Librarian Barbarians

It began a couple of weeks ago. I currently work in a library and things have been quite slow lately, with the pandemic going on and everything. I came across some behind-the-scenes footage from the making of Mortal Kombat. And as I was talking with my colleagues there about the way the game works, I said I could probably make a simple version of the game in a week or so. As it turns out I could. And I did. So let me introduce…

Librarian Barbarians


  • One fighter to choose from! Half man, half coffee - yours truly! I boast three exciting moves:
    • a quick jab (simply mash that attack button) that does very little damage!
    • A slow uppercut (hold down and press attack) with short range, which will send your enemy flying through the air dealing heavy damage!
    • A special move (press back, forward, then attack): taking a sip from a cup of very strong coffee, I will spit this vile dark substance to not only damage but also humiliate your opponent!
  • Three detailed arenas including “corridor just outside our office” and “two different shots of our courtyard I took on one of my smoke breaks today”.
  • Amazing royalty-free music by the very talented Kevin MacLeod.
  • A “settings” button which does nothing! Or does it? No.

The game should be played by two different players at the same time (it gets a little awkward when I control two figures that look like me). Use arrow keys / WSAD to move around and duck (jumping is halfway done, but commented out for now). The left player can attack using the left shift key or E, the right player can do so with either enter or spacebar. And even though it may seem unfair that one player gets to use not one but two of the largest keys on the keyboard, I’m sure you’ll find the game remarkably well balanced.

Oh, and please note that while the main menu is controlled by mouse, the character selection screen (and indeed the rest of the game) can only be mastered through the use of your keyboard. This game just loves to keep you on your toes!

I’m, of course, not done with this by a long shot. I still need to iron out some gameplay concepts (jumping, perhaps blocking, definitely fatalities) and then (hopefully later this week) I’ll start recording my colleagues and adding them into the game one by one. A few of them have their crisp 32x32 portraits in the game already, but cannot be selected. Pick me instead! Stay tuned for a weaponized bike, Jung’s The Red Book Smash, boss intervention and more, as well as a complete overhaul of my own sprites (I forgot to wear my Defold shirt when I took the footage!)

Oh, and here’s the source, because why not. Happy fighting, but be quiet! You’re in a library, after all…


Big update now live on

  • Three fully fleshed out fighters (including myself in a Defold shirt!) with more than 15 moves each, including three special attacks
  • Settings menu (also accessible during gameplay by pressing esc) controls volume, player handicap and has a language selector, though the fonts used are missing Czech diacritics, so most texts end up broken.
  • Various fixes and improvements, such as simple shadows, keyboard input in main menu, basic sounds, random librarian selection etc.

Players now have a punch and a kick key - left shift / left control for WSAD and either enter / right shift or O / P for the arrows player.

Most moves are variations of punches or kicks and directional keys; forward + punch will result in a fast hit, down + backward + kick will do a slow crouched kick etc. Special moves are as follows:


  • Throw the Book at Them: back, back, punch
  • Hook: down, back, punch
  • C. G. Jung’s Red Book Smash: back, down, forward, punch


  • Scooter Smash: back, back, punch
  • Scooter ride: down, forward, back, kick
  • Helmet Toss: down, back, punch


  • Coffee Spit: forward, back, punch
  • Smell the Coffee: forward, down, back, punch
  • Defold hack: down, up

Game balance was not really a consideration at this point and I’ve only done a little testing, so one of the fighters might be overpowered (hopefully me). I will probably fiddle with the moves a bit, but then again, a balanced game was not really the point. The point is me and my coworkers can beat each other up without feeling sore afterwards.

The html5 version has some issues:

  • It doesn’t seem to differentiate between left and right shift keys, thus the O/P alternative for the arrow player.
  • Most browsers use ctrl+D to add a new bookmark, which interferes with the WSAD key layout. Firefox doesn’t seem to have this problem IF played in fullscreen.
  • It may be too slow. Unplayably so on some of our work computers.

Therefore I recommend scrolling down on the page and downloading a windows version in case you want to play the game rather than just have a peek and see how it looks. If you need a version for a different OS, you’re going to have to grab the source and bundle it yourself.

With this I’m more or less done with the core functionality, so aside from a few fixes and improvements, I should only be adding more librarians. Cheers!


I added another Librarian this weekend, plus there’s a couple of small fixes and QoL changes. Both windows and html5 versions are live on, though the html5 version still has the same issues, so downloading the windows version is recommended.

  • The last of my coworkers from expedition added: Petr
    • Added screen shake effect to some moves, since Petr’s moves really needed that. I used this script by @baturinsky. Worked like a charm!
  • Special moves and their key combinations are now displayed at the librarian selection screen
  • Quit match button in the pause menu
  • Defeated librarians are now forced to fall down on their face rather than stand awkwardly frozen.
  • Increased recovery time for crouched attacks across the board. Hopefully it will make the strategy “duck and mash buttons” a little bit less dominant.
  • Some other minor fixes.

So apparently I never uploaded the last version in which I added my dear friend Michael, who actually got me the job in the library in the first place! I’ve since moved onto other projects, so this is likely the final update. I don’t remember exactly what changes i did and I’m pretty sure I only implemented some of the sound Michael recorded for me, or maybe this version still uses placeholder sounds for him. Anyway…

  • Michael can hit you with a hammer, breathe fire (based on a dream he had after I’ve talked to him about this game all the time) and he can throw his cat, Remedios, into the fray.
    • Remedios is a cat, so sometimes she’ll just lick herself and ignore the other player. Or she will decide to run away instead of dealing damage. Or she might attack Michael. Cats.
  • I made some small balancing changes, though I have no idea what they were. I do remember that I wanted to make a more comprehensive analysis of which moves are too spammy, but I never got around to doing that.
  • The html5 version is still broken in the same ways as it used to be, so download the windows version if you want to play the game rather than check it out quickly.