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Back in a minute, or biamin for short, is a rogue-like text adventure RPG written entirely in BASH code for GNU/Linux and released as Free Software under a dual license.
Jump to: FAQ, full game, LEGACY edition, GPL-only edition, licensing


Q. What is Ā«Back in a minuteĀ» a.k.a biamin?

A. It is a Free Software adventure game for GNU/Linux written entirely in Bourne Again Shell (bash) script! Since everything depends on random events, or really the roll of the dice, it could be considered rogue-like.

Q. What are the requirements?

A PC running GNU/Linux or Mac OS and the Bourne Again SHell (bash) or other sh terminal emulators. Find ‘terminal’ or ‘terminal emulator’ in the system menu, and run this command to determine shell type:
$ which bash
If it says /bin/bash or the equivalent, your system has BASH installed. The game is written for BASH on GNU/Linux but it should work in other shell environments too, but may require some tweaking. The game presupposes a 80×24 terminal emulation, does NOT behave in console, but works nicely in screen.

Q. Where are game files stored?

The game needs a game directory for character sheets, config file, map(s) and highscore list. By default this is $HOME/.biamin (which is /home/username/.biamin/ in GNU/Linux or /Users/username/.biamin in Mac OS), which is a standard setup for UNIX file management. However, it can be changed on line 10 in the configuration header of the script.

Q. How do I download and install it?

Instructions for downloading and installing Back in a Minute is found on the Downloads page.
If you want to use a different game directory than $HOME/.biamin, change this on LINE 10 before running biamin -i.

Q. How do I update Biamin?

Once installed, all you need to do is open your terminal and enter:
$ biamin --update

Q. Can I receive updates from 2.0 series in the legacy or GPL edition? (Or upgrading and downgrading)

Not really. Changing REPO_EDITION on line 22 will simply change the series you’re on, but if that’s what you want, it should work. Please note that "downgrading" from the full game to legacy will strip some fields from your character sheets, while "upgrading" from legacy to the full game will add new fields to them. Biamin only changes the character sheets that are loaded in game, however, to see what resources your character has obtained.

Q. How do I play?

A. After you’ve created a character (or loaded a saved game), you’ll find 6 types of “screens” in the game: splash, place, map, rest, item and fight. The buttons you can press at any time are either available as text or in indications such as [M]ap, meaning, press ‘m’ to toggle map.

Q. Where are the items?

A. They are randomly scattered per-session. But once you get hold of your first item, you will quickly discover the remaining 7 since they become visible in the map!
(If you want to cheat, edit your character sheet .sheet file in the ~/.biamin folder to say ITEMS: 1)

Q. This game is terrible! Why did you make such a thing?

A. The game is inspired by a similar, much smaller game I wrote for my TI 83+ calculator in BASIC(?) when I was a teenager, that I never finished. During the Spring semester of 2013 I was reading a lot of political philosophy at the University and needed a break. Coding in bash turned out to be a relaxing and fun pastime when I couldn’t focus on the books. The game is intended for quick on and off gaming, hence the title. But you can waste a lot of time in the world of biamin so beware!

Q. What’s the game features?

A. The game is text-based throughout but with graphical headers and easy keyboard controls. The fighting is turn based. The world of Back in a minute has 4 playable races, 6 enemies, 8 items and 6 scenarios in 270 sections of the world map. From version 2.0 the world of Back in a Minute will be expanded and become more alive. You may play the LEGACY version if you like the current experience.

Q. I have tired of the default map in the game. Do you have more?

A. Not really. But I have included a map template generator! Running
$ biamin --map
will create a map template file in the game directory. Change all Z symbols in the file with . (road), x (mountain), T (town), @ (forest), H (home), C (castle). Whitespace MUST be accurate. When you are done, simply rename your map file to, and it will be used instead of the default. You cannot place items manually.

