Hi players, we have released recently released an update to the game. The primary changes involved overhauling the tutorial to more gradually introduce some of the tools and have better positioned tooltips and making comments have a solid fill so they are easier to see and click on. See the full changelog here.
Connect-the-Dots got a user experience makeover! In preparation for releasing Mozak on touch devices (coming shortly), we needed an alternative to the right-click button, and make the interaction more streamlined. There is no longer a notion of “finalizing the trace”. You simply add an new edge from the current node by clicking on a new point.
We also hope that the new user interface will encourage people to grow the traces from existing traces rather than starting a new branch out of nowhere. You can still start a brand new branch by manually unselecting a current node highlighted orange, and then clicking on a new location. As an added bonus, now that right click is not used, you can rotate while in CtD mode!
See the changelog here for all the updates. If you have suggestions to change how new interface work please let us know!
If you had given up on Virtual Finger in the past because it didn’t do what you intended, or created some weird traces, you should give it another try!
We invented a brand new algorithm that is super fast, does the right thing when user makes small trace errors, and handles intelligently erroneous traces in empty space. It should work on any connected trace in the volume. It will intentionally not trace over empty space because it is specifically looking for continuous portions of the neuron. For traces over neuronal signal, it is very accurate even when a person’s trace is not. In fact, we think you can now trace even with your toe. We should probably call it Virtual Toe. Now, it’s still new, so we may have missed something. We challenge you to find any connected trace where Virtual Toe creates a weird trace. Special callout to all who find a confirmed bug.
Rendering performance is also drastically improved, allowing the game to work on computers with lesser graphics capabilities. Rendering the view is now done in two separate layers, where the volumetric image (3D image) is rendered independently from the “geometry” (edges, nodes, hotspot boundaries, comment boxes, etc.) One nice consequence of this is that we no longer need draw the geometry at 1/3 resolution when we render volume at 1/3 of resolution (e.g. during rotation). Previously, that meant that the entire view became blurry while zooming around, including geometry and text. Now dropping down to a 1/3 resolution is almost unnoticeable. Moving the mouse around, hovering over nodes and comments, virtual finger, deleting nodes and branches and any manipulations that do not require moving the camera (zoom, rotate, pan) will now be much more responsive.
We also found a rendering issue that was washing out the neuron signal. You will notice that all volumes now have 20% more contrast in the image. I bet you’ll be able to see more faint signal now than before. Play with the contrast slider, making it brighter will bring out more signal than in the past.
Exciting news for Seattle-area Mozak players! The Allen Institute for Brain Science has opened up a part-time neuronal reconstruction position and are hoping some Mozak players will apply! This is an amazing chance to take those tracing skills to a professional level. This is a paid, part-time position. If you are interested, check out the Allen Institute’s job postings page and look for Research Associate I - (Temporary/Contracted Leave Positions) in the Morphology and 3D Reconstruction department. Best of luck and happy tracing!