Start me up

I defined “starting” so:

Starting is an action applying to one visible thing.

I also defined what to start: a car or an engine.

But when I tell the parser to “start car” or “start engine” I get:

start car
That’s not a verb I recognise.

start engine
That’s not a verb I recognise.

Did I not just define starting?

You defined an action, but not a command (verb) for the action.

I think I see. Thanks.

Indeed, you need a line such as:

Understand "start [something]" as starting.

Remember, you are setting the internal name that Inform uses to refer to the action (“Starting”) but that is separate from the list of words that the parser uses to understand the action from the player. For example, there is only one name for the action of leaving an enterable thing (“exiting”) but the parser will understand EXIT, LEAVE, GET OUT, GET OFF…

Sequitur, I added that line, but the parser still tells me: “I didn’t understand that sentence.” when I tell it to start engine, which I defined as a thing. I tried both

Understand “start (something)” as starting.


Understand “start engine” as starting.

But the parser still says it doesn’t understand.

You want square brackets, not parentheses, around “something”.

That did it. Thanks all.