WAD file

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WAD files are libraries of data files for any program that runs on the Doom Engine, such as Sonic Robo Blast 2. The term "WAD" is an acronym for Where's All the Data?[1]. Stored in lumps, the data in a WAD file can be SOC data, maps, graphics, sound effects, and music. WAD files with all the main data of the game are known as IWADs, whereas WADs that work as patches are called PWADs.

Types of WAD file

There are four possible types of WAD file for use in SRB2 – any of the type names given below are set as the first four bytes of a WAD file, which can be viewed and edited through a hex editor. Each of these types are detailed below:


A patch WAD, or PWAD, is the most common type of WAD file, used for WAD files that are added on to the game. Newly created WADs by XWE and SLADE will by default be created as PWADs.


An internal WAD, or IWAD is the main WAD file for a Doom-based game. It is assumed it contains all the basic resources needed for the game (i.e. sprites, levels, music, other graphics, multimedia data, and various important lump files), if not most. Otherwise, these are identical in function to PWADs. The IWAD used by SRB2 is known as srb2.srb.


A ZWAD is a compressed PWAD, which can be created by converting a PWAD to this type using the utility wadzip (source code). These cannot be opened directly by standard WAD editors such as SLADE or XWE.


An SDLL is an alternative type of WAD file which was formerly reserved for date-activated secrets such as 3drend.dll for Christmas mode, typically used for WAD files disguised as DLL files – this type prevented them from being opened by any WAD editors, unless a hex editor was used to change the WAD's type to a PWAD before doing so. Several community members also used these to hide secret levels and other data within in a similar fashion. These are no longer used officially, as all date-activated secrets were removed by Version 2.0.


WAD files are organized as a collection of lumps. These lumps can contain a wide variety of data:

  • Maps: Maps are stored as a collection of several consecutive lumps that must follow each other in a strict order. These map blocks start out with a header that indicates the map number, after which several lumps that contain specific data for the map follow. Map editors typically provide a graphical interface that is able to read these lumps and display them in an easy-to-edit format, and to automatically create and modify these lumps upon saving a map.
  • SOCs: These are text lumps that control a wide array of different game settings and can be used to define custom content, such as Object configurations, level headers or playable characters. SOC lumps with the name MAINCFG or OBJCTCFG are automatically loaded on startup.
  • Lua scripts: These are text lumps specially made to run Lua code. The names for these are expected to have the prefix LUA_ to be interpreted as a Lua script lump, such as LUA_INIT and LUA_GAME.
  • Console scripts: These are text lumps that automatically execute console commands. While these can be created as external files, they are often integrated into WAD files as lumps to be executed either upon loading the WAD file by using the ExecCfg parameter in the MAINCFG lump, or inside a level, when used in conjunction with linedef type 415.
  • Flats: Located between the marker lumps F_START and F_END. These are the graphics displayed on floors and ceilings.
  • Textures: These are the graphics displayed on walls. Textures that consist of single images are located between the marker lumps TX_START and TX_END. Composite textures that consists of multiple images can be defined in the TEXTURES lump, while additional images for these composite textures can be stored between the marker lumps P_START and P_END.
  • Sprites: Located between the marker lumps S_START and S_END. These are the graphics displayed by in-game Objects.
  • Character skins: These are the characters the player can play as, affecting both the graphics displayed for the player as well as gameplay. The skin and stats are defined in the S_SKIN lump, which should be followed by all sprites intended for the skin - these do not need to be between marker lumps unlike normal sprites.
  • Other graphics: Other images can also be stored anywhere in WAD files, and used for various purposes, such as the title screen, menus and cutscenes.
  • Sound effects and music: WAV, MIDI and Ogg files can be stored as lumps in WADs.
  • Palette: These lumps are called PLAYPAL (defines the 256 colors the game uses) and COLORMAP (controls how to adjust these colors for different light levels).
  • Demos: Recorded playback demos, such as the ones used for Record Attack, can be stored as lumps in WAD files as well. Players can play back these demos with the PLAYDEMO console command. Additionally, special demos can be included that are played back at the title screen.

Loading WAD files

To launch SRB2 with added WAD files, the files must either be in the same directory as SRB2 or in a subdirectory. Then, you may add them à la one of the following methods:

  1. In the console, enter in ADDFILE FILENAME.WAD.
  2. Use the SRB2 Launcher.
  3. In Start Menu -> Run, type in SRB2DIRECTORYNAME\srb2win -file filename.wad You must enter in the directory name as the DOS command prompt would display it.
  4. Add the ADDFILE FILENAME.WAD in autoexec.cfg in the SRB2 directory. This particular method will load that WAD file every time you run the game.

To remove a WAD file from the game, the game must be restarted.

Creating and editing WAD files

Main article: WAD editors

First of all, you need to create the necessary data for the WAD that you want to create. Depending on what you want to feature in your map, these can be textures, sprites, a SOC file, levels etc. Then you use a WAD editor to add/extract/edit data into the WAD file and store it as a lump. For raw resources such as images or music, simply adding the lumps to the WAD file and then loading it will suffice. Some of the more complicated data requires extra steps for adding it, however. Depending on what resource you want to add, there are tutorials available to help you out:

If you want to replace any data that is already present in the game (such as changing the title screen, for example), simply give the replacing lump the same name as the lump that you want to replace, and store it in an external WAD. Externally loaded WADs, so-called PWADs, take precedence over the main WAD file, the IWAD. That means that if both the IWAD and a PWAD contain a lump with the same name, the game will only load the lump from the PWAD. If no lump of the same name is found in a PWAD, the lump from the IWAD is loaded.


  1. http://5years.doomworld.com/doombible/appendices.shtml

External links