Tuesday, October 7, 2014

The Diplopia beta has been released to those who opted in (FINALLY!!!)

So I got Diplopia beta.  I played it for around 40 minutes yesterday.  You can consider this an informal review of the game so far.

The first impression that I have of the game after starting the executable is that it is very smooth and apparently polished.  There's also no anti-aliasing so some of the edges are pixelated.

It does a number of vision tests for suppression and visual integration, and then you get launched into the game.

The two games I've seen thus far is a Breakout-type game, and another game where you're flying through space blasting asteroids with a spacecraft.  The first game that I started (I didn't select to play the game, it just chose for me) was the spacecraft game.  The game starts with a timer set for 20 minutes (your vision therapy session length).  Your goal is to get as many points as possible by picking up items that you see.  You have to figure out where they are by gauging depth and space.

After playing for about five minutes, I could tell that the game was definitely doing something to my vision.  I could tell that the game was trying to force me to see in stereo.  It felt like I might have made the sudden shift at any moment, although it didn't happen.  It was definitely a strange sensation.  It was almost like I had approached a portal through which a different world resided, and I was so close to passing through.  That's the best way that I can explain it.

It's a fairly stimulating game--both the spacecraft game and the Breakout game.  You can tell how it works.  It forces both of your eyes to work in order to play the game by making certain elements only visible to each eye.  So with the Breakout game, you have your paddle which you can only see with your left eye, and the ball, which you can see only with the right eye.  In order to play and be successful at the game you must use both eyes.  Because of my suppression, this game is difficult.  I sort of have to guess as to where the paddle is in relationship to where the ball is.  But it's very satisfying when I can whack it because it gives me instant feedback as to where things are in 3d.

It's a brilliant game.  It solves so many problems at once.  For one, because the Oculus Rift has a giant field of view that means that the game can exercise the peripheral vision.  Another thing is that stereoscopic effects aren't produced by an active shutter mechanism, so the composite image is very bright and high quality.  The Oculus Rift DK2 also has positional and orientation tracking so that the vestibular system is engaged with the game (Diplopia has made good, smooth use of the DK2's positional tracking).  Finally, the games are very engaging and stimulating.  They're not boring.  The 20 minute sessions go by pretty quickly.  It's challenging.  You are really paying attention and engaging your brain in order to reach the target goals.  This is what vision therapy should be!

After I did the initial 20 minute session I tried to go back to the spacecraft game that I was playing before, but couldn't.  There's no choice to select the game that you play.  Instead, it took me to the Breakout game, which I played around with for quite a while.  One thing I noticed is that you have to be logged in before you play the game.  I wonder if the guys at Diplopia are tracking you to make sure that you play the spacecraft game for only 20 minutes per day.  You can't play the game if you don't have an active Internet connection.  We'll find out.

For a while I was tempted to make vision therapy games (since I have an Oculus Rift developer kit), but it's hard to see how this can be improved upon.  But maybe that's just a copout.  Major props to James for creating such a powerful use case for VR HMDs.  It's amazingly well put together for a beta.  I'm going to try and contain my excitement and just see how things go for the next week.  Thank you, James!!

dipolopiagame.com

12 comments:

  1. Ahh that's so exciting!!! I will definitely pick this up when the consumer version of the Rift is available. On another note, do you know of any other exercises besides the light tube that help accommodating both eyes together? Each eye accommodates well when alternating or closing the other eye, but when trying to fuse, accommodation isn't as clear and it seems the focus is lost when trying to re-align the eyes. Maybe that makes sense? At any rate, I'm interested to hear how things progress with the Diplopia beta!

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    1. What you're talking about makes complete sense, Aaron. I had/have the same issues. That's a similar problem that I think most amblyopes/strabs have--accommodation is out of sync for the eyes.

      I'm not sure how much the light tube actually helped in retrospect. More than anything, I think the light tube helped me understand my visual system and about the accommodation reflex.

      As for what helps with that? Man, what a question. I think, and this is going to sound like a copout answer, that things which improve vision generally are going to help with that. Before I got my Rift I was doing tracking monster and antisuppression Solitaire, both of which helped. Both of those exercises helped with integrating both of the eyes together, which I believe helped with the accommodation issue that you're talking about since that particular issue is one of integration.

      Right now... I think Diplopia is the best tool out there for treating strabismus. Vision therapy works, but what's different about Diplopia is the power. It's appears to just be way more powerful than anything else out there--and this is for a variety of reasons, like the things that I mentioned in the post.

      Honestly, if I were you, I would spring for the DK2 and get Diplopia immediately. Then get the commercial versions when they come. But that's coming from a person who's extremely excited and heavily invested in all of this. I say this because the commercial version is going to be officially out in around a year, it seems. For me that's way too long of a wait. The technology is here right now!

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  2. Definitely going to give it a try once I get a dk2 sounds good hopefully no need in patching future children hope the game works to help me see better

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    1. Yes. Do yourself a favor and do that.

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  3. Glad to hear it went well for you :) My rift was ordered Aug 7, so I'm waiting on that (and my beta invite). Hoping they come around the same time :D I've never been this excited about eye exercises, so I suppose that's a good sign.

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    1. So am I. It's a very exciting time to be alive. You should hear that guy James talk. He's a person who seems to be aware of how utterly amazing our current place is, and where we're headed. I suggest that everyone check out the EnterVR podcast where James is interviewed. It is pretty freaking awesome.

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    1. Everyone and their mom will buy the consumer version. If this pans out the way I think it will, VR is going to catch everyone by surprise. It's going to see an adoption rate that no one expected, except for those who are invested.

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  6. I can't wait to buy this game as I have diplopia and have been searching for a natural cure.

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    1. Kinda strange to think that a game called Diplopia will cure your diplopia. but yes, I've been playing it for several months now and, while it hasn't had the same effect on me as it has for others, it seems to be the most effective vision therapy treatment I'd yet tried.

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  7. Can someone please put the software out on the net.
    It cant be bougth by private people anymore.
    It will only go out to clinics......
    Bet he hot payed good to take that route.....

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