95 hours well spent

ni no kuni platinum

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It’s kind of fun how genuinely many people at work were surprised when I said that we’re going to Burlington/Hamilton on the weekend. Like it’s a place in the middle of nowhere and not two cities located on lake Ontario. To be honest, the lake was the main reason for us to go there — having a lot of water around is a beautiful thing when temperatures are above 30 degrees. Oh! And it’s relatively easy to get there if you’re a loser like us who doesn’t have a car =)

Our first stop in Burlington was Royal Botanical Gardens. Apparently, this is a must-visit place there — although if it hadn’t been so hot and plants outdoors hadn’t been on the verge of dying it would’ve been a more pleasant experience.

In general, Burlington has that “retirement city” vibe. It’s not a bad thing, by the way. You’ll see retirement residences here and there, clinics helping you with hearing and sleep problems and clubs for seniors (like a pottery club, for example). And yeah, pubs and funeral houses. Everything I’ll be looking for when I’m older. There was a super cute moment when we were in a pub and a lady in her eighties or maybe even older came in, ordered some Guinness with fries, like, you know, it’s a normal thing to do. Wish I’ll be able to do that as well. It’s one of things, which is nearly impossible to see in Russia. Oh, and Burlington is quite, despite the significant amount of people on the waterfront trail in the evening.

Do you want one more reason to visit Burlington? A local donuts store, Shining Donuts, may have the best donuts in Ontario. Seriously. The are fresh, huge and unbelievably good.

People do swim in the lake, even though I was told that it might be a bad idea (thanks to Hamilton, the Steel Capital of Canada). There’s a long public beach along the lake and maybe next time I’d give it a try (because it’s difficult to resist that impression that you’re on a resort).

After the first day full of pleasant relaxed strolls along the lake the second day in Hamilton was… full of walking =)

A half-hour walk to the bus stop in Burlington (all local buses apparently took a day off, so we just had to use our legs), half-hour ride, another half-hour walk — and we’re in Bayfront Park. Beautiful views of Ontario; boats and yachts; ducks and geese and a dude talking to those birds (“It was nice to meet you”).

Then another donut store (donut tourism should be a thing), Granddad’s Donuts. They’re fine but not as beautiful as ones we ate the previous day.

And our final stop (almost final actually) — Her Majesty Canadian Ship Haida. I’m stupid and for quite some time couldn’t figure out what HMCS meant. This is a warship that served since the WWII and up to 60s and now working as a museum. I’m not a military vessels nut and not a fan of military stuff in general but Haida is something worth visiting. And it’s very impressive from outside.

The real last stop was a pub called The Ship.You may consider this as an AD but it’s a very friendly place with good beer and good burgers (what else does one need, eh?)

One more train ride (slightly delayed but who cares about such meaningless things with 3 or 4 beers inside) and we’re back to London.

Animelog: Piano No Mori, season 1

Frankly, those 12 episodes don’t deserve to be called a “season”. Initially Gainax announced 24 episodes but for some reasons the second part will be aired on the Winter 2019 season. However, this decision might’ve been a little spontaneous and by the end of the first half we don’t come to any conclusion and just have to be patient and hope that next year we’ll be able to remember the characters.

Despite the fact that I like musical anime in general the most important thing about this show for me personally was that it’d be the first Gainax anime in a few years. Yeah, they made a couple of shorts; yeah, this is a recently created Fakushima Gainax branch, not the main studio — still, it’s very important that Gainax is still alive and doing good TV shows. And Piano No Mori is good. Even though sometimes it demonstrated absolutely awful 3D scenes (I understand that it’s virtually impossible to make detailed piano scenes in 2D, but c’mon guys, Nodame Cantabile managed to find the right balance so could you). Even though the characters in this anime don’t have believable background and motivation and, honestly, it’s very difficult to make myself care about any of them. Even though this is a fucking shounen with all its typical attributes such as competitions, overcomings and other things showing how strong your spirit is and how concentrated on the victory you are.

But again — I’m complaining because A) we set the bar for musical anime very high. Nodame Cantabile and Your Lie in April (although the existence of the second one is dedicated to making the audience cry and only then it’s about music) are a proof. And B) Gainax itself is to blame — year after year they’d been doing shows, which inevitably ended up on my “Top” list. Looking at how other studious and genres are doing — Piano No Mori may be claimed a success. Moreover, music in this anime atones for many for its sins.

According to the Wiki page Gainax are going to release two more anime this year so we’ll get another chance to see whether Piano No Mori is a single act or things are actually getting better. Fingers crossed.

Animelog: Hinamatsuri

One of those anime that I sort of liked but barely can find enough words to describe, because, well, it’s a slice of life anime without any plot or other things I could’ve complained about. Characters? They are okay, I guess — with an exception, Hitomi is amazing and a single one of the main reasons to watch this show. Hina is very irritating, so it’s perfectly understandable when Nitta celebrates when she finally left =) The plot… well, in the best case scenario it can be described in a single sentence but with a lot of repetitive phrases like “and then she arrives”, “and then another she arrives” and so on. Jokes and visual are good and as a comedy Hinamatsuri is a fine addition to the season that ended up with two or three unexpectedly good and addicting shows (WotaKoi and Ginga Eiyuu Densetsu, yeah sorry, I’m going to promote them every time). I even regret not saving screenshots from some moments like, for instance, when the whole gang went to the “girly club”. It’s not the best comedy in the world but I’m definitely going to watch next seasons and fear not — they will be made! The manga is still running and apparently Hinamatsuri found its way to the audience’ collective heart, I hear only positive things about it.

Curious whether it’s a driver bug or I just missed something. There are two draw calls. The first one is using a depth-read-only view for stencil testing and reading from the same depth texture in the shader. The second one is writing to that depth buffer. Symptoms look as if the driver doesn’t synchronize those two draw calls, so, basically, we can start writing depth while the first draw call is still reading it. As a solution I set the null depth buffer after the first draw call and then restore it — but not sure if it’s what I really had to do.