|Sorry, developers. I tried.|
Also, to the guy who said I was an idiot. I'm not an idiot. Merry Christmas :)
[Update 12/18/11] I was contacted by Fanotherpg, the developer of Sens3s in the comment section. He offered some insights into my hard drive woes and some reassurance about his game's support of Windows 7 64 bit. I strongly suggest checking out his comment down below. He also offered a correction regarding the included media library to my original post, which I have edited in.
I'll admit, my original goal is being slowly, and ironically, pushed back into my backlog; instead of, you know, journeying I've been getting pretty caught up in BundleMania 2011. With three of the five available now safely reviewed (and the fact that the reviews were really well received and popular, thanks to you wonderful people), I figured I'd suck it up and go for a perfect string of bundle reviews. That didn't go so well. I'm writing this little post as a cautionary tale about the 99 Percent Bundle. I'm sure it's a well intentioned effort, but I'm going to warn you right now that you'll want to be really careful with the games within, lest you wind up in the same situation as me.
So I downloaded the bundled zip file very easily from Indievania, unzipped the files onto my external drive (this is important), grabbed my trusty notepad and set out to review the bundle, explicitly trying to answer whether or not these games were indeed actually worth your time. The tagline for the bundle is "Games were made to be played. All of them." (This is important too)
I basically skipped through the list one by one, playing each game until I had enough notes jotted down and then skipping to the next one. Things were going swimmingly; I had no technical issues with Super Bogus World, Spino's Dangerous Dungeons, Diamond Hollow II, Unnamed Sandbox Game and Unstoppaball (which made me giggle when it rated my performance "Horriball"). Then I came to Sens3s: The Art of Understanding. From what I understood this game casts you as a blind person, feeling your way around the world slowly with your various senses. This was also the first game that required a separate media library, Multimedia Fusion II. The 99 Percent site promised detailed instructions within the zip. The zip had a tiny readme that basically just detailed the Fusion components, but nothing on how to use them. I decided that there would probably be more obvious instructions if required, so I dived in. [Update: My assumptions were right. There is no need to mess with the MM2 library, it is pre-configured. See below.]
The game opens fine. It's really difficult to understand, and bizarre looking. But I decide to give it a shot and keep playing for a while. Things were perfectly ok when suddenly it all went to hell at once. My screen locked up, and the sound started stuttering. The only sound that didn't was the shower from in game. Not good. I try the usual suspects, Ctrl Alt and Del, but no luck. I prepare to do a hard reboot, when my external drive started screaming in robot agony. "BRRRRRRRUUUULTKKKT," it shrieked earnestly. "What are you doing!?" I shouted back at it. Then my hard drive suddenly unlocked his true calling as Drivahkiin, Dragonborn, and pulled off a very impressive Yol Toor Shol all over my desk. In non-nerd, sparks erupted from the vent, spewing everywhere. Then, nice and knackered from his antics, my wee hard drive promptly died.
Crumbs. There's a lot of important things on that drive. This whole blog's backup, for instance. My entire Steam collection, for another. Dozens of folders of writing scraps. Music. I was pretty worried this would turn into one of those bug fiascos from the old days that would accidentally overwrite your whole computer. Thankfully, this wasn't the case. With a cleaver combo of chkdsk, fsck and sudo, the drive lurched back to life. Things were even mostly untouched too. Lucky me. The only major damage was Steam, which was running at the time, and that's 99% resolved now.
I'm not remotely trying to suggest this was intentional on either the bundle runners or the developer of Sens3s, or that either should be held accountable. I'm not even sure if this is common; this could be just an isolated incidient that didn't happen to a single other person (though I have heard vague murmurs). This is just a warning about a bug that may or may not be present. Think of this as a quick cautionary tale before you download these games; they're often unstable, and have some pretty specific (and disastrous) errors. So if you really want to play the 99% bundle...
- Make sure your copy of Windows is 32 bit, as 64 bit isn't officially required to be supported. Apparently it's a requirement according to the Indievania page, but not well marked. I've heard many offhand rumours that some of the games don't support 64 bit computers at all.
- Install on an internal drive. USB connections probably won't help matters.
- Don't run anything in the background. I was running Steam, and I'm sure that had something to do with it.
- Read all of the instructions carefully, and don't run the program unless you're sure it's safe and all components are installed. [Update: According to Fanotherpg, the MM2 components in Sens3s are simply included, no need for further installation.]
Personally, it's not worth the increased hassle to get this to run, so I'll be sticking with my Windows 7 64 bit Professional student version and scrap the review thank you very much. I don't want to dump all over the 99 percent guys, because I'm sure they'd much rather have good publicity and happy customers. I'm just making sure that people realize that this bundle isn't running with the same quality standards as most of the others. There will be bugs, and they may be pretty serious as I've discovered. Maybe not all games are meant to be played, at least not without more careful testing.