December 16, 2011

Why I Won't Be Covering the 99 Percent Bundle

Sorry, developers. I tried.
[Update again 12/25/11] This post was apparently linked in a forum discussion of the Indievania bundle. Hello new people! Be sure to read the comment thread below, as Fanotherpg has not only identified what problem occured, but updated the game to hopefully fix it.

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.


  1. I think it's really unfortunate that such a humble little effort is probably causing a lot of people problems (although hopefully none as badly as your external HD). I was a little worried about the bundle myself which is why I've been waiting for others to write about them first... can't say I'm happy my fears have been realized though!

    Either way, my netbook runs a 32-bit OS so probably going to try the games there anyway. It's a mostly safe testing environment since it has no important files or anything that couldn't be re-installed in a jiffy. Of course, if it makes my computer explode or something then that'd be a much larger issue. :P

  2. PenutBrittle as a Developer of Sens3s: The Art of Understanding I need to negate your opinion at least in 50%.

    I'm myself running Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit edition, and on this platform I'm running my framework (Multimedia Fusion 2, and not Macromedia Fusion as you declared here on your Blog) as well as developing all games. I'm also Steam user which is always working in background. Also MMF isn't DRM or even required to play the game. It is required to open the source of the game which is included in the package.

    I'm working on daily basis as IT technician, and I'm testing my game on dozen machine or so to verify minimal specs as well as to beta-test as much as I can and make sure nothing goes wrong and there are no crashes.

    So I'm really sorry for what happened to your HDD, but I doubt it was the game itself (explain easily how it could cause your drive to set in flames? It can happen always and it could be just mistiming). But at the same time I'm not negating the fact that it happened during playing of it. So there might be few reasons for that and I would like to ask you some questions:

    What is Spec of your machine?
    Have you tried to change graphic mode of game?
    Have you played on FullScreen or Window Mode?
    What is your native resolution?

    I would appreciate any support in this case, to have a look if there is anything I can do about it.

    Contact me at:


  3. Hello, thanks for the response.

    I'm sorry for the oversight as to the library included, and I will certainly update the post with the corrections. And thank you for the clarifications about MM2 and the included sources. I'm not very savvy when it comes to current media libraries.

    As for my machine, it's a Intel Duo Processor 3ghz with a Nvidia 9600GT card and 4 gigs of ram. The game was run on an external HD formatted in FAT32 (I know, it sucks, but I need to use the same HD on a Apple computer for school, and FAT32 is the only cross compatible format, while the internal drive in my computer is far too small/packed to properly install anything these days).

    I did not change the graphics mode from the default (whatever that is), but I did play in fullscreen, on my monitor which is natively 1920x1080. As mentioned, the game was running off of an external HD; while I don't think the actual running of Steam in the background was the culprit, my best non informed guess is that the combination of Sens3s and Steam attempting to transfer data over the USB 2.0 connection at once caused the hard drive to overheat and the power supply simply shorted out. Of course, I don't know too much about computers.

    Again, thank you very much for the response. It's definitely appreciated.

  4. OK. So I believe I know what could be the issue. The way how Sens3s was resized, and due to your HD resolution it could cause too much data flow alongside with Steam.

    I will update the game in couple of next days with usage of totally different way how graphics will be resized.

    And for your information - I was making it at Intel Core 2 Duo T7250 @ 2GHz, 4 GB RAM, NVIDIA GeForce 8600M GT and 64-bit Windows 7 Ultimate.

    I just wish that you would finish reviewing the games from the bundle - IMHO it's worth it. And give Sens3s another try AFTER the update, just in case ;)

  5. Ha. Those are pretty close specs. Interesting.

    As for the bundle, I'll try to give it another shot. I'm pretty busy right now at the moment, but I'll be sure to give it another go when I have the time to write and post a proper review.

    Glad you managed to figure out the issue, and thanks again for taking the time to respond.

  6. That's not a problem. To be honest it would be much faster if you would let me know about the issue by mail or any other way of communication :) But I will be working on the issue from tomorrow. I will let you know how it's going.

  7. Sorry for such delay in reply. I found out what's the issue and I'm redoing whole game from scratch - the way the whole graphic system was handled occurred to be unstable on some setups, so my apologies on that. On other hand game would be now multiplatform (support Mac and Linux). So if you wish I will keep you informed.

  8. Hey! No worries about the delay. On revisiting this, I'm genuinely sorry about any grief my grumpy article caused, but I'm glad you figured out a significant issue. That's really great to hear about the revamped system, and I have to say I always appreciate Mac and Linux support. The premise still seems very intriguing and interesting to me, so I would definitely like to keep in touch about new developments, and I will definitely give the fresh new build of Sens3s another shot. If you'd prefer email just send me a line to backlogjourney at gmail dot com.


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