Microsoft has a lot of experience in online gaming with its Xbox division. However, the company is also known for its casual games as well, particularly Solitaire and Minesweeper. Now a group of college students have developed an app that allows people to play simple casual games while in a Microsoft Teams meeting.
In a post on Microsoft’s Educator Developer blog, it talks about how six postgraduate students from University College London worked with Microsoft employees to develop Teams Carnival. When installed in Teams, the app gives users a series of simple arcade and trivia games to play, including versions of Pac-Man, Jenga, and more.
The students used a number of development tools to make Teams Carnival, including Microsoft’s Live Share Software Development Kit and its Teams Toolkit, along with Unity and Fluid Framework.
The blog post stated:
Building the application provided a series of key challenges that we had to overcome. Most of these challenges involved understanding exactly what functionality we could provide to users using Live Share: for example, group members spent time testing and integrating fully synchronous games before we concluded that issues such as latency would not provide an acceptable user experience for players. Instead, we focused on building enjoyable games that we feel people will want to play, still using Live Share as the keystone element for sharing data.
The team did this work over the summer of 2023, and you can check out their efforts at their GitHub repository. The team says that if they get the chance to work more on Teams Carnival, they will create more complex games for the app, including the ability to save game progress. The team would also like to use more of UCL’s MotionInput software, which allows games to be played with just a webcam, ditching the traditional keyboard and mouse controls.
Personally, we think that Microsoft should add games to Teams as a great way for employees to bond while they are in online meetings.