Doom 1 & 2 in modern computers

How to play Doom 1 and Doom 2 to a modern pc?

You need three things:

  1. The WADs
  2. The engine
  3. The add-ons (optional)

1st – The WADs

Regardless of your operating system, you need a set of WADs. In summary, WAD stands for “Where is all the data” and is an acronym used by Id software for the extension of files containing the actual game data like sprites, maps, episode organization etc. If you don’t know what is a WAD you can read more at  wikipedia. The original WADs are not free, thus you either have to buy them (e.g. from steam) or download them typically illegally from peer to peer networks.

The original episodes are listed at doomwiki. Many episodes can be stored in single WAD. Additionally, there is a huge list of WADs made by other users available to download. The best of them are separately listed at doomworld where you can also find a complete (and huge) list.

2nd – The engine itself

After you have the WADs, you need to download an engine. There are numerous free engines so you may have to try some of them until you find the one you prefer.

3rd – The add-ons, aka mods (optional)

After you have the engine and the original WADs you can add more addons (mods) to change game play. Add-ons modify the game behavior. They mostly come in pk3 format.

One of the most well known mods is Brutal doom which adds extreme violence to the game. Although its very widespread, i don’t recommend it.

If you want to try a mod out, you don’t have to install it. It’s easier to just go to youtube and watch some videos to check if you like the game play.

How to run all of the above:

The steps are quite easy:

  1. You install the engine. Most engines have installers so there is nothing special to this procedure
  2. You Copy the WADs in the directory where you installed the engine
  3. If you have mods, drag and drop them to the executable of the engine.

Alternatively, instead of the 3rd step, you can manually edit the .ini files of the engine (usually located in the same directory) and define which mods you want to use. But this procedure depends on the engine.


For multiplayer experience check these out:

  1. Zandronum – active and opensource
  2. zdaemon – active
  3. Odamex – active and opensource

I don’t play Doom multiplayer so I can’t recommend any of these.

Single player

Single player engines may include a 3d renderer or not.

Without the 3d renderer the graphics are somewhat worse. If you want a “close as much as possible to the original” experience, including graphics, then you should prefer an engine without 3d rendering support.

With 3d renderers, the graphics seem better. This is the version i prefer. I recommend prboom+ for linux and gzdoom for windows .

Also, in my opinion, its better not to enable cheats or new features like free mouse aim as it ruins the experience (and makes the game much easier) since most of the maps where designed with that in mind.

Here is a tiny list of my recommended engines:

PortName3d rendererLinuxWindows

What about Doom 3?

Doom 3 is a whole different story that i will explain in a separate note.

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