C Sharp

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C# is an object-oriented programming language developed by Microsoft as part of their .NET initiative. Microsoft based C# on C++ and Java. C# was designed as a language that would provide a balance of C++ with rapid development, Visual Basic, Delphi, and Java.

Language Characteristics

C# is, in some sense, the programming language which most directly reflects the underlying .NET Framework on which all .NET programs run, and it depends strongly on this framework; there is no such thing as an unmanaged C# program. Its primitive datatypes are objects of the corresponding .NET types, it is garbage-collected, and many of its abstractions, such as its classes, interfaces, delegates, exceptions, and so on, expose explicit features of the .NET runtime.

Compared to C and C++, the language is restricted or enhanced in a number of ways, including but not limited to the following:

  • C# is originally Windows platform (end user must have .NET framework installed). However, the C# language is an open ECMA standard and can be reimplemented by anyone who chooses to; the Mono Framework is a very full-featured system available for Windows, OS X and Linux, even able to run most .NET-compiled applications so long as these applications do not use Windows API calls directly.
  • The Managed DirectX classes were designed for use in C# and make using DX easy.
  • Raw pointers and unchecked arithmetic can only be used in a special unsafe mode. Most object access is done through safe references, which cannot be made invalid, and most arithmetic is checked for overflow.
  • Objects cannot be explicitly freed, but instead are garbage collected when no more references to them exist.
  • As in Java, only single inheritance is available, but a class can implement any number of abstract interfaces. This functions mainly to simplify the runtime's implementation.
  • C# is more typesafe than C++. The only implicit conversions by default are safe conversions, such as widening of integers and conversion from a derived type to a base type. There are no implicit conversions between booleans and integers, between enumeration members and integers, no void pointers (although references to Object are similar), and any user-defined implicit conversion must be explicitly marked as such, unlike C++'s copy constructors.
  • Syntax for array declaration is different ("int[] a = new int[5]" instead of "int a[5]").
  • C# has no templates, but C# 2.0 has generics, and these support some features not supported by C++ templates such as type constraints on generic parameters. On the other hand, expressions cannot be used as generic parameters as in C++ templates.
  • Full reflection is available.

Although C# is often considered similar to Java, there are also a number of notable differences with this language as well, including the following:

  • Java does not have operator overloading.
  • Java does not have an unsafe mode permitting native pointer manipulation and unchecked arithmetic.
  • Java has checked exceptions, while C# exceptions are unchecked, as in C++.
  • C# has a goto control flow construct not found in Java.
  • Java uses Javadoc-syntax comments to automatically generate documentation from source files. C# uses XML-based comments for this purpose.
  • C# supports checked arithmetic.
  • C# supports indexers.
  • C# greatly simplifies event-driven programming through language constructs like events and delegates.
  • C# supports structures in addition to classes. Structures, known in the .NET Framework as value types, are comparable to C structures, in that they need not be heap-allocated and can limit the number of dereferences needed to access data; see value type.
  • C# has a unified object model for value-types and objects (There is no difference between "int" and "System.Int32").


C# is a ECMA and ISO standardized language. There are currently a number of C# implementations. More information can be found here.

C# Roguelikes

C# has only been used for a few roguelikes so far:

The site Evil Science contains a small section containing C# code samples for basic Roguelike concepts.

C# Roguelike Library

SunshineConsole is a simple, portable, beginner-friendly library for ASCII display (using OpenGL) and input. (Other things like Field-of-View are beyond its scope.) It's built on top of OpenTK.

The Doryen Library (libtcod) is a library that provides a full console emulator, field of view, configuration file parsing, random number generation, and other things useful for a Roguelike, and has bindings for C#. It works under .NET and Mono. However, a download is only provided for a slightly older version of libtcod (1.5.1b) at the moment, and the documentation does not have complete examples for C#. (Also it may not work on OSX with Mono?)

Sharplike is an open source roguelike library written in C# for the .NET Framework and Mono Framework.

SadConsole is .NET library written in C# built on MonoGame and XNA. It provides an ascii game engine suitable for roguelike, text adventure, or console games. It also provides a text-based GUI.

RogueSharp is a free library written in C# which provides many utility functions to help speed up Roguelike development by dealing with map generation, field-of-view calculations, path finding, random number generation, goal maps and more. It doesn't handle display or IO.

RLNET is a open-source C# library for ascii and tile graphics and input.

RenderLike is an open-source C# library for emulating a terminal via OpenGL using MonoGame.

InfiniMap is a chunked-map library designed for large streaming worlds, supporting 2D and 3D environments.


The RogueSDL library is designed to work with C#, via .NET and Mono, to provide developers with an easy-to-use, quickly implemented graphics and input system for a Roguelike. RogueSDL has been deprecated in favor of libtcod-net.

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