Several versions of ZDL exist (from newest to oldest):
- Source port: If you need to run a WAD in an older version of ZDoom or you want to use another source port such as GZDoom, no need to switch around all your config files, just select a port from the list you create and play.
- Game IWAD: You can define and select up to 32 separate IWADs to run.
- PWADs and Patches: You can load up to 64 external files such as WADs, DEH/BEX patches, and ZIP files. Any file can be added to the list by clicking "add" or by dragging the files onto the PWAD list.
- Warp and Skill: ZDL will scan the currently selected IWAD for maps or you can type in your own map name.
ZDL can start and join multiplayer ZDoom games by using the multiplayer drop-down panel. It includes these options:
- Game type: Select either single-player, deathmatch or cooperative.
- Hosting options: Choose to host a game for up to 8 players or join a game with the "host" box.
- DMFlags and frag limit: There are fields for both DMFLAGS and DMFLAGS2 as well as a quick control for the frag limit.
- Saving/loading configurations: Once you set up ZDL the way you like it, you can save to configuration to a .ZDL file. These files can be loaded back into ZDL by way of the loading dialog or by associating them with ZDL and running them from explorer. If the option to launch from ZDL files is selected, you can use .ZDL files in a similar way to batch files. For mod authors, you may want to package a .ZDL file with your ZDoom mods to help the end user play your mod with the optimum settings automatically!
- Shell integration: You can associate .ZDL, .WAD, .DEH and .BEX files with ZDL to load configurations and insert wads and patches into the PWAD list easily, you may also drop several wads onto the ZDL executable. Use this with Doom Builder to add extra customizing capabilities to your test sessions.
ZDL has had many versions and upgrades throughout the years. A brief version history:
- ZDL 1.5 (first known release date), March 12th, 2005 (Biohazard)
- ZDL 2.0, July 15th 2005 (Biohazard)
- ZDL 3.0, Dec 2nd 2005 (Biohazard)
- ZDL 3.0d, Dec 10th 2005 (Biohazard)
- ZDLSharp 188.8.131.52, July 15th, 2007 (QBasicer, from scratch)
- ZDL 3.1, Nov 20th 2007 (Risen, from Biohazards)
- ZDLSharp 184.108.40.206, January 20th, 2008 (QBasicer, last version)
- ZDL 3.1a, March 16th, 2009 (Wildgoose, from Risen's)
- qZDL 220.127.116.11, July 6th, 2012 (QBasicer, from scratch)