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


CD Player's Populous Launcher Page

Important Note: All of these launchers used the official Electronic Arts server. Since this was closed on 8 January 2004 they no longer work. This page has been left in place just for historical interest.

What's a launcher?
Local Launcher
Launcher with Flood Control and Blocking
Enhanced Lobby Selection Page (Poplaunch Plus)
Dual-Function HTML Launcher
What's a launcher?
A launcher is a piece of custom software which allows you to use the Electronic Arts lobby and game server ( without going through the log-in procedure. In fact, you don't even need to be registered, and you can use any name you want. If you do use your registered Populous name, however, you will still earn points for your victories (when the points sytem is working), provided of course that you spell it correctly, including the use of capital letters. The advantages of using a launcher are to save time, to fake your grade, and to hide behind a fake name. Launchers will often also get you to the lobby even when the official entrance pages are broken. Not all of these reasons are pure and noble - please use this page responsibly!

There are two types of lobby launcher available from this page.

The first type requires you to download and install files on your PC. In return, you get complete independence from the Electronic Arts website - you only use their server. This has the advantage of allowing you to play when the website (but not the server) is down, and it also allows various modifications to improve the function of the lobby. A launcher using the original EA files is available here and various modified versions of the files, with added features are available here.

The second type of launcher uses a combination of HTML and Javascript to jump into the EA website at different points. No files are downloaded, and so the lobby you get is the standard EA version. I have offered two launchers of this type running from a single table here

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Local Launcher

When you enter the Electronic Arts Populous lobby in the normal way from the EA website, your browser downloads a number of files to the Temporary Internet Files folder on your PC in order to run the lobby applet. This takes some time, and of course won't work if the EA site is down. The local lobby client available here stores all these files in a special folder on your PC (normally c:\poplaunch) and explicitly tells Internet Explorer to load them from there rather than from the EA site. Your computer can then interact directly with the EA lobby server, without any contact with the EA website. The files used are identical (apart from a small version notification in the lobby welcome message) and everything else should work exactly as before.

Installation is simple.

  1. Download this file poplaunch000.exe (468KB) to a temporary directory and run it.
  2. Accept the suggested folder (C:\poplaunch)
  3. Double click on the file poplaunch.reg (using Windows Explorer)
  4. Launch by double-clicking on poplaunch.htm
Further details are available in the readme.htm file which is installed in c:\poplaunch\readme\version000

Launcher with Added Features

Having the lobby files installed locally means that we can modify them to add features to the lobby client. This is an ongoing project, but the feature list for the current release is as follows:

Current Version: 1.06
(Released 2 February 2003)

What you get:
Full details for installation and use are in the readme106.txt file (17KB).

The installation is available as a self extracting file (poplaunch106.exe 112KB) or as a zip file ( 50KB). Use the self-extractor unless you are installing to a different folder (read the readme106.txt file first!) or have an aversion to downloaded executables.

The software is offered as is without warranty. It is your responsibility to ensure that you can install and run it legally. By downloading it, you accept these conditions.

Many thanks to <<--xs-->> for some code segments, bug fixes, suggestions and encouragement.

Please send any bug reports or comments to me at

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Lobby Selector Upgrade (PopLaunchPlus)

Once you have installed the latest version of the lobby client (see previous section) you have everything you need, and you can configure the lobby however you want it by editing the variables in the user section of poplaunch.htm. Some people like to fiddle with buttons and stuff though, so for them I have designed an enhanced version of the lobby selection page. It works with the same lobby file, so the two versions are compatible, but the enhanced version has some extra features: Download the self-extracting file (poplaunchplus100.exe) or, if you have installed the files anywhere other than in c:\poplaunch, download the zip file The installer and the zip file contain the same files, namely: Launch the new lobby selector by double-clicking on poplaunchplus.htm (normally in c:\poplaunch).

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Dual-Function HTML Launcher

Your preferred name:
There are two separate Populous launchers available from the table above which don't rely on any downloaded files as they run from HTML and Javascript. First select the player grade and name you would like, and then hit either the 'Choose Lobby' button or the 'Lobby 1' button to launch.

Choose Lobby has the advantage that, um, you can choose which lobby to go to. In fact it takes you to the lobby selection page on the Populous site (You know - the one with the wheel thing which you click to choose the lobby.) However, it does have some disadvantages:
Lobby 1 will take you directly to Lobby 1 (do not pass Go, do not collect £200). There are several advantages to this: Up To Top of Page

General points:

Have fun!

What if they don't work?

When the EA lobby system is working properly, both the above launchers should work fine. However, if neither of them work, the only solution is to get a low-level launcher and run it direct from your PC. <--xs--> wrote the original one with a little help from Shakey Jake - well done guys! The local launcher offered here (see above) is functionally equivalent but the original version is still available from DrummerKa's site at Here is how you install DrummerKA's version:

  1. Download the launcher ( - 429KB) to a suitable folder on your PC (eg C:\downloads\poplaunch)
  2. Open the zip file and extract all the files to any folder (the same one is fine - just enter a . in the folder panel). You'll get the following:


  3. Open the file readme.txt and check for any new info.
  4. Double click the file poplaunch.exe to run it (it's a standalone zip-extractor). Accept the suggested folder (c:\poplaunch) then let it unpack the files.
  5. Go to C:\poplaunch and double-click the file called poplaunch.reg. This will load an entry into your registry. I was initially nervous about this, but it's just a single line addition to give permission to run the Java code.
  6. You can now run the launcher by double-clicking on poplaunch.htm

Two possible problems which I know of: Here are a couple of refinements:

I've installed the launcher on my PC (Windows 98SE) and it works faultlessly. As a bonus, you lose the dialogue box which tells you about the expired EA certificate, and it's faster than the other launchers.

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© CD Player 2001 - 2011 Site owned and maintained by 'CD Player' Last updated: 17 October 2011