I want to showcase with as minimal code as possible the basic Object-oriented programming (OOP) principles of Polymorphism, Inheritance, and Encapsulation. I know there are many more principles than just these 3 and even different types of the 3 I've mentioned there. I attempted to implement them all below. I think using Pokémon as an example is a good way to show this, so I've used Castform as my buddy of choice for these examples.

If you believe showcasing more than just Polymorphism, Inheritance, and Encapsulation to evaluate a developers understanding of OOP, please provide comments around this and which additional key principles I should add to my Pokémon example.


#include <iostream>
#include <string>
#include <time.h>

class Pokemon
        int m_dex_num;
        float m_catch_rate;
        std::string m_type;
        Pokemon(int dex_num, int catch_rate, std::string type)
            : m_dex_num(dex_num), m_catch_rate(catch_rate), m_type(type) {}

        int dex_num() const { return m_dex_num; }
        float catch_rate() const { return m_catch_rate; }
        std::string type() const { return m_type; }

        virtual bool attempt_catch() = 0;

class Castform : public Pokemon
        std::string m_forms[3] = { "sunny", "rainy", "snowy" };
        Castform() : Pokemon(351, 11.9, "normal") {}

        bool attempt_catch() {
            return (rand() % 100) < m_catch_rate;

int main()
    auto wild_castform = Castform();

    std::cout << "Wild Castform appeared!\n";
    std::cout << "Dex number " << wild_castform.dex_num() << '\n';
    std::cout << "It's a " << wild_castform.type() << " type\n";

    for(int i=0; i < 5; ++i) {
            std::cout << "Catch attempt resulted in " << wild_castform.attempt_catch() << '\n';

    return 0;



1 Answer 1

  • It looks like all the Pokemon member variables should be private, not public.

  • The Pokemon constructor takes catch_rate as an int, where it should be a float.

  • The Pokemon constructor could std::move the string argument into m_type.

  • Pokemon::type() could return by const& to avoid an unnecessary copy.

  • Castform::m_forms is not used anywhere, but should probably also be static and const.

  • When overriding a virtual function, we should always use the override keyword (and arguably also the virtual keyword):

    virtual bool attempt_catch() override { ... }
  • Use the C++11 <random> functionality, not rand().

Run-time polymorphism with virtual functions in C++ is driven by a need to treat objects of different types with the same interface. Unfortunately, this example lacks the motivation for it:

  • Currently the attempt_catch() function could be implemented in the Pokemon base-class with no problem.

  • There is no example of differing behavior (i.e. there should be a second pokemon type implementing a different attempt_catch() function). Maybe an attack function would work better?

  • There is no demonstration of using the different types through the same interface. In C++ this usually boils down to storing different types in the same container (e.g. iterating a std::vector<std::unique_ptr<Pokemon>> and calling the virtual function). However, it might be simpler to pass two different pokemon types to a function taking a Pokemon reference:

    void throw_pokeball(Pokemon const& target) { target.attempt_catch() } // or something

Depending on what this is actually for, I'd suggest approaching things in a "problem -> solution" way, both in terms of what the code does (see above), but also in terms of language development and why these features exist. i.e.

  • "Here's what programmers used to have to do without this language feature [...]. It sucks because [...]"

  • "This language feature allows us to do [...] safely and easily because [...]".

Note that there are many different types of both static and dynamic polymorphism in C++ (e.g. function overloading, implicit conversions, function objects, template parameters (traits, tags, etc.)), not just inheritance and virtual functions.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Using std::move on the string argument into m_type in the Pokemon ctor would avoid another unnecessary string copy correct? \$\endgroup\$
    – greg
    Jun 3, 2019 at 18:37

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