Imagine yourself in this situation. You're on the last leg of your 8-hour work shift, and it's Friday. You're tired because you didn't sleep too well the night previous. You've been nothing but a caffeine-driven machine for the entire week, and you're watching the clock tick down the last few minutes of your shift. Five minutes. Three minutes. Two minutes. One minute...
And then "Bam!", your shift is over, and you get to go home. And you feel that rush of relief wash over you, knowing that you're able to go home, take a shower or something, and sleep for like 10 hours.
Now take that feeling, and multiply it by three. And that's what coming off staff duty feels like.
Staff duty. What is it?
Well, I'm sure it differs from unit to unit, but in my experience, staff duty is simultaneously one of the best and worst things you could ever possibly put yourself through.
Staff duty refers to a work that you spend at a Staff Duty desk, also known as Charge of Quarters (CQ) desk at the barracks. Usually you're on duty with one NCO (Sergeant or higher) and two runners (Specialist and lower). The NCO is in charge of the shift, and the runners fulfill extra duties throughout the day, like road guard during morning PT or administrative work at the dining facilities. When you're not on extra duty (which is the majority of the time you're there), you're sitting at the desk doing pretty much nothing. My unit allows people to bring their own electronics, so a lot of people just spend the majority of the shift gaming, watching videos, etc.
The staff duty shift starts at 9 in the morning, which is great, since you get to sleep in a little bit (yes, 9 AM is considered sleeping in for me). What's not great is when the shift ends, which is also 9 AM. The next day. A full 24-hour work shift where you're not allowed to fall asleep, and you're just stuck at a desk all day and all night with whatever entertainment devices you brought.
Now, on paper, it doesn't sound too bad. Sure, it's long, but you get to sleep in, you don't have to do morning PT, you don't have to go to work, and you can spend most of the day on your electronics. You also get the next day off, so that you can sleep and "recover" from your shift, so that's two days of PT you get to miss.
The only real issue is the fact that, despite being able to chill out for a while, you're forced to stay awake for the whole time. Like, when it's 6 PM and your friends are all coming off work and going to their beds to... I dunno, sleep, since they have to get up early the next day, you feel pretty left out, knowing that you have about 15 more hours before you can do the same.
Some NCO's are cool, and will divide up the time during the night so that his runners can get some sleep. I remember on my first staff duty shift, my NCO let me go to my room and sleep for about 4 hours, then called me back so the other runner could sleep. They're not "supposed" to do that, but technically you only need one person at the desk at all times, so it's not breaking any of the rules.
But my last staff duty shift (aka last night, which is why I'm talking about it), my NCO didn't give me breaks at all.. I would have to go to the dining facility to do that aforementioned administrative work, which took two hours and I did it three times (lunch, dinner, breakfast the next day), and after that I'd run over to the gas station to get some coffee and gatorade, but other than that, I never left the desk.
I ended up staying up for about 27 hours total yesterday/today, most of that time was spent gaming. Most of it was EVE Online.
I get that it's probably weird to hear someone complaining about gaming for several hours on end... and yeah, I've done longer marathons before. The difference there was that I wasn't forced to stay awake; I chose to stay up for 35 hours so that I could finally finish that one perfect Middleweight robot design that would look oh-so-cool on my team and make me only the third worst in the league... like, I chose to do that. But if you're forced to stay awake for a long period of time, especially when you're not used to it... you end up feeling like crap.
Here's my, well... my "stats" of what I did last night, just in case you wanted to know:
Time spent awake -- 27 hours, since 7 AM on Thursday to about 10 AM on Friday
Time spent on staff duty -- 24 hours, since 9 AM on Thursday to 9 AM on Friday
Time spent gaming -- about 18 hours
Longest unbroken gaming streak -- about 13 hours, from 6 PM Thursday to 7 AM Friday
Coffee consumed -- about 60 oz.
Again, I don't really know why I'm complaining about this stuff, since it's really not too bad. Maybe it's because it's just such a long shift that I feel like it's an accomplishment or something, like "oh look, I stayed up super late last night and had nothing but coffee!" but... I dunno. Maybe I just wanted to share an experience in my life that I had recently.
At any rate, I won't forget that for a while. :v
Long story short, I was browsing through my computer's files, and I happened upon a game that I forgot I installed, Space Empires: Starfury by Malfador Machinations (here's the official Wikipedia article, if anyone's interested). It's a pretty old game, released in '03 I believe, and I remember it being a huge part of my childhood. My brother was the one who owned the game, with my older sister getting a copy as well, and almost everyone in our family played it at some point.
The game's primary storyline ends after the third campaign, and there wasn't a lot to do after you finished. So to increase the game's replayability, my dad, brother, and sister all tried to create and finish an unofficial fourth campaign to keep the storyline going. In hindsight, it was probably dumb for all of us to work on our own separate projects, instead of working to complete one campaign that we could all share. I guess we all just wanted to beat each other at something, or maybe we felt like creating one campaign would nullify the others.
Anyway, my computer had some of the unfinished fourth campaign files on it, and after finding them, I thought "What the heck, I'll finish this stuff now." (I'm a lot older now and a lot more experienced with computer stuff). As of writing this post I'm still working on content, mostly adding new weapons and unlocking previously unusable assets and deleted content, but hopefully I'll be done in the short future. Then I can send the files to my family as an early Christmas present, and finally earn the bragging rights that I deserve.
As for the gameplay, it reminds me a little bit of EVE Online (if anyone plays that game). It's relatively slow for an action game, but most of the ships control fine enough, and the combat is pretty fun once you practice with it. The storyline is pretty generic as well, but it still gives me enough drive to keep playing, and it's got an interesting twist at the end. The missions themselves aren't too difficult either, once you've mastered combat of course.
(Well actually there's a mission in the third campaign that I was never able to beat without cheat codes, but I don't count that as a loss -- the deadline they give you for that mission is insane)
Anyone else play Starfury before, or just me? And if so, did you like it or nah?