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8.x — Chapter 8 comprehensive quiz

In this chapter, we explored the meat of C++ -- object-oriented programming! This is the most important chapter in the tutorial series.

Chapter summary

Classes allow you to create your own data types that bundle both data and functions that work on that data. Data and functions inside the class are called members. Members of the class are selected by using the . operator (or -> if you’re accessing the member through a pointer).

Access specifiers allow you to specify who can access the members of a class. Public members can be accessed directly by anybody. Private members can only be accessed by other members of the class. We’ll cover protected members later, when we get to inheritance. By default, all members of a class are private and all members of a struct are public.

Encapsulation is the process of making all of your member data private, so it can not be accessed directly. This helps protect your class from misuse.

Constructors are a special type of member function that allow you to initialize objects of your class. A constructor that takes no parameters (or has all default parameters) is called a default constructor. The default constructor is used if no initialization values are provided by the user. You should always provide at least one constructor for your classes.

Member initializer lists allows you to initialize your member variables from within a constructor (rather than assigning the member variables values).

In C++11, non-static member initialization allows you to directly specify default values for member variables when they are declared.

Prior to C++11, constructors should not call other constructors (it will compile, but will not work as you expect). In C++11, constructors are allowed to call other constructors (called delegating constructors, or constructor chaining).

Destructors are another type of special member function that allow your class to clean up after itself. Any kind of deallocation or shutdown routines should be executed from here.

All member functions have a hidden *this pointer that points at the class object being modified. Most of the time you will not need to access this pointer directly. But you can if you need to.

It is good programming style to put your class definitions in a header file of the same name as the class, and define your class functions in a .cpp file of the same name as the class. This also helps avoid circular dependencies.

Member functions can (and should) be made const if they do not modify the state of the class. Const class objects can only call const member functions.

Static member variables are shared among all objects of the class. Although they can be accessed from a class object, they can also be accessed directly via the scope resolution operator.

Similarly, static member functions are member functions that have no *this pointer. They can only access static member variables.

Friend functions are functions that are treated like member functions of the class (and thus can access a class’s private data directly). Friend classes are classes where all members of the class are considered friend functions.

It’s possible to create anonymous class objects for the purpose of evaluation in an expression, or passing or returning a value.

You can also nest types within a class. This is often used with enums related to the class, but can be done with other types (including other classes) if desired.

Quiz time

1a) Write a class named Point2d. Point2d should contain two member variables of type double: m_x, and m_y, both defaulted to 0.0. Provide a constructor and a print function.

The following program should run:

This should print:

Point2d(0, 0);
Point2d(3, 4);

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1b) Now add a member function named distanceTo that takes another Point2d as a parameter, and calculates the distance between them. Given two points (x1, y1) and (x2, y2), the distance between them can be calculated as sqrt((x1 - x2)*(x1 - x2) + (y1 - y2)*(y1 - y2)). The sqrt function lives in header cmath.

The following program should run:

This should print:

Point2d(0, 0);
Point2d(3, 4);
Distance between two points: 5

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1c) Change function distanceTo from a member function to a non-member friend function that takes two Points as parameters. Also rename it “distanceFrom”.

The following program should run:

This should print:

Point2d(0, 0);
Point2d(3, 4);
Distance between two points: 5

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2) Write a destructor for this class:

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3) Let’s create a random monster generator. This one should be fun.

3a) First, let’s create an enumeration of monster types named MonsterType. Include the following monster types: Dragon, Goblin, Ogre, Orc, Skeleton, Troll, Vampire, and Zombie. Add an additional MAX_MONSTER_TYPES enum so we can count how many enumerators there are.

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3b) Now, let’s create our Monster class. Our Monster will have 4 attributes (member variables): a type (MonsterType), a name (std::string), a roar (std::string), and the number of hit points (int). Create a Monster class that has these 4 member variables.

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3c) enum MonsterType is specific to Monster, so move the enum inside the class as a public declaration.

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3d) Create a constructor that allows you to initialize all of the member variables.

The following program should compile:

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3e) Now we want to be able to print our monster so we can validate it’s correct. To do that, we’re going to need to write a function that converts a MonsterType into a std::string. Write that function (called getTypeString()), as well as a print() member function.

The following program should compile:

and print:

Bones the skeleton has 4 hit points and says *rattle*

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3f) Now we can create a random monster generator. Let’s consider how our MonsterGenerator class will work. Ideally, we’ll ask it to give us a Monster, and it will create a random one for us. We don’t need more than one MonsterGenerator. This is a good candidate for a static class (one in which all functions are static). Create a static MonsterGenerator class. Create a static function named generateMonster(). This should return a Monster. For now, make it return anonymous Monster(Monster::SKELETON, “Bones”, “*rattle*”, 4);

The following program should compile:

and print:

Bones the skeleton has 4 hit points and says *rattle*

Show Solution

3g) Now, MonsterGenerator needs to generate some random attributes. To do that, we’ll need to make use of this handy function:

However, because MonsterGenerator relies directly on this function, let’s put it inside the class, as a static function.

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3h) Now edit function generateMonster() to generate a random MonsterType (between 0 and Monster::MAX_MONSTER_TYPES-1) and a random hit points (between 1 and 100). This should be fairly straightforward. Once you’ve done that, define two static fixed arrays of size 6 inside the function (named s_names and s_roars) and initialize them with 6 names and 6 sounds of your choice. Pick a random name from these arrays.

