Setting up Doom 3 Radiant (D3Edit) editor for custom mods & content

Setting up D3Edit and QeRadiant

This tutorial is going to run through the steps you need to take so you're able to use Doom 3 Radiant ('D3Edit' or 'doom edit') to create content (maps) for custom modifications of the Doom 3 engine.

By that it's meant utilising custom content created for use with a specific 'add-on' modification of the default game. We need to do two things. For this to work correctly...

  • Edit the desktop shortcut so it points to the correct location and has the correct parameters.

  • Edit the 'project' settings in D3Edit.

Creating a Doom 3 editor shortcut ^

If you're having trouble getting the editor to even start, the following settings are generally considered as a good set of parameters to use.

These need to be appended to the 'command line' of the actual shortcut you use to start the application.

It's usual to have to create a separate shortcut for the editor as one isn't made by default when you install the game, so if you haven't got one find the Doom 3 executable in the Doom 3 installation directory (by default that's usually C:\Program Files\Doom 3) folder and simply right click, 'send to' -> desktop. Rename it appropriately - 'D3Edit' for instance. Once that's been done it's here that the extra parameters need to be added so we need access to the 'properties' of the shortcut icon itself (you can normally change the icon picture used by the shortcut in here as well).

shortcut properties window

+set fs_game quake3bits

Right click on the new icon and select 'properties'. A window will open similar to the one opposite which has a number of tabbed 'pages'; 'General', 'Shortcut' and 'Compatibility'. Click on the tab titled 'Shortcut'. The image opposite shows what you'll most likely see; a series of text input fields - the field we want is marked 'Target' and shows the default directory / file path to the Doom 3 game executable similar to below;

"E:\Program Files\Doom 3\Doom3.exe"

The path will vary depending on where Doom 3 is installed but it's this entry that needs amending with a few command line parameters (variables).

Starting the Doom 3 editor ^

If you're wanting to set up D3Edit to simply create maps using Doom 3's content then all you need to do is add the following after the file path end quote;

+editor (note: there should be a blank space in front of the command)

which should give you something similar to the following;

"E:\Program Files\Doom 3\Doom3.exe" +editor

In some instance people have found that still doesn't work so they add the following variable to the command line;


which gives the following;

"E:\Program Files\Doom 3\Doom3.exe" +wait +wait +wait +editor

This should at least get the editor to start.

Other 'command' options? ^

The follow shortcut commands are very useful parameters that can be used to force D3Edit to behave itself when it starts up.

Force the editor to start in 'windowed' mode which helps to stop crashes an system locks.

+r_fullscreen 0

Forces the gamma setting to stay at '1.0' so the desktop doesn't brighten.

+r_gamma 1

Forces graphic restart - often needed to give D3Edit a kick up the butt.


A typical file path would then look like the following - note that although '+wait' is in brackets here to indicate it's not necessary in this particular example it can still be placed in the 'queue' if needed. Make sure it's place in front of '+editor' which ideally should be the last command variable; remove the brackets surrounding the '+wait' commands if using those.

"E:\Program Files\Doom 3\Doom3.exe" +r_fullscreen 0 +r_gamma 1 +vid_restart (+wait +wait +wait) +editor

Editing set up for custom mods ^

Exactly the same as the above except for one parameter; Doom 3 needs to be told where the custom assets are and subsequently what to load in. The only sure fire way to do this is to add another command variable to the shortcuts 'target' properties

+set fs_game [your mod installation folder]

So for example, a mod by quake3bits would be best placed inside a folder called 'quake3bits' which would look like the following as a command line variable;

+set fs_game quake3bits

Add that to the full command path above and we arrive at the following;

"E:\Program Files\Doom 3\Doom3.exe" +r_fullscreen 0 +r_gamma 1 +vid_restart (+wait +wait +wait) +set fs_game quake3bits +editor

As per above (+wait +wait +wait) is optional and only really necessary if you have persistence problems starting the editor.

What about D3Edit itself? Does that need setting up? ^

In a word 'yes'. Although not absolutely necessary it is a good idea to do so you don't inadvertently cause problems trying to load in assets or in case you have errors when the content loads as you work, Doom 3 has some peculiar internal workings that are easy to upset when you're first trying to gets to grips with hit.

click to see larger image

Radiant's "Project Settings" panel

Start the editor and click on the 'file' menu then select 'project settings'. This will open up the dialogue box shown opposite which by default shows the file path the ID used when they were developing Doom 3, it'll be something like;


This needs to be overwritten with a file path relative to your installation of Doom 3, usually that's;

C:\Program Files\Doom 3\

To make things easier just replace;

w:\Doom 3\


[drive]:\[path to]\[your installation]

Or, as shown in the image above, that would be as follows;

E:\Program Files\Doom 3\

Doom 3's editor keeps resetting itself!? ^

You may find on shutting down and restarting the editor that if you then check the project settings it's reverted back to the defaults of first load. If this is the case you'll need to hand edit a specific file Doom3 Radiant uses to get project info. This file is called doom.qe4 and will probably looks like the following;

"mapspath" "w:\doom3\maps"
"bsp" ""
"bsp noflood" ""
"bsp shadowOpt 2" ""
"bsp noaas" ""
"bspext" ""
"bspext noflood" ""
"autosave" "C:\"
"autosave1" "C:\"
"autosave2" "C:\"
"texturepath" "w:\doom3\textures"
"entitypath" "w:\doom3\scripts\*.def"
"remotebasepath" "w:\doom3"
"rshcmd" ""
"basepath" "w:\doom3"
"brush_primit" "1"

