How To Use PWAD (new level) Files
Last Change: 7/July/97
By Ian Mapleson (email@example.com), Copyright 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997
Note 1: For further information and advice, plus answers to
questions, please post to rec.games.computer.doom.help (or
rgcd.playing). The many expert players there will do their
best to help you with your query.
Note 2: For Doom II players: The examples given here are for Doom,
but the same command line options apply to Doom II as well.
Note that there are currently two programs to convert PWADs
written for Doom I so that they'll work with Doom II. These
are on the various Doom ftp sites in:
and the file names are:
For an up-to-date list of Doom ftp & WWW sites, look in the
rec.games.computer.doom.announce newsgroup or grab the file from the DHS web
pages, or email me for a copy. Post any further questions you may have about
using add-on levels to rec.games.computer.doom.help.
In this file, all example commands have been indented to distinguish them from
the surrounding text. See below for info on how to use add-on levels in net
games, modem games, etc.
Downloading Add-on Levels
Always download add-on level files in binary mode. To extract the add-on level
file from the zip archive, you'll need something like PKUNZIP v2.04g which is
in the directory:
and the file name is
This is a self-extracting archive. Run the program and the various pk
utilities will be extracted for you automatically). You can also
download the file directly from the DHS site at:
Using the PWAD (add-on level) File
After you have unzipped the PWAD zip file, place the WAD file in the same
directory as your DOOM.EXE and DOOM.WAD file.
doom -file pwadname.wad
doom -file stones.wad
Then just start a new game on the appropriate episode and/or level.
Some PWADs replace levels that are not level 1 on an episode. For these,
you can start by activating any new game and then just use idclev to get
to the appropriate level; eg. if a PWAD replaced E2L5, for example, then
you could run Doom with the usual:
doom -file whatever.wad
then you could start a new game on any episode and, once the game has
begun, you would type:
And that would teleport you to the appropriate level (note: every PWAD
should come with a text file which says which episode and/or level it is
Alternatively, you could warp straight to the level using a command line;
eg. for the above example you would use:
doom -file whatever.wad -devparm -warp 2 5 -skill
Where is in the range 1 to 5.
PWAD Manager Programs.
Yet another way to use PWADs, and the easiest I think as it saves you worrying
about which level the PWAD is replacing, is to use a PWAD manager program of
some kind. DWM is one. Another is DOOMENU. There are many others now as well -
goto the Doom directory of ftp.cdrom.com or a suitable mirror and look in
/utils/frontends. There are many to choose from, so download a few text files
to compare them.
These front end utilities will let you select a PWAD to play, which skill
level,etc. and will warp you straight to the appropriate level. They will
also keep track of how many times you have played a particular PWAD.
Many of them allow you to supply a short descriptive comment for each PWAD
These programs become more and more useful once your PWAD collection grows
beyond 20 or 30. They also support multi-player games, modem play,
One final thing on WAD manager programs: they usually allow you to keep
your PWADs in a separate directory (e.g. DOOM\WADS). You simply specify
where this directory is when first installing the PWAD manager. This is
how DOOMENU works.
I use DOOMENU, in case you're wondering. :) It is currently up to version
18 and is a pretty cool program. You can get it from:
in the directory:
and the files are:
Don't forget to enter 'bin' before downloading. Note that DOOMENU is
also available from the DHS Depot area.
DOOMENU isn't the only WAD manager program, and it's probably not the best as
it's quite old. A fairly new program is called UltraLaunch and I strongly
suggest you get a hold of it. It should be in the same directory as the Doomenu
WAD manager programs are the _best_ way to organise multiplayer games. Command
lines are such a pain to get right, but with WAD manager programs one just sets
up an initial configuration file and from then on the system takes care of all
the details. All the players have to do is decide on which episode and level to
play, and which add-on level(s) to include.
A good idea would be to post to rec.games.computer.doom.playing and ask which
WAD manager program people find the easiest & best to use, and why.
Note 1: all the usual things can be done with PWADs. e.g.
doom -file stones.wad -devparm -warp 1 1 -skill 4 -respawn -record stdemo
To play this back you'd use:
doom -file stones.wad -playdemo stdemo -respawn
Note 2: the '.wad' extension IS needed! This is unlike .lmp demos, where
the '.lmp' extension is not needed.
Note 3: for some reason, I know not what, some PWADs will not allow you to
save your position when playing them.
You must be using the registered version of Doom.
WADs written with one version of Doom (e.g. v1.2) will often not work
properly with another version of Doom (e.g. v1.666), usually because of
the various small differences between the DOOM.EXE files, etc. The usual
effect of this is that the game will freeze up after a short period of
play, or will not load at all. Check the accompanying text file to see
what version of Doom the WAD is intended for. However, there are programs
available to convert PWADs from one version to another, available from the
Doom ftp sites.
Some WADs are pretty extensive patches and change many things in Doom,
often employing the 'Dehacked' program. These kinds of patches may have useful
batch files provided, to save you all the bother of figuring out how to run
the WAD. An example is Aliens TC. This is installed by entering "INSTALL"
and is thereafter run by entering "ALIEN".
Have fun! :)
Doom Help Service (DHS): http://doomgate.gamers.org/dhs/
SGI/N64/Future Technology: http://www.geocities.com/ResearchTriangle/2321/
BSc Dissertation: http://doomgate.gamers.org/dhs/diss/
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