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Hints, Tips, Strategy and FAQs for playing Populous III online


Getting Started

Quick start

I hope that you'll take the time to work through the whole of the 'getting started' section as there's a lot of information there which you'll need later. However, for those who want to dive straight in, here's the quickest way to get up and running in five easy steps using the PopRe client:

Step 1: Buy a copy of Populous. Populous was launched back in the 90's, so it is heavily discounted now. Check out your local discount store where you may find it in the bargain bin, or included in a collection of 'heritage' games. Target price would be around $6.00 in the US or 6.00 in the UK (try PCWorld). If you don't have any luck there you can buy online. For instance, it is available at for $9.90 and at for 4.99. Note that the UK version is distributed by 'Sold Out Software Ltd'. If you see that it does *not* mean that Amazon have sold out! You can also buy 2nd hand copies: the UK site had one for 2.99, last time I looked, and you can usually find a copy on Ebay. Install it using the default folder settings.

Step 2: Install the patch. This upgrades your copy of Populous to version 1.01 (essential for playing online). Details and download link here.

Step 3: Download the lobby client. Get it here and save it to your Populous directory (normally c:/Program Files/Bullfrog/Populous). Once you have downloaded it, run it, so that the necessary files are installed.

Step 3: Register with Populous Reincarnated (PopRe). You need to give them your chosen playing name, a functional email address and choose a password. You can register here, or click on the 'register' button when you run the lobby client for the first time. Registration also gives you the ability to post messages on the Populous Revisited forums which you can find here.

Step 5: Run the lobby client. Make sure that you are connected to the internet, then double-click on the icon for the client on your desktop which looks like this:

Enter your username and password and hit 'Log in'. Then choose any playing level and the top server from the list on the left, and click 'Connect'. You should then find yourself in the lobby where you can chat and set up games.

That's it - you're good to go

Slow start

Ok, that's lost the speed merchants (or maybe not, if they've got stuck). So here is a more measured way to get started, with all the options laid out.
Q: Where can I play Populous online?
A: The official Electronic Arts lobby and server for Populous closed for good on 8 January 2004 so it is only possible to play online now by using a third-party client, or by using direct IP (where you already know the IP addresses of the people you want to play). Fortunately, there are several options open to us, and there are still many active players.

The most popular method for meeting like-minded players and setting up online games is by using the Populous Reincarnated (PopRe) lobby client. PopRe is a group of Populous fans who have set up a website dedicated to all things Populous, and who have written their own client so that we can carry on playing Populous even after the EA withdrawal. This is a non-commercial venture, so everything is free, and your email address won't get sold to spammers. The entrance to the site is at so go take a look and browse around - then come back here! To reach all parts of the site, and to use their client, you have to register, which you can do here. They ask for a whole bunch of information, but it is all optional apart from your username, password and email address. Don't give a fake email address, as you will miss special announcements. If you're worried about spam, use a Spam Gourmet address.

There are two additional ways (as at 10 January 2004) in which you can play Populous from a lobby. The first is at If you know Gamespy, you will know its strengths and weaknesses. The main drawback though is that there is rarely anyone there to play with, as everyone is over using the PopRe client! However, if the PopRe client shold go offline for any reason, Gamespy can be used as a fallback, so I have included details below.

The third lobby system is one recently put together by Microfiend. I haven't tried it, and there are no details given, but if you go to you can see a screenshot and can download the zipped files by clicking on '' (262K). Unzip them into the defailt Populous folder (normally c:/Program Files/Bullfrog/Populous) and run PopulousMM.exe.

It used to be possible to play Populous on MSN Zoneplay, but that was withdrawn during 2003. (Doncha just love these big corporations :-)

Which one to go with? I would recommend the PopRe client without hesitation, because that is where all the players are, and therefore where you will get the best chance of a game. It is also pretty slick to use - better than Gamespy by far - which is a pretty fine achievement for a fan-based venture. However, I have included details of how to get into Gamespy, and also (for historical interest) the Electronic Arts login procedure. Just follow the links below:

Q: So how do I get started playing online?
A: First off, get a copy of Populous III - The Beginning. The demo (which is available from File Planet) works fine, but you only get to play with other demo users, and they are extremely rare in the lobbies. The game is heavily discounted now, so why not treat yourself to the full version? If you can't locate a copy to buy, check out the details at the top of this page. Install the game and make sure that everything works. If there are any problems playing the game offline, they will be magnified online, so don't even try until you have everything running smoothly. Then play the game! The online version is much harder than playing against a wimpy old computer, so if you haven't mastered the basics, you won't enjoy your online experience (unless you *really* enjoy losing). Note that you must have Populous III. Populous I and II were great games, but don't work online.

Get the patch.
Even though you may have just taken your copy of Populous out of its shiny new box, it will probably still need to be upgraded to play online. You need to have version 1.01 to play online. To find out if you already have it, start up Populous and when you get to the game menu (after the intro sequences) it will tell you at the bottom left of the screen. If you don't see a version number there, you don't have version 1.01 installed. Unless EA have altered their installation procedure, you will need to upgrade. If you have bought your disk recently, you may have the patch on your CD-ROM, and you will be able to select 'Upgrade to version 1.01' from the autorun menu. Otherwise, you will need to download the upgrade, which you can get still get from the Electronic Arts site here. It is a large download (9.2 megabytes) so be prepared for a long wait if you are on a dial-up connection. If that link is dead (and most of the rest of the EA site is at the moment) you can also get the patch from File Planet here.

Once you have the file on your hard disk, run it (it's not enough just to download it!!!) and follow the instructions. Please don't try to play online without having upgraded. It won't work - it will just crash your computer AND those of the people who are trying to play with you. It's a quick way to get a bad reputation. (If someone asks you 'Are you patched?' they mean 'Are you using the upgraded version?')

Next you need to choose which online lobby system you want to use, either the Populous Reincarnated Lobby Client or Gamespy. Choose one and click on the appropriate link below for details of how to get set up.

Click for Populous Reincarnated Lobby Client
Click for Gamespy

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