'More info' leads here...

Welcome to the Untouched Forest.

If you made it this far you are perhaps wondering what this project and website are really meant to be? Here's some more information to hopefully flesh out the picture a little more. 

Since getting my feet wet with Unity and VR a year or so ago [Sunshine Observation Deck] I've wanted a project that would give me new goals to aim for and inspire me to extend my capabilities. Specifically I want to focus this time on player interaction and engagement. With the release of Oculus Touch on the near horizon now, there is the potential for a much wider group to have deeper interactions in VR than ever before. 

I also want to build a uniquely New Zealand experience. Our native forest is one of this country's treasures and each time I visit I find myself more and more enchanted by the richness, variety and stillness of the bush. I also feel that some of the truly transformative VR moments are when you are simply and convincingly taken to another place, rather than training to punch a tank.

In my work at Weta Digital as a Creature TD [technical director] I specialise in skeletal, muscle, fat and skin simulation for a variety of characters, both real and unreal, for feature film production. This gives me an excellent grounding for producing realistic animal motion and deformation. Here's Weta Digital's horse asset which I am responsible for creating [ok making this in realtime is still kinda outta reach]:

I also started at Weta Digital [2001] in the lighting dept which has also given me a excellent foundation in offline rendering tech. These days, film, TV and game technology are all colliding head on and the opportunities and power in realtime rendering are almost too good to be true.

Which leads us here to a concept originally suggested by my friend Aurynn who said over lunch one day, 'What about making a place like NZ native bush where you can hang out and see birds and stuff?'. Well, what about that? Like, isn't VR perfect for that? Yes. It is.

So how about spending some time in a NZ native forest environment as native bird life comes to visit you. Experience a night and day cycle with all the variation and appearance of creatures that has to offer. Use Oculus Touch to let birds come and land on your outstretched hands and enjoy their song. See glow worms and hold a weta in your hand. Sit and relax as day and night pass before you while you escape your normal surroundings for a while. 


Julian Butler

I'm a visual effects artist who also specialises in virtual reality development and photography, currently living in Wellington, New Zealand