The world has gone remote, and one of the hardest problems that everybody is trying to solve, regardless of industry, is team connection. The OfferZen team has been experimenting with different online get-togethers. One of the most successful events so far has been playing Agar.io – an online video game – as a group. Here’s how we set it up.
I’m the Team Experience Designer at OfferZen, and it’s my job to help our team maintain a sense of connection and collaboration, even under lockdown.
I wanted to set up an online event that everyone in the company could play at the same time, free of charge and for as long as they wanted. It’s a tall order, I know, but Agar.io – an online game – and Zoom – our primary video conferencing tool – were the perfect combination to make this happen.
What is Agar.io?
Agar.io is a simple multiplayer online game, where each player is a ‘blob’ that moves around and ‘eats’ smaller blobs, or gets eaten by bigger blobs. The aim of the game is to become the biggest blob of all.
Initially, two things concerned me about choosing this game:
- It was way too simple
- Because an infinite number of people can access the game-space (setting up private spaces is impossible), we’d have strangers playing at the same time as us
However, once I explained the rules and the environment to everyone and we kicked off, I realised that I had nothing to worry about.
The simplicity made it easy for everyone to get absorbed in the game straight away, and playing against strangers only bonded our team more as we became OfferZen vs the world!
How to set the event up
Set up your video conferencing tool
First and foremost, you need to be able to see and hear your teammates. We’ve been using Zoom at OfferZen as our primary video conferencing tool, so I set up the calendar invite with a link to a Zoom meeting.
Once everyone arrived at the meeting, I gave the instruction to turn videos and microphones on: I wanted everyone to feel as ‘together’ as possible.
Note: This wasn’t nearly as chaotic as you might think, and made it more fun. We used the chat feature when we wanted to ask a question or comment on something without interrupting whoever is talking out loud.
Kick off with an ice breaker
Because none of us have had the opportunity to socialise for a while, I thought that starting the event off with an ice breaker would be a fun way to help everyone relax.
I decided to play a round of ‘quarantine bingo’ by stating a series of things like, “I’ve opened the fridge more than six times today” or “I haven’t brushed my hair for a week” and having everyone who had done those things turn off their cameras. Eventually, there was one person left with their camera on who was declared the winner.
It was an easy way to get everyone laughing, and we quickly bonded over the things we’ve all been doing and experiencing since we’ve been at home.
With everyone feeling relaxed, we started playing the game! Behind the scenes, these were the quick steps I took to get everyone started:
- Open the game by loading this link. Don’t panic when you see all the ads – they won’t hurt you or your computer.
- Click on the settings cog and change your region to the one with the smallest number of players.
- In the party mode box, click ‘Create’ and copy the link that it generates.
- Share that link with your team so that everyone can start playing. Each player can choose a username so you can see who you’re playing with.
- Encourage everyone to stay on the conference call for maximum banter!
We played for about an hour on a Friday afternoon, and overall, everyone on the team had a lot of fun. Keep your eyes peeled for more remote team bonding ideas coming soon! :)