Last summer an Azerbaijani-developed 3D computer game was presented at one of the world’s biggest gaming forums – the Gamescom exhibition in Cologne. “The Last DeadEnd” is the latest project by Azdimension, a young team of Azerbaijani developers and programmers, which transforms Baku’s ancient Old City into an adventure-thriller experience and is set for release in 2016.
Going back a bit further, Azdimension are also the creators of Azerbaijan’s very first computer games: “Under Occupation: Shusha” and “Under Occupation: Aghdam.” The“Under Occupation” series taps into a sense of patriotism among today’s Azerbaijani youth. Set in a virtual near future, the games see Azerbaijani forces tasked with liberating occupied Shusha and Aghdam from enemy control.
Visions sent a few questions to Azdimension to find out more…
Could you briefly tell us about Azdimension’s history?
My name is Farid Akhverdiyev and I am 23 years old. I graduated from the faculty of business at ASOA (Azerbaijan State Oil Academy – Ed). In 2012 I founded the company Azdimension, whose main business is creating computer games. The company released the first two computer games in Azerbaijan – Under Occupation: Shusha and Under Occupation: Aghdam. Both of these games are free and you can download them from the Internet.
Your latest project is The Last DeadEnd, what is this game all about?
Yes, that’s right, we are currently working on a new computer game which falls into the adventure genre and has elements of thriller, with the support of the Ministry of Youth and Sport. The game is provisionally called The Last DeadEnd and the action will take place in Baku and Icherisheher (Baku’s Old City – Ed.).
Why did you choose Icherisheher as the setting?
The answer is probably obvious. Icherisheher is the most ancient part of Baku and the part that still contains the most secrets and riddles. Our game is going to take place against a backdrop of the actual historical monuments and streets of this city. Using an encyclopaedia, there will be information about the main sites (the Shirvanshahs’ Palace, Maiden Tower, the mosques, the caravanserais, Sabail fortress etc.) and, indirectly, about some historical periods too. The game will show the beauty of the Old City and will advertise Icherisheher, as well as Baku and Azerbaijan.
The game’s plot will be closely connected with the themes and characters of ancient myths and legends and Azerbaijani national folk tales. I have to admit that whilst working on the game we learnt a lot of historical facts that we hadn’t heard before. Therefore I think the game will help our youth, and even the older generation, to learn more about the mysteries of the Old City and to look at its past from a new angle.
The game will show the beauty of the Old City and will advertise Icherisheher, as well as Baku and Azerbaijan
Your first projects were Under Occupation: Shusha and Under Occupation: Aghdam. Why did you decide to make computer games about the Karabakh conflict?
Of course we would have liked our first game released in Azerbaijan to have been on a peaceful theme, for example, in the historical strategy genre, educational or a game for children. But at the same time, in Azerbaijan the game’s theme was seen as something quite normal, after all you have to understand that our Azerbaijani land is under occupation, we have about a thousand refugees. And, of course, we don’t think that the game’s release sparked a militaristic spirit and that our youth will play a computer game today and then want to turn it into reality tomorrow. We just wanted to support the patriotic spirit, which by the way you can’t take away from today’s young people, and I hope we managed to do this.
We just wanted to support the patriotic spirit
How were the Under Occupation games received in Azerbaijan and abroad?
Of course in Azerbaijan the games were received really positively. The number of downloads reached several thousand and people are still downloading and playing them. In addition, fans of the games are putting their experiences of playing them on Youtube and interestingly they are mentioned in the Azerbaijani language textbook for schoolchildren. Our games are also being played in the rest of the world, especially in Turkey and Iran and I get positive comments from fans very often. Even the president of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev, takes an interest in our games when he meets us at exhibitions.
Our games are also being played in the rest of the world, especially in Turkey and Iran and I get positive comments from fans very often
What are your company’s aims?
Our goal is for Azerbaijan to be recognised throughout the world as a country that produces top quality computer games. We have already seen our first success. Recently the alpha version of The Last DeadEnd was released and this game took part in a global computer game competition run by the website Playfield. We came third and the judges rewarded us by exhibiting a trailer of our game at its stand at one of the largest computer game exhibitions in the world - Gamescom in Germany. Scenes from the game were constantly repeating on the screens during all five days of the exhibition, so potentially tens of thousands of visitors could find out about them.
Our goal is for Azerbaijan to be recognised throughout the world as a country that produces top quality computer games
What are the technological challenges that you face? Is it difficult to be at the cutting edge of technology when it is changing all the time?
It’s a very difficult task – keeping up to date with the development of new technologies in our designs and projects.
For example, look at how the graphics and gameplay of computer games have changed over the last few years. That’s why we work with the very latest versions of games platforms and use the latest technology. I will say more - we have even created a special version of our new game, which you can play using a virtual reality helmet called Oculus Rift. This 3D reality technology gives a sense of fantasy as you go through Icherisheher.
By the way, anybody who wanted to find out about our new project could at the Bakutel exhibition in December, where our company Azdimension had its own stand. We are also developing a new technology relating to the design of apartments called Archiviz, which allows future buyers to walk through 3D versions of the apartments themselves.
we have even created a special version of our new game, which you can play using a virtual reality helmet called Oculus Rift
Can you talk about your future plans and projects?
We aren’t making any new grand plans at the moment because in 2016 we hope to completely finish the game The Last DeadEnd.
How can people try your games – where are they available to sample or buy?
Anybody who wants to find out about our technology and play our games for free can do so on our company website – www.azdimension.az.