How to download and run Doom


Revision as of 02:51, 3 September 2015 by Chungy (talk | contribs) (Linux: the chocolate-doom)

Information icon.svgNote: This article is not a general troubleshooting guide for any of the operating systems listed below. It assumes that your hardware and existing software is set up correctly; even then, it probably does not pertain to every possible configuration. If you are having computer problems, please seek help wherever you would normally seek help.

The central experience of the Doom community is playing the game. If you have never played before, this guide will help you get started.

You will need a computer, game console, or mobile capable of running Doom. Doom can run on a very wide variety, but this article is intended to cover the basics and assumes common hardware and operating systems of the present. For information on how to run Doom on obsolete hardware, see Doom on legacy systems.

Most of the Doom games are not available for free, with the exception of the demo versions of the original Doom and Doom 3. As an alternative, Freedoom provides wholly-free games with the full support to play mods on top of it. This article will focus on the Doom games only.

Downloading Doom

For computers: and Steam and Steam are the two digital distributors that sell Doom games. The games are cheap, and are frequently placed on sale. The store items to look out for are:

If you are a newcomer and wish to spend money for only one of the games, Doom II provides the widest support for community mods and online play. Doom 3: BFG Edition serves as a good introduction for the entire franchise.

The above applies to the Windows platform only.

On Linux or Mac, acquiring the official IWADs takes a little more work. With the releases, users can run innoextract on the Windows installer executable in order to obtain the IWAD packaged within. With the Steam releases, Mac or Linux users can utilize the SteamCMD client to download the files directly.

Mac and Linux users can use the standard Windows Steam or installers by running them via Wine or a virtual machine running Windows.

If you have bought the original Doom 3 and/or Resurrection of Evil, you will also need to use the Windows version of Steam to obtain their CD keys, making sure to copy them into the correct directories. Native versions of all the games can be played afterwards.

As of July 2015, Mac users can still purchase Doom 3 from the original publisher, Aspyr Media, or at MacGameStore. Alternatively, using Wine as described above should work.

Mac and Linux users looking for Doom 3 BFG Edition should be aware that while you can play it via RBDOOM-3-BFG, no pre-compiled versions are available, making setup more difficult. The original Doom 3 release, however, can be played without special preparation.

For computers: demo versions

For the original Doom, the demo, typically termed shareware, is mirrored in an archive: doom-wad-shareware_1.9.fixed.orig.tar.gz. On Windows, you may need to install a program such as 7-Zip to extract it. Mac and Linux should be able to handle it normally.

Doom 3 demos were released on Windows, Linux, and OS X. You should still be able to use the installers and play them normally on current systems: D3Demo.exe for Windows, for Linux, doom3macdemo.dmg for Mac.

For consoles: Xbox 360, PlayStation 3

Look for Doom, Doom II, or Doom 3: BFG Edition with the console's store menu. The games should be available for purchase and download like other titles on the systems.

For mobile: iPhone, iPad

The Ultimate Doom is available via the AppStore, titled DOOM Classic.

Running Doom

Ultimate Doom, Doom II, and Final Doom


The and Steam distributions come pre-configured with Doom in DOSBox. It works for the original experience, although it can be a bit poor for controls and for performance. As an alternative, you can take the following steps for a native version:

  1. Download and extract it to somewhere such as your Desktop or Documents folders.
    If you downloaded the shareware version, place doom1.wad in the folder with Chocolate Doom.
  2. Run chocolate-doom-setup and configure the game to your preferences. See Setup on the Chocolate Doom wiki for complete documentation.
  3. Click Save parameters and launch DOOM to start playing; or use Warp to select specific games in case you have multiple.


  1. Check your packaging software for chocolate-doom and install it. It is available on all major Linux distributions.
  2. Copy a game WAD file to either your home directory, or /usr/share/games/doom; the latter will probably need to be created with root privileges on the system. These files should be stored with all-lowercase names; doom2.wad, not DOOM2.WAD, for example.
  3. Look for Chocolate Setup in your desktop menu or app drawer, or run chocolate-setup from the Terminal. Configure the game to your preferences; see Setup on the Chocolate Doom wiki for complete documentation.
  4. Click Save parameters and launch DOOM to start playing; or use Warp to select specific games in case you have multiple.


  1. Download chocolate-doom-3.0.1.dmg, open it, and drag the package to Applications as displayed.
  2. Open Chocolate Doom as you would any program (e.g. from "Applications" on the Dock).
  3. Click Configure, then click the Set button for one of the games you downloaded above. If it's the shareware version, use the Doom button.
  4. Locate the corresponding WAD file on your hard drive, highlight it, and click Open. Repeat for any additional WAD files, then click Close.
  5. Choose a game from the upper drop-down list.
  6. Optionally, click Run Setup Tool... to configure the game, including setting a playable display mode.
  7. Click Launch to begin playing.

Doom 3


Once you have Doom 3 installed via Steam, in its original or BFG Edition release, you are already good to go. Simply launch the game via Steam or a shortcut and have fun.


  1. Download and mark it executable, either through your GUI file manager or chmod +x on the command line.
  2. Run the file and install the engine. If you are on a 64-bit OS, note this is a 32-bit program, seek out your distribution help for getting 32-bit software to run properly.
  3. Copy the base/pak000.pk4, base/pak001.pk4, base/pak002.pk4, base/pak003.pk4, base/pak004.pk4 files from your Steam Doom 3 installation to the location you installed the Doom 3 engine in the previous step, retaining their location under base
  4. Copy the d3xp/pak000.pk4 file in the same manner, if you bought Resurrection of Evil as well, likewise retaining its location under d3xp
  5. Launch Doom 3 via your desktop menu, app drawer, or from the Terminal with the doom3 command.


  1. If you purchased the native OS X version, follow the vendor's instructions for installation and launch. Unless your system is fairly new, be prepared to reduce resolution and disable some graphical features to get a playable frame rate.

Beyond the basics: Doom classic

This how to article has purposely oversimplified the process of running Doom. In its long history of modding and open source nature since 1997, there are multitudes of possibilities for obtaining Doom on physical media, old consoles, and other formats. There are also a near-endless supply of engine ports to other operating systems and devices, both historic and modern. We have focused on running the game with Chocolate Doom, an engine that expressly eschews enhancements and new features, presenting the game exactly the same as the original DOS version, only fixed to run on new systems.

Enhanced ports

With the open source nature of the Doom engine, most derivatives, commonly known as source ports or just ports, focus on removing limitations of the original game, adding features, making graphical enhancements, and improving support for modding. A few of the most popular enhanced ports are:


Mods, also commonly known as WADs or PWADs, are widely available, with the idgames archive providing the largest and most active resource for obtaining them. If you continue to use Chocolate Doom, since it lacks extra features, you will have to look out for entries that say they support doom.exe, doom2.exe, or vanilla Doom. Many mods will require the use of an enhanced port and will dutifully make note of that as well. Limit-removing or Boom mods can run in most available ports, otherwise you will have to use the specified port.


Doom has an active multiplayer base to this day, often with the support of mods and with enhanced ports. While Chocolate Doom has multiplayer capabilities, it is both extremely limited in game modes (as was the original), and lacks a permanent online player base; playing multiplayer with Chocolate Doom will almost certainly require setting up a game with friends.

The most popular ports for playing online multiplayer, all of which with an active player base are (in alphabetical order):

For a more complete guide, please see How to play Doom online multiplayer.