By default it's hiding in the root 'Doom 3' folder itself. Open it into notepad (you may get the 'open with...' dialogue box pop up when trying to edit this file, if that's the case assign the *.qe4 extension to 'Notepad' and select 'Always use this application') and edit the paths to what the should be in line with what's been mentioned above, you should end up with something similar to the following;

"mapspath" "E:\Program Files\Doom 3\base\maps"
"bsp" ""
"bsp noflood" ""
"bsp shadowOpt 2" ""
"bsp noaas" ""
"bspext" ""
"bspext noflood" ""
"autosave" "E:\Program Files\Doom 3\base\maps\"
"autosave1" "E:\Program Files\Doom 3\base\maps\"
"autosave2" "E:\Program Files\Doom 3\base\maps\"
"texturepath" "E:\Program Files\Doom 3\base\textures"
"entitypath" "E:\Program Files\Doom 3\base\scripts\*.def"
"remotebasepath" "E:\Program Files\Doom 3\base"
"rshcmd" ""
"basepath" "E:\Program Files\Doom 3\base"
"brush_primit" "1"

Once that's done save the file and then copy it into the 'base' folder. This basically sets the editor up to use the default content relative to the original files and data sat in the 'base' folder.

What about custom mods and content? ^

That's simple. Make another copy of the doom.qe4 file and edit the file paths again, this time change the file path to reflect where your mod files are. Again, using a mod by quake3bits as an example, this means changing the *.qe4 file in a similar way to has been mentioned above. Assuming that there is now a custom mod folder in the Doom 3 installation called 'quake3bits' (..\doom 3\quake3bits\) the *.qe4 file will now look like the following;

"mapspath" "E:\Program Files\Doom 3\quake3bits\maps"
"bsp" ""
"bsp noflood" ""
"bsp shadowOpt 2" ""
"bsp noaas" ""
"bspext" ""
"bspext noflood" ""
"autosave" "E:\Program Files\Doom 3\quake3bits\maps\"
"autosave1" "E:\Program Files\Doom 3\quake3bits\maps\"
"autosave2" "E:\Program Files\Doom 3\quake3bits\maps\"
"texturepath" "E:\Program Files\Doom 3\quake3bits\textures"
"entitypath" "E:\Program Files\Doom 3\quake3bits\scripts\*.def"
"remotebasepath" "E:\Program Files\Doom 3\quake3bits"
"rshcmd" ""
"basepath" "E:\Program Files\Doom 3\quake3bits"
"brush_primit" "1"

This version of the *.qe4 file then needs to be saved into the mods folder, in this case ..\Doom 3\quake3bits\. Once that's done open up Doom3Radiant and 'load' the project from file -> load project. This basically then tells Doom 3's editor to load the base content and the new custom mod content so you'll have access to both (or multiple) sets of assets.

Conclusion ^

It is. That's basically it. It can be very fiddly to set up the first time it's done especially if you're not used to using id software's toolset but, once it's done it's done, and won't need any further fiddling - unless you do something that screws the installation up - as does happen to the best of us..!

Editor set-up for idTech 3 ^

It's worth mentioning that setting up the level editor for idTech3 powered games (Quake 3 Engine) should, in principle, be the same as above. Current idTech3 powered games supported included (but may not be limited to);

  • Quake 3

  • Team Arena

  • Return to Castle Wolfenstein

  • Medal of Honour

  • Call of Duty

  • Jame Bond

  • Soldier of Fortune II

Setting up GtkRadiant for custom modifications

GtkRadiant showing a level for Return to Castle Wolfenstien open

Although the setup process generally installs files into their correct location it's best to double-check file paths in user'X'.qe4 file (where 'X' is a number). This is located in a different folder than it is for Doom 3 Editing, being installed as it is to the 'scripts' folder - for Quake 3 that would be "..\baseq3\scripts\"; or Return to Castle Wolfenstein "..\main\scripts\"). Make sure, as explained above, the necessary paths referenced in the qe4 file all point to the correct directories and folder. In addition, when using a third party map compiler, option paths to whichever program is used to do this will need to be checked.

GtkRadiant Project Setting for custom mods

GtkRadiant has a similar set of "Project Settings" that can be edited to accommodate custom modifications to a specific version of the game being edited

Normally only the Editor need be installed - QeRadiant, WolfRadiant, GtkRadiant, etc. - as file path generally take care of themselves during install. On the odd occasion files do not load when starting the Editor, simply unpack the *.pk3 files into the installation directory - path visible in WinZip or similar need to be adhered to so be sure to "Extract" with care - do not simply drag-and-drop or copy/paste the files as the following directory structure is important;

Quake 3 ^

  • ..\baseq3
      • \map
      • \models
      • \scripts
      • \textures

RtCW ^

  • ..\main
      • \map
      • \models
      • \scripts
      • \textures

If all goes well then you should then find the editor is picking up the assets which you can now load them into a map as you work.

Distribution ^

Don't forget that although you unpacked the files so you could work with them, you do not need to include them with any map files for distribution, the map, once loaded into the game, will automatically find the right assets. This applies to map using default game content only. Any assets downloaded from the Internet or created from scratch will need to be included to ensure proper functionality.

See the 'creating a pk3 (4)' tutorial on how to pack up your files.