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Lesson 02.1 – Installing Visual Studio Express 2013 for Desktop

UPDATE: October 2015 – Visual Studio Community 2015 is available. If you want to install this version, I have a post on installing Visual Studio Community 2015 on Windows 10. The screenshots and videos for all these lessons use Visual Studio Express 2013, but the differences should be minor.

UPDATE: If you’re installing Visual Studio 2017 Community Edition, Microsoft changed the installation program. You should choose the options that are circled in red, in this image:

Lesson objectives

At the end of this lesson, you will know…

  • Install the correct version of Visual Studio Express 2013 on your computer, to let you begin writing the game.


Installing Visual Studio Express 2013

To build a program, you need an editor – a specialized word processor for writing programs.

Most C# (and VB.Net) programmers use a version of Visual Studio, from Microsoft.

We are going to use Visual Studio Express 2013 for Windows Desktop. It’s free for you to download and use. You can get it here:

Click on the “Downloads” link, to get to the page with all the available versions of Visual Studio.

Scroll down to find “Visual Studio Express 2013 for Windows Desktop”.

Be sure to use this version.

There are several other versions available. The other versions let you create websites, programs for Windows phones, or apps for the Windows Store. But the one we need right now is the one for “Windows Desktop”.

Here’s a video to show how to download and install Visual Studio Express 2013 for Windows Desktop.

Link to video on YouTube

It may take some time to download and install.

At 1 megabit per second download speed, it will take about two hours to download. Hopefully your Internet is faster than that.

After you finish the installation, you’ll need to reboot your computer.


Next Lesson: Lesson 02.2 – Building the solution for the game

Previous lesson: Lesson 01.1 – Defining classes and objects for the game

All lessons: Learn C# by Building a Simple RPG Index


  1. Kai
    Kai January 11, 2016


    This tutorial looks really helpful and I’d really like to try it, but it looks like my version of Windows is too old. I believe the newer version of update 5 is causing the issue and would like to install it without. I poked around but can’t find a version without the newer update. Can I find an old version somewhere?



    • Kai
      Kai January 11, 2016

      Sorry for double posting so fast, looks like I just found an older version.

  2. Genocide
    Genocide February 3, 2016

    Hey Scott, what if I’m going to use Visual Studio 2008 in creating this game? Will it work? please reply asap. Thanks a lot! 😀

    • Scott Lilly
      Scott Lilly February 3, 2016

      I believe it will work with Visual Studio 2008. You will need to have the .NET Framework Version 3.5 installed for VS 2008, which will also let you use the LINQ commands (in the later lessons). If you try it, and have any problems, please leave a comment and I will try to find a solution for you.

  3. jason
    jason February 25, 2016

    dear Scott how do i put sfml, cmake, visual studio 2015 together for a 2d rpg.

    please help you are the only person online i understand

    p.s. loved your course

    • Scott Lilly
      Scott Lilly February 26, 2016

      Thank you Jason. I have not used SFML or cmake. I am thinking about adding some graphics, to make SuperAdventure a 2D game (in the J-RPG style), but probably won’t do that for a few months. There are a couple other projects I want to finish first. If I find anything helpful about SFML or cmake, I will let you know.

  4. Leah
    Leah December 2, 2016

    Hi Scott,

    I’m running Ubuntu 16.04 on my computer. Is there a Visual Studio Express available for Linux?


    • Scott Lilly
      Scott Lilly December 2, 2016

      Hi Leah,

      Microsoft has .NET Core and Visual Studio Code, to create and run programs in C# (and other languages) on Linux and Mac. There are some limitations to the functionality. You won’t be able to use features that require Windows libraries (such as some graphic features).

      I haven’t used these, but know they are being actively worked on by Microsoft, with frequent updates.

      I hope they can help you.

  5. Oleg
    Oleg January 5, 2017

    Hi Scott. super excited to start this.
    I have notepad++ which I used to mess around with another language. I found c# under “languages” so seems like its supported?

    Is there any reason you would advise against using notepad++ for c#/this tutorial?

    • Scott Lilly
      Scott Lilly January 5, 2017

      Hi Oleg,

      I have not used notepad++ in a long time, but Visual Studio has some great tools that are probably not in notepad++. Visual Studio has a built-in debugger, and helps you create new solutions/projects/classes/etc. If you don’t want to use Visual Studio (which is a large program), you should be able to use SharpDevelop. I’ve heard some people say they were able to follow these lessons, using SharpDevelop, without any problems.

  6. Michael Leiter
    Michael Leiter August 1, 2017

    I wanted to comment that the newer Visual Studio Community edition (2015 and now 2017 editions) also work great with this project. The Community editions have more tools and can support plug-ins. I started the project in 2015 and recently updated my PC and downloaded the 2017 version and had no issues continuing the project in 2017.

    As long as you are an individual developer, working for a non-profit, or in a small company, Community Edition is free and can be used. The license terms are easy to find on Microsoft’s VS download site.

    Scott – thanks for posting this up for all of us C# newbies. I’ve especially enjoyed the refactoring lessons. I’m almost all the way through (Lesson 22) and it’s been great. 🙂

    • Scott Lilly
      Scott Lilly August 2, 2017

      Great! The code for this project is mostly standard code. So, I expect it will work in future versions of Visual Studio.

      I’m glad to hear that you’re enjoying the lessons.

  7. Matt
    Matt September 13, 2017

    I don’t have a tool box and I don’t know how to get one I am using Visual Studio community 2017

    • Scott Lilly
      Scott Lilly September 13, 2017

      If there is a “Toolbox” tab in the upper-left of Visual Studio, click it to see the Toolbox.

      Or, you should be able to find it under the menu option “View” -> “Toolbox”, or by pressing CTRL+ALT+X

      If those do not work, please tell me.

  8. Dr M Praveen Kumar
    Dr M Praveen Kumar December 31, 2017

    Hello Sir,

    Thanks for the so much for an optimistic way of teaching Csharp …. We, non programmers are benefitting a lot with your optimistic based teaching…

    I have a query.

    My computer runs on Ubuntu 16…. Can I do the same in Visual studio editor for linux???


    • Scott Lilly
      Scott Lilly January 10, 2018

      Hello Praveen,

      I have looked for a way to do this in Linux, and have not found one. One solution would be to create a virtual machine, and install Windows in that. If I find a way to use this in Linux, I will inform you.

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