Itay Keren

Design considerations and observations by Itay Keren of indie studio Untame,
author of upcoming Mushroom 11.
Copyright (c) 2014 Itay Keren

April 21, 2014 at 6:22pm

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Mushroom 11 on Kotaku

Today I had an interview with Steve Marinconz of Kotaku on the design, story and origins of Mushroom 11. Steve was able to run the interview deeply and skillfully while almost speedrunning through the game! I had a great time at the Kotaku offices, and here’s the result:

April 20, 2014 at 4:06pm

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Reblogged from serenityforge


Mushroom 11 is the first 2D platformer to surprise me since FEZ.

March 18, 2014 at 2:22pm

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Mushroom 11 collaboration with The Future Sound of London


I’ve been a huge fan of British electronic music duo The Future Sound of London (FSOL) since the 90s. Their experiments in various musical sub-genres have inspired me for decades, with masterpieces like ISDN, Dead Cities and my personal favorite, Lifeforms.

When coming up with the original designs for Mushroom 11, I used to listen to FSOL while designing its dark, desolate world. The pace, story and even the mechanics were highly influenced by their unique ambience.

Around a year ago I decided to try and get FSOL on board with the production of Mushroom 11. I believed it would be a near impossible task for me—an indie developer with no PR or funds, nor with a compelling product at the time—to convince this supergroup to join forces. I was thoroughly surprised at how helpful and accommodating they were, and how much they had believed in the game, even when all I had to show for it was interesting mechanics, programmer art, and some grandiose ideas. They provided me with tips, ideas and a huge selection of beautiful, electrifying music, which really helped me define Mushroom 11 and set its style and direction.

So, I couldn’t be prouder to announce the collaboration between Mushroom 11 and The Future Sound of London. Also remember that Mushroom 11 is up for the prestigious IGF 2014 Excellence in Design Award, so if you’d like to play the latest build, come by the IGF Pavilion at the GDC Expo, San Francisco, March 19-21. 

Hope to see you there!
Itay (@itayke)

March 3, 2014 at 6:20pm

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Mushroom 11 Banners Ready


Banners - Check!
Next stop for Mushroom 11: SXSW and the Gamers Voice award nomination. Then, IGF!

Art by Simon Kono, the game’s super talented artist.

Posing here with my wife Julia who’s trying to force me to smile to the camera by shouting random words.

February 18, 2014 at 5:23pm

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Reblogged from indiecade


IndieCade East Recap in Pictures: Day 1, Speakers & Panels

Talks that are totally peek-worthy. 

February 11, 2014 at 1:26pm

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Mushroom 11 Nominated for SXSW Gamers Voice

Another prestigious nomination - Mushroom 11 is nominated for SXSW Gamers Voice, an award that celebrates the independent expression of game creators. This event takes place every March in Austin, TX as part of film, music and interactive festival SXSW. A great honor, especially considering the other fantastic nominees.

January 30, 2014 at 5:59pm

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Mushroom 11’s Road to the IGF on Gamasutra

Read all about it! My Gamasutra interview on Mushroom 11’s Road to the IGF. A bit on my background, design philosophy, thoughts on the indie scene and my perpetual 9 months to release. Kidding. I hope.

January 9, 2014 at 4:05pm

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Indpenedent Games Festival 2014 Finalist


Mushroom 11 is nominated for Excellence in Design at the Independent Games Festival . I’m honored and humbled to take part in this event.

Read more on the announcement and the other fantastic finalists:

January 6, 2014 at 12:25pm

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Unity’s parented joints problem

tl;dr don’t do it. See diagram below.

I’ve been investigating an issue pertaining to Mushroom 11’s escalators, moving belts and platforms. 


The way it always worked in the game was using kinematic reference point which is moved along the path, and the actual platform attached to it using a joint (in the above, a hinge-joint with a spring) which includes the collider.

But while it seemed to move the platforms fine, objects lying on them (like the above mushroom) didn’t seem to pick up their movement and simply glided on top of them, as if the platforms had zero friction.

I had to resort to a cumbersome solution to temporarily fix it - I used Rigidbody’s MovePosition to move the kinematic reference object. The manual clearly states that there’s no difference between actively changing a kinematic object’s transform.position and rigidbody.MovePosition, but that was the only thing that worked for me.

However, investigating further on rigidbody.MovePosition revealed some troubling issues. It probably has some serious performance issues, since it sweeps between the old and new positions to apply forces on obstacles on the path. Also, MovePosition makes positioning in local space more cumbersome. 

I finally realized the problem. I originally made the mistake of parenting the platform to the reference point. So the parent (the reference point) moves along the belt path, and its child (the platform) immediately follows. I mistakenly figured that since the child was connected using joint, it would be moved by physics and not by automatic translation - and I was wrong. First, the object was translated and only then physics kicked in to see if joint positions had to be solved (which they didn’t in most cases, as the parent and child moved together).

So, the platforms had moved already without the intervention of physics system, which means no velocity was added to these objects! Therefore, no velocity was applied on objects touching it, like the mushroom laying on top of it, and so it simply started gliding on top of the stairs.

The reason rigidbody.MovePosition worked was that it immediately applied the movement (and velocity) to all its children, thus enabling friction to be applied onto other objects.


Solution. This realization made me see the perils of parenting jointed bodies to objects that are manually moved. It actually seems basic, but using a manually moving kinematic object that has non-kinematic children is wrong. Instead, just de-parent them. Kinematic object will move but will not affect the jointed objects. Physics will then take over and keep everything together. And in general, beware of indirectly moving non-kinematic rigidbodies when an object higher in the hierarchy is manually moved.

Happy 2014!
— itay

January 2, 2014 at 11:43am

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Indie Statik’s 100 Most Anticipated Games of 2014

As done previously, indie gaming community magazine Indie Statik, has chosen its top 100 most anticipated indie games of 2014. Humbled to have Mushroom 11 take part in this list of phenomenal titles.