The following program should compile:

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3i) Why did we declare variables s_names and s_roars as static?

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4) Okay, time for that game face again. This one is going to be a challenge. Let’s rewrite the Blackjack games we wrote in chapter 6 using classes! Here’s the full code without classes:

Holy moly! Where do we even begin? Don’t worry, we can do this, but we’ll need a strategy here. This Blackjack program is really composed of four parts: the logic that deals with cards, the logic that deals with the deck of cards, the logic that deals with dealing cards from the deck, and the game logic. Our strategy will be to work on each of these pieces individually, testing each part with a small test program as we go. That way, instead of trying to convert the entire program in one go, we can do it in 4 testable parts.

Start by copying the original program into your IDE, and then commenting out everything except the #include lines.

4a) Let’s start by making Card a class instead of a struct. The good news is that the Card class is pretty similar to the Monster class from the previous quiz question. First, move the enums for CardSuit, CardRank inside the card class as public definitions (they’re intrinsically related to Card, so it makes more sense for them to be inside the class, not outside). Second, create private members to hold the CardRank and CardSuit (name them m_rank and m_suit accordingly). Third, create a public constructor for the Card class so we can initialize Cards. Forth, make sure to assign default values to the parameters so this can be used as a default constructor (pick any values you like). Finally, move the printCard() and getCardValue() functions inside the class as public members (remember to make them const!).

Important note: When using a std::array (or std::vector) where the elements are a class type, your element’s class must have a default constructor so the elements can be initialized to a reasonable default state. If you do not provide one, you’ll get a cryptic error about attempting to reference a deleted function.

The following test program should compile:

Show Solution

4b) Okay, now let’s work on a Deck class. The deck needs to hold 52 cards, so use a private std::array member to create a fixed array of 52 cards named m_deck. Second, create a constructor that takes no parameters and initializes m_deck with one of each card (modify the code from the original main() function). Inside the initialization loop, create an anonymous Card object and assign it to your deck element. Third, move printDeck into the Deck class as a public member. Fourth, move getRandomNumber() and swapCard() into the Deck class as a private static members (they’re just helper functions, so they don’t need access to *this). Fifth, move shuffleDeck into the class as a public member.

Hint: The trickiest part of this step is initializing the deck using the modified code from the original main() function. The following line shows how to do that.

The following test program should compile:

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4c) Now we need a way to keep track of which card is next to be dealt (in the original program, this is what cardptr was for). First, add a int member named m_cardIndex and initialize it to 0. Create a public member function named dealCard(), which should return a const reference to the current card and advance the index. shuffleDeck() should also be updated to reset m_cardIndex (since if you shuffle the deck, you’ll start dealing from the top of the deck again).

The following test program should compile:

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4d) Almost there! Now, just fix up the remaining program to use the classes you wrote above. Since most of the initialization routines has been moved into the classes, you can jettison them.

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9.1 -- Introduction to operator overloading
Index
8.16 -- Timing your code

240 comments to 8.x — Chapter 8 comprehensive quiz

  • Silviu

    Hello,
    3h problem.

    I have to say nice example, this is like a little hacking because your setting values through MonsterGenerator and not directly accessing the private members of Monster.(most of the body is public so we have access)

    -Static member variable

    In the above snippet, s_value is referenced by class name rather than through an object. Note that we have not even instantiated an object of type Something, but we are still able to access and use Something::s_value. This is the preferred method for accessing static members.

    So accessing static members variables in main function like in your example it's correct no ?

    -Static member functions

    Because static member functions are not attached to a particular object, they can be called directly by using the class name and the scope resolution operator. Like static member variables, they can also be called through objects of the class type, though this is not recommended.

    So accessing static members functions in main function like in your example it's correct, no ?

    3h problem now:

    So this is correct too ?

    Thank you.

  • Oooh Monster game - adding graphics would be fun but is probably beyond the scope of this whole tutorial.  Anyway, my take....

    • > adding graphics would be fun but is probably beyond the scope of this whole tutorial
      It is. But it's fun, if you have time after the tutorials are over you should give it a try!

      * @print should be const
      * @Monster::Monster should take the @std::string parameters as const references.
      * You're defining some functions inside the class and some outside. Pick one and stick to it.
      * Line 62, 68, 69, 74, 92
      * Use @std::rand, @std::srand and @std::time instead of their global namespace counterparts
      * @std::time wants a pointer as it's argument. Pass nullptr.
      * Line 71, 72: You don't need to specify the array size when initializing arrays.
      * @Monster::~Monster doesn't do anything, remove it.

  • Hi,

    I have done as far as 3f but work now beckons.  So my code thus far is:

    Am I on the right track here?

    • Hi Nigel!

      * Line (18-21 or 24) and (66): Uniform initialization. I know 66 is pasted, but if the code is in your program it should follow your (hopefully soon to be) conventions.
      * @print should be const
      * @Monster::~Monster is not virtual
      * @Monster::Monster should take the @std::string parameters as const references.

      @getTypeString is slow, because it needs to create a new @std::string every time it is called. But I don't know of a nice solution to work around this issue.

      > Am I on the right track here?
      You are

  • Moving on to 1c:

    distanceFrom() is now a friend of the class Point2D so it is moved outside of the class and given a reference to each of the two variables.

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