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can Microsoft C# visual express 2010 create simple 2d games? or will i need a separate 2d game engine?

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The difference between that and the other editions that cost are that you don't have some of the useful tools present. By the looks of your post it looks like it is not very clear to you what exactly Visual Studio Express is. It's an advanced word editor like notepad, debugging and project management tool. You will write all your code there and also build the executables.

You can use full .NET framework, XNA and everything else with MS C# Express. Get it.

- Visual Studio is a development environment.
- .NET framework is a set of functions and routines written already to you, like managing databases and networking, user interfaces and so much more.
- XNA is a subset of .NET framework that has a tons of useful code already written for a game developer, like manageing different models, textures, fonts, sound and more.

Im a big fan of C# and .NET so I will suggest it to any newcomer and with a reason: You can write a full game that has 2D or 3D graphics, nice GUI, whatever mechanics fit you, networking and more just by learning XNA.

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Visual Studio is your tool-set. It provides a compiler (which converts the code you write into a form the computer can understand), a debugger (which can help you to solve problems), a text editor with syntax highlighting (all the pretty colours that make different parts of the code stand out for you), and some other stuff you don't need to worry about yet. You use your tools to write code in order to create a program.

C# is your programming language. Just like a spoken language, programming languages have a set of rules about how to use them, and you use the parts of the language to put together a larger meaning -- what you want to computer to do. A programming language by itself can't do much though -- for that you use libraries.

Libraries allow you to do more complex things, such as handling user input, or drawing images on the screen.


So, after all those definitions, we'll get back to your original question:
Yes, you can technically create simple 2d games using just visual C# express and the included libraries, but you would just be using basic Windows controls (buttons, scrollbars, etc.) and perhaps drawing some simple graphics.
However, you are probably going to want some better graphical capabilities than that for your games -- so you'll want to use a library to provide that functionality.


We normally recommend using XNA with C#. [img]http://public.gamedev.net//public/style_emoticons/default/smile.png[/img]


Hope that helps!

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