Startup parameters

Startup parameters are remnants of the time that an OS consisted of nothing more then a console. A command was then started by giving it’s name and optionally some parameters to change the command’s behavior. (Take DOS as an example, or even a modern Linux terminal.) All games built on the id Tech 4 engine allow you to start them with parameters as well to get a specific behaviour.


Probably, you don’t want to use a system console to launch a Doom 3 game every time you need it. It works, but you would need to start the console, go to the game’s folder and type the command with all it’s parameters. Imagine you would need to do that every time you want to play… This is where shortcuts come in. Shortcuts save the location of the command and it’s startup parameters.


You start by creating a shortcut to the game .exe file. A few ways to do it:

  • Right click in the desired location and choose New -> Shortcut. Complete the wizard
  • Copy the game’s .exe, then right click where you want your shortcut to be. Select “Paste Shortcut”
  • Drag the game’s .exe with your right mouse button to the desired location, then release and choose “Create Shortcuts Here”.

After this, right click on the shortcut. Select properties. The field to be edited is the “Target:” field. For Doom 3, it would look like:

 "c:\program files\doom3\doom3.exe"

To add a startup parameter, click in the target field and add:

+set r_fullscreen 0

After that, the whole target field should contain:

 "c:\program files\doom3\doom3.exe" +set r_fullscreen 0

If you are more familiar with windows you can also write a .bat file to run the game with your parameters.


By default, Linux does not support shortcuts. The only way to solve this is by making a script. However, newer window managers might support shortcuts. Scripting will always work, but it is worth it to check your window manager’s documentation. A few step-by-step procedures are listed below for common window managers.

Linux Scripting

Lots of things are done through scripts. This can range from scripts which start all background processes when you start your Linux install, to commands which you can use like regular commands on your command line.

A basic script consists of nothing more then a list of commands to be executed by your shell. (Which does all the command line tasks)

To create one, open up your favourite editor. Here’s is an example of what it should look like:

 cd /opt/doom3/
 exec ./doom3 +set r_fullscreen 0

Now save it. The name does not matter, as long as you remember it.

You can already use this script to start the game with the specified parameters. For example, if the script above was saved in a file called , it would be started by typing this in a shell:


It just works. In case the ‘sh’ part is even too much, you can make the script file executable on itself. To do this, issue this command:

 chmod ug+x

This command marks the script as executable for the file’s owner (Here the user who created it) and members of the file’s group. (Most of the time it’s the creator’s primary group)

From now on, you can start the script by typing:


What is a valid startup parameter

You can use any in-game console command as a startup parameter. This is useful if you always want that command to execute when you start a game. To make a valid startup parameter, prefix the command with ‘+’. If you want to use a console variable as a startup parameter you need to prefix it with the Set command. Some CVars don’t require it but this way you can be sure they will all work correctly.

Common uses

Launching the game in windowed mode

"d:\doom3\doom3.exe" +set r_fullscreen 0

This makes the game run in windowed mode (ie not full-screen) so you can keep applications running on the background, and play in the foreground. It may also be a good idea to add +vid_restart to ensure that the game does open in windowed mode. Great for keeping your favourite IM client or IRC app open in the background.

Launching the editor

"d:\doom3\doom3.exe" +set r_mode 3 +set r_fullscreen 0 +seta r_brightness 0 +seta r_gamma 0 +vid_restart +editor

This sets the Doom 3 game resolution to 640x480 (r_mode 3), makes it run in windowed mode (not full-screen), sets the brightness and gamma to 0, reloads the rendering engine and loads the map editor. Useful if you play the game at a lower resolution and want to use the editor at your normal desktop resolution.

Launching the game to connect to a server that is running a mod

"d:\doom3\doom3.exe" +set fs_game MODNAME +connect

This starts the game running the mod in the directory “MODNAME”, and then connects to the server at

Launching the game with a different path to save data

d:\etqw\etqw.exe +set fs_userpath "d:\etqwdata" +set fs_savepath "d:\etqwdata" +set fs_devpath "d:\etqwdata"
Note: Enemy Territory: Quake Wars only:
This will tell the game to save all screenshots, demos, config files, etc. into the same, custom, directory.

Most Frequent Parameters


Connects to the given server. The server is specified as hostname:port - eg “connect”. If the :port is ommitted, the default for the game is assumed.

opens the built in Map editor upon launch. Also see mapping .

opens the Articulated Figure Editor

opens the Declaration Browser

opens the FX Editor

opens the GUI Editor

opens the Light Editor and can also be opened from the Map editor by pressing “j” on your keyboard

opens the PDA Editor

opens the Playback Editor

opens the Reverb Editor

opens the Script Editor

opens the Sound Editor

causes the game to skip the introductory videos when starting.


Sets if the easy console key is used.

Used to load a different mod on startup.

Adds a second folder to be loaded prior to the modfolder. Useful when modding a missionpack. More info here: [1]

Used to enable cheats.

This will make the game run in fullscreen or in windowed mode. Mostly in combanation with some command.

Enables antialiasing and sets the number of passes.