Saturday, August 29, 2015

Getting Vivid Vision beta to work

During my Skype with James, the issue of stability of the Vivid Vision beta came up.  I told James that the program would crash quite a lot, and that I'd have to reopen the game quite frequently.  He said it was a result of the problematic Oculus SDK.  But recently I've got things set up so that Vivid Vision is now very stable.  Since I've had this configuration I've not had a single crash.  Because the release of the commercial Oculus Rift is still potentially eight freaking months away, that means it makes sense to get the DK2 to go as far as it will go.  That's another eight potential months of vision therapy on the DK2.  Without further ado, here are the details of my setup.

Operating system: Windows 10 Professional (x64)
CPU: Intel Core i7-4770 Haswell Quad-Core 3.4GHz LGA 1150 84W BX80646I74770 Desktop Processor Intel HD Graphics
GPU: EVGA GeForce GTX 780 Ti Superclocked w/ACX Cooler 3GB GDDR5 384bit Dual-Link DVI-I DVI-D HDMI DP SLI Graphics Cards 03G-P4-2884-KR
Motherboard: Z87-GD65 GAMING (MS-7845) 1.0
Memory: G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 16GB (2 x 8GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600 (PC3 12800) Desktop Memory Model F3-1600C9D-16GXM
Oculus runtime: oculus_runtime_sdk_0.6.0.1_win
Vivid Vision: VividVision-v0.72-Win
nVidia drivers: 355.60-desktop-win10-64bit-international-whql

When it came time to upgrade to Windows 10, everyone in the VR community collectively crapped their pants because Oculus didn't have a ready compatible runtime.  Luckily there was a workaround. When you try to install the, the installer says it fails.  But it works.  Just create a shortcut of OVRServer_x64 (in Program Files\Oculus\Service). On that shortcut, click properties, go to the compatibility tab, and check Windows 8 compatibility, and also check 'run as administrator'. Then turn off the Oculus Rift. Then run the shortcut that you created, then turn the Oculus Rift on, and then run Vivid Vision.  What a pain in the ass.   But it runs like a champ now.   I'm sure that the new runtime works great (, and that's probably the way to go.  But right now everything's working awesome for me in my current setup.  So that's where I'm going to stay for a while until some driver upgrade breaks something, and then I have to mess with the thing again.  Sigh... the joy of being an early adopter.

Here's the post that gave me the instructions on how to get the Oculus Rift to work with Windows 10.

Working with James and Tuan

Something pretty interesting has happened.  It's no secret for people who read this blog that I am a deep admirer of James Blaha, his work, and the work of others at Vivid Vision.  James and I had bumped into each other a few times via Reddit discussions about the Oculus Rift and the therapeutic potential for VR in vision rehabilitation.

Well, this time he responded to a post where I talked briefly about my experience with Vivid Vision and he was curious to know more so we arranged to Skype.  We talked about a variety of different things, from my vision to his vision, from how the software has changed over time, to how people are responding to the software.

When I asked him about that, he mentioned that it seems that it's those who have mild to no strabismus who respond best to the software.  However, he mentioned that he's working on new games which are expressly for taking care of the problem of strabismus--and that maybe I would be interested in testing out this software which is still being developed and not yet been tested on anyone.  Having tried just about every vision therapy imaginable with not a whole lot of success, I jumped at the opportunity.  He suggested that I talk with Tuan (Tuan Tran is the vision therapist at Vivid Vision--partners with James) to discuss my particular vision situation and move from there.  If it looks like I'm a good fit, I'll be given a copy of the alpha.

So we ended the Skype conversation and then I did a Skype session with Tuan the next day.  We talked about my particular situation, and he said that he thinks he knows the direction that we should go in.  He suggested using 1+ reading glasses when looking at objects up close and during vision therapy workouts, doing the Bubbles game in Vivid Vision (a game that I hadn't yet been played), and doing it for 30 minutes per day, five days a week.  The Bubbles game is already available in Vivid Vision, but the new game will be made available in a new version of Vivid Vision.  When James et al. (I imagine he's not developing solo? Didn't think to ask.) finish their copy, I will receive a link in an email to download it.

What took my by surprise is that Tuan said that after a two weeks he'd like to do another Skype session to check up, and to send him a message if I have any a-ha moments.  These guys are amazing.  They're doing me a huge favor.  Hopefully I can at least partly repay the favor by providing them with valuable information and feedback.  Amazing dudes.  Great honor to be working with them, and being sort of under their wing.  Sort of feels unreal.  If you're reading this, thank you so much, gents!

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Quick update

It's been a while eh?

Things have been going pretty well.  Space looks really good.  Things look really big in my face, compared to before.  I do seem to be noticing improvement just in perceptual changes.  I also seem to know how to turn on the suppressing eye while playing space.  It's an odd sensation, how I feel my muscles when I do this.  My guess is that when I turn on the suppressing eye, it straightens itself out.  But I don't know since I can't see my eyes.  I'm guessing this is the case, because when I turn on that eye and concentrate, I can see the spacecraft quite clearly and this could only be the case if I were looking at the spacecraft dead-on with the fovea (only one since only one eye sees the spacecraft).

However, this is tricky because when I move the spacecraft around, the eye has to move around with it in order to keep the fovea on it.  But that's the fundamental thing that I'm trying to train.  I do feel pretty good about knowing what needs doing in order to progress and there's nothing else I need right now.  Knowing what I now know, I should be able to progress quite a way.

Recently Tuan Tran joined the DIY group.  He's a vision therapist who works with James Blaha on Vivid Vision.  He saw my post and mentioned that I might try to keep that eye on as much as possible during the day, so that's something I've been thinking about quite a bit.