How to play or start PWADS
You need to identify which IWAD is required to play the mod. The Doom series contains four different IWADs: Ultimate Doom, Doom 2, TNT: Evilution and Plutonia. Most Doom mods are made for Doom 2 but some were made for one of the other games in the series. The other Doom engine games, Heretic, Hexen, Strife and Chex Quest, each have only one relevant IWAD (although registered Strife, along with the map IWAD, also has a voices WAD). You cannot normally run mods with the shareware or demo IWADs.
You need then to identify which port, if any, is required for the mod. While many mods can be run in the original engine, some make use of advanced features or cannot run within the limits of the original exe. See the comparison of Doom source ports for further informations.
The same command line parameters apply for all Doom engine games and for most ports. Some ports have alternative file loading options, such as Chocolate Doom's -merge command; consult the port's documentation if needed. In this example, we load the mod "mymap.wad" with the IWAD doom2.wad in the old source port Boom. All files are in the same directory, which is the current working directory for the command window.
boom.exe -iwad doom2 -file mymap.wad
Selecting the iwad is unecessary if you have only one in the executable's directory. If the files are not in the same directory, you need to give their paths. For example, here we have separated the engines, IWADs and PWADs in different directories:
C:/Games/Doom/Ports/boom.exe -iwad C:/Games/Doom/doom2.wad -file C:/Games/Doom/Mods/mymap.wad
If you are familiar with command lines, you probably already knew that. Note that the original Doom game does not support the -iwad parameter and will instead choose the first it finds in this list: plutonia.wad, tnt.wad, doom2.wad, doom.wad. To play in the original engine, you will need to place each IWAD in its own directory, with a copy of doom(2).exe.
Most frontends will have an option for starting a PWAD when you launch the game. For example:
- In DOOM Legacy
- Start Doom in Single Map mode, and select a PWAD in the "Additional Files" area.
- In ZDaemon
- Start a local game and select the PWAD from there.
- In ZDoom, GZDoom or Skulltag
- Drag and drop the PWAD over the ZDoom executable, and it will load it. You can also associate the port with the .wad extension and then use right-click -> Open With, or add a shortcut to it in your SendTo folder and use right->click -> Send To.
There are plenty of other frontends to use, and PWAD loading should be simple to do.