with sequenced inputs. The sequence these birds use is time. They currently run back-propagation every 0.1 seconds and currently have no preference for 'what' they are learning.

They also 'read' about 20 categories of metadata about objects they see in the environment, including but not limited to:

  • Does this object evoke DEATH 💀?
  • Does this object evoke THE UNKNOWN👽?
  • Does this object evoke POWER🤑?
  • Does this object evoke COWARDICE😨?
  • Does this object evoke CURIOSITY🧐?

And these evocations inform the transferal of skills between objects of similar category! Amazing! Teach a bird to eat a JUICY pineapple 🍍, and if they see another juicy lookin' thing (orange 🍊, snail 🐌, another bird 🦆) they'll probably choose to eat that too!

Q: Cool, this is scary! (?)

Thank you! Yes, it is.

Q: Can I play this game?

Yes! Please do!

[To the Downloads!]

Q: Have you ever seen a bi-

Thank you that's all the time I have today!

StatusOn hold
PlatformsWindows, macOS, Linux
Rated 4.1 out of 5 stars
(53 total ratings)
AuthorNoah Burkholder
GenreSimulation, Role Playing
Made withUnity, Blender, Adobe Illustrator
Tags3D, Colorful, Cute, Horror, machine-learning, Sandbox, Singleplayer, Unity
Average sessionA few minutes
InputsKeyboard, Mouse
LinksPatreon, Twitter


Bird by Example - Alpha 0.2.1 (Windows) 89 MB
Bird by Example - Alpha 0.2.1 (Mac OS X) 111 MB
Bird by Example - Alpha 0.2.1 (Linux) 99 MB

Install instructions

Note: This game is very CPU intensive! Bird by Example processes huge batches of neural network learning cycles per second, and it will NOT run at a reasonable speed on most laptops, and weaker desktop PCs.


  1. Extract .ZIP file.
  2. Run 'Bird by Example.exe' to play!

Mac + Linux:

  1. I have no idea! I don't even know if they will run!
  2. ???
  3. Do you own a Mac!? Who are you?? Figure it out!!

Development log

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(1 edit)

hi, i downloaded this game on my mac

and i opened it how i always open it but i couldn't open it

i was hoping you could fix that? (this game sounds amazing and i really wanna play it)

Random Scuffed Games #64


Vorgeschlagen von: Li_the_Wendigo

Ich meine es ist ein Development Build, aber ehrlich gesagt habe ich absolut keine Ahnung in welche Richtung sich das Spiel entwickeln soll. Ein Haufen quietschbunter Vögel eiern durch die Gegend, es gibt Geheimnisse(?) zu Entdecken und 50er Bizeps angebracht an  Wackelige Wackelkameraden in Vogelform prügeln sich durch den Fiebertraum den ich bitte nie wieder erleben möchte.

Keine Ahnung was es sein sollte, aber das war leider nur die erste 2 Minuten lustig.


Dito: 2/5

Chat: 1.43/5

Gesamt: 1.72/5


duds when i was trying to get into the party area i found lore and adeAD bird in a testing tube cool party

This game needs to keep being updated my bird children cant fall behind you dont understand this is vital to their SATs

please dont give up i love it


I'm glad you do! Haven't given up — life (rent) has just gotten in the way of being able to expend my limited energy on this.

It means a lot that you like the alpha, and your comment makes me want to keep working when I get moments. Thanks for playing :))

That makes sense, definitely take care of yourself and life first! Thanks for making the game too, I still keep it in my thoughts!!! :D

This was an interesting game for sure!

Haven't played this in a while, I wonder what I can do now.

iii ehhhhh ahhehhhh iiii , ehhhhhhhh ehmmmm ehhh , bird?


Forgive me for sounding stupid, but how do I teach the birds?  all they do is spawn than run into  a corner and start punching, and when they are out of the corner they are usually jumping around and doing nothing.

(1 edit)

- This game is free!

-And it's called the free market! Please settle down.

Wait, are the birds an IA? Are we teaching it, working for free on a tool that we don't even know what it will be used for? ^^; 


they already are killing themselves


uh the camera is hard to see thorugh


my computer is shit. otherwise great game


Bird by Example is in the process of releasing on Steam as a free to play game! I will also update the game here.


here are some suggestions

  • add an eating button
  • add a grab button
  • add character customization
  • add a shop
  • allow the player to build
  • allow the player to edit their neural network

All of this is on the development list (in some form), except for building!

It has been two years. And yet this has come.



How do I eat?

u cant if theres a eating button that will be great

I've seen this game before, but it's nice to know the birds can do things, just not immediately.


