WAD File Extension

Have a problem opening a .WAD file? We collect information about file formats and can explain what WAD files are. Additionally we recommend software suitable for opening or converting such files.

What is the .WAD file type?

Allegedly an acronym of "Where's All the Data," the .wad extension has been since long associated with the Doom Game Data Archive (.wad) file format and type. WAD is a special binary format developed by id Software for their Doom first-person shooter game. With certain modifications, the WAD format was used in all Doom-based games.

A .wad file is a game resource archive in Doom and Doom-like games. It is a large binary container for a set of graphic textures, game music and sounds organized as data lumps. WAD files can be internal (IWAD) or patch (PWAD), the internal WAD's representing a game's core resources. Patch WAD's contain add-ons, mods, and other additional resources.

A legacy of Doom, the .wad extension was also borrowed by several later games (Valve's Half-Life, Counter-Strike, and others) to denote their resource archives (.wad). There are numerous independent tools (WAD editors) to work with .wad files.

Another function of the .wad extension is related to the Nintendo Wii Software/Game Package (.wad) file type and format, with reference to the Nintendo Wii gaming console. WAD is a special binary format developed and internally used by Nintendo to deliver software to Wii devices. A .wad file is a container package that can be used to install Wii channels, menus, etc.

Before any unofficial .wad package can be manually installed on a Wii device, the device has to be unlocked (become HomeBrew-capable). Despite a range of legitimate uses of WAD images, the WAD file format has quickly become a means of Wii software piracy.

Apart from that, the .wad extension also occurs in association with the Nortek AWAC Wave Data (.wad) file type/format. In the binary form, WAD files store wave measurement data (velocity, amplitude) recorded along a timeline by a submersible Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler (ADCP) device (Nortek AWAC). Such raw wave data files (.wad) are used as a data source in Nortek's STORM software to study ocean/see currents and wave formation.

Software to open or convert WAD files

You can open WAD files with the following programs:
Zandronum by Zandronum
GCFScape by Ryan Gregg
Quick Zip
Quick Zip by Joseph Leung
Skulltag by Skulltag

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