Q. I am an exhibitionist and want to share my high-score but how?

A. Back in a Minute is social media friendly. Run:
$ biamin --announce
to create a 160 char message you can cut and paste to any social media.


Back in a Minute – the full game

This is the official and up-to-date version of the game (repository). Since the addition of BASH wizard Kastian to the project, the development of new, exciting and expanding features of the game was inevitable. This is what we internally referred to as the “2.0 series”, which is a little misleading, since it will probably include later series as well. In short, this is the official, full version of the game. But what does that mean?

[More information coming on release of 2.0 ]


LEGACY edition – a humble beginning

The LEGACY edition (repository) is the full game up until the completion of the original game outline in version 1.4. LEGACY remains on 1.x series of releases. When I started this game, as, I had a pretty good idea about what I wanted to accomplish. The Warhammer inspired adventure game had to be quick, but also vast, have a navigational map (or be a full world) with monsters you could fight, and it had to be random. When I had created the 6 monsters you’ll find in LEGACY, I added 8 items randomly distributed across the 270 sections of the world map.

Once the game received some attention and co-developer Kastian joined the project, our creative process took us far beyond the initial scope of Back in a Minute. Essentially, we followed the model of Mindcraft: First we had a sandbox (legacy), then we added survival (2.0). The LEGACY version is a full game, but also a completed project — only receiving bugfixes since 1.4 — and we go on in the 2.0 series to develop a more complex and immersive game altogether. I wanted to keep the 1.x series somewhat alive, though, and created a separate repo called LEGACY. If you want, you may call it the humble beginnings of things to come..

LEGACY supports character sheets from other versions, but will strip out (newer) fields! Character sheets from LEGACY are supported by more recent editions of Back in a Minute, but the converse applies.


GPL-ONLY (non-ASCII) edition – for great justice!

The GPL-only version (repository) is provided as a courtesy for people who want to play or tinker with 100% Free Software. The GNU GPL v.3 is not intended for artistic artwork, see license details below. This means that this version is pretty barren. The GPL-only version follows the latest major version going historically from LEGACY to the current versions, and may be a little behind on bugfixes.

GPL-only supports character sheets from other versions.



The code is Free Software and released under the GNU General Public License version 3.

The artwork is Free Cultural Work and released under the Creative Commons’ Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International 4.0 license.

In short, you can do whatever you want with the code, provided you publish any changes back to the community, and you can share and remix the artwork as long as you attribute correctly and share your adaptations under the same conditions. There is NO WARRANTY, to the extent permitted by law. The full legal text is available in the LICENSE file or in the two links above.

What constitutes “artwork” and why the dual license?
I have used figlet to create some ASCII text headers, but apart from that all the ASCII art was done by hand. Stuff like the image below constitutes artwork, and it took me hours and sometimes days to make. The GNU GPL is intended for code and not artistic content, which the Creative Commons’ copyleft licenses are intended for. At the same time, «CC licenses are appropriate for all types of content you want to share publicly, except software and hardware.» (source). This is why the game licensing scheme follows the model of engine/artwork, where the engine is GNU GPL v.3 and the artwork is CC BY-SA 4.0 International. For clarity, we have added CC copyright tags to all relevant ASCII artworks.

As a courtesy, we have a repository for exclusively GPL licensed code without the CC licensed artwork, see the Download page. If you want to include biamin in your project and have any questions or reservations, please contact me.

                                                  |\            /|
                                                  | \_.::::::._/ |
                                                   |  __ \/__   |
                                                    |          |
         AN ANGRY ORC APPEARS,                  ____| _/|__/|_ |____
         BLOCKING YOUR WAY!                    /     \________/     \
                                              /                      \
         "Prepare to die", it growls.        |    )^|    _|_   |^(    |
                                             |   )  |          |  (   |
                                             |   |   |        |   (   |
                                              \_\_) |          | (_/_/
                                                   /     __     \
                                                  |     /  \     |
                                                  |    (    )    |
                                                  |____'    '____|
                                                 (______)  (______)