This is great! I was able to make the AI's be almost perfect gladiators!
This is how I did it.
Start off with punching and moving.
Killed the passive ones.
Killed the immobile ones.
Killed the jumping ones.
(repeat around 5 times ;w;)
Wait a few hours/go afk but still check in.
Repeat steps 1 2 and 3 
After this I got my gladiators, mamas proud.






Please continue development of this artistic masterpiece.  It is vitally important.


Thank you! I'm working on it. Looking at getting some funding because it's quite difficult to live off this project.


Entirely fair.  Good luck, stay determined!


Thanks friend! I'll do my best!

Can u make this game like a funny RPG and u like fight other monsters and stuff. U don't have to its just a suggestion


RPG mechanics are planned! I'm going to begin with eating and item use and then start combat and enemy mobs.

I will now follow this game until it is finished im very exited 

Also when this does become a full game do u thik we are going to have to pay for?

(1 edit)

Hey! I'm busy with work these days but in the next couple years I'd like to push the game onto Steam as a free game, with possibility of maybe some paid expansions to add bonus features.

I’ve been stuck on sleep everytime I fall or something how do I unsleep QAQ


This is entirely my fault. There's a debug key (Z) which I use to test the ragdolling and causes the bird to fall asleep until they die. I forgot to take it out of the release and it has left lots of people confused.

I questioned my life after playing this.


The best part of the game is th Q&A.

pleas tell me how to run  it  on macos pls for the love of god.

(1 edit)

Make sure you downloaded the Mac OS version of the game! (Some people have downloaded the Windows dev-build version by accident) It should be a .zip file called "BBE_0.2.1_Mac.zip" which you need to extract. Inside the extracted folder is the BBE app it should be as simple as running it at that point.

Let me know if you have any issues! (I don't actually own a Mac device so I can't verify this myself.)


i wonder when the next update is


Development is slowed because I'm trying to pay rent, but you can check out development progress on the Discord! Next update is going to be big but it may be a while as I sort out other things in my life.

What are the controls

If you're looking for a full list there is a window which pops up prior to launching the game where you can see all the bindings and change them as you'd like.

Default is WASD + your mouse for the primary controls! Currently grabbing and using objects isn't implemented even though buttons exist for those functions.

Alright. I recommend you remove the Linux tag because Linux doesn't run EXE files and considering you don't know how to run it in Linux I suppose you just assume Linux users will do the same operation as windows users. It cannot be run in Linux.

Hi there fujirose!

Sorry for the late reply. Make sure you've downloaded the Linux version (0.2.1). The Linux version does not include a .exe file like you mentioned, and instead has a .x86_64 file. It's possible you downloaded the Windows version of the latest Dev Build (0.2.2).

Starting the .x86_64 file requires you to mark it as a program, and then run through the terminal. Depending on your distro this may look different, but this is what worked for me (Look for Kiri's answer):



Quite possible I did. Thanks.

Can they...not have these weird arms please? (Why do they have to look so virile and...clunky?  Why can't they look agile? Why am I here???)


arms make bird better




(3 edits) (+1)

the birds just end up being idiotic morons and dieing over and over and over AND I LOVE IT

please finish the game i can't wait for the fully developed version of this game.

sorry i can't support you on patreon (yet).


Hahaha so glad you enjoyed the primordial birds.

I'm coding the next update right now, so stay tuned!


Holy shit... This game, and your presentation of it here on Itch.io, has literally left me in awe. I don't know where to start as far as conveying just how impressed I am, and how excited I am to watch the development process anticipating its eventual release. Bravo dude! Bird by Example may just be my current favorite project to keep an eye on.


Thank you for all the encouragement! And special thanks for your support on Patreon! I've already added your name to the Patreon temple in Bird by Example so you'll be immortalized within the game!

This bird has been staring at me since it was posted, so I finally decided to follow its example and give it a try. Since playing Bird By Example, all has become clear to me and I will never again have regrets about my ability to bird. I am bird just the way I am, just as bird intended, and life is good because of it.

Good job, dev. You bird well.

very weird... very funny and i love the smacking sounds 

Deleted 4 years ago

Serves you right for being a fucking fascist.





(1 edit) (+3)

Its been a while since a game got me to say what the fresh fuck.

I love it, come to mama


Not gonna lie, I was so ready to quit this game 5 minutes in until I started finding the hidden levels underground about the female bird and the creepy bones of other birds. This was an interesting experience. Also, thanks for the new word to my vocab, estuary lol


mark sent me here 


This is one of those games where I went in expecting it to be a cute little game and I come out with several questions, all unanswered... great work :D


Mission Accomplished! Thanks for the video MrBobbly!


How is this scary? This is not scary...



I still wonder how its scary...




Im still confused.

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