Now you can play putt-putt from the comfort of your home.
Austin-based computer animation studio Mighty Coconut has made a virtual reality mini golf game with add-on courses set to release this summer and another near the end of the year.
These announcements come as tech races to form advancements in VR and the metaverse, a growing network of virtual worlds. So far, Austin’s tech scene has put its hat in the ring with games such as the hot-selling island world of White Sands.
For this latest game, known as “Walkabout Mini Golf: Myst,” Mighty Coconut partnered with Washington-based video game developer Cyan to make a 36-hole course that may rival Peter Pan Mini Golf in South Austin.
This partnership is bringing about a revival of sorts of the classic puzzle video game Myst, which was initially released for the Mac in the early 90s. Tapping into a market of gamers and non-gamers alike, it was able to become one of the best-selling videogames of the 20th century. Just last year, Apple optimized the game for its M1 chip and released it on the app store.
“Our generations of players have discovered the starkly beautiful and now iconic Myst island, so it now only feels natural that we open this virtual mini-golf attraction where fans can connect and explore,” Hannah Gamiel, development director at Cyan said.
Gamiel added that people will be able to explore the world the creators, known as the Miller brothers, made. Gamers can also “have friends from all over the world join them for fun—all around the whimsical game of mini golf,” Gamiel said.
Mighty Coconut said the course will be available on Meta Quest, Steam and forthcoming VR platforms and will feature settings, objects and the “spirit of puzzles” from Myst saga.
And it’s not all just about trying to score a hole in one. This latest game will also feature 18 lost balls to collect, a fox hunt scavenger expedition and a virtual, commemorative putter to collect.
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Island life in a luxury villa and riding around on ATVs is a world thousands are creating for themselves digitally through a game known as White Sands.
Started by Austin entrepreneur Adam Hollander, the venture adds to locals getting in on the metaverse, an early stage realm where developers are using virtual reality, augmented reality and other tools for virtual worlds.
According to KXAN, Hollander used $1.2 million of his money for the virtual space where users can take part in activities like hot air balloon rides, paintballing, stand up comedy and more.
GM...\n\nI LOVE my pink ATV! \n\nHere is me riding around @whitesandsgame \n\nENJOY.pic.twitter.com/BResPCpnU8— Blockchain Brown (@Blockchain Brown) 1648985235
Users can build on plots of land via Minecraft. Three thousand of those plots were granted to users through NFTs, or digital collectibles known as non-fungible tokens, and sold out quickly, with the value rising up 50%.
A couple of weeks ago, Hollander posted about how the initial land sale raked in 1,500 ETH, which is equivalent to $4 million.
KXAN also reports that White Sands raised millions without investor money and will put up luxury villas for sale, after which it expects to raise $4 million.
Gamification is a key feature of the metaverse, which Hollander knows well having served as Microsoft’s gamification director from 2015 to 2017. Before becoming co-founder of White Sands at the start of the year, Hollander was involved in other technology ventures, including Hungry Wolves, a collection of 6,000 randomly generated wolves prowling the Ethereum blockchain.
(White Sands Game/Twitter)
In a recent interview with FOX 32 Chicago, Hollander explained the value of this burgeoning real estate.
“One day you might be playing virtual golf, the next day you want to save a princess from a dragon, the next day you might hold a business meeting and at the end of the day, you’re going to need a place to come home to at the center of the heart of this ever-expanding, open and interconnected metaverse,” Hollander said.
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After a high-traffic weekend at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, passengers reported crazy long lines and traffic jams disrupting their travel plans.
According to an ABIA spokesperson, 30,991 passengers passed through TSA on Sunday, marking the ninth busiest day in the airport’s history, and 28,651 are projected for today. Nearly 9,000 of Sunday's passengers came in before 8 a.m.
With NASCAR, Texas Relays and Dell Match Play in town over the weekend, a high volume of passengers was to be expected. However, the lines were much more chaotic for those returning rental cars Monday morning.
Ummmmm.....have never seen anything like this. The rental car place at the Austin airport is closed so everyone is just leaving their cars in the through lanes of the garage. It’s getting all backed up and people can’t get up the ramp. I dunno what to do! pic.twitter.com/mPiFibJXkC
— Jeff Gluck (@jeff_gluck2) March 28, 2022
The spokesperson said that the jam started when a rental car stalled out at the drop-off curb and employees instructed them to leave it with the keys inside. Other passengers then followed suit, leaving a long line of empty cars and no way out.
Jeff Gluck documented his experience on Twitter while dropping off his rental car this morning, saying he couldn’t find any employees and waited for 10 minutes before ditching his car.
“I ended up just ditching mine in the road with everyone else. Keys still in it!” Gluck said on Twitter. “Hope they don’t charge us.”
One traveler, Joey Dillon, said he had to abandon both of his rental cars on the road lest he lose his flight to Columbus, Ohio.
My luck that my first time leaving the Austin airport was an apocalypse between Monday morning and both a NASCAR race and a PGA event this weekend.
We had to leave our rentals on the side of the road and security was easily at LEAST 2 hours hours deep. Thank you, pre-check 🙏🏼 pic.twitter.com/7RZuNfCqxE
— Joey Dillon (@joeydillon) March 28, 2022
Airport staff have confirmed the jam is cleared up this afternoon, after the airport called the rental car company to request extra staff. Operations have resumed as normal.
“In response to the strong demand for air travel, AUS continues to expedite terminal improvements through the Airport Expansion and Development Program and through working alongside our partners, like the TSA, to fill staff vacancies,” ABIA said in a statement. “We appreciate the patience and understanding of our passengers and continue to ask them to plan ahead, arrive early and show kindness to airport and airline staff who are working hard to get them safely to their destination.”
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